Hawaiian Renovation

Honolulu Home Renovated with Old-World Charm

by Judith Bacon, account coordinator, Becker Communications, Inc.

From Architectural West Jan/Feb ’04


For this classic Hawaiian home renovation, a Hart Wood design original – one of Hawaii’s leading 20th century architects – the homeowners charged Honolulu-based award-winning architect Philip “Pip” K. White with the task of refining the graceful 1920’s design of their Oahu home.  Situated adjacent to tranquil Nuuanu Stream, the primary objectives of the project were to expand the home’s kitchen and attic spaces, which the homeowners thought to be unappealing, inaccessible and underutilized.  With a growing family and frequent guests, the homeowners desired a space that would offer convenience and style while maximizing the full potential of each area.

In an effort to revitalize the 7,800-square-foot space, and maintain the home’s original integrity and old-style charm, Pip worked closely with the homeowners and design team to carefully consider appropriate forms and proportion, appropriate finishes and interior transitions, and sensitive integration of structural elements into the design.  Constructed before building codes and current load path technology, the four-story home – including the attic and basement – presented numerous structural challenges.  As such, the design team provided solutions that recombined rooms and created new spaces for the home.

All modifications made match the context of the original design, utilizing the old-style design techniques of bringing the outside in, familiar to many kama’aina.  A previously confining kitchen was transformed into an open space where family members and visitors can interact freely.  The roofline, siding and stucco of the space were blended seamlessly with the previous exiting structural elements, while the furniture, wood paneling, window treatments and flooring of the kitchen addition reflect the variety of material and detailing of the other rooms on the main floor.

The large, underutilized attic was made accessible through a new staircase, leading to a large home office, sitting area, and playroom.  Detailed with similar finishes found throughout the second floor, the new space matches the contemporary feel of the bright, open area. 

Consistent with the wishes of the busy homeowners, the result is a revitalized space with an added value of convenience and the continuity of design style and character, which will last the lifetime of the home.

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