STORY BY HEIDI POOL | PHOTOGRAPHY BY TRAVIS ROWAN
From this elevated section of Lower Honoapi‘ilani Road in Kahana, no homes are visible — only treetops, greenery and the sapphire sea. But turn makai (toward the ocean), take the meandering driveway down the hillside, and you’ll arrive at a two-story structure with a guest house and an office on top and a garage below. A set of stairs off the driveway descends to the main house, a 1,400-square-foot, oceanfront building surrounded by verdant gardens.
The home was caught in a 1960s time warp when contractor Todd Boyd and his wife, designer Sarah Schmidt, purchased the property in 2020. The original owners, a prominent windsurfing family, had lived in it for more than 50 years. The color palette was steeped in era-specific brown, which, when combined with dusky terracotta tile floors, dark-stained cabinetry, wood-plank ceilings and curly-koa paneling, made the dwelling dark and dated.
The home reminded Boyd of the classic Joseph Eichler designs that were prevalent in Southern California, where he grew up. Characterized by
post-and-beam construction and seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces, Eichler’s designs played a prominent role in the midcentury modern architectural movement.
The home’s original front door was solid and heavy, so to give the entrance more space and let in more natural light, the couple installed one of clear glass. Now, guests get a glimpse of the sweeping ocean view before they even step inside. When they do, they enter the main living space, with a seating area to the left, and the kitchen and dining area to the right. Beyond, in classic Eichler style, a foldaway glass wall opens to an outdoor living space with a dining table, barbecue and plenty of plush seating perfectly situated for admiring sunsets over Keonenui Bay.
A tall partition once divided the kitchen and dining spaces; now, a sleek, low-profile island streamlines the space. Kitchen upgrades include an induction oven and cooktop; an eye-catching geometric backsplash; and white flat-front cabinetry instead of old, dark cabinets.
Schmidt selected furniture and decor with clean lines in neutral shades of white and gray, and here and there, a pop of ocean blue. The upholstered tub chairs, round pedestal dining table and earthy tones all support the midcentury aesthetic. “I wanted the furnishings to enhance, not detract from, the home’s overall style,” she says. “I’d never designed a midcentury modern [interior] before, so I had to do a lot of studying in order to get it right.”
Schmidt also advocated to keep the curly koa paneling. “You can’t find paneling like this anymore,” she says. “It has to do with the grain. It’s called ‘bookmatched,’ where the adjoining surfaces mirror each other, giving the impression of an open book.”
So Boyd and his crew repurposed the paneling, hanging it on accent walls throughout the home, and accentuating its elegance by painting the remaining walls in a crisp white. Schmidt also sourced interior koa doors from Endangered Pieces in Kahului — a treasure trove of used building materials, furniture and home decor — to further highlight the paneling.
“Jalousies are a common feature of midcentury modern design,” Schmidt says of the windows found throughout the home. The couple replaced the decaying redwood slats with clear glass, which, Boyd adds, “allow for [superb] ventilation, and give the home that [nostalgic] ‘old Hawai‘i’ feel.”
In both bathrooms, the original 1960s azure tile remains, echoing the hue of the nearby Pacific waters. “Tiles like these are impossible to find [nowadays],” Schmidt says. (Coincidentally, when they brought in Sean Mitnick, the owner of Isle Tile, to replace the terracotta floors with new white-and-gray porcelain, Mitnick told the couple that he himself set those very tiles decades ago when he was just an apprentice!)
The choice to keep the tiles was inspired: they complement the relocated koa panels perfectly and create a frame around the
large picture windows with views of the lava-rock wall and gardens beyond. Guilian Buhl, owner of Blooming Gardens, installed colorful foliage in what was previously a singularly green landscape. Bromeliads, red ti plants, heliconia and other tropicals enliven the grounds.
“It’s not often you come across a property with so much soul,” concludes Boyd. “The original owners went out of their way to create something special, and we worked hard to achieve a balance between retaining its original charm [and ushering] it into the modern age.
Endangered Pieces, 170 Lau‘o
Loop, Kahului | 808.870.1112 |
IG @endangered.pieces |
Pacific Source, 515 E. Uahi Way, Wailuku |
808.986.0380 | pacsource.com |
IG @pacificsourcemaui | FB @pacsource
General Contractor/Interior Design
Boyd Construction, 22 Ohaoha Pl.,
Makawao | Todd Boyd, 808.283.8722 |
Sarah Schmidt, 917.279.6262 |
boydmaui.com | IG @toddboydhomes
Blooming Gardens, 4675 Hāna Hwy.,
Ha‘ikū | 808.250.1617 |
Light Switches + Outlets
Buster + Punch | busterandpunch.com/us |
Isle Tile, 203 Ini‘iniki St., Wailuku |
subscribe today to read this issue in print and receive more stories like this