brown and white wooden house near green trees during daytime

This tranquil refuge blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors

brown and white wooden house near green trees during daytime

You’re likely to want to spend the majority of your time outside if you are lucky enough to live in Hawaii. This was the idea that prompted an interior designer to embark on a Maui-based project. She approached the outdoor space with the same attention as the interiors. It is a resort-worthy space with lush palm trees and a gentle rippling pool. Natural materials and fabrications blend seamlessly with the surroundings. Brown sought to create a feeling of quiet, modern luxury.

Not only has Brown created a tranquil oasis, but in doing so, she has also blurred the line between indoors and outdoors with 20-foot door openings and kitchen windows that pocket away. There are also lanai’s that can be viewed from the outside. They act as a covered porch with multiple walls opening to the exterior. This allows the client to eat, sleep, play and just about anything else in the space without ever having to go indoors. All of this was accomplished with the assistance of Weigang Marvick & Associates, an architecture firm, and Makena Builders.

“The exterior layout was mostly driven by site conditions, including the grade, driveway access, view, and house position. Bill Weigang (Weigang Marvick) designed the entire property and placed all major elements. Later, we adjusted the spacing to accommodate furniture layouts and entertaining options. We also provided subtle but modern pathways connecting all spaces.

“The materials and features we incorporated are all very contextual for Hawaii, from the tiki torches and large fire-bowls (flanking the pool) to woven palm pendant lights and the predominant use of lava stone–both as the smooth pathway stones and rough retaining walls. The lush green lawn, which was planted with native plants, is a classic ‘Hawaiian” landscape element.”

The heat, sun, and sea-air do wreak havoc on exterior materials in Hawaii. Most exterior materials require some maintenance. We made sure to keep the limestone flooring covered in the lanai because it wouldn’t withstand the elements. Local considerations like red dust, wandering cats, birds, and other critters influenced our choice of patio furniture and fabrics to be darker in order to conceal inevitable marks and dust.

“The main living and dining spaces feature a 20-inch-wide door opening to the outdoor living lanai, and the kitchen window pockets away, opening to the dining lanai. Many rooms feature unique corner openings that create an indoor/outdoor connection (principal, guest, office, gym, etc.).

“Wiliwili trees were preserved, and brought back to life, around the site. The property was designed around the declining native trees on the Hawaiian islands. This included framing the yoga pavilion. The drive and entrance are framed by Foxtail palms. The 2.5-acre parcel was surrounded by Royal Poinciana trees, which provide bright orange flowers and canopy screening. The rear yard is shaded by Samoan coconut palms of slow growth. They are located around the pool and the manicured Seashore Paspalum grass. To create separation between outdoor spaces, flowering Plumeria trees are planted throughout the property. The re-naturalized landscape pockets are home to over 2,000 Temple Fire Bougainvillea, which add bright colors and contrast to stark lava ground. The drive’s central point is a single canopying MonkeyPod tree.

“Our client was keen on having an organic shape to the pool, following the line of the retaining wall below. To soften the hard lines and add texture, we added two organically-shaped planting beds to the pool. These were filled with tropical and palm trees. A central wood pool deck was also created. It is organically shaped on the side of the pool but is more straight and linear on the house-side, a nod to modern, more linear lines inside the home. To feel bright, sunny, and tropical, the pool has an inner rich, blue color. This color was accented with hand-made glass tile that cover the infinity edge and rim the pool’s waterline. Black lava-stone basalt is used to unify the area around the yard, including the planters and the edge of the pool. Garapa wood was chosen for the pool deck because of its durability and warmth. It also connects with the materials in the house.

“The exterior lanai’s are meant to provide a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, and as such, the interior limestone-slab floor is carried straight out. We chose modern, sleek and textural outdoor furniture that would match the interior. The grey upholstery and dark charcoal frames look modern and complement the strong wood tones and black basalt. To bring greenery closer into the living spaces, we also used concrete and black stained planters in the lanai’s. Modern steel lanterns were also installed throughout the property to create candlelit pathways at night.

The client wanted the views to be maximized and to create many different areas for activities and entertaining family and guests both young and old. There are many outdoor areas that can be used for lounging or swimming. The area also includes a yoga pavilion, which is connected to the gym via a suspended walkway, bocce and pickleball courts, as well as an orchard.

The sheer magnitude of the site was a challenge in itself, as the completion of the landscape from initial clearing to final plantings took longer than the home construction itself. It took perseverance and coordination to finish the project, despite having to deal with a hurricane and the pandemic, which caused delays and material shortages.

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