Story by Sarah Ruppenthal | Photography by JBL Life Media
Bookended by its arguably more famous neighbors, Pā‘ia and Hāna on Maui’s North Shore, Ha‘ikū is tucked away from the hustle and bustle. There are no palatial resorts, large shopping malls or even any stoplights — just lush landscapes, smiling locals and cooling rain showers that leave spectacular rainbows in their wake.
Here, it’s easy to settle into the rhythm of island life. Just ask Maria and David, who made Ha‘ikū their home five years ago. They were swept away by both the town and their ocean-view residence.
Simultaneously luxurious and laid-back, the single-story, 2,700-square-foot home has a unique Balinese-inspired layout: three separate living pods linked by breezeways. The central pod is a communal space that consists of the kitchen, dining area and living room. From either side extends an enclosed breezeway. One leads to the primary bedroom, which features an en suite bath and private lānai, and the other to a two-bedroom pod and another lānai. This design offers visual and architectural interest, but it’s also functional; large sliding glass doors, windows and louvers let in plenty of natural light, and are positioned just so to capture the trades and direct them throughout the home — an electricity-free air-conditioning system.
Bright white walls and ceilings are the perfect foil for the home’s abundance of natural wood. Exposed beams line the vaulted tongue-and-groove ceilings, which soar above the airy living space. African mahogany cabinets are the highlight of the kitchen, and solid bamboo flooring runs from room to room, linking all the spaces together. Stout ‘ōhi‘a posts march around the perimeter of each lānai, supporting the roof and continuing the wood-centric motif outdoors.
When it came to designing the interior, Maria wanted to convey the feeling of calm the home gives her. Her aesthetic reflects an appreciation for the natural elements, and her use of raw materials, striking statement pieces, and furnishings in neutral, natural textures, gives the dwelling an unfussy, earthy vibe. Eye-catching antiques and artwork, hanging seashell tassels and other accents boost the personality of each room.
Though she loves every square foot of the house, Maria admits that the living/dining area is her favorite space. A thick “T” of interlocking timbers creates an intriguing focal point, and a pair of paddle fans add visual interest while enhancing air circulation. The dining table is a thick slab of natural wood illuminated by a shell-encapsulated chandelier. A trio of cozy couches makes for the ideal spot to read a book or drift into a sun-dappled nap, and oversized sliding glass doors open to a covered lānai with views of the ocean, Mauna Kahālāwai, and, on a clear day, our sister island of Moloka‘i.
Step through the sliders and onto the stone patio. From here, the lawn slopes gently toward the sea, and plush outdoor furnishings with deep cushions invite you to sit and watch the day fade away. This lānai design is repeated on a smaller scale in the main bedroom, which is outfitted with two chaise lounges with navy-blue cushions.
The floor of the primary bedroom is covered with a handwoven jute rug, and earth-toned furnishings and accent pieces give the room a tranquil vibe. The mahogany vanity in the en suite bath floats above the travertine floor, and a luxurious soaker tub is perfectly positioned beneath a large picture window with idyllic views of the garden.
With its cohesive indoor-outdoor style and use of natural materials, the main house and its two-car garage blend well with the surrounding environment. And although the home is situated on two agriculturally zoned acres, Maria and David chose to keep the landscape simple, with fruit trees and towering coconut palms that practically cry out for a hammock.
Behind the house is a detached 200- square-foot building that has served the owners as both a home office and a yoga studio. The couple replaced the previous exterior deck with more durable ipe so that in the mornings or on cool afternoons, yoga can be practiced outside.
This part of the island has the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. For Maria, that includes the gentle ocean breezes, the soothing sound of raindrops falling on leaves at night, and the breathtaking sunsets that transform the evening sky.
“I can’t believe how stunningly beautiful it is [in Ha‘ikū],” she says. “There’s nothing else like it.”