As the holiday season approaches, you might find yourself dreaming of upgrading your home for Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas, or other gatherings.

Planning a home construction project that transitions from daily family life to big holiday parties requires expert help. As Honolulu’s oldest residential design-build firm, Graham Builders has helped hundreds of families improve their homes. Evan Fujimoto, the firm’s president, offers these useful tips.


“Start at the front entry door,” said Fujimoto. “It should look beautiful and welcoming! As guests enter, views of your garden or lanai are like warm greetings. It’s best to avoid abrupt entries like front doors that immediately open into living areas.”

Flow within and between spaces should be natural and easy. “It’s generally best to design flexible, multifunctional spaces that work for daily family activities, intimate dinners and large gatherings,” Fujimoto added. Similar to the concept of the kitchen triangle, the “entertainment triangle,” as he describes it, consists of the kitchen, indoor/outdoor living areas and a powder room that’s easily accessible from all of them.

Speaking of powder rooms, it’s best to tuck their entrances discreetly around corners or in hallways. “Bathrooms that open up to public spaces are awkward,” said Fujimoto, “and guests shouldn’t have to go through a family’s private spaces to access them.”


Layered interior lighting greatly enhances a room’s appeal and mood. Illuminate rooms with an ambient overhead lighting, use accent lighting for special focal points, and task lighting for smaller work areas. “And there are plenty of great outdoor lighting options,” said Fujimoto. “Look for those that create a safe environment — and illuminate landscaping for a beautiful effect.”

Design outdoor areas to accommodate comfortable seating and tables to hold drinks and pupus. If you have a family of musicians, provide armless chairs. For charm and variety, try placing seating in small clusters under a tree.

“It’s also essential to design for guests of all ages and physical abilities,” advises Fujimoto. “Create your spaces with wide doorways, accessible powder rooms, and flooring that allows guests with strollers, wheel-chairs and walkers to visit safely. Make everybody feel welcome!”


Founded in 1990, Graham Builders remains the only contractor in Hawaii honored by the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics. Plan your dream home around your parties with Graham Builders’ free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Jan. 11, 2020 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Honolulu Country Club. Register at or call 593-2808.

CONTACT // 593-2808
ADDRESS // 1144 Young St., Honolulu
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