Mansions with (and without) curb appeal in Kahala and Portlock

Keeping your eyes on the road while driving by the mansions along Kahala Avenue and around Portlock is always a difficult task. But, if you think that's hard, try walking by them and fighting the urge to peek through fences. Either way, you usually won't see much, as many of the homes are set back away from view and hidden behind high walls.

Curb appeal—the beautiful plants, trees and gates fronting the homes—gives some satisfaction to the public spectator. Even the weird properties, though, pique curiosity. We took a walking tour around Kahala and Portlock and found the mundane, the absurd, the cute and the derelict, all within blocks of each other.

1. The Animal Lover

Two statues of lions greet you at the entrance to this Kahala Avenue estate. The effect is classy and cute, even though they're on the attack.


2. The Nature Lover

Birds of Paradise (and any other plant or flower) are common themes for gates in Kahala and Portlock. This is one of the larger versions we saw with its flowers jutting out through the bars. It matches the surrounding foliage perfectly.


3. The House That's Seen Better Days

When we first passed this home, the height of the tiered walls made it feel quite intimidating up close. After realizing that these are designed as planters, we tried to imagine what the place would have looked like in its heyday. Lacking green thumbs, we failed, and decided not to judge.


4. The I'm-not-sure-what-to-think-of-you-but-we-really-love-you House

No windows, blocky shapes, simple colors, non-traditional materials, no plants, no gate. This house isn't quite welcoming, but we can't stop looking.


5. The Gate to Nowhere

This entrance's nautical theme gives it a sort of magnetic pull. However, we were disappointed to find it guarding nothing but a large, undeveloped piece of land, overgrown with grass.


6. The Dog House

This was one of the only houses we saw with its gate left open, but with a gigantic badge and an image of Duane "Dog" Chapman staring you down, who would really walk into that trap?


7. The Genshiro Kawamoto Home

The dilapidated entrance to this house, once owned by Genshiro Kawamoto, is an accurate preview of what's lying behind it: dead grass, broken windows, an unusable tennis court and a pool full of large rocks.