H2Oh!

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Story by Heather Nicholson & Rita Goldman | Photos by Nina Lee & Cecilia Fernandez-Romero

water-artIt covers three-quarters of the planet,
surrounds these islands,
and is, by more than half, the stuff we’re made of.
The sight, scent and sound of water
feed the human spirit,
and make this fluid element
a serene addition to any home . . .
whether your preference is
a work of nature, or a sophisticated work of art.

Artful Design

Along Maui’s southern coast, a Makena couple have created the home of their dreams—one that gives the impression of floating entirely on water.

water-art-in-homeDesigned by Kober/Hanssen/Mitchell Architects of Honolulu, the house features manmade streams and fountains that flow continuously indoors and out, filling the home with the soothing sound of water.

Such tranquility requires commitment, says the lady of the house. “Maintenance is definitely necessary. Our pool-service company cleans the water features twice a week. And we discourage people from dipping their hands or feet, to avoid getting oil in the water features.”

home-fountainLocation is also important. “Don’t place water features where you’ll have falling foliage,” she advises, “or where rain runoff can spill into the pools.”

Do place them where they’ll give you great pleasure. One enticing fountain is located just outside the living room, its three female faces, replicas of historic Balinese sculptures, a perfect complement to the courtyard’s Asian-inspired landscaping. Dubbed “The Girls,” the fountain has an added significance.

“We have three daughters, and the fountain is three feminine faces. Every time we look at it, it reminds us of our three girls.”

Just beyond the bedroom lanai, a single stair leads to the pond.

lanai-stairNatural Wonder

A generous site gave the owners of this Makawao property ample space to create an oasis that looks for all the world as though Nature placed it there herself.

Behind the main house, a meandering stream leads to a waterfall and a pond whose banks are lined with tall ferns and wisps of water grass.

Lily pads dot the surface of the pond, a shady refuge for colorful koi that swim lazily by. For the lady of the house, it’s an idyllic place to relax, and has inspired her hobby of aquaculture.

For all its natural appearance, this watery haven was carefully crafted more than a dozen years ago. A pump and floating filter circulate and clean the 4,000-gallon pond each day, while the waterfall helps aeration.

koiMaintenance is mostly a matter of feeding the fish, cleaning a small filter twice a week, and cutting back the hardy foliage every two months.

“A friend who had a nursery did the work,” our hostess says. “In those days, kits weren’t readily available.”

The cost—about $10,000—covered labor and backhoe rental, plumbing, a pump and timers, rockwork, cement, pea gravel for the walkway, and a $2,000 rubber liner for the pond.

“But ours is a very large water feature,” she says. “I know people who’ve done it themselves on a smaller scale. We took a class in aquaculture at Maui Community College,  which also offers landscape design. And these days, you can buy kits at the store. It’s very doable.”

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