Barker Kappelle Construction

Hawaii Home + Remodeling – January 2011
by Joanne Romero. photos by Linny Morris

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Barker Kappelle Construction remodels a family home for maximum efficiency. Tara and Dean moved into their 1950s ranch-style home as a young couple. Ten years and two children later, the couple realized their home needed more space to accommodate their family’s growing needs.

“The house had been loved over the years,” Tara says, “but it definitely still needed some additional support.”

Tara wanted to preserve the integrity of the home and keep it in style with the other homes in the area. She enlisted the help of building firm Barker Kappelle Construction, which she learned about through Lisa Kelso of Kelso Architects. “We actually met with quite a few builders, and Barker Kappelle was hands-down one of the most impressive firms,” she says. “They were just so thoughtful from the very first meeting.” Tara also brought in designers Laura Van Ribbink and Karen Turran, of Interior Editing, to round out her team.

To start, the Barker Kappelle team intended to carry out a master-suite and garage addition and re-side the existing walls. However, upon further investigation, they discovered extensive termite and water damage. What started off as an addition soon became a whole-home renovation.

When planning for the renovation, Tara and Dean considered what they needed most. High on the couple’s wish list was built-in storage to maximize space efficiency. “Because our home has a small, charming feeling, we needed to be able to achieve space for everything in the house,” Tara says. They also wanted a roomier master suite, a home office and outdoor living space. Above all, they wanted a home where they could enjoy one another’s company without the messes and stresses of everyday life getting in the way.

The team got to work, with lots of input from artistically inclined Tara. “I enjoy the creative process, and this was so much fun for me,” she says. They converted the old master bedroom into the den (top), which serves as the kids’ gathering place. “It is really family-oriented. It’s where we have board games, video games, TV and books,” Tara says.

Barker Kappelle also built a mudroom, which Tara calls “the beach drop,” between the garage and the laundry area. “There are lots of little hooks, nooks and baskets where we’re able to store items like school backpacks and shoes,” Tara says. “It’s just really functional storage space for the kids and for the laundry zone.” In addition, the team installed a new master suite and garage, all while preserving the home’s charming feel.

In the end, Tara and Dean got just what they wanted: a clutter-free home with ample storage that allows them to enjoy their time together. “It’s nice to have the familiarity in the house with a remodel, and to have embellished it to make it that much more functional,” Tara says.

The centrally located kitchen is open to many of the other rooms in the house, including: the den, the living room, the outdoor eating lanai and the outdoor trellis area. “It’s the glue that holds the house together,” Tara says. “It’s that central meeting place of the house.”

Tara opted to keep her original kitchen’s galley-style footprint, but to open it up on both ends to make it feel more spacious. She also chose to forgo cabinet doors on her upper cabinets, an idea she gleaned from a former remodel in which she had to remove them. “While they were off, it just made so much sense. It made everything easier,” she says, and served as a visual reminder to keep things orderly. “It looked fun and it functioned well, too.” Now, she can access her pots, pans, glasses and plates without having to search.

Outdoor Dining & Lanai

Tara and Dean spend much of their time with their family on their new outdoor eating lanai (seen in the living-room photo below), just outside the living room. “The outdoor eating lanai was the inspiration for the whole project,” Tara says. “The space is really used, which was another goal. We wanted to open the house to other areas of the yard and to really use those areas.”

Living Room

The living room’s footprint stayed the same, but the space got an open, airy feeling with a couple of key strategies. Barker Kappelle raised the ceiling, giving more air up top. The Barker Kappelle team also converted the far-left wall into one that includes not just two windows (as it did previously), but also a sliding door that opens to the outdoor eating area. “It was a really simple way to achieve a really functional space,” Tara says. “It opened up the house without a lot of complications.”

Green Points

The family kept sustainability in mind during their remodel. “We had Re-Use Hawaii deconstruct parts of the house,” Tara says, to preserve any reusable materials. “We didn’t want to just demolish our house and throw it into a landfill.” They also utilized sustainable materials throughout the home, and preserved much of the existing landscaping to save the trees surrounding it.

This light-filled addition provides the spacious and tranquil environment Tara and Dean were missing in their previous master bedroom. “It’s fabulous. It has a nice, bright feel to it with the large sliding glass doors to the outside,” Tara says. The long window seat also doubles as a relaxing spot to read and lifts up to provide additional storage.


Tara is a big fan of local artist Jodi Endicott, whose paintings adorn several rooms throughout the home, including one over the bed in the master suite.

The master bath opens to the bedroom with extra-large pocket doors and has frosted windows, allowing light in while still preserving privacy.

The master bedroom opens up to a new, custom outdoor-trellis area, built by Barker Kappelle, which grants Tara and Dean’s wish to create a true indoor/outdoor feel throughout their home.

At the 26th Annual BIA Renaissance Building & Remodeling Awards Barker Kappelle Construction, LLC. received a Grand Award for the Takahashi Residence.

The Awards Gala was held May 4, 2011 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the project. Mahalo nui loa na ho’olaule’a me la kaua.