Lāna‘i Hideaway

An avid angler reels in a secluded sanctuary.

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Story by Sarah Ruppenthal | Photography by Joe West

lanai hideaway home
Below the home, a cedar structure does double duty, supporting solar panels that power the residence, and sheltering an outdoor entertainment area.

Bruce Johnson feels most at home out on the water, but his Lāna‘i estate comes in a close second. “It’s my dream house,” he says. “If I’m not on my boat, this is where I want to be.”

It’s easy to see why. The nearly 5,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath residence has all the trimmings: a saltwater pool, cedar sauna, plant nursery, three levels of gardens, and jaw-dropping views of Mānele Bay and Pu‘u Pehe, the iconic sea stack known as Sweetheart Rock.

luxury pool area
Form follows function beautifully in this trellised structure of yellow cedar. Built to support the home’s photovoltaic system, it also creates a covered space for al fresco dining and poolside entertaining.

Bruce, a fisherman and restaurateur, and his wife, Myong, affectionately call the sparsely populated island “Planet Lāna‘i.” With no traffic lights or twenty-four-hour grocery stores, Lāna‘i seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, where the couple has a condo. (Bruce’s two restaurants are on O‘ahu.)

When he was seventeen, Bruce moved from California to Kona, where he landed his first fishing gig. He got his captain’s license at twenty-one and quickly made his mark on Hawai‘i’s commercial fishing industry. He moved to Maui at the age of twenty-four, and not long after, started his own seafood distribution company, Fresh Island Fish, at Mā‘alaea Harbor. He eventually decided to try his hand at running a restaurant, and opened Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill (the name is a nod to the mentors he’s had over the years) at Honolulu Harbor’s Pier 38; a second location opened in Central O‘ahu in late 2018.

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