Planning a new home or renovation is a truly thrilling and ambitious enterprise.

“It can also be overwhelming,” says Evan Fujimoto, president of Honolulu design/build firm Graham Builders. “That’s why it’s incredibly helpful to have an experienced architectural designer on your team. They provide support with every aspect of your project.”

As Fujimoto explains, an architectural designer contributes much more than just a blueprint. He or she will design to suit your lifestyle and the natural elements of your property, and to meet local ordinances, codes and zoning requirements.

“A good design professional will successfully navigate your project through a wide assortment of challenges, and help balance your family’s wants and needs,” says Fujimoto. “They’ll assist with budget, codes, covenants and permitting. Sometimes they even serve as a referee between significant others.”


Design professionals also assist with the selection of materials, fixtures and finishes. The task might seem simple enough at first blush, but isn’t as easy as it looks, according to Fujimoto.

“A seasoned designer will help you narrow down choices for finishes and fixtures, so that you won’t have to look at 600 different toilets,” he says.

Experienced designers also take a holistic approach to design that includes multiple facets of a family’s needs, expectations and lifestyle. They consider functionality, affordability and aesthetics, as well as subtler areas like sustainability, emotional resonance, endurance and accessibility.

“You’ll want to feel confidence and trust in a designer who has the experience and thoughtfulness to transform your ideas into a workable plan,” suggests Fujimoto.

It’s also important to select a designer with whom you feel a connection.


“Building a personal relationship with your designer will lead to trust, an understanding of your needs and creative solutions through collaboration,” Fujimoto says. “Building relationships takes time and commitment, and engaging the ideal person to design your home is no different.”

Generally, the old adage is true: Good design doesn’t look cheap, and cheap design doesn’t look good. Adding an architectural designer to a project is a smart investment.

“(Our) collaboration provided an advantage over me trying to design the house myself and then put it out to bid,” explains one Graham Builders client in a testimonial. “I developed an initial floor plan and worked with your team to value-engineer and right-size the design to fit our budget. We are very happy with the outcome.”

“Good design doesn’t happen by accident,” concludes Fujimoto. “It’s the result of a careful, thoughtful approach to every decision that has to be made. An experienced designer will successfully guide you through that process.”

A leader in the design and construction of multigenerational homes and aging-in-place design, Graham Builders is the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii Torch Award for ethics in small business. Its next free Building Your Home for Life seminar is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10. Register now at or call 808-593-2808.

CONTACT 808-593-2808