Story by Diane Haynes-Woodburn | Photography by Jason Moore | Styling by Michelle Linn
Room with a View
Custom fabrication and installation
Maui Marble and Granite
“We picked this property two days into our first visit to Maui,” says Tom Fraser, at his homesite in Kahakuloa. “We were simply overwhelmed with the dramatic coastline, huge gulches and open expanse of the area. And then we saw the waterfall.” That was the clincher.
Tom and Janis Fraser interviewed many architects, but only one was as excited about the five-acre site as they were—Clayton Nishikawa of ADC Design.
“It’s an incredible view lot,” says Nishikawa. “We walked through the tall grasses, looking at all the possibilities, and immediately wanted to take full advantage of the spectacular land contours. The Frasers’ desire for classic lines and grand vistas inspired us to design a home reminiscent of a Mediterranean villa.” The bathroom was no exception.
“There are two waterfalls cascading to the property from the top of the gulch,” Nishikawa explains. “We placed the master suite as close to the edge of the gulch as possible, capturing expansive views of the West Maui Mountains and the waterfalls.” Expansive views, indeed! The master suite takes in the dramatic panorama of the ravine in its precipitous descent, then rises to the mountains beyond. To the right, through the bathroom, huge picture windows surrounding the tub look out on a private courtyard. The indoor-outdoor relationship recalls classic Mediterranean architecture. A double-fronted fireplace built into the wall between the bedroom and bathroom adds a warm glow when the weather is chilly.
In another classic touch, a stained-glass window over the vanity is backlit with natural light streaming in from the walk-in shower. Here, too, the design takes full advantage of the terrain with windows that seem to overlook the edge of the world. To the right, the shower opens seamlessly into the courtyard, which has its own outdoor shower. “The lot’s seclusion gave us latitude to do things we normally couldn’t,” Nishikawa explains. “Here it is possible to use huge expanses of glass that bring the outdoors in, and still maintain privacy.”
The focal point, however, is the oversized soaking tub (with Jacuzzi) that appears to be hollowed from a marble surround the color of morning clouds. The effect is accomplished by setting the tub undermount, meaning that the stone is fitted flush to the tub’s inner edge. To assure there would be no break in the subtle pattern, the marble (breccia oniciata from Lombardy, Italy) was cut in one continuous piece. The same attention to detail was given to the ogee edging (a classic Romanesque detail) on the vanity tops made of the same stone. Lee Gardner of Maui Marble and Granite explains that careful matchbook layering and mitered seams produce the illusion of a carved edge; the vein in the stone actually waterfalls over the edge without interruption. Floors are two-foot travertine blocks. “A good choice when there are strong design elements,” says Patti Gardner, “because it comes in soothing neutral tones, is soft on the feet, and the honed finish (as opposed to a polished finish) makes it easy to maintain.”
Hewn from Nature
Island Design Center
Roger Gagon and Tim Bouliane of Island Design Center had their work cut out for them. How do you make a roughly five-by-ten-foot, ’70s condo bathroom, with all the grace and style the era implies, into an elegantly rustic retreat, uniquely reflective of the rugged and pristine coastline of Moloka‘i? As impossible as it sounds, this is what the owners charged their design team with accomplishing.
“The owners knew we had designed several luxury resort spas (including the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua and the Four Seasons at Wailea) and asked us to create a kind of beach/ranch/spa experience,” says Gagon. “You’d be surprised what you can accomplish with thoughtful design elements.”
To capture the romance of this oceanfront location, Gagon and Bouliane incorporated the wild elements of Papohaku Beach into the design. The walls are full-height stone of two-foot-square tumbled and brushed travertine. The tumbled onyx flooring is not only remarkably comfortable under bare feet, an inherently translucent quality suggests the shimmer of wet rock. Together, the effect is luxury hewn from the natural world. “People are often fearful of using large stones or tiles in small rooms,” Gagon says, “but don’t be—large stones give the feeling of expanse and grandeur, not limitation.”
Where the enclosed acrylic tub once stood, a large, open shower with a rain dome showerhead invites indulgence. The koa-framed panel of bamboo-patterned glass adds beauty and privacy without curtailing ambient light—an important detail, since the room has no windows. Integrating more of the natural surroundings are panels of wild grass captured in acrylic and framed in teak. Constructed on Maui, these custom-crafted panels allow the transfer of light while providing privacy.
“We often blend sleek, clean lines with rusticated elements to add warmth,” says Gagon. This was the case when the designers selected the paniolo (cowboy) console made from rough-hewn (exposed-grain) reclaimed teak—which sounds exotic, but is common in Indonesian furnishings. The ventilated linen cabinet, mirror frame and medicine cabinet are also custom built of rough-hewn teak, at a cost less than ready-made. A solid alabaster stone vessel in amber color adds just the right splash of drama. Bronze- finished hardware completes the look throughout.
Transforming this small, straightforward bathroom into an ocean-side ranch spa cost about $20,000—which included shipping materials to Moloka‘i.
The Wild Side of Elegant
Custom fabrication and installation
“We didn’t want your typical powder/bathroom,” says homeowner Joanne Owen. “We really wanted it to stand out.”
This was just the ticket for Lisa Walsh of Ahura Designs. “In a powder room you can play more,” says Walsh. “Because it is small, you can do something wild!”
Walsh began by introducing a curved, floor-to-ceiling shower panel of cut bamboo in resin. Not only a beautiful choice, this 3-Form product is earth friendly, made entirely of nontoxic material with 40 percent regrind product. The circular pattern of the natural bamboo end-cuts brought both sophistication and whimsy to the design concept, and set the mood for fun. Next, Walsh found fabulous wallpaper, embedded with reflective glass beads—but she couldn’t find anyone on Maui who felt confident enough to hang it.
As in most crises, a door closed leads to opportunity. “What about a mural?” Owen asked. Having had experience with hand-painted murals in her home in Reno, Owen thought the concept might work here. Walsh knew just the man for the job. Erich Le Baron, a fourth-generation plasterer who had studied art in Italy, just happened to be in contact with Walsh. Working with owner and designer, Le Baron created a leafy bamboo pattern to play off the cut bamboo of the resin shower wall. From a pallet of earthen greens, browns, and gold, the bamboo forest emerged. The painting was finished with an overall golden glaze, achieving the reflective quality Walsh had originally planned.
To harmonize the rich textures, Walsh chose cabinets of African ribbon mahogany and topped them with emperador dark granite from Spain. The mirror surround is detailed with a mosaic cut of the same tone, and finished with a travertine dome (rounded) edge. “Using the mosaic as accent is a great way to add texture and interest, without adding further design elements to a small room,” says Simona Conley of Exclusively Yours. Conley also praised the flooring and shower surround, made of Italian porcelain. “This material has the feel and look of travertine, but because it is man-made, it doesn’t require a sealer, making maintenance extremely carefree.
Walsh continued the rich earth tones by choosing fixtures made of oil-rubbed bronze. Bamboo-styled pulls are an especially fun touch.
Owners Joanne and Gary Owen couldn’t be happier with the result. “The combined elements give what could have been an ordinary powder room fun and character,” says Joanne.