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New Wave

This Waikane home’s dramatic roofline mirrors the Koolau mountains behind it.


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A curved glue-laminate beam frames an incredible view of Kaneohe Bay and Chinaman’s Hat.

Photo: by Olivier Koning

Part of the careful space management stemmed from the Camps’ decision to build on only one of the two lots that make up their property. In the interest of keeping their property taxes manageable, the ocean-front lot has been left undeveloped, save for geographically appropriate groundcover. The 3,095-square feet of living area that fits on the back lot is hardly skimping, but neither did the Camps have unlimited room to sprawl.

TIP: A clean, dark brown and white color scheme keeps the master bedroom simple.

Photo: by Olivier Koning

Inside, Camp’s wife, Jen, a designer herself, helped create a clean, understated interior design. They kept things minimal, both to play up the already-dramatic interior volumes, and to focus attention on Jen’s collection of Día de los Muertos-themed art. A few bold touches define the spaces, such as the recessed yellow Venetian plaster media center in the living room, and the strong, repeating pattern created by the dark ceiling beams and the white gyprock between them.

Custom homes can often be a bear to erect, but while Camp encountered his share of hassles during construction, few were related to the design of the house itself. The graceful barrel roof, for example, appears to be a tricky bit of construction—Camp says he had trouble convincing contractors that it was going to be feasible—but is actually a straightforward affair.

One of the master bathroom’s matched his-and-her sink areas.

Photo: by Olivier Koning

“I had just gotten done with a 300-unit development in Burbank that featured 50-odd barrel roofs, so I was pretty confident that it wasn’t brain surgery,” Camp says. A custom-cut top plate provides the curve, and then standard, straight beams are simply laid across it. The only curved, glue-laminate beam, in fact, ended up being the one on the second-floor lanai, and that one was an aesthetic element, and not a structural one.

The rooftop itself is made of Sarnafil, a heat-welded vinyl membrane product usually used in industrial settings. But Camp said he’s a big fan of Sarnafil for residential projects as well. “It emulates a metal standing seam roof, and yet it’s flexible, so you can easily do curves like this,” Camp points out. “And one of the biggest benefits near the ocean is that it won’t rust in the salt air.”

Elsewhere, Camp focused on keeping the construction simple and environmentally friendly. Efficient touches such as stacking the third bathroom directly above the second one allowed him to save money on plumbing, and grouping the bedrooms together meant that he was able to get away with air-conditioning only a small portion of the house (The majority of the place is naturally ventilated with windows and vents.). He didn’t have enough cash to install all the green technologies he wanted, but made provision in his design for future upgrades. The house is already plumbed for solar power, for example, and Camp hopes to install photovoltaic panels and perhaps even a water catchment system at some point. All told, he was able to complete the project at a cost of just $185 per square foot, less than half what a comparable house might otherwise cost, in large part thanks to the many hours he spent on the jobsite himself.

Phil and Jen Camp take in the spectacular view just outside their living room.

Photo: by Olivier Koning

There’s still work to be done, of course—next up is landscaping the front lot—but Camp says it’s immensely gratifying to look up at the new house and see the ideas he had pictured in his sketchbook so many years earlier, brought to life.        
Architect: Phillip Camp, AIA, LEED A.P.
Hawaii Architecture LLP - Architecture + Planning; 721-3411; www.hawaii-architecture.net
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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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