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A Midcentury Modern Masterpiece You Can't Miss

Lauren Finney Harden | March 22, 2021 | Home & Real Estate People Home & Real Estate

MCYIA Interior Architecture and Design tackled a Vladimir Ossipoff home.

How often can one say that they worked on a midcentury home designed by Vladimir Ossipoff, one of Hawai‘i’s best-known architects? For MCYIA (mcyia.com) principal, founder and owner Chuen Yee, it was “challenging but also fun.” The owners wanted to retain the architectural and historical character that was original to the home in 1958, and Yee was up to the challenge. “Spaces were thoughtfully reconfigured to find balance between aesthetic and function, while creating an intimate atmosphere where the owners, who are avid entertainers, could entertain their guests seamlessly,” she says.


PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY

The starting point was easy: Inspired by the home’s original midcentury modern style, which Yee notes was “characterized by its simplicity, clean lines and organic shapes… the renovation is a harmonious coexistence of old and new.” Natural light was key, and the palette was kept moody and minimalistic overall. “Muted neutral tones were mixed with various textures to avoid being flat and to add visual interest,” she explains.

Yee met her clients through the famous “coconut wireless”—that is to say, by Hawaiian word-of-mouth. “The discerning owners sought out an interior designer with both residential and highend hospitality experience to create a home they would enjoy and fit their taste and lifestyle.” She worked with architect Kevin Miyamura of AMA A/E (ama-ae.com).


The design of the renovated kitchen focused on the juxtaposition of different materials such as stone and metal, blending old and new materials together. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY
The design of the renovated kitchen focused on the juxtaposition of different materials such as stone and metal, blending old and new materials together. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY

Of particular note is the kitchen design, which was focused around a Hawai‘i-style great room connecting the kitchen to the covered lanai with a bar. “The design also focused on the juxtaposition of different materials such as stone (polished concrete floors run throughout) and metal, blending old and new materials together,” she says, “like the stainless-steel island countertop and sleek Caesarstone quartz countertop,” sourced from Pacific Source (pacsource.com). Cabinets from Honolulu’s Exotic Woodlines (808.673.4722) round out the space.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY

In the masculine-schemed master bedroom, that moody darkness presents a “sense of sheltered privacy, where the owners could relax and unwind, yet also enjoy the daylight filtering in through the frosted sliding doors from the garden,” Yee says. The double-level master suite also helped “with the clients’ goal of a more functional suite that could take advantage of the view in the sleeping area upstairs, and have a lounge space downstairs. … The double-height master suite lounge area draws natural air from the main house up and out through the windows, creating a good breeze for the space thanks to the stack effect,” she notes. Taking into account the elements as always in Hawai‘i, Yee even added a nano ceramic film to the master suite to help reduce the heat gain from the very strong sunlight coming from that direction.


The double-height master suite offers a gorgeous view and draws natural air from the main level up and out through the windows PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY
The double-height master suite offers a gorgeous view and draws natural air from the main level up and out through the windows PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY

Master bath. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY
Master bath. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDREW B. MATT ESON PHOTOGRAPHY

Designed projects in Hawai‘i don’t always have to come with a host of challenges, but this one had some unique elements beyond its historical significance to achieve the clients’ vision: “Being on an island, we have limited selection and had to import material, furniture and furnishings from around the world,” Yee notes. “We have to plan for long lead times and shipping costs that sometimes cost more than the product.” But she loves offsetting this with unique offerings from local artists, craftsmen and vendors, whom she often collaborates with directly “to customize a design we envision together.”



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