WITH A DRAMATIC LOCATION THAT OFFERS 180-DEGREE VIEWS OF THE KAIWI CHANNEL, THIS HOME MAKEOVER SOARS WITH A NAUTICAL-IN-NATURE DESIGN.
Photographed by Kyle Rothenborg (interior) & Adam Taylor (exterior)
Koko Kai Cliffside residence is perched on a 150-foot cliff in one of O‘ahu’s most prestigious neighborhoods, Portlock. “While demolition and a new build may have been the obvious choice, a clever renovation was instead deemed more appropriate. Renovating saved cost, reduced permit duration and was a more environmentally sustainable solution,” explains Peter N. Vincent, FAIA, NCARB and managing partner of Peter Vincent Architects. “The game plan was to keep what was there and yet transform it into something radically different.”
The living room uses a neutral palette to let the outdoor view be the focal point. Photographed by Kyle Rothenborg (interior) & Adam Taylor (exterior)
The 180-degree view is why homeowners, Eric “Sonny” Moyé and Veronica S. Moyé of Dallas, bought their second home in Portlock. Introducing light, natural materials and finishes that do not compete with the breathtaking views was the focus of creating a cohesive design. “The new design capitalized on the coastal location and 150-foot elevation above the ocean, which gives the sense of being on a ship,” says Vincent. “The interior was opened up to expand the magnificent views. Wood frame bulkheads reinforce the sense of a ship aesthetic and define interior spaces. The materials, furniture and art reinforce the location and proximity to the ocean throughout the design.”
An area of immediate concern was the need for a defined entry. “There was no true sense of arrival or welcome,” Vincent explains. “Visitors now arrive via an up-lit path to a dramatic 7-foot glass pivot door. Wood frame bulkheads with up-lighting line the entry leading to a five-by-five-foot niche. The niche creates a focal point with the new entry stairs being relocated off the side to allow this more pleasant arrival.” The recess, lined with a soft fabric wall covering, contains a colorful ceramic work from Japanese-born artist Jun Kaneko’s Dango (Dumpling) series.
A boat-shaped soffit in the primary bedroom enhances the nautical-themed experience and conceals a flip-down television. Photographed by Kyle Rothenborg (interior) & Adam Taylor (exterior)
The interior was completely gutted, and the main stair, which connected the house’s five levels, was moved and replaced with a new floating stair, skylit from above to bring natural daylight through the center of the house. “The modern floating staircase is a dramatic central element of the design,” says Vincent. “A skylight floods the spaces with light, and abstract art creates a sense of calming continuity. The durable materials create a home that is functional as well as beautiful.”
The design intent was to smooth the lines and create a clean, contemporary look overall, and the goal was to have the design, interiors, and artwork all work harmoniously with the surroundings and the environment. Recessed lighting creates a clean, unified look throughout. Modern, contemporary, but very comfortable selections for the furnishings reflect the owner’s desire for a relaxed space.
Artwork selected by Kelly Sueda Fine Art works in harmony with the design, shown here in the dining room. Photographed by Kyle Rothenborg (interior) & Adam Taylor (exterior)
“The art should complement the outdoors and not compete,” says Vincent. “Art consultant Kelly Sueda reflected that the art is more abstract but in ocean-themed colors. We didn’t want to use ocean paintings and scenes when we had that scenery. That scenery is an unobstructed view of the Kaiwi Channel, the twenty-six-mile-wide waterway between O‘ahu and Moloka‘i. In the winter months, you see whales off the coast, and you see green sea turtles all year.”
Substantial picture windows create a flow from the indoors to the outdoors. Outdoors, the existing pool was demolished, and the new one aligns parallel to the ocean to open up the views. “With 150 feet of grade elevation, it is perfect for an infinity edge and provides more of a lap pool and spa. One can sit in the spa, buffered from the wind, and look out toward the ocean,” Vincent notes.
A small, impactful deck area features Ipe wood decking, a tropical hardwood that creates a ship-like feel. This ship-like aesthetic is carried throughout the house with stainless steel railings with an Ipe wood capping the lanais, and the primary suite has a boat-shaped soffit to mimic a nautical experience.
“The dated structure aesthetically did not fit with its surroundings. Yet the owners were enamored by the incredible views from the property,” notes Vincent. Now, the couple can enjoy a home that works with the natural elements creating a modern, calming residential refuge.
The skylit staircase provides transparency and light throughout the house. Photographed by Kyle Rothenborg (interior) & Adam Taylor (exterior)
ARCHITECT & INTERIOR DESIGN
Peter Vincent Architects, pva.com
Canaan Builders, LLC,
Monaghan Landscape Architects, LLC, rkmla.com
William Blakeney Inc., williamblakeneybuildingco.com
Kelly Sueda Fine Art, kellysuedafineart.com
Kitchen Palm Shade stone slab backsplash and countertops, caesarstoneus.com
Outdoor Bay sofa, lounge chair, chaise and side table, gloster.com
Dining tables and chairs; primary bedroom bed, lamps, side tables and dressers; powder room Sea Urchin pendant lights, hollyhunt.com
MDC INTERIOR SOLUTIONS
Primary bedroom accent wall and ceiling Paperweave wallcoverings, mdcwall.com
Dining Celestial Pebble chandelier and kitchen Light Drizzle chandelier, ochre.net
Living room Cloud sectional, coffee table and Raku rug; primary bedroom bedding; outdoor fireplace, rh.com
Outdoor Ocean Master Max Cantilever umbrellas, tuuci.com
Kitchen and primary suite Parisian Collection, Kervignac Oak flooring, uafloors.com