Our House

Where do you live?

We live in a community about 30 minutes outside of Honolulu, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.  

The house on the park

What's your house like?

4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2,100 square feet under roof with a detached garage on a 7,000 square foot lot.  We've got 3 bedrooms upstairs, 1 bedroom downstairs with a full bath, dining room, family room and kitchen.  We have a peak-a-boo ocean view from our second story lanai, and right now are a 5 minute drive to the nearest beach.  There is a lagoon being "built" about a 2 minute walk away from us and we are surrounded by a golf course.  We have a nicely sized, square porch at the front of our home that catches the morning sun and is cool and breezy in the afternoons.  Our house is located along a park and walking path, which I am thankful for everyday -- Open, green space is a premium in Hawaii and a blessing in the suburbs.

Aaah, suburbia, where the Cookie Cutter home rules.  I know... how can I be a design junkie and choose a cookie cutter home, right?  Well... the answer is mostly due to getting value for the money.  I wanted to live in Honolulu proper.  I really did.  But if you've been to Hawaii and have left Waikiki, you know that most homes in an "affordable" range -- and I use that term loosely as most of the country would beg to differ with me -- are typically 40 years old, single-wall construction and just waiting for The Property Brothers to leave their wintery, HGTV-infused, Canadian bliss and jet on over ASAP for some R&R {Renovation & Restoration, ha!}.  The short of it is that most homes in Honolulu are small, fixer-uppers at a high price due to location.  If you are looking for new and spacious, energy-efficient with all the bells and whistles and value to boot, then you, dear reader, would love suburban living, too.  Hooray for new construction!

So did you get to choose your finishes for the house?

Yes, which was so much fun!  The entire construction period lasted 9 months, and we had about 6 months before having to commit to finishes with the builder.  I knew I wanted something warm and light that would work in a beach house, and I was drawn to white bead board cabinets in the kitchen with dark countertops.  I considered granite for about a millisecond and then came to my senses and chose a Corian that had a look of honed, black granite.  I'm one of the few people in this world that isn't drawn to the shiny stone and the look I was going for was more understated and I had to work within the limitations of the builder's design studio offerings.  I'm happy with the Corian I chose.  While the design studio offered quartz and silestone, I still like the muted tones in our counter and the sensibility of it.  

Kitchen Material Samples
We chose hardwood floors for the downstairs in a hand-scraped look and it really adds the warmth we wanted, not to mention being able to stand up to the torture my 8-year old flings at it. We installed wenge wood plantation shutters throughout the house.  I don't mind the 'Builder White' walls so much with the dark wood floors and shutters.  I actually love the contrast and is a perfect background to the 'fun' stuff.

The finished kitchen

What was your design style?

The {former} dining room, now set up for curling up with a good book

I don't really know what my design preference would be called.  I like beach and coastal interiors but with a little bit of fun thrown in.  I wanted a 'Relax-and-Put-Your-Feet-Up' feel to the house -- no stuffiness; How you'd feel after coming home from the beach and just wanting a cold drink and a book on a weekend... It's not your typical Hawaii aesthetic -- that look lends itself to a more tropical vibe, which I am not trying to do.  Instead I wanted something that felt personal and warm, simple and organized, and a little vintage.  I wanted something you could immediately feel comfortable in and enjoy.  It's not your grandma's beach house... Grandma didn't have ikat curtains or chairs.  

The Family Room off the Kitchen

You have white couches {& Boys}! 

I do!  I have a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams couch that is slipcovered in white denim in the sitting room, and a white canvas covered sectional in the family room.  Nothing a little bleach and oxyclean can't take care of.  & we do not iron in this house.  A little bit 'o wrinkles here and there from the dryer is not a problem.  Everything feels cozy straight from the dryer!  

What's a wrinkle here and there?

Talk to me about the furniture and decorative pieces you choose.

It seems we have two distinct furniture types and periods that dominate the house.  In the family room, you'll find Chinese antiques.  We used live in Asia and the antique market is huge there.  The coffee table, side table and two wooden doors are all Chinese and are early 20th century.  No museum pieces here.  You'll find scratches galore in all the pieces if you took a good look and we like it this way.  Nothing overly precious, nothing the boys can't sink their teeth into.  

We have a number of pieces that are mid-century modern -- like the coffee table, buffet and rattan chairs in our sitting room.  For me they're playful when paired with the surfer vibe and recall the days of Gidget.  The fun thing about it all is that they all work together and offer their own character.  

The dresser we have in our hallway is a 1960's piece we bought from a woman who had used it all her life, from when she was a little girl.  I love knowing that the pieces I have were loved by someone.  Of course I had to refinish it to add my personal stamp... this one has a chalkboard top.  When it's not being photographed for the blog (ha!), it is busy double-dutying as a changing table for our baby boy and holds all his baby paraphernalia (diapers, clothes, blankets, burp cloths, you name it) in an orderly fashion.  

Vintage Goodness!
So you refinish furniture?

I am picky and want a certain look but am too cheap {and smart enough} to shell out the dough for it.  So by default, I've become a furniture refinisher.  Some -- like the hubby -- say it's due to too much HGTV.  But I say it's been a way for me to have some creative, me time.  I'm a saner and happier mommy and wife for the alone time I get with my paint gun.  

Where do you shop?

I'm a Craigslist addict when it comes to occasional furniture.  I love a good bargain and am always on the hunt for older pieces with a story to tell.  & I love a good garage sale in an old neighborhood... Aside from vintage, I like Thomas Paul throw pillows in the 22" size, Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rugs, lighting from Jamie Young and Roost, fabric from Premier Prints and Duralee, and anything white I can get my hands on.  

For the home, I like the flash sales on One King's Lane.com and Gilt.com.  I find a ton of great hardware on sale at Anthropologie -- their sale prices beat Lowe's and Home Depot any day.  I like the curtains at West Elm.  But in Honolulu, I am hands down a fan of SoHa and Pacific Home, when I'm not rummaging my way through Ross' home department.  I would love to have a shop of my own and incorporate all my favorites together in one spot.  Someday!

Any projects in the works?  Anything else you plan to do at the house you have on the park?

Hard at work in the backyard.

There is always a project in the queue!  There is no rest for the weary and the work never stops here.  I started doing projects to furnish the house and now it's sort of become a hobby. 

As for the house on the park, the list of projects in my mind are endless so keep checking back on the blog for updates.  Thanks for stopping by!