Page 16 - Hawaii Renovation - Feb 20, 2022
P. 16

FEBRUARY 20, 2022
Our beautiful islands are known around the planet for glo-
rious weather. However, as locals know very well, Oahu has its own “climate zones” — areas whose weather patterns and conditions are subtly different from the sunny stereotype.
“Some properties get a lot of rain, wind or salt spray, which must be considered,” says Malia Yee, senior de- signer for Graham Build- ers. “And properties with no particular climate chal- lenges might be located on a busy corner or near a bus
stop. Every home should be designed for its own unique surroundings.”
Before any project be- gins, Yee and her team study each site thoroughly, observing conditions and thinking about how to max- imize the comfort, privacy and beauty of each home.
On properties in wet- ter surroundings, houses are sited — positioned on the lot — so that drain- age flows away from them. Yee recommends post and pier foundations for such homes.
“They’re less susceptible
to flooding, and offer stor- age space under the house and easy access to plumb- ing,” she explains. “Addi- tionally, depending on soils and topography, costs can be lower than for a slab foundation.”
Typical design features for wetter environments include connected garag- es, and covered walkways and entryways. Proper con- struction techniques are employed for building wrap and siding finishes. Trex® decking is often used be- cause it doesn’t need paint- ing and won’t rot.
“We always consider which direction the pre- dominant wind and rain come from,” Yee adds. “On that side of the house, we plan for larger overhangs, higher or double-hung win- dows, and no entry doors. We recommend no carpet- ing in these homes, and
outlets in closets for dehu- midifiers.”
Living on or near the ocean is delightful, but ex- treme exposure to seaside elements, especially salt, can cause a great deal of wear and tear on structures over time. Residential el- evations follow FEMA re- quirements, protecting the home from storm surges.
“We recommend impact- rated windows and walls, and concrete floors,” says Yee. “Also, ocean breezes can be less than pleasant when they are heavy and constant. Windows and doors should be thoughtfully oriented for homeowner comfort.”
Because most of Gra- ham Builders projects are designed and built for gen- erations of families, the com-
pany takes no shortcuts. For example, the firm’s designers view retaining walls as a fea- ture meant to hold back earth. These barriers never serve as house walls of Graham Build- ers’ homes.
“Some builders do this, but the walls of your house should not hold back earth,” Yee ex- plains. “In time, the pressure of the earth will break down the sheathing on the wall, which can result in problems with mold, mildew, termites and other pests.”
Corner lots can be chal- lenging, and the Graham Builders team employs a variety of design tech- niques to help ensure pri- vacy and sound reduction for homeowners.
The topography of a corner lot often drives the location of a home’s driveway and garage, and its overall de-
sign. House designs must al- low for driver visibility around corners as well.
“The main thing is to avoid building a structure with a corner that thrusts out to- ward the intersection,” says Yee, who instead designs homes with an “inside” cor- ner on these lots. “That opens the yard so you can cluster trees, adding privacy, while minimizing street noise. Re- member, ‘curb appeal’ is a complementary combination of design and landscaping!”
A leader in the design and construction of multigenera- tional homes and aging-in- place design, Graham Build- ers is the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii Torch Award for eth- ics in small business. Its next free Building Your Home for Life seminar is scheduled for Saturday, March 12. Register now at or call 808-593-2808.

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