Nestled against the Koolau Mountains in Waimanalo, there is an expansive, welcoming home, bright with natural light that streams in through gable-end windows, wide sliding glass doors, and high windows that surround the living room and line the hallway.

It’s hard to believe that this stunningly beautiful modern home was once an old farm dwelling — a structure that also served as an office, workshop, and storage space for farm equipment and supplies.

“The clients’ old home had been added on to somewhat haphazardly over the years,” explains Evan Fujimoto, president of Graham Builders, the Honolulu design-build company that undertook the project. “They wanted a home in the truest sense — a place for their family to live comfortably, while separated from day-to-day farming operations.”

Updated family farmhouse
The Waimanalo homeowner, Mark T., was referred to Graham Builders by his wife’s friend, who was very pleased by the work the company had done on her own project.
“We had an idea of what we wanted it to be,” Mark says. “Evan came up with a great floor plan that we really liked from the start.”

The family’s wish list: a two-story home with an indoor laundry room, an open kitchen with adjoining dining room, and a living room that overlooked their torch ginger and gardenia plants. They also wanted a large but separate carport with enough driveway space to park multiple vehicles.


Fujimoto says the biggest issues revolved around obtaining the building permit.

“The AG-zoned property had multiple structures, and part of the land was in a flood zone. It also required a new septic system to replace an existing cesspool,” he explains.

Additionally, topographical challenges necessitated re-grading the building site for proper drainage.

As Mark recounts, Graham Builders managed all of the steps in the complex process — from design, permitting, and financing through demolition and construction.

“We enjoyed watching the ground-up build, and being kept up to date on what was happening,” he says. “Everyone we came in contact with at the company was very resourceful.”


According to Fujimoto, working with the homeowners was the best part of this project.

“Mark and his wife wanted a total departure from what they had, and were open to new ideas,” he says, explaining the home’s unconventional “stretched” layout, in which areas are connected with covered walkways. “This allows family members to spread out and not feel cramped.”

The unusual floor plan allowed the team to highlight certain features.

“At the end of a long entry hall, there’s a beautiful tiled wall niche featuring a cherry blossom motif over a charcoal background,” Fujimoto says. “Both upstairs bedrooms have wonderful views of Olomana, and each room has its own en suite bath. One powder room boasts a long wall that’s covered completely with blue horizontal glass tiles from Tommy Bahama that give it a beach resort vibe.”

Like everything else in this lovely modern farmhouse, it’s a delightful surprise.


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 with Graham Builders’ free Building Your Home for Life seminar from 9 to 11 a.m. on July 13 at Honolulu Country Club. Register at or call 808-593-2808.