How to Create the Home of Your Dreams


MNKO: So what’s wrong with just saying, “We want a bedroom over here, and a den over there,” and not telling the architect that this is actually where he’s gonna sleep? I’ll just put a bed in there, instead of a couch.

Frank: That won’t work. Bedrooms should have immediate access to closets and  bathrooms. You can’t just say “We’ll put the master bedroom here, with a plushed-out master bathroom, but he’s sleeping down the hall,” maybe with a powder room. No, no, no. The architect doesn’t have to be a marriage counselor, but you have to tell us.

This is not a value judgment of how people live. It’s an idea of the customness that has to occur if the structure is going to be successful.

Peter: I want to go back to the initial meeting with the client, figuring out how they interact, what their lifestyle is. I’ll go to their existing house, if that’s possible, walk through it with them, and talk about the pros and the cons: Do you like your closet? Do you like having a tub? Do you like having to go upstairs to your bedrooms?

I have them do their homework about each of the houses they’ve lived in, all the way back to their childhood home, and pull out their favorite rooms or experiences: how the sun comes up in the morning, where they eat breakfast or drink coffee, and explain it to me, so we can get them their custom home.

Frank: And I do almost the opposite. I believe that if you tell me what you don’t like, I can learn more than if you tell me what you do like. Sometimes you like things by accident, whereas, if it doesn’t work, there’s a reason. You know why it doesn’t work. “My kitchen’s on the northwest side of the house, and we’re in Kula, so when I get up in the morning, I’ve got to put on warm clothes. I don’t want that anymore; I want my kitchen to face the rising sun.”

They’re clear on that — it’s been bugging them for years — as opposed to, “Yeah, it has a great view; it’s okay.” Well, no. At $300 a square foot, nothing should be just “okay.”

Peter: The biggest issue is expectations. You’re not going to be happy if you have unmet expectations, and the only way to avoid that is to have clear communication and trust.



  1. Good morning, Rita
    I sent an email to Lehia Apana as well, but wanted to post here that I think you did an excellent job with this article, and the information you provided is professionally helpful for me as well.


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