Friends of the Family: Joseph De Maria Masonry
Posted by Robin Steudler on Mar 18, 2015
By Robin Steudler, Account Manager
“I Am More Thrilled to Go to Work Today Than Ever”
Joseph De Maria, fourth generation Master Craftsman, proprietor of Joseph De Maria Masonry of Carmel, is a tireless worker, a true Renaissance Man, and a real Friend of the Graniterock Family. Demonstrating just how much he relishes going to work, Joseph says, “I am more thrilled to go to work every day, now--more than ever before.” Without sounding like an overt Type A personality or bragging in the least, Joseph chuckles about the fact he has taken one vacation since he started working at the age of 18. “I love it, [the work], I look ahead to every day…” he says, taking on the challenges of good, honest daily work, but also tackling, head-on, the challenges of modern day entrepreneurship. He constantly delivers creative and beautiful masterworks in stone, from basic building and stone facades to ornate, hand-carved decorative architectural features, and even award-winning sculptures.
Joseph’s Great-Great Grandfather Giuseppe Marotta came to America from Palermo and worked on the Crocker Mansion and the Hearst Castle. Joseph was born in the Community Hospital of Monterey Annex that was located right on Highway 1 in Carmel and he still lives in Carmel Valley. “I am a true Carmelite,” he says in a manner that conveys a rich family history and tradition, but also echoes the richness of the area and the Monterey Peninsula’s ability to weave family, work, and life through generations. He grew up going through the Carmel Unified School district and was a surfer, making the most of what Carmel Beach and the fabulous coast has to offer. He still gets in the water, but stays on the edge—skim boarding with family. He did admit to “paddling out” on occasion, but said he thought he might be too old for that.
Joseph De Maria, The Renaissance Man, is not only evident in his love of life and work, or in his beautiful craftsmanship of stone, or his ability to breathe life into stone sculpture, but in his music. He has a recording studio in his house, and “plays everything,” that is, all the instruments. “That way I do not get into any fights with the band,” he laughs. His favorite instrument is the guitar and his musical musings tend toward light jazz and folk.
The Family is an interesting tale. Joseph’s father, known lovingly as “Papa Joe,” had two brothers, Angelo and Manny. All three of them married sisters from the same family,…”redheaded Irish sisters.” Joseph’s son, ah…Joey, also named Joseph, a dashing young man, is helping carry on the masonry tradition. He works with his dad keeping this wonderful old-world legacy alive. Joseph De Maria Masonry now spends most time “giving people’s fireplaces a face lift. It’s just the three of us, me, Joey, and my nephew Matt Nottingkamper.” He used to run 10-20 staff in crews and do whole fireplaces—one a day.
As with any craftsman of quality, Joseph De Maria Masonry has been touted by many high-profile customers, and lauded in many a publication. Sometimes named and sited, but sometimes just referenced as “an old Italian mason in Carmel.” Joseph has worked in a remarkable number of very different and fascinating materials including, true Carmel Stone, Dolomite, Limestone and Coral. Joseph is an interesting juxtaposition, in that he represents generations of stone masons, old world legacies versus being happy just going to work every day. “If I don’t go to work, I don’t feel right.” Joseph De Maria Masonry, recently completed a fascinating building in Carmel Valley, that is now a breathtaking tasting room for a local winery, and Joseph has also completed his new residence “way out the Valley.” The stone work at the tasting room includes a limestone architectural feature that was hand-turned by two of his staff, while Joseph carved the ornate, spiraling column. It is a spectacular example of the kind of work that Joseph De Maria Masonry is capable of and why he remains a good Friend of the Graniterock Family.
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