Small Wonder: Smart Designer Home

An environmental entrepreneur goes upscale while downsizing.


Then there’s the Thing in the garage.

Blue Planet Energy’s Blue Ion 2.0 battery system powers the home.

One afternoon, while the home was still under construction, David and Graham were driving along Hāna Highway when a bright yellow Volkswagen Thing zipped past them. “I said, ‘Now there’s the perfect car for an electric conversion,’” David recalls. Graham was instantly intrigued—even more so when he learned that David could do the conversion himself. David logged on to Craigslist that evening and serendipitously found a 1973 Thing for sale on Maui. He forwarded the listing to Graham, who bought the car a few days later. Today, the home’s battery system charges the fully electric Thing, which also has its own backup energy storage.

Graham hopes his Ha‘ikū  home will not only serve as a model for off-grid living, but also demonstrate the upside of downsizing and having fewer material possessions. After all, he says, “The best stuff in life isn’t stuff at all.”

Watch a multitasking New York apartment transform before your eyes in this video!

Resource Guide

Acer Water Tanks
Available through:
Eco Products Maui 808-878-6762

Maui Water Tanks 808-870-3041

Andersen Windows & Doors
800-426-4261 •
Maui distributors: Home Depot, Maui Windows & Doors, Pacific Source

Ann Sacks (tile)
8120 NE 33rd Dr., Portland, OR 97211
800-278-8453 •

Bento Box (kitchen lattice system)
441 Cooke Street, Honolulu
808-367-1701 •

Blue Planet Energy (home-energy system)
55 Merchant Street, Honolulu
866-957-2246 •

Hawaii Off-Grid (architecture, engineering, solar energy system installation)
Pauwela Cannery, 375 West Kuiaha Road, Haʻikū | 808-495-8639 |

Kohler (bathroom fixtures)
800-456-4537 •
Maui distributors: Ferguson Bath & Kitchen, Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Premier Bath & Kitchen

LifeEdited (home design)
206-734-4867 | |

The Modern Fan Company
888-588-3267 •
Oahu distributors: The Fan Shop, Lighting Concepts, Lighting Elegance

Plumen (lighting)
105 Sumner St., London, SE1 9HZ, England •
Online orders can be shipped to Hawai‘i.

Resource Furniture (transforming furniture) |

Rich Brilliant Willing (lighting)
50 Greene Street, New York, NY
212-388-1621 •
Online orders can be shipped to Hawaiʻi.

Sunflare (solar panels)
1693 Yeager Avenue, La Verne, CA
Available through Hawaii Off-Grid
(See previous listing.)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

41 − 39 =