Not all vacation homes are created equal, and that is no more evidenced than by a second home on Kaua‘i by Walker Warner Architects (walkerwarner.com) and Stone Interiors (stoneinteriors.net). Over two phases and five years Greg Warner, Walker Warner principal, AIA, LEED AP, and his team designed and built the home dubbed Hale Nukumoi. It took “about a year for us to design and develop and about two years to build,” he notes. The entry is on an axis with window walls taking advantage of the surrounding pool, beach and vistas. Halfway through the project, the property next door became available. “The project actually morphed and doubled in size, which is unusual,” says Warner, bringing in an additional 2,200 square feet into the compound through the guest house.
The material selection was done very intentionally. “We tried to be regional in terms of the choice of materials and what I would call understated—although it’s a big project,” says Warner. “There are unique board-formed concrete walls. We used a white cement and coral so that it really felt as if the house was made of sand.” As was furniture selection: Says Stacy Stone, principal of Stone Interiors, “The house’s main space was like a Swiss Army knife… very simple with many ways to function. [The client] had a menu of scenarios we solved for.”
A creative focal point is a copper mesh chain mail of sorts that is as functional as it is interesting. Warner says, “It rains frequently on Kaua‘i, and we used this mesh as a way to create a veil that the water trickles down.” It also works to shelter the doors and windows from the south sunlight and to give privacy in a fairly public location. “It’s a very public site, but a small property,” says Warner. “We had a very small footprint that we were able to build on, and they wanted a lot of space and bedrooms,” he says. That resulted in having to find a workaround for height restrictions in the form of a shed roof to maximize the height and the square footage, and creative use of screens and outdoor landscaping of native beach shrubs by landscape architects Lutsko Associates (lutskoassociates.com).
It can be difficult to build on Kaua‘i: While craftsmen and builders are located there, many materials are coming from elsewhere. “We actually prefabricated a fair amount of the architectural structure,” says Warner, “and then brought [it] there as a kit so that the assembly was done more efficiently.” They sourced locally where possible, and the build was led by R.S. Weir General Contracting, local to Kaua‘i.Stone even found a local woodworker who told her about a monkeypox tree that needed to come down—it reappeared in the home as the lānai bar top.
Indoor-outdoor living was of utmost importance, with the building almost “perforated” to maximize views of the surroundings. The living area furniture is on wheels to take advantage of the changing position of the sun throughout the day and provide flexibility for reconfiguring indoor and outdoor seating areas. Of course, durability came into play. “The whole building has to perform, not just the exterior,” says Warner. “We like to collect a palette of materials that has an enduring quality but also gets better as it aesthetically ages. It all has this really beautiful quality that, as it patinas, it gets better, and the clients don’t have to maintain the property as much.”
Photography by: Matthew Millman