Three out of 4 adults age 50 years and older would prefer to stay in their homes as they age, according to a recent AARP survey.

One Oahu couple decided to plan proactively, working with Honolulu design/build firm Graham Builders to create a residence that will comfortably accommodate their needs well into their golden years.

“Our goal was to build an ‘age-in-place’ home for our retirement,” explains the homeowner. “Safety and easy maintenance were big concerns for us as we age.”

Like many older adults, the homeowner and his wife were increasingly anxious about safety and accessibility as they became less mobile, as well as their ability to keep up with rigorous home maintenance. So, a few years before retirement, they carefully began strategizing.


The couple loved their residence in the hilly part of Aiea, but they knew the home’s multilevel construction would be difficult to navigate in their later years.


“Also, the homeowner had always dreamed of living on the Aina Haina property where he’d grown up, and which he still owned,” explains Bonnie Oda, director of client care for Graham Builders.

The original family home had been built in 1955 and wasn’t quite suitable for aging in place. Additionally, the house was low and at street level, which meant that occupants had little privacy.

“It simply wasn’t going to work for their future needs, so they decided to rebuild from the ground up,” says Oda, who is a certified aging-in-place specialist.

The couple attended a Graham Builders seminar and liked what they heard, particularly about the firm’s commitment to building homes that clients could enjoy for many years. They asked Graham Builders to design a comfortable three-bedroom, two-bath home, all on one level. It needed to have wide doorways and hallways, high-quality windows, an open concept kitchen, a modern fire sprinkler system, and other features that would add to its security, accessibility and functionality.


Through Graham Builders’ comprehensive collaborative design process, the couple and their design team created an elegant, comfortable home for the couple. Unexpected events, including the coronavirus pandemic, delayed their project on several occasions, but the result speaks for itself.

“It’s difficult to pick a feature we like the most, but I’d have to say one of our favorite elements is the open concept kitchen/living room,” enthuses the homeowner. “We love all the cabinets and soft closure features.”


Sleek and streamlined, the expansive kitchen radiates comfort and a warm welcome, while offering every modern convenience an enthusiastic cook might desire.

“With Silestone quartz countertops, a pair of sinks and a handy lift for their stand mixer, the homeowners will enjoy preparing meals,” says Oda. “Entertaining friends will be easy and fun.”

Handsome and luxurious, the lovely vinyl plank flooring from Metroflor helps ensure safe mobility throughout the home, and it’s simple to maintain. Other low-maintenance features include between-theglass shades by Pella; solid-surface, seamless sinks in the laundry room and bathroom; and solid-surface bench and walls in the master shower, so there’s no grout to scour. A central vacuum system makes cleanup easy and convenient.

“The cost of remodeling or rebuilding a home to accommodate aging in place is generally far less than the considerable expense of an assisted living facility,” Oda points out, adding that insulation from exposure to bacterial and viral risks that sometimes break out in senior facilities is also an important factor to consider.

“This home will allow the couple to safely and comfortably live in familiar surroundings with familiar furnishings as they age,” she concludes. “And there’s enough space to accommodate a family member, or even a live-in aide, if they need help later on.”

For more than three decades, Graham Builders has been helping Hawaii families make the most of their island homes at every stage of life. The free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar will take place on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Also this month, on Sept. 18, Graham Builders will host “All In The Ohana,” a very special session on designing multigenerational elder-friendly homes. Register at or call 808-593-2808.

CONTACT 808-593-2808
ADDRESS 1144 Young St., Honolulu