For decades, Bill and Dorrie McGonigal put much of their time and energy into their Pennsylvania-based glass installation business. They worked 80, or 100, hours a week building a legacy that’s now, for the most part, in the hands of their children.
They believed the years of labor would pay off one day when they could retire in their 50s. Those dreams are encapsulated in their modern home on Kure Beach where views of the ocean are the focus. The couple first bought the property in 2001, and they’ve spent years thinking and planning every detail of their early retirement prize.
“We thought about every color, every piece,” Bill said. They looked through countless magazines and were inspired by their vacations in Mexico and the Caribbean.
“Whenever we were in a hotel, we would think about what we liked,” Dorrie said.
They collected photos and spent hours researching products, online and in person.
“We would visit the same stores over and over again,” he said.
They’ve now spent about two years in their 5,000-square foot, five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home and love the crisp, clean look they achieved.
Most of their time is spent on the main (a.k.a second) floor, which features the kitchen, a master suite and a modern living room with many glass walls that overlook the deck, pool and the sea beyond.
If it isn’t obvious, one of the home’s themes is glass — evidence of a lifetime spent working the material.
The McGonigals liked the dotted glass-and-stone mosaic tile so much, they’ve used it in three colors throughout the space. Before they bought it, they tested it in water to see how the colors would sparkle as the base of their infinity pool. Glass stairs lead to the guest bedrooms, which can be opened to the view but also have glass pocket doors with white on one side and a color that matches the room on the interior. A hatch door opens to the rooftop deck, with 360-degree views of Pleasure Island and a bank of solar panels that provide about 40 percent of the home’s energy needs.
Not everything is glass, though. Just take a look at the master bath, with its carved sandstone tub. As soon as the couple saw a Big Ass Fan at a home show, they knew they had to have one. The fan is set off with Pergo flooring, that’s (yep) on the ceiling. And their living room furniture was carefully selected to be both comfortable and modern.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the floor-to-ceiling glass liquor cabinet that sits in front of the elevator shaft and the electric panel. It looks like a party waiting to happen, but many of its inhabitants are from their travels.
“For most of those, it’s not about what it tastes like,” Bill said. “It’s about the bottle.”
Every now and then, they think about adding to that collection.
“But then we think ‘We have everything here. Why would we want to go anywhere else?’” Dorrie said.
The couple decided on Kure Beach after Bill’s father spent several years working in the area. Many vacations later, they decided it was the place for them. They also added a ground-floor apartment that’s better suited to visitors with smaller children. Often, workers from their company come stay for a week.
Bill and Dorrie still spend some time working. A guest room in the home doubles as an office. But for the most part, they are content to let their three sons do most of the work while they spend their mornings reading and looking at the ocean, and their evenings grilling out and looking at the ocean.
“We wanted to see the ocean from everywhere,” Bill said.
Throughout the space there are clues to the time they spent planning. The cabinets are from Spain, because it was the only place they could find the white, glossy finish they wanted. The Meile appliances match. The heated Italian tile floor has the look of wood grain. Wilmington-made concrete counters feature cobalt blue glass chips. (The concrete stairs are embedded with oyster shells.) All of the handmade light fixtures are from a New Jersey-based glass artist. The Arizona-based Meltdown Glass Art & Design company made the swirly backsplashes.