A Modern Haʻikū Home

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Story by Serene Gunnison

Photographs by Travis Rowan

Down a sequestered driveway, beyond a tangle of ginger and monstera, sits a faceless, monolith-like structure.  At least, that’s how it appears from the car park outside of the garage. But as you step around the corner and into the facade, this unique Haʻikū home begins to reveal layers of distinct character and charm.  

A white staircase reminiscent of the entryway to the Getty Center in Los Angeles carries guests to the front door. This likeness isn’t a coincidence – the homeowners took cues from the museum’s marbled entrance while designing the home. 

As the enormous front door swings open, it pivots on hinges fastened to the floor and ceiling, swiveling to reveal a sleek foyer. Inside, the museum resemblance continues. An impressive art collection hangs from the walls and, much like the Getty, expansive views abound. But rather than looking out over layers of smog and concrete, the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of the white-capped Pacific Ocean and a sloping hillside of varied greens. 

Beyond the transfixing views, the home’s interior is a curated masterpiece that blends minimalism, texture and dashes of mid-century modern flair. Meanwhile, the compartmentalized design allows each room to have a contrasting style while maintaining a cohesive flow.

The home’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. The enormous front door pivots on hinges fastened to the floor and ceiling to reveal a sleek foyer. 

The elongated main wing houses a kitchen, dining area and living space with palpably different styles. In the kitchen, textured blue tiles pop against rich brown walnut cabinetry. To the right, a minimalist dining area sits beneath a modern glass bubble chandelier. A walnut wall creates a natural break between the dining and living space, which buzzes with splashes of color from the eclectic art collection, velvety blue couch and media center lined with pottery and stacks of books. 

On the opposite end of the home, walls of variegated travertine tile from Italy line the hallway leading to the primary bedroom. A minimalist theme is evident in this wing, but despite the minimal furnishings, touches of design flair light up the space.

A single wall in the primary bathroom is blanketed in a white textured tile that resembles the rigid edges of lettuce leaves. Down the hall, the homeowners’ art studio is a far cry from the minimalist design in the bedroom, with colorful projects in various stages of completion strewn about.

From this section of the home, towering floor-to-ceiling windows present views of a manicured mass of native plants. The rectangular plot slopes downhill, bearing a resemblance to a living wall. Like the tiles throughout the home, the different plants provide a range of textures, which as precisely the homeowners’ goal when crafting the garden by hand – a “nightmare” which proved to be a backbreaking yet rewarding undertaking. 

 

Near the front door, a staircase descends to the home’s lower level. The staircase and foyer are separated by vertical wooden slats, which transform the morning light into zebra stripes on the opposite wall. At the foot of the stairs, two large windows peer into an atrium brimming with ferns, fan palms and monstera.  

A narrow hallway leads to an office, guest bedroom and ensuite, where forest green tiles liven up the polished space. At the end of the hallway, socks are peeled off as the homeowners open the backdoor to the pool area, the gray limestone-colored porcelain tiles still wet from the morning rain. In the pool house, copper mule mugs stand out against the room’s blue and white hues, and one could only imagine the pool parties and summer afternoon barbecues that this room has hosted.  

From this vantage point near the pool, the spacious 6,600-square-foot home seems etched into the hillside, working with the landscape rather than dominating it. The same is true of the homeowners. When they first purchased the property in 1999, not a single tree graced the land.  

 

Today, the property’s 18 acres are a sea of green and even host an orchard with citrus, jackfruit, lychee, mango and banana. Along the orchard, horses graze in an emerald pasture, which at one time also housed cows, but “they just went into the freezer,” said one of the homeowners, chuckling. For him, the bountiful property is the culmination of a lifelong dream. “It was a long-term plan,” he said. “When I was finally able to retire, that’s what I would do, work on the little farm.” 

Self-sufficiency and sustainability are indeed motifs at this Ha‘iku property: The home was built using the BONE Structure system, which uses infinitely recyclable steel and precise technology to eliminate unnecessary construction waste. The house is outfitted with 100 solar panels and a water catchment system to conserve runoff for irrigation use. The homeowners even grew most of the trees on the property from seeds instead of purchasing plants shipped in from the mainland.  

While talk of realizing goals and planting seeds continues, a tortoiseshell cat emerges from the hallway, rubbing against a bench bearing a stack of old Travel + Leisure magazines. It’s clear now: within this monolithic home exists a world of elegant design, of personal touch, of stories and dreams coming to fruition – a home.  


Resources 

Construction  

Boyd Construction | 22 Ohaoha Pl. Makawao | (808) 283-8722 | boydmaui.com 

Architecture  

See Architecture | Oakland, California | see-architecture.com 

Doors  

Pacific Millworks | 375 #21 W Kuiaha Rd. Ha‘iku | (808) 575-7555 | pacificmill.com 

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