Last month, employees at Graham Builders read about how this Whitmore Village family overcame the challenges of raising a family of three in a cozy, 824-square-foot home with one small bathroom since way back in 1971. Fast forward 44 years and the old walls couldn’t come “tumblin’ down” fast enough to make room for returning adult children and grandchildren.

Working closely together with Graham Builders architectural designer, Keith Kilburn, the family developed a plan to add two new bathrooms, a family room space with generous storage, and rebuild three larger bedrooms. Through open collaboration and discussing the individual needs of each family member, the plan reflects who they are and how they live together as a family, while also addressing future needs.

“Planning for aging-in-place by incorporating universal design principles is the starting point of design,” said Kilburn. “Wider hallways and doorways, larger showers, and lots of light and ventilation are a few key elements that allow people to live more comfortably as they get older. We don’t often want to think about the possibility of having special needs, but the ideal time to plan and build these improvements is while you’re still young, healthy and have the financial means to do it. You don’t want to wait until you’re in your 80s; by then even if you have the money you might not have the energy!”


Senior design coordinator Jen Momohara expertly guided the family through each phase of design to help them select all the finishes from cabinets and counters, lighting and plumbing fixtures to flooring and paint colors. Project manager Jon Miyahira orchestrated each of the subcontractor s and Graham Builders’ finish carpenters to put it all together to the complete satisfaction of the entire family. The end result is a labor of love that honors the family’s traditions while providing exciting new spaces to accommodate future needs.

Now the family can have big get-togethers and there won’t be anyone “waiting in line” like back in the day. As the family laughingly reminisces, not all traditions are worth “dying” for.

This story is part two of two following this family’s design-build journey and sharing their experience renovating with Graham Builders.


Homeowners interested in learning more about the latest trends in design and renovations can attend Graham Builders’ upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar Jan. 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. Call 593-2808.

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