Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Winter Blues (and Greens and Taupes)

Writer James Sturz discovers the beauty of Hawaii in the winter.

It’s winter, and there’s snow in Hawaii (that’s Mauna Kea glistening above the cloud line at 13,796 feet), so we’ve taken to the sand.

Each time we visit Hawaii to check on construction, we try out new beaches, seeing what we can discover.

Here’s Waimanu Valley Beach on the Hamakua Coast. It’s a seven-hour hike to get there.

The rocky coast and natural pool, off the coastal path, just in front of our house. This one requires climbing down a rope.

By comparison, Manini’owali Beach—named for one of the local fish—is just an easy drive through Kekaha Kai State Park from the highway.

Puako, aka Beach 69, is named for the nearest telephone pole—not anything more suggestive.

Kauna’oa Bay, home of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, is one of our great favorites. By that, I mean both the hotel and the beach, which is possibly suggestive enough. We’re talking now about joining its club, because its tennis courts along the coast are dazzling, and then there’s its even more dazzling collection of art.

Plus, there’s Sunset Beach on Oahu’s north shore, where if ever a photo made me want to surf, this one is it.

On the subject of sand and rocks and other hunks and lumps of ground, we’ve nearly poured all the cement for the walkways and lanais in North Kohala. The cement wobbled like dough as it sluiced out of the truck, practically kneading itself into place.

Our dog, Moai, carefully left his prints. It’ll be his house, too. The cows already know this. (But check my previous entry, if you missed that story.)

Inside the house, the flooring and tiling’s starting to go in. Here’s Natural Fossilized Eucalyptus from Cali Bamboo. It’s going into Paula’s studio, the downstairs guestrooms, and their sleeping lofts. (Moai should be further pleased that the planks are scratch-resistant, or at least we’ll be.)

There’ll be travertine in the guest showers, as well as in the Jack-and-Jill bathroom between my office and the library, where we’ll use Cali Bamboo’s engineered cork, made from reclaimed cork meant for wine bottles. It’s about to be installed, but here it is beside our back-up generator, along with the office-bathroom-library view:

Our master bathroom will have marble tile, but the largest spaces—our master bedroom and the open living room/dining room/kitchen—will simply have polished cement as a visual counterpoint to all the green and blue outside. This is what it’s like in the kitchen so far, with its suspended Miele 48” DA 424 V-6 island hood, which will rise and descend once we have power, by communicating via Wi-Fi with the Miele 36” KM 6375 flush induction cooktop beneath it.

But each day here, especially at the beach, ends with a descending spectacle of its own.

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