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Kalihiwai Pavilion on the North Shore of Kaua‘i Boasts Ocean Views, Western Red Cedar and Plenty of Entertaining Space

Jenn Thornton | May 6, 2019 | Home & Real Estate

Posted on a picturesque bluff on the North Shore of Kaua‘i, a modern made-for-entertaining pavilion brings common ground to a large family compound.


Designed by Walker Warner Architects and Philpotts Interiors, the Kalihiwai Pavilion was designed to appear as a floating beacon from afar.

The dramatic expanse on the North Shore of Kaua‘i, where an example of striking modern design—Kalihiwai Pavilion—takes shape as an aesthetic and architectural distillation of its setting, is beauty to behold. Functioning as a luxurious flex space with privacy, a nice scale, and walls of windows that blur the lines between indoors and out (realms in constant dialogue), the space ably and graciously receives gatherings that are intimate and large alike.

This 3,600-square-foot architectural addition to the existing buildings of a 14-acre coastal property is a central command center of sorts, one that effortlessly toggles between informal occasions and salon-style screenings, lectures, concerts and more—the result of the owners’ want for functionalism and the collaborators’ excecution of that vision.

The lanai gives access to the ocean breeze, yet keeps you sheltered from the sun.

Both fixtures of high-end design in Hawai‘i, architect Greg Warner (Walker Warner Architects) and Marion Philpotts (Philpotts Interiors) were both raised in the islands and share a sympathy for, and ability to, translate a landscape into a genuine physical expression without gimmicks or tricks.

“The inspiration for the pavilion was to create something with the community of a home, almost like a lodge, that would be separate from the primary residence but within walking distance of the other buildings [on the property],” explains Warner, known for producing architecture that responds—honestly, sensibly and authentically—to its specific context, defined in this case by stunning sea, endless sky, and emerald-green grounds. Spectacular and simple is not an easy balance to achieve, and, yet, here it is. “It’s not trying too hard,” says Warner, who might as well add to that statement, it’s Kaua‘i, why compete? His approach: give the building a climate- and setting-appropriate orientation and organic palette of materials (durable limestone, rich Western red cedar). “The simplicity is more agrarian, but that logic resonated with the owners given their familiarity with ranch living,” explains Warner. (The couple owns a nearby ranch as well.) “At the same time,” he adds, “it’s very luxurious, absorbs a lot of activity, and has the ability to scale up or be comfortable for two people.”

Sliding doors in the main living areas give way to the scenic views of the Garden Isle.

It’s also a breathtaking building to look at, significantly voluminous and a light show on all sides that highlight the pitch-perfect interior touch of Marion Philpotts. A light touch—nuanced. “The space really breathes,” she says. “It’s very expressive by virtue of its location, so it was important to just keep it relaxing and comfortable, but also refined—and with a little whimsy.” While the painting of a monkey above the workspace to which she refers is indeed charming, it’s not the most dramatic artistic appointment in the home; this would be a work of abstract painter Lynne Drexler that anchors one end of the breezeway, which, with a bench in the middle, reflects a seating arrangement typical of a museum. Certainly the Drexler piece—as well as the entire pavilion, which also features dining and living areas and a catering-abled kitchen—enforces a museumlike quality throughout. The overall design, however, is one of a fluid, loose sophistication that is “comfortable and warm; very much at ease,” describes Philpotts. In addition to the interplay of textures are contemporary lighting, furnishings and accents, with colors pulled from coral tones in the limestone and hues in the Drexler painting.

Every design element, like the architecture itself, shows pragmatic restraint and never imposes itself on the setting to which it is so essentially tied. Authenticity is the value—of place, of purpose, and of, as Philpotts puts it, “the people who give it life.”

The expansive, clean kitchen design

Natural wood pieces dot the pavilion’s interior.

The chosen material palette of hardwoods and limestone floors gives the location an earthy tone with the added bonus of withstanding the outdoor exposure.

Both the pavilion’s furniture and interiors boast natural finishings.


Photography by: Matthew Millman and Philpotts Interiors