Located at historic Erehwon Ranch, this house with “good bones” has hospitality in its DNA.
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Sitting in the sunny kitchen of Edward and Sally’s Kula home, I feel as though I’ve boarded a time machine back to the late 1930s, when the house was constructed. Antique clocks fill the air with their ticking, chiming at random. “We love our clocks, but you can’t pay attention to them for the actual time,” Sally says ruefully. “We have one clock we purchased at a discount store that is accurate.”
It’s not the venerable timepieces that have me feeling out of sync with present day. It’s the way Sally and Edward have honored the past in restoring this historic home.
Oldtimers knew this part of Upcountry Maui as Erehwon — a sprawling cattle ranch whose name, spelled backwards, is “nowhere.” In the early decades of the last century, when Gordon and Mary von Tempsky owned the place, Erehwon was famed for its hospitality.
Edward and Sally were residing happily in Olinda when the house went on the market in 2010. “The listing said, ‘This storybook home . . . is charming, funky, and spacious, and may be a tear down or the dream purchase of a lifetime,’” recalls Sally. “We enjoy fixing up old houses; the soul of an old home is something you can’t create on your own.”
Visiting the site, they were captivated by the setting and the view. And they could see that the house had good “bones,” despite its condition. But the first contractor they spoke to tried to dissuade them from renovating. “If you want to tear this one down,” he told them, “I’ll build you a new house. It’ll be cheaper than fixing this one up.”
“Obviously, we didn’t hire him,” Sally says.
Enter Edward’s lifelong friend Joe Hartley, a general contractor. “We hadn’t thought of Joe, because he usually does new construction,” Sally explains. “He was at dinner at our previous home and said, ‘I heard you bought that old house. I’d love to do the reno.’ We were ecstatic.”