BARKER KAPPELLE CONSTRUCTION

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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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A 1950s Kahala Home is Transformed Into a Dreamy Resort-like Refuge

By: Jade Snow, Hawaii Home + Remodeling Magazine

Barker Kappelle Construction reimagines a modest 1950s Kahala home.

Twelve years after purchasing their charming Kahala home, John and Yoko White realized their modern vision with the help of Barker Kappelle Construction. Though the couple initially purchased the home in 2006, professional obligations rooted them on the Mainland for the next nine years. Seeing the beloved neighborhood community as the property’s greatest asset, the couple was ready to transform the modest 1950s home into a restful resort-themed sanctuary upon their move back to Hawaii in 2017.

Barker Kappelle Construction reframed and restructured this single-story Kahala home, giving it double-wall construction with better insulation.

The Whites enlisted the help of local design-build firm Barker Kappelle Construction to reimagine the property’s livable space, with the help of architect Paul Sheffield. The result was a collaborative effort, with the full renovation completed in less than 10 months.

Elegant entryway details add to the home’s resort feel, including exposed aggregate, lava rock and a rain chain.

The single-story home was reframed and restructured, with a new roof and windows to maximize natural light; the single-walled framework was transformed to include double walls and thicker drywall for better insulation and sound properties. Inside, the cottage-style design features timeless board and batten siding, giving the home a plantation feel. Lofted ceilings add height to common living areas and open up spaces such as the living room, bedrooms and kitchen.

Stacking doors at the front and back entries allow for natural air flow throughout the home.

Originally separated by a double door, the kitchen wall was removed to open up the kitchen and create a seamless, expansive common area composed of the kitchen, living room and dining room. A hidden office beside the dining table remains unseen as desired thanks to a faux wall of stacking doors. The far side of the new laundry room was once an exterior storage room, which has been transformed, giving way to an added mud room with exceptional storage as well as a laundry room and third bathroom.

The kitchen is now part of an open-concept floor plan, seamlessly connected to the expansive living and dining rooms.

To maximize the space for John and Yoko, a third bedroom was removed to allow for two spacious bedrooms, bathrooms and a small walk-in closet. The extended master bath offers both a large shower and deep bathtub with clean tiles in soothing grays to wash off the day.

The master bath has a large shower and deep bathtub set against soothing gray tile.

Heat was a primary concern for John, who noted Barker Kappelle’s thoughtful attention to detail when it came to cooling down the home. Stacking doors were added for the front and back entries to allow for natural wind flow, as the couple prefers to keep the doors open. Though the home includes central air conditioning, whole house fans were installed throughout the home in the newly lofted ceilings to simultaneously eliminate heat. “It keeps the temperature balanced, drawing the hot air out of the house so it ultimately feels as if you are standing in the shade outside,” Phillip Barker explains.

The far side of the new laundry room was once an exterior storage room. Now the homeowners have plenty of storage inside.

Now distinguished by a roadside wall, the home is unrecognizable from the street. Barker Kappelle transformed the outdated 1950s style peach aesthetic into a luxurious modern resort-style sanctuary. “The idea was to create a lot of space in a small area and have more room for a yard, so we transformed the front entry to maximize every inch of livable space,” Barker shares.

The couple can relax and unwind poolside, just steps away from the interior of their renovated home.

Elegant entryway details add to the resort feel, including exposed aggregate, lava rock and a rain chain. The L-shaped driveway adjacent to the garage was removed in favor of a pool lined with heat-resistant ceramic tiles that remain cool despite direct sunlight, and accented with decorative Mexican-inspired tiling. Tiki torches and tropical plants were added along the inside of the wall to create a natural canopy for added privacy and shade. “We wanted to create more of a jungle feel in the garden area to make the yard bigger and open everything up,” Barker explains. His firm collaborated with HHF Planners for the landscaping, which was meticulously installed by Akamine Lawn & Landscape, and wraps around the property with tropical plants including rare and colorful varieties of ti leaf, hibiscus, taro, native Hawaiian ferns, pua kenikeni and more.

Barker Kappelle Construction renovated this 1950s Kahala home into a restful resort-themed sanctuary.

As the Whites prepare for retirement in their two-bedroom, three-bath home, they are able to truly enjoy their next chapter together. Whether taking a refreshing dip in the pool, keeping cool indoors or waving to passing neighbors from the comfort of their front porch, they are finally home.

The Best Custom Home Builders in Honolulu, Hawaii

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Home Builder Digest just released their 2019 ranking for best custom home builders in Honolulu, Hawaii and we were pleasantly surprised to see our name at the top of the list! Per Home Builder Digest: "The tourist ads have told you about the calm, laid-back vibe that invites visitors and newcomers to fantasize about a permanent vacation. What the ads may not have told you is that Honolulu has a surprisingly diverse blend of cultures and ethnicities. That diversity shouldn’t be a surprise, as the Hawaiian islands are positioned almost perfectly between Asia and North America: Honolulu has historically been a gateway city between the East and the West, and the homes of this diverse city reflect that eclectic, historic blend.

Honolulu is also one of the happiest American cities, ranked at #35 as one of the best places to live in the country. It’s such a happy city that it drives up property values. The median home price in this city exceeds $500k, so many people choose to rent, rather than buy. Honolulu homes come in a wide variety of styles: the three most common styles you will see on this list are the plantation style, the Asian style, and the modern Hawaiian. The first is the signature 20th century home style reminiscent of ‘Old Hawaii.’ The Asian style was brought in by immigrants a few generations ago; it usually includes moon gates and upturned eaves. Finally, we have the modern Hawaii style, a rich fusion of the plantation style and the Asian.

The firms in this list often employ these styles but since Honolulu is a popular tourist destination and has numerous hotels, these excellent home builders have the experience to build a wide variety of homes that function perfectly in the country’s tropical weather and capture the Hawaiian culture’s love of nature."

1) Barker Kappelle Construction
Website | 808-664-9212 | 970 N Kalaheo Ave. Suite A #306, Kailua, HI 96734

Years of building experience is a great advantage for any company; Barker Kappelle Construction has that advantage in spades. The firm was established in 2006, but founders Phillip Barker and Brett Kappelle have 40 years of combined experience in the construction industry. Phillip Barker is an experienced New Zealand contractor who has completed projects in the Cook Islands, in London, and in the Maldives. Brett Kappelle, meanwhile, has sharp management skills and a nose for getting things done. Together they provide the firm’s projects with great balance. That balance explains the firm’s numerous awards and its diverse magazine features. Just this 2018, the Building Industry Association of Hawaii (BIAH) and Hawaii Home + Remodeling gave the firm the Overall Grand award for the Kailua Road Modern Plantation.

Recipe for a Dream Kitchen

Hawaii Loa Ridge Remodel

Modern bright and crisp: Hawaii Loa Ridge project by Barker Kappelle Construction

Looking for Inspiration?

Where to start when planning to remodel your kitchen?

We find that every Kitchen Remodel has a unique personality that say a lot about who our clients are. It’s never an identical footprint which makes Remodeling Kitchens interesting and fun.  From “Trophy Kitchens” that say “look but don’t touch”, “Modern Kitchen” that say “welcome and sit”, to “Country Kitchens” that say “get cozy let’s talk”.  What does your kitchen say about you?

Renovating your kitchen can be an exciting journey, but it can also be overwhelming. One of the keys to a successful kitchen renovation is forethought. Take the time to research, plan and find the style that’s right for you before you begin. Picking the perfect paint colors is something that you want to have time to set with. Feeling rushed and needing to make decisions on the spot won’t make this an enjoyable experience. It doesn’t have to be that way if you start planning early.

Whether you’re renovating your kitchen to help your home sell or to create the kitchen of your dreams you’ll need to plan your budget. Starting with high expectations and all of the bells and whistles. Then decide what you definitely will not negotiate on and what you are willing to bend on to bring the cost closer to your budget.

Ok, you’re now ready to hire the team to make all this happen for you. To make your Remodel a success you will need “A good contractor”!

One with integrity and reliability. Who will have references and a good track record. One that will help to keep your budget on track, to give his/her professional opinion that will help with the quality and bring successful results to your project which will help keep your mind at ease. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are licensed, insured and ask for references.

 

Ok, time to create your own recipe….

Prep:

  • Check out lots of magazines for ideas on a style that best fits you. For example, https://www.hawaiihomeremodel.com or https://www.architecturaldigest.com/home-renovation-guide
  • Open, Light, Airy and Warm
  • What is the flow of the kitchen, Master Chef or Master Host?
  • What prominent feature (focal point) will make this kitchen special
  • Special hang-out spot for a small and cozy or large growing family
  • How do you want your work area to flow
  • How will your kitchen greet you with your first cup of coffee in the morning
You will need the following ingredients:       Stir & Mix Ingredients with the following:
Fresh paint A well-established General Contractor (BKC recommended)
Natural Lighting Take an old run-down kitchen
New Cabinets Remove old cabinets, appliance & plumbing fixtures
New Counter Tops Lightly dust all walls with fresh paint
New Flooring Spice up with Frameless European Cabinets
New Appliance Frost with bright new appliances and plumbing
New Plumbing Fixtures Sprinkle on cool and fresh counter tops
Pat down floors with large cool tiles or Wood floors

                                                                         
                                                                 
                                                                       
                                                             
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                     

Design meets durability at a Kailua seaside sanctuary

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After winning the award for best New Residential Construction at the 2018 BIA Awards Gala, we returned to our dinner table and reflected on the experience. Sitting at tables around us were other top rated contractors and many of the best builders on island, making the award even more meaningful. Toward the end of the night, copies of the November issue of Hawaii Home & Remodeling Magazine were handed out. We got a kick out of seeing that the magazine featured a full list of the night's winners, and also a feature on our most recently completed new custom home. This seaside home in Lanikai was a long term project with home owners were really enjoyed working with and we're very proud of the end result.

Here's an excerpt, but please click this link to read the whole article:

"...The Barker Kappelle Construction team transformed the windswept property into a refined beachfront estate with more than 7,400 square feet of living space. The two-story dwelling’s layout orients east toward the Mokulua islets.

Divided into three volumes, the home’s private spaces are placed to the left and right of a central great room boasting a 25-foot coffered ceiling crowned with sapele wood beams. A custom sapele stairway leads upstairs to the master suite, the children’s bedrooms with attached baths and an ample laundry room.

Downstairs, the open-concept kitchen’s severely modern profile is softened with elements including walnut cabinet paneling, gemlike pendant lighting and Neolith countertops. Designed as a collaboration between Ito Ryuji and Kailua’s own Trigg-Smith Architects, the kitchen includes luxury amenities such as a pullout warming drawer, six-unit gas range and built-in Miele coffee machine..."

~Brooke LaPorte, Hawaii Home & Remodeling Magazine

2018 Building Industry Design & Construction Awards



Friday, October 12 was the 2018 Building Industry Design & Construction Awards Gala. We were excited to win both the Grand Award for New Residential Homes over $999,000.00 as well as the Overall Grand Award in the New Residential Homes category.

Designed by Trigg Smith Architects, the home we built on Kailua Road was a joy to work on. We were very pleased with how the home turned out, as well as the strong relationship we developed with the homeowners. Each year the Building Industry Association of Hawaii, along with Hawaii Home & Remodeling Magazine, reviews completed residential and commercial remodels and new builds and judges projects based on the following criteria: Creativity, Materials used, Visual appeal, Environmental & sustainability, Functionality, Principals of design, Value, and Interior space. We were both proud and honored to have received the highest total combined score in this competition considering the strong competition.

Click on the image below to see the entire list and description of the 2018 winning projects:

New Home Construction - Is there a right time of year to build?

Each quarter, The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism gathers data on construction in Hawaii..

The 2018 data tables can be downloaded here. As a home or property owner looking into building a new home, one question you may not have consider is how the time of year can affect the cost of the project. The question is, does a new home cost less if it is begun between January and June vs July through December?

After analyzing the current data tables, a pattern emerged. First and second quarter construction costs are lower than third and fourth quarter. Since 1982, home construction costs have been close to 2% lower January through June, than yearly average.

Two percent may sound small, but on a $500,000 house that could be a $10k savings!

One likely explanation for the cost difference is a seasonally affected competitive market. Studying the quarterly employment number for the construction industry in Hawaii, as found here, shows a strong correlation. On average, more construction workers are employed in the third and fourth quarter each year, than the first and second quarter. In a competitive market, construction companies have lower operating costs with fewer employees - which could partly explain a cost difference when costs are passed onto the consumer. Another possible explanation would arise from reduced workloads in early months of the year (explaining the need for fewer employees) creating an incentive to reduce costs to attract more business.

Sometimes the best deals can be found when others aren't looking.

 HONOLULU CONSTRUCTION COST INDEX
Percentage Difference between Annual Cost Average & Quarterly Cost
Year First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
1982 0.10 -0.80 -0.30 1.00
1983 -1.93 -0.53 0.88 1.57
1984 0.08 -0.33 -0.13 0.38
1985 -0.55 -0.95 0.95 0.55
1986 -0.80 -1.20 -0.20 2.20
1987 -1.17 -0.77 0.43 1.53
1988 0.02 -1.28 -0.08 1.32
1989 -0.95 0.05 -0.15 1.05
1990 -3.50 -2.60 2.20 3.90
1991 0.17 -0.73 -0.13 0.67
1992 -1.15 0.05 0.45 0.65
1993 -3.27 3.43 0.73 -0.88
1994 -2.80 3.10 0.40 -0.70
1995 -0.64 -0.44 0.06 1.03
1996 -4.82 -3.02 3.75 4.08
1997 -1.19 -0.13 0.91 0.41
1998 0.15 0.05 -0.05 -0.15
1999 -0.10 1.20 -1.10 0.00
2000 -3.13 -1.43 1.07 3.50
2001 -2.97 -1.00 0.77 3.20
2002 -2.55 -1.13 0.68 3.00
2003 -0.64 -0.39 -0.07 1.10
2004 -4.14 -0.72 0.99 3.87
2005 -7.56 -2.10 3.08 6.57
2006 -6.77 -3.71 1.39 9.09
2007 -3.85 -2.79 -0.58 7.22
2008 -3.64 -3.14 -0.85 7.63
2009 -1.07 -3.78 -0.78 5.64
2010 0.70 -3.41 0.41 2.30
2011 0.50 -2.33 0.92 0.92
2012 0.19 -2.38 1.19 1.00
2013 -4.13 -3.03 1.88 5.29
2014 -6.59 -4.70 3.70 7.40
2015 -0.97 -5.26 1.45 4.77
2016 -1.26 -7.65 4.69 4.22
2017 -0.54 -6.20 4.04 2.70
Sum -70.79 -60.03 32.59 98.04
Average -1.97 -1.67 0.91 2.72
NATURAL RESOURCES, MINING & CONSTRUCTION JOBS
Comparison between annual average employment and quarterly employment
Year First
Quarter
Second
Quarter
Third
Quarter
Fourth
Quarter
          1990 -1,200 -700 400 1,400
          1991 100 400 200 -700
          1992 -400 -300 -200 700
          1993 500 400 300 -1,200
          1994 0 300 400 -800
          1995 300 0 400 -500
          1996 0 -100 300 -300
          1997 100 -300 200 0
          1998 -500 -300 400 300
          1999 -700 -300 500 600
          2000 -1,500 -400 1,000 900
          2001 50 -150 250 -100
          2002 -1,500 -450 800 1,050
          2003 -1,100 -150 600 550
          2004 -1,800 -500 750 1,500
          2005 -2,200 -400 1,050 1,600
          2006 -1,800 -750 800 1,900
          2007 -1,300 -300 700 900
          2008 1,100 450 50 -1,500
          2009 1,850 350 -550 -1,600
          2010 0 -100 -100 200
          2011 -900 -200 700 400
          2012 -1,000 -500 400 1,100
          2013 -900 0 500 500
          2014 -1,200 -500 700 1,100
          2015 -2,600 -900 800 2,500
          2016 -200 -100 400 -100
          2017 -700 -200 0 1,100
Sum -17,500 -5,700 11,750 11,500
Average -625 -204 420 411

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

 Traffic Master Allure 6in. x 36 in. Oak Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

 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.

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.

Luxury Vinyl Tile Stainmaster 1-Piece 12 in. x 24 in. Groutable Harbor Slate/Brown Peel and Stick Stone Luxury Vinyl Tile

 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.

Expect 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.

The cost of quartz countertops without installation fees included is about $25-$75 per square foot.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

https://cca.hawaii.gov/ins/files/2016/01/Guide-to-Hurricane-Strengthening-of-Hawaii-Single-Family-Residences-Jan-2016.pdf

Follow this link to see the requirements of building a safe room in your home:http://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/ocs/roh/ROHChapter16a13.pdf


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