This is the first of a three-part series.

When the Palakiko ohana decided to return to their quaint family home in Kapahulu, it was too small and did not reflect their family’s current lifestyle and personal character. In 2008, they decided to demolish it and start fresh after their mother was referred to Graham Builders by a family friend.

The Palakiko ohana has a design philosophy that believes the outer world is a mirror of an individual’s inner world. They also believe in building responsibly and caring for the environment. They wanted a home that represented each family member personally, while being respectful to their surroundings by harmonizing their new home within the context of the existing neighborhood.


“We first met with Graham Builders to learn more about the design and build method,” said Donna-Marie Palakiko. “I always wanted to live in a custom home. This initial meeting allowed our family to understand what was required to achieve our dream home.”

“Since the project began, we have always called our new home ‘Lau Palakiko Hale.’ The family land is Lau property and through my mom’s marriage, we are Palakiko.”

The family loves Hawaii plantation-style homes and the open-flow design that lead to other rooms reminiscent of “shotgun-style” homes of the French Quarter in New Orleans. They collaborated with Graham Builders to incorporate these unique design elements throughout their new home. In addition, the Graham Builders design team ensured the mother could continue to live independently on the main level by including universal design elements such as placing outlets at a higher level, wider doorways and an accessible bathroom.

The Palakiko ohana embraces indoor-outdoor living, so Graham designed a covered dining lanai off the kitchen accessible through a 10-foot wide metal and glass overhead garage door. When open, the traditional boundary between the interior and exterior is completely blurred. With a wall of jalousies on the main floor and no hallways on the second, natural light and ventilation are maximized, keeping the house cool throughout the day, thanks to Hawaii’s abundant trade winds. Meanwhile, the exterior is clad with HardiePanel cement board installed on a rain-screen system for added ventilation for the facade.


“We have enjoyed working with Graham Builders’ from our initial concept meeting to the final walk-through,” Palakiko said. “They have been very attentive to our project and really got to know us as individuals and as a family to create a design that would allow us to live together comfortably.”

“This is not your average two-story home,” said Evan Fujimoto, Graham Builders president. “We designed a plan that allowed them to achieve the idea of incorporating indoor-outdoor living into a multigenerational home.”

If you are interested in learning more, attend Graham Builders’ free upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. For a full schedule of 2012 seminars or to register, visit www.graham or call 593-2808.

address // 1144 Young St.
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