Whatever our occupation, trade or profession might be, we can recall “Aha!” moments when we learned something so powerful and infl uential that it transformed the way we did our work from that point on. One such moment came for the architectural design team at Graham Builders.

“Many years ago, renowned local architect, Kurt Mitchell, demonstrated something that left a lasting impression on us,” recalled president of Graham Builders, Evan Fujimoto. “He took out a blank sheet of paper and drew a large rectangle that bordered the edges of the paper. He said, ‘This is your home.’ Then he drew a smaller rectangle somewhere in the middle and said, ‘This is your house on your home.’ Kurt explained in Hawaii, our houses extend to the lot boundaries. We never forgot that important lesson about site relationships and making sure the design takes maximum advantage of the entire property.”

Typically, it is the land and not the house that is the most costly component of residential real estate. Architectural solutions should fi rst address things like access, safety, privacy, views, ventilation, landscaping, and maximizing utilization of the property. Unfortunately, many homes are designed and built without these issues being properly addressed and resolved.
“Most homeowners focus on finishes, the things they can see and touch,” said architectural designer with Graham Builders, Christy Ammerman. “What they first need to think about, however, is site planning and focusing on indoor-outdoor relationships, which are so important for Hawaii,” added Ammerman, who earned her master’s degree in Architecture from Savannah College of Art & Design.


We’ve all been in homes that have poor access to backyards or they are stifling hot because cross-ventilation wasn’t considered. Some homes don’t even take advantage of breathtaking views for simple lack of strategically placed windows. For this reason, many architects now use something like Cloud 9 Visualisation to bring the design to life that allows us to see flaws more easily.

“Our designers place high importance on things many homeowners overlook. You need experienced people guiding you to make sure your home fi ts its unique setting and allows you to enjoy your entire property fully,” said Fujimoto.

Graham Builders is in its 26th year in business as one of Hawaii’s leading design-build general contractors. To learn more how the company can help you build your dream home or expand and renovate your existing home, attend the next “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on March 19. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. To register, visit or call 593-2808.