Hawaii Home + Remodeling – March 2012
by Lennie Omalza. photos by Olivier Koning

Project Size: 400 Square Feet

The 70-year-old plantation-style home had a green metal roof, a wraparound lanai, and was just a short stroll from Kailua Beach Park. It was perfect–but it wasn’t for sale. Kailua couple Bob and Linda waited 20 years before their dream house went on the market; shortly after, they were calling it home.

There was one problem, though–an old lean-to shed behind the house was falling apart. Previously used as a carport, it was now a useless eyesore to the new homeowners. Enter Brett Kappelle, of Barker Kappelle Construction LLC.

Bob and Linda were adamant about integrating a plantation-style look into their new cottage, and Kappelle made sure he did just that. Ari McLaren of McLaren Masonry, Inc., paved the way, laying a stone path from the main house, leading straight to the 12-foot sliding front doors, which open to a cozy seating area and allow for a direct view of the backyard and pool from the sofa. Large, cedar louvers above the sofa let the cool Kailua breeze blow through the space, virtually eliminating the need for the ceiling fan or air conditioning. “Brett captured the trade winds,” Linda says.

Around the corner from the seating area is a wet bar, complete with sapele cabinetry and all the homeowners’ entertaining accessories tucked under the Avonite countertops, including a mini-fridge, microwave, toaster oven, dishwasher and icemaker. Above the sink, a French casement window opens wide to another great view of the backyard. A lifelong gardener, Linda loves living close to the land and says, “It was really important to keep connected to the garden.”

Across the kitchen area, a half-bath blends seamlessly, its wenge cabinets keeping with the plantation-style look. More cedar louvers allow wind to blow in from all sides.

The cottage’s mahogany back door lies between the bathroom and kitchenette, leading to an outdoor shower, equipped with a bench and handheld rain showerhead. Conveniently close to the pool, it’s perfect for quick, after-swim rinses, or for bathing Bob and Linda’s Portuguese water dogs, Lola and Hoku.

The entire process of creating this quaint cottage took a year from concept to completion, but Linda and Bob couldn’t be happier with the end result. Linda says, “This was the best project I’ve ever done–here or on the mainland. Brett is committed to excellence and good design.” Though it may be small, Linda adores this special space and says it’s a haven between “the safety of home and the natural world.”

“Bigger is not always better,” she adds, “especially when you live in paradise.”

Try this!

1. Look up. Make use of “air space” with ceilings that are higher than the standard eight feet.

2. Open up. Large, sliding glass doors will make any space seem larger than it really is.

3. Seek smart storage. With limited available storage space inside, Kappelle looked outside for a solution. Built-in cabinets hidden outside along the cottage’s back wall are perfect for storing food and cleaning supplies.

4. Include ONLY what you need. If a mini-fridge or kitchenette will suffice, don’t stress about having a stove and refrigerator.

5. Take advantage of the environment. Sometimes, there may not be room for a full bathroom, but Hawaii is one of the few places where an outdoor shower is not only practical, but perhaps preferable.