Setting your sights on building your dream home

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: DecorDesignRemodel
June 12, 2016


Purchasing a home is the cornerstone of The American Dream. But when a prospective homeowner walks through many of the properties currently on the market — three bedrooms, one bath, built in the 1950s, rundown and a $1 million asking price — The American Dream of owning a home seems more like a nightmare.

“Every home has hidden potential. In the hands of a good designer and builder with a committed client, you can take any house and make it special,” said Evan Fujimoto, a 23-year veteran at Graham Builders, a company that specializes in home renovations, remodeling and new builds. “Don’t worry about the house itself. The location of the lot and its characteristics are more important.”



When considering purchasing a home that will require renovations, Fujimoto says location should be the first priority. Next, search for lots with desirable characteristics. Flat lots are advantageous because additions are less expensive and you won’t have to deal with stairs. Don’t discount a promising property based on the current condition of the home.

Once you’re in the home and the renovations begin, Fujimoto suggests addressing any structural work the home might need and then tackling the “low-hanging fruit” to refresh the look and feel of an older home. Change the light fixtures, install new flooring, apply interior and exterior paint, replace window screens, install new kitchen and bathroom fixtures and update the landscaping.

Fujimoto also recommended making a long-term plan for major renovations. “When you buy a place and move in, don’t do too many major things right off the bat because how you perceive your house at the beginning changes over time,” he said.

The initial renovation should make your home livable, perhaps a complete bathroom or kitchen remodel, but save the add-ons for a couple years down the road, in case of any new additions to the family. While many prospective homeowners hinge their home-buying decision on the advice of a builder, Fujimoto recommended a few steps. “Talk to a design-build firm, look at the firm’s work and visit their office to ensure the firm has the capability to do the work you need,” Fujimoto said. “This is far more important than a one-time site visit and a quote when you are talking about your home for life.”

Homeowners interested in learning more about the latest trends in design and renovation can attend Graham Builders’ upcoming free seminar. Reservations are required. Visit or call 593-2808.

Building Your Home for Life
June 25, 9 a.m.,
Honolulu Country Club

contact // 593-2808
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