This is part one of a three-part series

Upon inheriting an outdated family home in Pauoa Valley that sits atop a loi kalo and ponds of wild watercress, a Hawaii couple envisioned a new home that would be more suitable for their lifestyle and aesthetic. Not sure where or how to get started, they attended Graham Builders’ free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar.


“We went to the seminar to get information on what steps were needed in order to build a house. We had no clue where to start,” said the couple (that prefer to remain anonymous). “Graham Builders was very clear on how the process works.”

To save on costs, the couple turned to friends working in architecture and engineering to help them develop a workable design. With plans for their new home in hand, the couple set out to get bids from general contractors.

The couple soon discovered that because half the property is situated in water over an agricultural site, the bids were coming back significantly over-budget. A few contractors flat out refused the job due to its complexity and risk.


Having to go back to the drawing board, the couple’s engineer friend recommended that they consider Graham Builders for their project. After reviewing the plans, Graham Builders’ president Evan Fujimoto was able to reconfigure the design and value-engineer the project to fit the couple’s budget.


“The design came together through a multi-phase process that balanced the couple’s needs, wants, budget and building over an environmentally sensitive site resembling a wetland with loi kalo and beds of wild watercress fed by artesian wells,” said Fujimoto. “Due to the variable, steep topography of the lot, careful planning and design was incorporated into three levels with an angular layout. The result will be a dramatic, yet comfortable dream home for the homeowners.”

“We knew that the foundation of our house was going to be the cost killer,” said the couple. “Graham Builders worked closely with our consulting engineer to devise an innovative foundation design with concrete, masonry and structural steel that saved us a significant amount of money.”


This story is Part 1 of 3 that will follow the homeowners in their design+build journey, sharing their experience in building a new home with Graham Builders. Next month, we’ll check in with the homeowners and report on the construction process. The completed project will be unveiled in November — don’t miss it.

For more tips, homeowners can attend Graham Builders’ upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Saturday, Sept. 28. To register, call 593-2808 or visit the website.

Building Your Home for Life Sept. 28 at 9 a.m., Honolulu Country Club

contact // 593-2808
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