Modern Family Retreat


Story by Lara McGlashan | Photography by Travis Rowan

makena family retreat
A seating area with a sofa and midcentury modern chairs by RH offers unparalleled ocean views. Local Ha‘ikū artists Dennis and Lucretia Holtzer carved the chaise lounge from a mango tree trunk. Sturdy plexi-resin cubes by Timothy Oulton house a jumble of eternally frozen black sticks — perfect to withstand roughhousing kids (as well as unruly grown-ups).

It’s a picture-perfect day in Mākena, with a crisp, Disney-blue sky. The swirl of trade winds whisks away the heat as I drive through the gated entry to an intimate housing complex. I park and walk down a tunnel of tall Hawaiian ginger to the home’s front door; the verdant green leaves wave me in, and heavy red flowers nod hello.

Designer Tim Tattersall and the homeowner greet me in the entryway. Just inside, I see the standout architectural feature of the main floor: a 25-foot-high steel staircase around which the home was created. The gently curling center column reaches toward the domed ceiling like a flame, and wide treads splay outward — a deconstructed daisy.

“The previous owner was a big Star Trek fan,” explains Tattersall. “The staircase was inspired by the series, as well as the three niches in the upstairs atrium — the nooks you’d stand in to be ‘beamed’ to a planet’s surface.”

spiral staircase
Looking down through the central curl of the staircase seems more nautilus shell than Star Trek.

As we move into the open-plan living area, Tattersall explains the concept behind his design. “I wanted to curate a modern space for an art collector in a home that was otherwise cold,” he says.

And in this he succeeded: large propeller-like fans spin beneath a rich wooden ceiling which caps the entire front room and the patio just outside. In the direct center of the space, a 10-foot table crafted from a single live-edge slab of monkeypod waits for diners.



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