Kapahulu Bungalow

The 284 sq. ft. lanai.

Photos: Courtesy of Choi Realty

Secretly, I hate how perfect the houses in movies look. Those dimpled throw pillows, shadowbox wall hangings, unbelievably chic color combinations, and Jennifer Aniston lounging in the midst of it, in sub-zero sized jeans, acting adorably neurotic. I think my angst is due in part to my own lack of decorating skills (and of sub-zero sized jeans).

Imagine my surprise when, in real life, I came across this 1930s Kapahulu bungalow on Winham Avenue, occupied by a famous person and decorated as nicely as a movie set and liked it. Didn’t make me feel inferior at all.

It’s the Hawaii home of writer Jane Porter, and just for the curious, the actress in the film based on her book was Heather Locklear, not Jennifer Anniston. Wrong decade.

The updated kitchen.

Under the shade of a huge mango tree, the front door opens to a tiny, galley-like living room, and behind it, an updated kitchen. All the appliances are new, and supposedly the cabinets, but some hung a little askew which is troubling. Behind the kitchen is a nook of a laundry room-slash-office (and inside, conspicuously, a copy of Flirting with Forty, penned by guess who?)

Thanks to a mid-1990s remodel, every room has nice character: wainscoting, good colors on the walls, built-in bookshelves, original or looks-like-original hardware. But the two bedrooms are predictably tiny, with tiny closets, and in the equally tiny bathroom one must squeeze by the stand-up shower to answer the call of nature. Not that convenient, but then again, this is a starter home or second home, so we will forgive the bathroom.

Saving graces are the patio area, with built-in benches and tons of shade, and the bonus room below the house, accessible only from outside, for more family space or to isolate wayward visiting relatives.

It’s small, but perfect for someone out there, kind of like the lead in a romantic comedy.

Money Talk: $699,000, fee simple.

Contact: Julianna Garris, Choi Real Estate, 255-7143, julie@garrishawaii.