Story by Marti Bloomquist | Photos by Living Maui Photography
Four hurricanes are swirling around the Hawaiian Islands, sucking up the trade winds and driving the temperature sensor on my car to ninety-one degrees, making Maui’s usual balmy weather feel more like an equatorial jungle. I am already wilted as I make my way along the northwest side of the island. I’m headed to Kapalua’s Plantation Estates, set amid the emerald fairways of the famed Plantation Golf Course, in sight of Honolua Bay, a winter surf haven and marine sanctuary.
At the Plantation Estates turnoff I am tempted to go makai (seaward) and jump into the ocean for relief. But I’m scheduled to tour one of Maui’s most luxurious properties and am dressed for business. I head up the hill, wagering on a surge of frosty air to greet me at the estate.
As I turn into the drive, the security gates swing wide. Who’s watching me? I can’t see the house from the gate. It isn’t until I pass the coach house, with its three-car garage, that I spot the expansive structure in the distance.
I park my rolling icebox under the porte cochere. My hostess, Victoria, appears, looking cool as a tall gin fizz, barefooted and casually outfitted, her petite frame dwarfed by the oversized front doors behind her.
“Did you see me coming?” I ask.
“My husband was the founder and CEO of a security company,” she laughs, “So, yes. Your every move is on this iPad.”
She welcomes me into the reception hall and I gasp at the view. The living room’s sliding glass walls are flung open to the elements, revealing lush green lawns descending to the rolling surf. The vista extends from Hawea Point to Makaluapuna Point, and beyond that, to the islands of Lana‘i and Moloka‘i. A sailboat glides by, seemingly so near that I am tempted to call out to the captain.
“It’s almost feels as if you are on the water,” I comment.
“Doesn’t it? But we are 150 feet above sea level, out of the tsunami zone. It was a challenge to find a property close to the sea, but not too close, with unobstructed views of the neighbor islands and Pailolo Channel. We wanted the indoor-outdoor feel of a true tropical lifestyle,” my hostess explains as I remain transfixed with the scene.
“It’s hotter than blazes today. How do you keep things cool with all these doors wide open?” I ask.
“We are at the very top point of the island and get winds off the ocean and breezes from the West Maui Mountains. We rarely have to run the air conditioning,” she tells me.
“This property was an ugly duckling when we acquired it, with telephone poles and wires, and overgrown, unruly ironwood trees that blocked this great view. It took two-and-a-half years to have the trees hacked and utilities relocated underground. During that excavation we discovered decades of debris hidden in the dirt, including appliances, building materials . . . and half of an old Jeep! Improving the site was a labor of love, but it was so worth it. The only sounds we hear up here are the wind, the surf, and the song of the whales. In the early-morning hours of whale season we can hear them talking to one another. It amazes us every time.
“We put so much thought into this house, the way it would live, function and provide security for our family,” Victoria tells me. “My husband, Tony, considered everything about the site. He took into account the movement of the sun across the horizon. The house is situated to take advantage of the fact that, from one solstice to the next, the sun migrates from the edge of Lana‘i to the edge of Moloka‘i. As a result, we watch the sun drop into the ocean unobstructed any time of year.”
The floor plan was created with similar forethought. With three growing sons, the couple had the home designed to provide areas for separation and privacy, and inviting gathering spaces for the entire family. The commercial-grade kitchen, dining and family rooms, and a home theater are clustered at one end of the house, with a second media room upstairs, zoned for gaming. The builders installed soundproofing in the walls and floors throughout the home. That way, a little roughhousing and cheering in the media room won’t infringe on those relaxing in the great room below.
Despite its size (more than 8,000 square feet of living space), the home doesn’t feel imposing; generous use of natural materials like stone, wood and Kapalua blue rock creates a warm and inviting ambiance. The staircase alone features four different hardwoods wrapped around steel supports, creating a structure that is at once functional and beautiful. But the piece de resistance is the munificent use of koa in kitchen cabinets, wall paneling, and built-in shelves in the master bedroom —all from a single log.
“We sourced materials from all over,” says Victoria. “Our interior architect located a huge koa log in Virginia that had been sitting there for some time. We assumed, since koa was lesser known in that part of the world, that no one appreciated its value. So we shipped it to O‘ahu, where Bello’s Millwork did their magic in transforming it.”
She leads me into the “boys’ wing,” where she’s unperturbed at finding an unmade bed or two, and demonstrates with her iPad that the paintings on the wall are actually disguised TV screens. (I half-expect a wall to shift and reveal the Bat Cave.) Small wonder that the older boys (one is now in college and the other works in London) love coming home to Maui for holidays.
“What’s your favorite thing to do as a family when the gang’s all here?” I ask the soccer mom who still carpools, Mondays through Fridays, in a fifteen-year-old Volvo with an overworked odometer.
“The boys enjoy all the water sports and golf, but I like it best when we sit on the lanai, gazing at the view with a glass of wine, talking about our day, and being together.”
Who wouldn’t drink to that?
Arrow Glass & Mirrors
(shower doors, tabletops, corner windows, mirrors)
792 Alua Street, Bay 5, Wailuku
401 N. Cane Street, #B-3
808-621-7282 | BellosMillwork.com
eDesign Group, Inc.
(home automation, AV, security)
375 Huku Li‘i Place, Suite 108, Kihei
808-495-4344 | EDesignHawaii.com
332 E. Wakea Avenue, Kahului
808-877-6305 | HamaiAppliance.com
Hughes Design Associates
(interior architecture & finishes)
7160 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL
941-922-4767 | HughesDesign.com
Island Plant Company, LLC
P.O. Box 880360, Pukalani
808-572-5094 | IslandPlant.com
Island Window Covering
300 Ohukai Road, B308, Kihei
808-874-8602 | IslandWindowCovering.com
Kahe Construction LLC
P.O. Box 10277, Lahaina
808-661-KAHE (5243) | KaheConstruction.com
K-Deck Canvas Corp.
(retractable awnings & screens)
1942 E. Vineyard Street, Wailuku
808-242-2889 | KDeckCanvas.com
Maui Custom Woodworks
(cabinets, hardwood panels)
251 Lalo Street, Kahului
808-877-0239 | MauiCustomWoodworks.com
West Maui Electric LLC
48 Aholo Road, Lahaina
808-757-0396 | WestMauiElectric@gmail.com