Barker Kappelle Construction

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Hawaii Home + Remodeling – July 2010
by Sabra Morris. photos by Linny Morris

Major structural changes let light and life into this Kailua home. Pre-remodel, this 1970s home felt too closed-in for comfort. “We had four boxy little rooms in the main living area,” says homeowner Cathy Brigham. The separate kitchen, dining and living spaces left little opportunity to move around.

A wall closed in the hallway leading from the main living area to the bedroom, creating a confined pathway. Outside on the covered lanai, the ceiling was so low, taller guests ran the risk of bumping their heads. To open up the space, Cathy and her husband, Christopher, called in a reputable team that included architect Don Shaw and the experts at Barker Kappelle Construction.

The team’s goal was to open the space both horizontally and vertically to let more light in and create a welcoming, airy, indoor-outdoor feel. A few other important items, such as the roof and water-heating system, needed to be updated as well.

To start, the Barker Kappelle crew removed two dividing walls in the center of the home. They relocated the kitchen to the former living room and allowed it to flow into the new living and dining areas for one complete, open-concept space. The contracting team also raised the ceilings to let even more light and air into the large main room. “That wasn’t something we planned on doing, but as we got going, Phil [Barker] said, ‘You’ve got a lot of nice space up there, and I think we should explore it,’” says Cathy. To embellish the new ceilings, the Barker Kappelle team added a new beam, in a dark contrasting color, to match existing beams on the ceiling in the living area.

Before the remodel, the back lanai ceiling was low and the area was cavelike. After, raised ceilings and a roof deck invite homeowners and guests to relax outside.

The crew also created a seamless transition from one area to another by removing old flooring and installing new merbau wood flooring throughout the main living area. When it came to sourcing, contractor Brett Kappelle worked tirelessly. “We had originally contracted Brett to find the same cherry wood we had in our original living room and install it throughout the kitchen, hallway and dining room,” Cathy says. “He exhausted every resource he could find, but they just didn’t make that particular wood anymore. So we ended up using brand-new wood.”

To address the new kitchen’s functionality and style, the Brighams called in designer Glenda Anderson of Details International. “Glenda designed this kitchen so we could have a flow without congestion,” says Cathy. The new floor plan included island-style cabinetry in mango and mahogany, crafted by Ronald Malenka of Malenka Architectural Specialties. Anderson incorporated large pull-out drawers for pots, pans and appliances as well as two islands, one for prep and cooking and one for bar service. “The outer island, when you enter the house, is mostly for beverages,” says Cathy. “We have a wine cooler on one end, a beverage cooler on the other. Guests can prepare a drink or get a soda or beer right from the beverage bar.” The outer bar creates a space where guests can congregate and interact with the hosts without obstructing their ability to prepare food.

Cathy loves the special touches that make her kitchen unique, including Caesarstone countertops, supplied by Details International and hand cut by fabricator Todd Branson of Todd Branson Stoneworks. She also loves her laundry station, effectively hidden behind two kitchen cabinets, and the large yellow onyx lamp from Honolulu Lights that hangs over her kitchen workstation.

Around the back perimeter, the Barker Kappelle team replaced old sliding glass doors with newer, larger models to accentuate the kitchen’s view of the outdoor pool and lanai. They added another set of larger sliding glass doors off the master bedroom to let even more light in. In the process, they expanded the walls that created the narrow hallway to the bedroom. The result is a brighter, wider walkway to connect the sleeping and living areas.

Out on the lanai, the team made major structural improvements, including raising the ceiling. “Our lanai was like a cave,” says Cathy. “So when Brett and his crew raised that up, it was an unbelievable feat.” To add visual interest and depth to the ceiling, Barker Kappelle then installed six substantial beams. They were painted a light color, highlighting the tongue-and-groove paneling in between each one. The crew also added fans and LED lights for illumination and comfort.

The spiral staircase is made of aluminum and finished with a powder coating, which gives it a shimmery appearance in sunlight.
With the help of a structural engineer, the contracting team installed glulams, large pillars designed to hold heavy weight, to hold up the lanai ceiling. The pillars provided enough support to add a second-story roof deck, and 690 extra square feet, to the home. The new deck boasts both mountain and ocean views.

For entrance to the roof deck, Kappelle obtained a one-piece aluminum spiral staircase. “Because it was one piece, they didn’t have any way to get it into the house so they used a crane to get it over the roof and install it,” says Cathy. The copper-veined, powder-coated aluminum finish is durable enough to withstand the salt air, rain and wind that come with living close to the beach.

The rooftop deck features a wood frame and a railing made of marine-grade stainless-steel cables and fasteners.

Finally, the team made other practical improvements, including replacing the roof, installing solar water heating and adding ridge vents. These changes, along with the addition of SolarGuard radiant barriers in between the rafters, from Island Cooling Concepts, make the home cooler, more comfortable and more energy-efficient.

For a couple who likes to entertain and enjoys the outdoors, the new improvements are a welcome change. “The space has a natural feel to it, which is wonderful,” says Cathy. “It’s truly an indoor-outdoor area with flow to the kitchen and covered lanai. The space is usable in all seasons, and the lanai is where we spend most of our time.