Kealy Construction—True Tradesmith in the South Bay

Patrick Kealy & Kealy Construction

It’s just got to be right,” says Patrick Kealy, explaining a not-uncommon true tradesman’s instinct, to perfect each facet of a project, no matter the cost or sweat equity involved.

His all-or-nothing ethic could be traced to his upbringing in rural County Meath, Ireland. “Our family did all of our own building,” says Kealy with a charmed Irish lilt. “We never relied on others. We were all do-it-yourselves kind of people.” 


Patrick Kealy originally hails from County Meath, Ireland


Kealy partnered with designer Craig Gebhart to complete his latest project, a trio of handcrafted homes on 8th Street in East Manhattan Beach 


He has been building custom homes in Southern California for 23 years

Getting into the trades at a young age, Kealy later worked on construction projects in various parts of the world—France, Canada and Chicago among them—before making his way to Los Angeles, where he began building custom homes before starting his full-service construction company in 1998. It was a natural progression for Kealy, who would buy a lot, build a handcrafted home, sell it, and repeat.

“I’m very hands-on,” says the builder, who can be found at the job site daily. His latest project—a trio of custom homes along 8th Street in East Manhattan Beach—is a capstone project of sorts. In every handcrafted corner is Kealy’s innate urge to deliver plum levels of craftsmanship. 

Designer Craig Gebhart, who has worked with Kealy on various projects, joined forces with the builder to shape each of the homes, which sport different, yet complementary, styles. There’s a Cape Cod beach-style home, a charmed French farmhouse residence and, newly complete, a British West Indies Colonial-inspired home.

From the curb, one first sees the island plantation freshness of this home, with its series of low-pitched hipped roofs and custom, decorative rail work topped in African Mahogany. The handrails, notes Kealy, were hand-milled from a 17-foot solid slab of the rich, mellow grain wood.

Inside are dark ebony floors of French oak and soaring ceilings, plus a living room wall that slides open to a backyard oasis, complete with a saltwater pool and cabana. Transitions from interior and exterior are seamless—the mark of an exacting build hand. 

One steps outside to meet a patio of hand-worn limestone with radiant heat (“It’s very nice to step out onto in your bare feet,” says Gebhart). All three fireplaces are surrounded with hand-made tiles from Castellón, Spain.

Some bathrooms sport gorgeous tiles imported from Devon, England, while others feature lush, elaborate designs that have been printed on Carrara marble. “We’ve gone above and beyond with the finishes,” says Kealy, before adding a modest caveat: “I don’t want to try to glorify ourselves—I’m not from that background at all.” 

Going above and beyond is a common theme of his projects. “It’s easy to do it right. We have to do it right—we’re committed. It’s just the way we are.” he explains. “And it’s very satisfying.” Satisfaction is what he is feeling with his new project.

“There is great opportunity in East Manhattan,” he explains. “With traditionally larger lots than the other boroughs of Manhattan Beach, allowing for amenity-rich gardens with pools, spas and wonderful, year-around outdoor living.

There’s also very easy access to the 405 and the airport, yet it’s only two miles from the beach. Plus, there’s access to all of the highly-rated schools.”

“With three homes,” he adds, “we are able to bring this area into a new value. It will set a trend in East Manhattan Beach.”

The South Bay may be a distance from where Kealy hails—but no distance from his Irish roots, which compel him to keep setting his talents on new buildings.

“I enjoy it,” he says of his trade. “It doesn’t feel like work, as such.” And the reward, he adds, comes now, at the home stretch of a project: “It’s such a pleasure to walk in to these homes, and see them as we had envisioned them.” 

(opposite, clockwise from left) The newly finished British West Indies Colonial-inspired home at 1755 8th Street in Manhattan Beach; exotic, high-grade finishes are found throughout; dark ebony floors neatly contrast with pristine white walls; hand-milled rail work; sliding glass links the home to a designer backyard oasis. 



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