Forget Monster Homes—These Little Pink Houses Are Where It’s At
With oversize homes becoming more popular on O‘ahu, these charming homes on Wilhelmina Rise are a breath of fresh air.
Huge homes that take up most of the lot and have an astounding number of bedrooms and bathrooms are popping up all over O‘ahu. These “monster houses” are making waves—with upset neighbors and local leaders all questioning the permits that allow them to be built. Honolulu City Councilmembers Trevor Ozawa, Ann Kobayashi and Carol Fukunaga have all introduced measures to limit them, but it remains to be seen what will officially be done to stop them.
Anyone who has built a home here lately knows that the construction boom has led to soaring construction prices. A recent bid received for a single-family, 2,800-square-foot home to be built in town came in at more than $1.4 million for construction alone. And anyone who has looked for a rental lately can tell you that it’s a competitive market, with not much inventory and high prices. So it’s not surprising that investors are trying to maximize their returns by building monster houses they then rent like apartment complexes.
In Kaimukī, we’ve seen old charming plantation homes torn down and replaced with multiple concrete duplexes. When a 20,000-square-foot lot that’s zoned R-5, meaning one residence per 5,000 square feet is allowed, hits the market, there are usually multiple offers. Take a spin down Koko Head Avenue and look just makai of the fire station to see the end result.
This one went down a little over a year ago, and now three oversize boxy homes are almost complete on the site.
But nearby on Wilhelmina Rise, you can find the antimonster house. Hale Hani Court, built in 1938, consists of five houses on a more than 19,000-square-foot lot. They have double-pitched roofs, 833 square feet each, with front lānai and charming plantation details that are officially called “Craftsman with Hawai‘i Regional Influence,” per the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation. These little pink houses, which are owned by multiple people, are the cutest. And wouldn’t they be money-makers for those monster house investors, too?