Apartment on the Ocean

In 2015 we finished work on renovating an apartment right on the water in Honolulu. On it’s mauka side was Diamond Head, and out the front window was the pacific ocean. We recently had a photographer take photos during the day and also in the evening to capture the wonderful light through the floor to ceiling windows.

One of the challenging aspects of overseeing construction on this renovation was its location. The apartment sat about 10 stories up in an apartment building with an older narrow elevator and small parking lot. Anything too big to fit in the elevator had to be brought up 10 stories outside of the building. Despite those limitations, the project came out great.

It’s a modern design incorporating glass, marble, and tile into a seamless and wide open layout.

Check out our project on Houzz for more photos.


Why a level 5 primer is right for high end homes

When you are building a new home or doing substantial renovations requiring new walls, it’s important to think about how the drywall finish will affect your final paint quality.

To meet the highest standards and the most discerning eye, a level 5 finish is essential. It helps remove bumps, lines, and other imperfections.

Drywall finishes are ranked on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest quality. For more information, you can check out this drywall specific website for details on the characteristics of each level.

Below is a handy video detailing the steps that go into applying a level 5 drywall finish:


Picking Out The Right Roof for Hawaii

Roofs in Hawaii endure intense sunlight, frequent rainfall, humidity, and corrosive ocean air. Considering all of those factors, picking the wrong roof leads to frequent maintenance, repairs, and early replacement.

Below are some of the most popular roofing choices, ordered by lifespan and cost.


Asphalt roofing

Asphalt Shingles (10 – 30 years) are often the cheapest solution. Having been around for over 100 years, asphalt is not exactly new, however compared to wood, ceramic, and slate, it’s the new kid on an old block. The relative short lifespan of Asphalt is an important consideration as toward the end of its life, asphalt shingles show lots of wear and do not have a particularly nice aesthetic.


Rubber Shake

Rubber Shake is an interesting alternative. Though not a natural material, they are made of recycled materials so it is eco-friendly. It is also a durable and relatively cheap material.


Cedar Roofing

Wood Shingles (15 – 30 years) can look excellent. Cedar is a popular choice for shingles or shakes and the wood can be treated to increase fire resistance and decrease vulnerability to pests. However, Hawaii is a tough environment for this material. Plus, they are more expensive than asphalt while having a similar life expectancy.


Metal Roofing

Metal Roof (20 – 50 years) – the ocean air can be very corosive, so uncoated steel doesn’t do well out here. However coated steel or copper will hold up well, retain its color and overall aesthetic appeal.


Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tile (40 – 100 years) roofing dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. They are expensive and fragile, but they are eco-friendly and have an historic aesthetic and long lifespan. We’re used to seeing red teracotta tiles, but ceramics can come in multiple colors and styles.


Slate Roof

Slate (50 – 200 years) is very expensive, but is virtually unrivaled in its longevity. If you install a slate roof it’s likely to last for multiple generations. It’s not a man made material, so you don’t have to worry about artificial colors fading, an important for hawaii it is not affected by high humidity, mold or fungus.

Besides lifespan and cost, one of the biggest deciding factors when choosing roofing is the style of the house. A Spanish villa style home will fit best with ceramic tile, a modern design often jells well with metal roofing, whereas wood and slate roofs fit well with more historic European style homes.


10 Years of Custom Home Builiding!

In 2006, Phil Barker and Brett Kappelle partnered to form Barker Kappelle Construction. Both entered the trade as carpenters, and over the years developed an intimate knowledge of home building. By the 1990s each had moved to Hawaii, Phil from New Zealand and Brett from California. Soon they took the next step and went into business for themselves. Through dedication to quality and attention to detail they have created a strong name for Barker Kappelle Construction. They have built excellent homes across Oahu for 10 years, and strive to make the process easy for home owners from start to finish.

Custom Home Building

Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going next!


Neolith and the Dream Kitchen

Kitchen Remodeling with Neolith

The kitchen is a gathering place for family, conversations and of course food! When you’re dreaming of the perfect kitchen, you want a space that looks and feels great, stays clean, and makes cooking as easy as possible. It may seem hyperbole, but the right countertop can make all of those things a little easier to achieve.

Imagine the perfect countertop, not just color but characteristics. It should look great, shouldn’t stain or get discolored, and must be easy to clean. If a countertop could do all that it would be pretty great. What if there was a surface that could do that, plus things you don’t even associate with countertops? Imagine a surface so strong that you can use it as a cutting board without thinking twice about scratches or chipping, one that is heat resistant so you won’t need hotpads, and is safe to eat off of. Neolith is all of those things. While it isn’t naturally occurring, Neolith is made up of all natural components. Clays, feldspar, silica, mineral oxides, and natural pigments are sintered at extremely high pressure and high temperature in a kiln to create a porcelain that is incredibly strong, can be cut super thin, and can be made into large slab sizes.
The natural pigments ensure that the color and appearance of the slab stays the same over time, and isn’t subject to fading or discoloration. In addition, unlike most traditional surfaces it does not stain. It’s nonporous. You can treat it like a porcelain plate that won’t break.
Because Neolith isn’t naturally occurring, unlike stone it is virtually a blank slate for color options, and a variety of pigments can be added with intention to create outstandingly uniform designs.

While countertops are an obvious starting point for Neolith, it can also be used as flooring, and walls.


Wood Flooring Done Right

Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is a wonderful way to upgrade your home. It adds a classic, beautiful aesthetic, is easy to clean, and is a real improvement over carpet for people with allergies. However, in Hawaii, especially on the windward side of Oahu, improperly installed flooring can be highly susceptible to water damage.

In areas like Kailua or upper Manoa in Honolulu, frequent rainfall can pool under the house and vapor rises through the ground and unsealed concrete. This can cause warping or bowing of the wood, it also can rot through the wood like the image below shows:

When we install wood flooring, we recommend the use of an epoxy water barrier. Liquidam is an epoxy resin product that seals concrete and prevents a significant amount moisture from getting through the concrete and reaching the wood.

We’ve found adding a sealant to be an extremely effective way of protecting wood flooring from water damage. For more details about how moisture, concrete, a sealant, and flooring interact, check out this video from TEC, the maker of Liquidam:

While adding a sealant is more expensive than not, and it is not a universal approach from all general contractors, we pride ourselves on thinking about building homes made to last and hold up well for the long term. In that regard, it’s an important consideration.


Under Construction in Kailua

New Construction in Kailua

Things are really starting to take shape at the new home we’re building in Kailua. Though we enjoy working on a wide range of projects, from small remodels and renovations to large new design, there is a certain amount of excitement involved in building an entire house from the ground up. At this point the plumbing, concrete, framing, and roofing are in place and from here on out things are going to move quickly. Once the drywall is up and the exterior of the house is painted to protect from the sun, flooring, cabinets, beautiful custom doors, electrical and plumbing fixtures, and appliances will transform this shell into a beautiful home. We look forward to posting more updates as the project progesses!


Design Build in Hawaii Loa Ridge

Perched high up on Hawaii Loa Ridge sits our newest design build project. The cedar exterior stands out as the first in the Hawaii Loa Ridge community. The spacious three level home utilizes a modern open layout that maximizes the visibility of the surrounding scenery.

Whether you’re enjoying a glass of wine on the large deck or a dip in the infinity pool or Jacuzzi, beautiful unobstructed views, stretching from Koko Head to Diamond Head and even downtown Honolulu, are a plenty. The serene quiet neighborhood enhances the features of the home to make it seem like there’s nothing separating you from Hawaii’s beautiful landscape.

Hawaii Loa Ridge Design Build




Giving Your Attention To The Drywalls | Barker Kapelle Construction LLC

Many novice painters seem to think that priming new drywalls is just an option that can be bypassed when by putting an additional coat of paint. This is usually not true. First of all, primer and paint are two distinguishable materials with different functionalities. That means that when you skip the primer, you are likely to end up with very undesirable consequences. You may be able to notice some of the defects immediately but some of them become more apparent long after a project has been completed. Here are reasons you ought to pay attention to drywalls to get the best results.

Effective sealing

Using the primer makes it possible to seal the drywall and protect it from damages. A drywall primer comprises of a binder referred to as polyvinyl acetate. The core purpose of the adhesive substance in the primer is to seal the drywall paper. If the primer is not used, waterborne paints (consisting of a latex binder) can easily soak into the drywall and spread unevenly. This creates visible blotches that make the drywall look bad. In addition, the drywall will have rough areas. The primer is effective because it is more porous as compared to the drywall. That means it can take in additional coats of paint and ensure that the blotchy areas are evened out.

Paint adhesion

A primer has a base that has glue properties. This allows the paint to adhere to the drywall effectively. Therefore, when you choose to skip the priming part, you are definitely creating room for paint to peel on the drywall particularly when the moisture level is high. In addition, drywall cleaning can be a little difficult several months down the line when paint has dried up. The paint may wear off easily when you are wiping the drywall to remove dirt. In cases where the paint color is actually lighter, any attempt to clean the drywall will only result in a dirtier wall. Although you may put the blame on paint quality, the truth of the matter is that you failed to use primer during installation.

Color uniformity

A primer leaves a seal on the surface of your drywall. This allows the paint to spread evenly on the drywall. With regard to color, you will definitely have nothing to worry about because there will be color uniformity. However, when primer is not used during drywall installation, there will be a reduction in the pigment ratio (for the topcoat). Therefore, too much pigment will end up soaking into the drywall. Moreover, the ultimate color will be lighter and may seem washed out. To avoid this mess and keep the sheen from being chalky in the end, reputable general contractors in Hawaii recommend the use of primer for effective results.


You may be repainting your wall because you want to simply change its color or because it is damaged. Whatever the reason, you are allowed to work without the primer. This is because the existing paint creates a seal on the wall. Omitting the primer allows you to achieve great adhesion and even coverage. In the case of a drywall that has been damaged by smoke or water, you may require a special primer to keep the smoke and water from bleeding through the wall.

Drywalls can be delicate and in the event you fail to handle them with care, you may get a terrible outcome. That is why you need professional assistance when it comes to drywall projects. A contractor has the required professional experience and can help you see everything in detail. For the best drywall project results, always ensure that you use the primer before painting.


Keeping Your Roof In The Best Shape Can Enhance Your Home Value | Barker Kapelle Construction LLC

With the roof covering literally everything in the home, it would not be much without it because there would be nothing to cover your head from environmental factors such as rain, sunlight and the like. The roof is not only an essential component of the home, but also a part that adds value to the house. Therefore, it is important to ensure that it is in the best shape. A great roof basically makes the difference between a home that is more comfortable and a home that is either too hot or cold. Here are roofing issues that you can address with the help of the best contractor in town:


In many cases, roof leakages tend to be small and they can be hard to identify with the naked eye. When you hire a roofing contractor, he can inspect the roof for any kind of damage and tell you whether it requires repair services or not. One of the common signs of roof leakages is water dripping down the walls during heavy storms. In some cases, you can tell that there is a roofing problem when there is a musty smell and molds in your attic. Roof leakages need immediate repair as they can cause damages to your home.

Replacement of shingle

The shingles will fall off during strong winds. If you particularly had a roofing structure that has not received any maintenance for a long period, it could result in wearing out. When the shingles fall off due to strong winds or damage, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Leaving the matter unattended could result to leakages in the roof and other damages. Luckily, they are not costly to replace. You can get contractual assistance from Hawaii home builders as soon as you notice the problem.

Waterproofing the roof

There are certain geographical locations with very adverse weather conditions that may require you to waterproof your roof. More often than not, the roof gets special treatment to keep it from getting water damages due to continual exposure to severe wet conditions. Home contractors offer a number of roof waterproofing options that help keep your roof safe from weather conditions that could expose the entire house to water damage.

Mold threat

In cold weather, mold can easily spread and cause extensive damage to your roof. The presence of mold in the roof can also be a potential health threat to you and your family. Therefore, you need to ensure that mold is removed from the roof as soon as possible. This will help prevent further damage to the roofing structure. Damaged roof structures can easily leak water into the house and cause further damages.

Gutter maintenance and repair

Gutters play a vital role at home by keeping it safe from water damage. Since they are frequently exposed to water, especially during heavy storms, it is important to ensure that they are repaired and replaced from time to time to maintain their functionality. Poorly maintained gutters affect water flow during heavy rains, which may end up causing costly damage to your home foundation. Home contractors can help you fix gutter issues when they arise.

These are some of the most common roof issues that may degrade its quality. However, addressing these issues early enough goes a long way to ensure that your home is protected from water leakages and other damages that may result. It is always recommendable to seek professional help when there is a serious roofing issue that may compromise home value and safety. Dealing with an existent problem at an early stage will help keep it from spreading further and causing more damage.