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Traditional Hawaiian design provides for a memorable resort home for thosewanting some elegant tropical living with an emphasis on relaxation

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As the adage goes, when in Rome – or in this case Hawaii – do as the locals. That is the tenet behind this resort home on the island of Hawaii.

Following a traditional hale design, the home is dedicated to the pursuit of relaxation and resort-style living.

Architect Mark de Reus says the choice of this style of building was an obvious one.

"The owners wanted a resort home that offered expansive living areas, made the best use of the view and reflected tropical living among the gardens."

What sets the hale apart from other designs, and ultimately made it the right design choice, is its adaptability – the hale can be individually sited on its lot in the configuration that makes the best use of the site and views.


Evocative of the traditional hale, the use of natural materials is designed to enhance the relationship between the built environment and inherent environment.

"Incorporating timber and stone in the hale's design was the fundamental principle driving the whole concept," says de Reus.

This is demonstrated in the simple stone floors running from the gathering area out to the lanai, in colors complementary to the surrounding milieu, as well as the use of mahogany and tropical hardwoods throughout.

"It is at once relaxed and rustic – the open timber ceilings, for example, give it a lot of character and warmth."

Also of consideration are the home's other architectural details such as timber columns and pocket doors.

"The glass, louvre and screen pocket doors of the gathering area and two main bedroom suites allow the owners total freedom in controlling the internal environment, and can be seamlessly stowed away, thereby opening these areas to the lanai."

Another of the hale's features, which has proven popular with family members, is that all the bathrooms have private tropical gardens with outdoor showers.

"The outdoor showers are a big hit. Once you've showered outside, you're very reluctant to ever shower inside again."

De Reus is quick to point out that the hale isn't solely about getting back to basics and a number of modern touches have also been included.

While these extras are convenient, de Reus says the hale succeeds as a resort home because it is true to its origins.

"The home embodies the notion of Hawaiian graciousness – its size allows two families to travel together, it's very gracious in its living areas and the lushness of the surroundings encourages the occupants to enjoy the nature around them."

First published date: 15 November 2006

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Credit List

Architect Mark de Reus, principal Hart Howerton Ltd (Kamuela, Hawaii)
Interior designer Jacques Saint Dizier, Saint Dizier Design
Main contractor Keauhou Kona Construction Corp
Structural engineer Shigemura, Lau, Sakanashi, Higuchi & Associates
Windows and doors Custom made, in African mahogany
Flooring Limestone from Bella Pietra
Bathroom cabinetry Custom made