Story by Marti Rosenquist | Photography by Sue Hudelson
During the drive to Wailea, I find myself guessing what kind of home restaurateur Aaron Placourakis shares with his wife, Rhonda, and their son, Manoli.
I’ve dined at Tri-Star restaurants, and they all have romantic settings. Son’z Steakhouse, at the Hyatt Regency Maui, encircles a waterfall where swans glide serenely to and fro; at Sarento’s on the Beach in Wailea, lovers snuggle in cozy booths a mere stone’s throw from the water’s edge to watch the sunset; and at Nick’s Fishmarket at the Fairmont Kea Lani, couples dine under the stars, while flaming strawberries Romanoff punctuate the darkness.
Wouldn’t the home of Tri-Star’s CEO have great ambiance, as well?
Two steps into the entryway, I understand why the Placourakises moved here from their former abode in an opulent gated community. Nearly every room in the house provides a vantage of ocean, West Maui Mountains, Kaho‘olawe and Molokini. Not so much as a telephone wire interrupts the view.
“Can you believe this property was so overgrown before we bought it that you couldn’t see this view?” Rhonda says. “I had to cut down a lot of trees.”
“And when she says cut down the trees, she cut down the trees. We got her a chainsaw for Mother’s Day,” Aaron chuckles. The diminutive blond confirms her delight with an incandescent smile.
“Gee, and all I got was a blender!” I joke.
“She already had the Vitamix,” Aaron says, gesturing toward the kitchen, “so a saw was the next logical thing.”
I turn to admire what is clearly the focal point of the home. “You must love working in here.”
Aaron nods. “The kitchen was remodeled by the previous owner, a restaurateur friend of ours. What makes it so great is that as a host or chef you have visual access to most of the entertainment areas, so it’s easier to control the tempo and timing of the event. Also, if you’re still prepping, and guests want to watch, sample and enjoy, this kitchen lets you do so and still be a part of the function.”
The kitchen is open to the living and dining rooms, whose wide windows and glass doors look out onto the home’s gardens, terraces, inviting backyard, and multiple lanai, all perfect for al fresco entertaining.