For many island residents, multigenerational living is more than nostalgia for a childhood home or a feeling of duty to care for aging parents — it’s a matter of economic necessity.

A Pearl City homeowner, living with her husband and daughter in her mother’s 1,300-square-foot home, felt the time had come to renovate to create much needed space for her family, while providing smart, aging-in-place upgrades for her mother.

“It was my birthday and my husband and I were walking around the home renovation expo at the Blaisdell, looking for a contractor to help us with the renovation,” the homeowner explained.



“A picture of a beautiful Graham Builders home at their booth caught my eye. When we stopped by to chat with them, we were so impressed with Ryan Graham’s friendliness compared to the other contractors we spoke with that day. He even wished me a happy birthday!”

The homeowners were familiar with Graham Builders’ reputation of quality work for more than two decades and decided to work with them on the renovation.

Constructed in the early 1970s, the one-story, three-bedroom, two-bath home was structurally in good shape, so the project manager suggested that they keep as much of the existing home as possible.

The homeowners decided to retain and upgrade the three bedrooms and two bathrooms, while expanding the front of the home by 750 square feet to include a new open kitchen, craft room, master suite and an entertainment/exercise room. The new design also included a raised roofline with a 400-square-foot attic for much-needed storage, new electrical and new plumbing. The husband, an architect, designed the addition himself to capture the nuances of their active, family lifestyle.



“My mom cooks for us, so we decided to have one huge kitchen so we could all enjoy being together for meal time,” the homeowner said. “We are also adding a craft room for my mom, as well as opening up her bedroom doorway for wheelchair access and putting grab bars in her bathroom, even though she doesn’t need those upgrades yet. Even though we are renovating, I want my mom to feel like she still is in the home she’s lived in for the past 40-plus years.”

The home will feature diverse yet modest fixtures and finishes, and the exterior will be finished with a combination of horizontal siding and corrugated metal, an homage to Pearl City’s light industrial warehousing and activity.

As construction gets underway, some portions of the home will be deconstructed to keep usable materials out of the landfill. The dining area will feature a built-in banquette and dining room table constructed from wood salvaged during deconstruction, reclaimed teak floors are planned for the ohana room and polished concrete will give the grand kitchen a modern feel.

With a total of four bedrooms, three-anda-half baths, and 2,050 square feet of living space once the renovation and addition is complete, the homeowners will have ample space for family time, entertainment and activities.


“Collaborating with an architect on the design of his personal residence was a thought-provoking proposition,” said president of Graham Builders Evan Fujimoto.

“In the end, it was a very rewarding experience for all involved — being able share our experiences and unique perspectives with each other to problem solve and refine the design and construction details as we went along.”

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