general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Established in 2006, Barker Kappelle Construction is an award winning, Kailua, Hawaii based design-build firm specializing in residential additions, remodels, new construction, and commercial contracting for every budget. We service Honolulu and all nearby areas. Phillip Barker, an experienced contractor from New Zealand, and Brett Kappelle, a skilled carpenter from California, are both Certified Green Professionals (CGPs) and graduates of Green Builder College. The integration of these skills results in a detail-oriented, efficient, and environmentally conscious team. With 40 years combined in the construction industry, Barker and Kappelle strive to provide clients, sub-contractors, and employees with the best experience possible.

As a custom home builder located on the Windward side of Oahu, we often work in Kailua, Lanikai, Maunawilli, Waimanalo, and Honolulu. Recent homes we’ve built include new constructions in Kahala, Hawaii Loa Ridge, Hawaii Kai, renovations in Manoa, Diamond Head, Kaimuki, and light commercial work in Waikiki.

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Covered Lanai's

There are two main types of covered structures: those that are attached to the main house and those unattached.

The advantage to an attached lanai is convenience and accessibility from the main living space. An attached covered lanai can become an extension of the home, accessed through sliding doors, or in some cases specialty pocket or folding doors.

Depending on the complexity of the project, you may or may not need to hire an architect and a structural engineer.

Additional features can draw people into the space, making it useful and enjoyable. Most clients include additional features like fireplaces, entertainment systems, and outdoor kitchens.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

This massive covered stone tile patio features a small bar and dining area nearer to the archways by the pool.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

This stone tile patios feature different seating areas. It also stretches the length of the building, tucked under panels.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Glass balustrades rise to meet the top of the wooden pergola. An open top fire pit provides warmth and ambiance to this light wood and wicker enclosed terrace.

Vinyl Flooring

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Vinyl flooring has become a popular choice for smart homeowners who want a beautiful, durable floor at a cost conscience price. It has its own special set of features and benefits and comes in various designs, patterns, colors, and styles. It is low maintenance and easy to care for, and is impermeable to water. In recent years it has dramatically improved its aesthetic, helping to attract buyers.
There are three different ways to buy vinyl flooring: planks which come in strips that have a hard durable top layer which is backed with flexible material to make the floor softer and more comfortable to walk on. The planks are cut into similar sizes and shape as hardwood to give it a realistic look. Tile offers more versatility in configuration. It can be installed on a diagonal, in a checkerboard pattern, or mixed and matched to suit personal style. Lastly, sheet vinyl which comes in large pieces, so there will be few seams, which is great for high moisture areas like the bathroom.
Vinyl flooring comes with a wear layer that contains a sealant which strengthens the floor and comes in three thicknesses or grades. The thicker the wear layer, the tougher the flooring will be.
-Grade One: Thickest option for high traffic areas, such as entry ways and hallways
-Grade Two: Medium durability
-Grade Three: Least durable, for rooms with minimal foot traffic, like a bedroom

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

When deciding on which type of vinyl to use, go with the one that best suits the room. Luxury vinyl tile and planks are made to look as authentic as possible, whether they copy a hardwood pattern, natural stone design or a ceramic style. It is designated as "luxury" because this flooring has natural colors, realistic prints, surface texture and can be installed with grout if preferred.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii Traffic Master Allure 6in. x 36 in. Oak Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii Life Proof 7.1 in. x 47.6 in Essential Oak Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

If you are looking for a floor that mimics real hardwood in appearance and texture then going with the hardwood vinyl flooring is the best option. Home Depot has a wide variety of styles to choose from. The planks look so real that some may make you do a double take.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Vinyl tiles replicate the qualities of authentic stone and can be installed with or without grout. They give a warm and comfortable underfoot. These can be found at Lowes, in different colors, designs and measurements.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii Stainmaster 1-Piece 12 in. x 24 in. Groutable Harbor Slate/Brown Peel and Stick Stone Luxury Vinyl Tile

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii Style Selections Chatsworth 1 Piece 12 in. x 12 in. Mosaic Peel and Stick Pattern Vinyl Tile

With the different types of vinyl to choose from, it's best to go with the type that you think would best suite your home.

Countertop Choices

With so many different countertop material options, how do you decide which is best for your home?

If you’re looking for a natural stone, granite is the best choice. It’s comprised of many different minerals that give each slab of countertop a unique and attractive appearance. Granite is ecofriendly, heat, scratch and stain resistant, and also has durability and strength to last over time with proper care. It was used in ancient Egypt to build pyramids and continues to grace today's kitchen designs.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaiiExpect granite countertop prices to range between $35-$200 per square foot.

Quartz is an engineered product and is one of the toughest countertop materials. Many enjoy this type because of its many options for color, patterns, textures, and finishes. There is no need for sealing and it is non porous and durable. It is resistant to stains, bacteria and scratches. It is low maintenance and can last a lifetime if treated properly. The downside of this stone is that it is not heat resistant and direct sunlight over an extended period of time will cause it to fade.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaiiThe cost of quartz countertops without installation fees included is about $25-$75 per square foot.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Laminate countertops are the most affordable due to the surface being made from layers of plastic that are bonded to particleboard or kraft paper to create a solid countertop surface. They come in wide ranges of colors and patterns. Because of its light weight, nature laminate can easily be installed with professional help. Higher quality laminate countertops can be tough, durable, and can even mimic the look of more expensive surfaces. Prices for this type of material range from $15-$50 per square foot.

A popular new countertop trend is using concrete. This is a custom made technique with various stamping and staining techniques. It's durable and requires the same level of maintenance as granite. May have a textured finish and can be formed on site to fit oddly sized or shaped areas. Material is susceptible to stains and heavy weight may cause cracking. You would spend $70-$140 per square foot on this type of countertop.

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Recycled glass countertops have some of the most unique appearances. They are made of glass held together with cement binder so a wide range of colors can be chosen. It comes from commercial and domestic sources. It is varied in design through different colors and sizes of glass that make no two alike. The material is durable and strong and is not prone to chipping or cracking. It’s easy to maintain and clean and also heat and stain resistant. It is also the only green building option available for counters. Price point for this type of material would be about $50-$125 per square foot.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Butcher-block countertops are ideal for those who enjoy baking and other types of food prep. They add warmth and natural coloring. It's a soft material that's easy on glassware and dishes. After years of use it can be sanded and resealed, making them look new again. The average costs per square foot of butcher block countertop can range from $40 to $60.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Marble is the quintessential classic choice for countertop material. It is made with metaphoric rock containing high concentration of calcite or dolomite. It is a luxurious surface that lends warmth and sophistication. This material varies in the size of the grains and amount of veining, stone quarried from different parts of the world have a unique appearance. Fine grained marble is more consistent in color. Here is a list of many types of marble you can choose from:

Carrara: White or Blue-Gray, from Italy, Connemara: Green, from Ireland, Creole: White or Blue & Black, from Georgia, Etowah: Pink, Salmon, rose, from Georgia ,Murphy: White, from USA, Parian: Very White, from Greece, Purbeck: Gray/Brown, from the UK ,Ruskeala: White, from Russia, Sienna: Yellow w/various color veins, from Italy, Swedish Green: Green, from Sweden, Vermont White: White, from Vermont, Wunsiedel: White, from Germany, Makrana: White, from India

There are three different finishes for marble countertops which are:

Honed or Matte- Sanded smooth with a soft feel, matte finish mutes color hiding scratches

Polished- Surface grinded and buffed to produce a rich luster that sparkles, brings out color and veining, most susceptible to showing scratches

Leather- Preferred on darker marble, textures the finish to better hide scratches and fingerprints while still offering some gleam

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Marble costs vary widely depending on the quality and aesthetic appearance. A lower end price would be $40 per square foot, a mid-range price would be close to $60/sf, and the upper end can extend well beyond $100 / sf.

Solid surface countertops made with synthetic material and sturdy acrylics are versatile and durable. They have extremely low porosity which keeps bacteria away, promoting a cleaner and more sanitary countertop. They come in over 100 different colors and patterns. They are on the upper side of the price spectrum costing $75-$125 per square foot.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Tile countertops are produced using ceramic tile, glass tile, and porcelain tile. It is the most versatile material coming in a endless variety of styles, sizes, shapes and color. It offers unlimited opportunities to create a look tailor made for your home. They are heat-resistant and also stain and scratch resistant up to a point. One big advantage is that if one tile gets damaged, you can replace the one tile without having to get a whole new countertop. The cost of tile material is relatively inexpensive and can range from $20-$75 per square foot.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Lava countertop is custom cut for each individual order, glazed with enamel at heat in excess of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The glazing used gives it a very smooth, non -porous finish that is completely water resistant. As the countertop cools, small cracks in the glazing appear, known as crazing, they give the countertop a completely unique appearance. It resists chipping and cracking, withstands heat, stains and acid from cleaners or foods. Will not fade in the UV rays of the sun. Can be finished glossy or matte look. Be prepared to spend $250-$300 per square feet on this material.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Crafted from cured epoxy synthetic material , acrylic or polyester resin countertops can be produced to any standard lengths. They have seamless finishes, have many color and style options and are cut to order from "blanks" or can be customized. They are durable, resistant to impact, staining, UV rays, scratches, heat and acids. The level of coloration found in the resin can be regulated to produce a variety of effects. They are also non-porous and do not support the growth of bacteria or fungus. The only disadvantages of this material is that it lacks consistency among products and not all are created equal, you get what you pay for. You can spend between $50-$125 per square foot.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

If you are going for a contemporary or retro look then stainless steel is the way to go. It is clean and efficient, that also complements materials such as wood cabinetry and natural stone flooring. Comes in a number of different finishes that are durable and non-porous. It is one of the most sanitary materials you can use. The average minimum cost of this material is $67.76 per square foot and the average maximum price of stainless steel countertops is $95.51 per square foot.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Manufactured from a type of clay that is heavy in a mineral known as kaolinite, porcelain countertops can be produced into slabs that are coated with pigmented glaze and fired at high temperatures to enhance its strength and beauty. There are many available colors and patterns with several finishes. One popular brand for this material is Neolith. They are 30% stronger than granite and can be installed over existing countertops that also requires no sealing. They are durable lightweight slabs that are heat resistant, easy to clean and can be recycled. You can spend between $60-$100 per square foot based on the specific material, type of edge you have beveled into it and the complexity of the job. The more corners, cutouts, and seams you have, the higher the cost per square foot is likely to be.

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With all these options to choose from it can be hard to decide which material to use when remodeling your home. Always remember to stick to your budget and to choose the material that you think would fit best with your design.

Hurricane Safe Rooms

Living in Hawaii, which is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, it is a smart idea to have a hurricane safe room installed in your home. Even though we haven't had a hurricane hit since 1992, Hurricanes regularly come close to our shores. It's always best to make sure you are prepared for the worst.

Older Hawai'i homes that were constructed using the single wall method, typically haven't endured a hurricane since their construction. Unless they have been retrofitted, they are vulnerable to structural collapse under a hurricane's high wind pressure and wind borne debris impacts. As a general rule, homes on Oahu should consider having safe rooms if they were built before the late 1980's.

The first thing to do before constructing your safe room is to check if your home is in a hurricane evacuation zone or an area prone to flooding. A safe room will not protect against the dangers of flooding. If you are not located in one of these areas, here are some things you should have in mind when designing a safe room. It should be located in the interior of the structure, as close to the center as possible and have no outside walls. It should be large enough to store emergency supplies as well as fit family members and pets.

Depending on the event you are preparing for these are space requirements to consider for residential one-and two-family dwellings: 7 square feet per person, and  40 square feet per bed ridden person

After deciding an appropriate size, now it's time to think about if you are going to install the safe room in an existing home or as a separate building. If building inside an existing home, the most convenient location is the basement.  Since we are in Hawaii and basements are not plentiful, placing a safe room on the first floor interior of a building will work, as long as it's supported by interior walls. A major benefit of building a safe room within a home or garage is that it allows those inside to get to safety without having to go outside in the weather. One safety measure that comes with building a safe room in an existing building is that it has to be weighed against the challenge of retrofitting the building. The cost according to FEMA, of a 64 square foot room of their design ranges from $6,600-$9,000. A 200 square foot room ranges from $12,000-$14,500. Keep in mind that these are national averages, and are based on modifying an already existing room. Altering the structure of your home to add a safe room will have higher costs.

Design factors to consider while constructing your safe room are;

-Walls: Sturdy and resist high velocity projectiles, resistant to positive & negative wind pressures. Should be made with concrete or reinforced with steel anchors and be windowless

-Doors: Made of solid wood or metal, door frame should be reinforced if possible

-Windows: If you do not have an interior room to use as a safe room, it is important that any windows in your room are reinforced. You can install bullet proof glass, reinforce existing with shatterproof laminate, install Plexiglas windows, but the best option is to have metal hurricane shutters.

-Power: Back-up power source like a Goal Zero Solar powered generator to provide light

-Ventilation: A ventilation system independent of outside power lines is worth considering because of the same size of safe rooms and the possibility the room could be needed for more than 24 hours. To prevent air leakage, safe room should not have lay-in ceilings, unless there are hard ceiling above.

-Sleeping Area & Storage: Because there is no way of telling if at some point you will need to stay for over 24 hours, consider additional floor area to accommodate sleeping. Also think about if you have a need for cabinets or special lockers, include these as additional needed area in design

Here are a couple smaller items you can add to your safe room: =

-Install a hard-wired phone in the room

-Place a 72-hour emergency kit for each person in safe room

If you are retrofitting an already existing room, there are pre-fabricated safe room kits that can be purchased. If you go this route, you may want to have your room inspected to make sure it meets FEMA design requirements. If you have any questions or are considering having a professionally built safe room, you can contact us anytime.

Below are some helpful links:

Click here to check if your home is in a hurricane evacuation zone or an area prone to flooding:

Follow this link to see the requirements of building a safe room in your home:

Honolulu Condo Remodeling

How come no one ever talks about the remodeling of a condo  here on the islands? All you hear about in Honolulu's home improvement industry is the remodeling of a home, or the construction of a new one. What about the fixer upper condo's that are hiding in plain sight. There are far more condos for sale in Hawaii then there are homes.

There is a lot of thought that goes into the remodeling of a condo.  It's best to keep in mind if it's for your own benefit or if you decide to sell the property in a few years.  Planning to stay for over 5 years then design for yourself. Having a goal of designing for yourself, helps you in deciding how much money you are willing to put into your project. If you decide to sell the property sooner than treat the project as if you're flipping a home. Flipping could help you save in the long run because it usually requires less money since the goal is to sell the property.

Prioritization is key when deciding to renovate your  space.  It is best to have a budget and keep track of all expenses during the process. Most times it will cost more than you think, so be sure you are financially responsible.  Before you start any renovations make sure you get a scope of your project. Having a plan will help you before any work starts to begin.  Now comes the time to hiring the professionals. Often  times people find their design and construction professionals through word of mouth. It's always a good idea to compare three quotes, so you can get quality work for a reasonable price. Make sure they each have a detailed list of what needs to be done and the types of materials you plan to use. Once you have decided on a contractor, it is now time to get all the appropriate building and city permits needed for your project. Once all these necessary steps have been taken, it is now time for construction to begin.

During the time of the remodeling there are pros and cons of staying in your home depending on the scope of work. If there is only minor changes being done, it would be a good idea to stay in your home. One of the biggest advantages of staying while work is being done is that you can monitor the contractor's progress every day. While being on site you can also  address any issues as they occur and save time and money. The downside of being in your home is all the mess that comes with the work being done. If you are having a full gut remodeling there wouldn't be a way for you stay during the renovation. You wouldn't have any working appliances and it would take longer for the contractors to get the job done. Make sure to consider these things when deciding to stay or leave during the renovation .

After the work is done there is a final walk through process, so you and your contractor can walk through the project together and discuss any issues you may have before moving in.  Create a punch list of items that are the very last list of unfinished work.  After the work on this list is completed, your contractor will expect to be paid. At the end of the job, the contractor owes you certain paper work which could include the following; Written warranty statements, operating and maintenance manuals, inspections data card, and an original certificate of occupancy. Once you have received these documents, it's now time to give the final payment.

During this time of renovations the national average cost is $36,845. Most homeowners spent between $17,170 - $60,507 on their projects. You can expect the costs in Hawaii to be higher on average.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Here is an example of a kitchen renovation that Barker Kappelle completed in 2014

February 2017 Hawaii Home Magazine Cover Story

We are excited to have another one of our projects featured in Hawaii Home & Remodeling. This Month's issue features a Kahala home we built in 2015. One of the home's highlights is its backyard. It was designed to maximize outdoor spaces for Barbecues and get-togethers with friends and family. The backyard is centered around the pool bar and the lovely tiled pool. Inside, floating cabinets highlight the bathrooms and generous amounts of mahogany add a dark accent to the light paint palette.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

BKC Awarded Best of Houzz 2017

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

This last week Houzz announced their Best Of Houzz 2017 Winners, a homeowner-to-homeowner guide to the top home builders, architects, interior designers, and other residential remodeling professionals. Houzz Inc. is the leading resource platform for home renovation and design and its annual survey and analysis from their community of over 40 million monthly users which reveals the Top-Rated Home Remodeling Professionals and Most Popular Home Designs.

According to Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz, “We are so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals... Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality."

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of recent client reviews. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge appears on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. Winners will be announced globally throughout the month.

To check out our Houzz page, click here.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

Construction in Hawaii Went Up in Quarter 2

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Construction in Hawaii for quarter two of 2016 was much stronger than quarter one. Monthly "New Privately Owned Housing Units Authorized" data from the US Census Bureau shows April through June units totaled 1,318. That's a 98.5% increase over quarter one's 664. Year over year, Q2 of 2016 was 2.5% stronger than Q2 of 2015.

This is welcome news following Hawaii's disappointing quarter one numbers. Compared to Q1 of 2015, Q1 of 2016 saw a significant drop in multi-family unit permits, and a slight drop in single family unit permits.

In total, there was a 55.5% decrease in total private residential building permits in Q1 of 2016 compared to Q1 of 2015, but single family units only decreased 8.9% - 50 less units in total. In real numbers, there were 1,410 permits taken out in Q1 of 2015 versus 627 in Q1 of this year*.

So what's changed? In short, the number of multi-family unit building permits. Total multi-family unit permits for 2015 numbered 2,868 - the most since 3,070 in 2004, and the fourth most since 1982, with the high water mark of 4,803 set in 1991. Quarter one of 2015 saw 846 of these multi-family unit permits compared to only 113 in quarter one pf 2016. This difference accounts for the majority of the decrease in total numbers.

Building Permits for Private Residential Single Family Units in quarter one of 2016 accounted for 514 of the total 627 permits. That's 82% of the total private residential building permits for the quarter. Compare that to 564 in first quarter 2015. Those 564 single family unit building permits accounted for only 40% of the 1,410 total private residential permits.

Looking through quarterly statistics dating back to 1982, the only thing consistent about multi-family unit permits is that their numbers vary widely from quarter to quarter. It's not uncommon for one quarter to account for nearly 50% of a yearly multi-unit permit total. A contributing factor to this volatility is the consolidation of many units together in large condos and apartments which are permitted together. For example, only 21 structures accounted for 806 of Q1 2015's permitted units. With such a small number of projects accounting for a large portion of total quarterly permits, it's important to note that year over year totals are a better indicator of trends, because of the volatility caused by small sample sizes.

So what does it mean? First of all, 2015 was a very strong year for construction in Hawaii. Total Private Residential Building Permits numbered 5,248. While not a record setting year - the high in recent memory was 9,706 in 2005 and further back 1989 saw a peak of 9,795 - the 2015 total soars above the 3,085 average number of permits taken out per year between 2009 and 2014.

Hawaii is ranked 40th in the US in population, with around 70% of the population living on Oahu. Because Oahu is only 597 square miles it severely limits new home construction. Because of all that, as a state we have a small sample size and looking at the US data as whole is necessary to see overall construction trends. For the US as a whole, Q1 2015 to Q1 2016 saw an increase of 6.15% in new privately owned housing units, while Q2 2015 to Q2 2016 saw an 8.77% decrease.

A major factor in new construction is consumer confidence. Between December 29 and February 11, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a staggering 11.63% of its value amidst concerns over the health of China's economy and the negative effects of low global oil prices on the jobs of workers in the US energy sector, while the S&P 500 lost 11.99% of its value. Consumer confidence and new construction have a strong connection, and economic uncertainty directly impacts new housing starts. Since February, new construction permits in Hawaii have been on an upward trend as quarter two results show. However, June 21 saw the Brexit vote which was a shock to the economic system. Quarter two results, which take data from April, May, and June, won't truly show the effects Brexit may be having. Despite Brexit, since February 11, the DJIA is up 18.4% and the S&P 500 is up 19.34% - reaching an all time high.

What we are waiting for in Q3 is to see is if the Brexit vote was another shock to this upward progress, or just a hiccup.

All statistics come from Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, and the US Census Bureau.
* There is a discrepancy in numbers between the US Census Bureau dataset and Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism's data.

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit in Hawaii

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Building an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in Honolulu County, Hawaii can have several benefits, both to homeowners and the community. If you're a homeowner with a lot over 5,000 square feet and your property meets the minimum requirements of Honolulu City Council Bill 20, you can build a separate living unit, either attached to your home or detached, up to 800 square feet. If your lot is between 3,500 to 4,999, the ADU can be up to 400 square feet, while a lot less than 3,500 is not eligible for an ADU. The ordinance also states that as an alternative to building an entirely new structure, it is possible to partition an already standing structure into both a primary and accessory dwelling.

This ordinance passed in 2015 with the intention of adding additional affordable rental units to Oahu, while maintaining the character of neighborhoods. In theory, if hundreds or even thousands of ADUs are built, the increased supply of rental units should help alleviate some of the housing shortage and reduce upward pressure on rental prices. This proposed solution to the short supply of housing was chosen to try to avoid leveling neighborhoods to make way for condos and apartment units, while also creating additional income sources for homeowners.

The ADU ordinance also helps address a gray-area rental market that rose up in the years following the 1990 “Housing-Ohana dwellings” Ordinance of Honolulu. This previous bill stated that "one ohana dwelling unit may be located on a lot zoned for residential, country, or agricultural use, with the following limitations:... The ohana dwelling unit shall be occupied by persons who are related by blood, marriage or adoption to the family residing in the first dwelling. Notwithstanding this provision, ohana dwelling units for which a building permit was obtained before September 10, 1992 are not subject to this restriction and their occupancy by persons other than family members is permitted." The ADU ordinance allows for this second dwelling unit to be rented to non-related parties. However, language in Bill 20 emphasizes that the primary unit on the lot should be occupied by the property owner, owner's family, or a designated authorized representative, which the bill clarifies "For purposes of this section, 'designated authorized representative(s)' means the person or persons designated by the property owner or owners to the department of planning and permitting, who are responsible for managing the property." In addition, the bill states that if either primary dwelling or the accessory dwelling is rented out, they must be for long term rentals (At least a 6 month long initial lease which can be followed by month-to-month for an existing tenant) and not bed & breakfast or transient vacation rentals.

In order to apply for an ADU, "the applicant shall first obtain written confirmation from the responsible agencies that wastewater treatment and disposal, water supply, and access roadways are adequate to accommodate the accessory dwelling unit."

Bill 20 goes further to detail the path for previously built structures to become ADUs:

"An existing, legally established, accessory structure constructed prior to the effective date of this ordinance in the country or residential district may be converted to an accessory dwelling unit and allowed to exceed the maximum floor area established by Section 21-5. and/or be exempted from the off-street parking requirement established by Section 21- 5. (c)(4) and contained in Table 21-6.1 subject to the following conditions: Provided the director finds that viable constraints do not allow the reduction of the floor area of the existing accessory structure. Provided that the director finds that no feasible alternative off-street parking site exists due to the placement of structures on, and/or the topography of, the zoning lot.”

The most important limitations of the bill are that homeowners must have a lot at least 3,500 square feet large, not in a planned community, or part of an association, and the separate living area must include a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, have a parking space, and appropriate water and wastewater access.

Eight Hundred square feet is enough to build a comfortable two bedroom rental and even if construction of the ADU is financed, income generated at current rental rates would provide a good passive income source to contribute to the mortgage on the primary dwelling or to help retirees pay for living costs.

While not for everyone, ADUs are a viable option not just for existing homes, but for brand new constructions as well.

Remodeling with Natural Stone

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

If you're remodeling a kitchen, bathroom, replacing the flooring in your home, or building a new house, natural stone is a beautiful material choice. Part of the charm is the subtle variation in color and patterns from stone to stone. Unlike something artificial made in a factory, no one has 100% control over stone taken from a quarry. This idea that the stone in your house can be completely unique from everyone else's is extremely appealing. It makes your home one of a kind - no one can copy it even if they try.

general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii

Two Examples of Travertine Tile. Huge variation can exist between stone taken from the same quarry.

At the same time, this variability creates uncertainty in the building process. The most common approach to picking stone is to view samples in a show room. This is super convenient compared with traveling to another part of the country, or even the other side of the world to see the newest blocks of stone in person. However, picking samples in a show room creates a couple hidden issues. First, how long has that sample been there? At a quarry, every chunk of stone taken out is gone forever and there can be huge variation in color and pattern from one section of the quarry to the next. The older the samples, the greater the chance of you receiving stone that doesn't match up the same. Another related issue is that stone suppliers are often wholesalers. This allows them to offer a wide variety of colors and choices, but it means they may not have significant supplies of that stone to meet your square footage needs. In this case, once a stone is selected the wholesaler will ask for the pictures and/or samples of the latest slabs coming out of the quarry. These new samples are then reviewed to make sure the order will match the desired appearance of the selection and then the order is placed with the quarry and the stone is reserved. On higher end purchases, traveling to view the stone in person to make selections can remove part of the uncertainty. If you're planning on using thousands of square feet of stone, that extra travel expense can make sense. A couple thousand dollars in travel expenses can save you the headache of ordering 5 or 6 figures worth of stone only to find out the quarry no longer has stone that's a good match for old samples.

In this equation, distance equals time. Due to the nature of this process, the farther away the material is from you the longer the timeline becomes. Cutting, packing, and shipping stone across the ocean can take up to three months. If the stone is available close by, that speeds up the process immensely. It doesn't always happen, but from time to time samples get out dated and what is actually available from the quarry can look significantly different. While your deposit should be recoverable in this situation because this second sample needs to be approved before the stone is purchased and reserved, you have lost time which can push back the finish date of your project. If you can find an alternative stone available locally you might be able to make up for lost time, but continuing down the path of an international stone purchase will add additional time. The process can be the same with locally available stone - you review samples at a showroom, then updated images or samples from the actual slabs you will be ordering are made available for your approval before the order is placed and money is fully committed. The one big advantage here is the time it takes for each step is significantly less. You could review, reject, ask for new samples, and repeat several times with local stone in less time than it might take for an international stone to go through one cycle.

Despite these challenges, natural stone is a long lasting, beautiful material for all parts of the home.


general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii
general contractor & custom home builder in kailua hawaii