Hillside Modern

A hillside home in Lanikai takes a modernist approach to Island living.


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Living Room, Before and After


Badenhop’s design also has a characteristically Wrightish pattern to its spaces, and the way they unfold as one enters the home: a snug, twisting entryway of stairs leads to a top floor of the home’s most spacious, public spaces, with bedrooms mainly tucked away downstairs. The top floor’s living, dining, kitchen and enclosed länai spaces all flow together, facing the front of the house and its ocean views. The open plan of the top floor lacks conventional walls and doors, the spaces defined more by different floor heights. As a result, the home has a comfortable, indoor/outdoor feel.

Those were the elements the new owners and Vincent wanted to keep and enhance. But there was plenty of work to do. Thirty years of Windward O‘ahu weather had taken its toll on the structure, so much so that the home’s indoor-outdoor feeling had become closer to “living in a rattley tent,” as the owners describe it. The ocean-side länai looked rickety enough to make people nervous about standing on it. The new owners wanted a higher level of material refinement and to brighten all the dark interiors, to better suit their lifestyle (married couple, no kids, he’s  an attorney, she’s an artist).


The spiritual heart of this home is this massive concrete and stone form, probably influenced by similar structures at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, in Arizona.


Vincent also wanted to lighten the interior. In his view, the dark beams, rafters and interior walls were actually working against the home’s otherwise effective indoor-outdoor dynamic. “Physically, in terms of openness and air flow, the indoors and outdoors were very much integrated,” he explains. “But those dark beams, when they were backlit in the daytime, were just visually jarring.” The home’s interior was oddly lost in a daytime gloom, much like when you take a picture of someone indoors against a bright window, only to find that you can’t make out their features in the photo.

In the new interior, all the dark, rough-sawn redwood sheathing that made up the walls and cabinetry has been painted, or replaced with maple. The dark beams and stained redwood rafters have been painted a light color. The interior no longer feels like a cave. The interior paint choice also had a serendipitous consequence. “It’s taupe,” notes the artist owner, with her eye for color, “but all over the house, it picks up different tones.” The taupe walls appear greenish near the mauka windows, bluish toward the ceiling, golden near the länai; colors that change in intensity throughout the day.


The remodel tugged a bit at the open floor plan—enlarging the kitchen, for example, or pushing out the front wall of the living room—but kept its essentials. In fact, this extensive remodel added virtually no new square footage to the modestly sized 2,800-square-foot home. No extensions, no new rooms. The final effect is an interesting blend of architectural approaches: Badenhop channeling Wright’s modernism, plus Vincent’s clean, contemporary approach bringing the home up to date.

The owners still have everything they loved about the home in the first place, and none of what they perceived as drawbacks. “It’s exactly the same,” they say, “just a little more elegant.”


Kitchen, Before and After



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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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