Beachy good vibes mark the redesign by which a Sea Girt vacation home ups its game for year-round use.
Golden years reveling in the golden rays of the Jersey Shore—that’s one Hoboken couple’s notion of an idyllic retirement setting. The summer home they purchased two years ago in Sea Girt, just a bike ride from the beach, already fit the bill in myriad ways. But for the style and function of a “forever” home, as owners Roseanne and Bob envisioned, it would take a designer’s touch. Enter Monmouth-based designer Mary Catherine McCarthy with a plan to match the couple’s lifestyle and max the colonial’s party potential—because any Shore spot is bound to draw guests.
“They wanted to entertain more and have their house be more of an open plan and more open to the beautiful pool in the backyard,” says McCarthy.
That was a tall order for a 10×10 kitchen saddled with a peninsula that, McCarthy says, lacked purpose. Eliminating that peninsula doubled the kitchen’s available space and opened the door to possibilities.
“Our first design challenge was to renovate the 20-year-old kitchen layout to incorporate an entertaining island and a bar area with a beverage center and a bar sink,” McCarthy says. “By relocating and replacing the existing sliding door, in switching the location of a window we repurposed, we were able to extend the kitchen floor plan to meet the clients’ requests.”
Roseanne says the remodel works so well they are staying here more often—even before retirement. “Function is through-the-roof, immensely better,” she says. “It’s wonderful to entertain in.” And why not? McCarthy used newfound space to grant the couple a full bar with a wine cooler and storage.
For the style aspect of this design, the couple wanted to reflect the seashore. Sherwin-Williams’ Bunglehouse Blue gave the island a punch as a beachy contrast to white cabinets (Fieldstone Cabinetry) and Calacatta quartzite counters in a leathered super white (Bedrock Granite). With their wavy blue pattern, the sliding-door curtains also evoke the beach (MCM/Studio, McCarthy’s private label), while the metal island stools (Wayfair) add a touch of aqua.
Besides color, the project drew inspiration from the two-story vaulted ceiling now highlighted with brushed-nickel pendants. Roseanne loves how the space has brightened. Not to be overlooked is a stretch of beadboard ceiling—another Shore hallmark.
As common threads in the design, McCarthy treated the entire backsplash to glazed handmade Italian tile (Nemo Tile), used Benjamin Moore’s Bleeker Beige as a color constant and repaired the oak-toned engineered wood flooring for the long haul.
A style so pretty McCarthy likened it to jewelry is the hammered steel accentuating the cabinetry’s 39 custom pulls and knobs—an element echoed in the bar’s circular sink.
As with many projects started during 2020, McCarthy and her team faced pandemic challenges. For the job’s success she credits the “extraordinary collaboration” among contractors: A to Z Home Improvements, Rymar Plumbing, Herbert Electric and Allen’s Painting & Wallpaper.
By Donna Rolando
Design by Mary Catherine McCarthy
Photography by Sara Stadtmiller