Open house pick of the week: Historic Coconut Ave.

If you’ve driven to Diamond Head via Kapiolani Park, you’ve no doubt seen the charming cottage on Coconut Ave. (click here for details). It’s a 91-year-old house, designed by John Morley in the English-French Tudor Cottage Style, and is listed on the Historic Homes Registry.

The original owner, Frank Tavares, was a steel guitar player in early Hawaiian music, and the home remained in the Tavares family until the 1980s. 

As you might guess, the home was in great need of a facelift due to its age, so in 1991, architect Spencer Leinewebber and contractor Doug Le Grande restored it from top to bottom. (Le Grande had also restored a historic home on Kiele Ave. in Waikiki.)

Starting at the top, all the shingles on the roof were hand-cut to match the original pattern of the roof when the home was built in 1920. One of the most interesting design elements of the restoration is the attic, which had originally been an enclosed area with a pull-down staircase (as most attics are). The attic is now an open studio with its own bathroom—charming, albeit a tiny one.

“The home has reclaimed old growth pine floors from an old Carolina factory,” says its current owner, Liz Wade. “I understand this factory is from the late 1800s, so there is still an element of history in the restoration itself.”

Kitchen cabinets and drawers are solid maple, as are the counters, done butcher-block style. “The cabinets were also done by a furniture maker who was contracted specifically for this job, as he has not done kitchen cabinets of any kind, but did this one job,” Wade adds.

Wade points out that the original home had a garage door that manually opened to either side, but she installed an electric retracting garage door after she and her husband purchased the home. “The only stipulation from the Hawaii Historic Society was that we paint the door the same color as the front door, which was not a problem,” she says.

The restoration didn’t change everything out: The windows are all original, save for one panel that had to be changed due to broken glass. The front door is also its original one.

The home will be open this Sunday so you can see the various restoration elements yourself, and take a step back in time as you absorb the home’s history.

Happy house hunting!

Money talk: $1,950,000 fee simple
Contact: Stuart Wade, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, 808-927-3373,