Tropical Modernism Makes a Comeback in Hawaii

Saying goodbye to bright colors, bold patterns and traditional island-style design, homebuyers are beginning to revive the trend of tropical modernism.

Creating a seductive, high-end feel while still drawing inspiration from local traditions, tropical modernism puts a spin on traditional island-style décor. Many buyers are paying premium prices for this trend, which calls for clean lines, a muted color palette and the use of exotic woods and stone.
Hoping to gain the attention of buyers, these Hawaiian homes are bringing back tropical modernism:

Kukui’ula
Kauai, Hawaii

This resort and real estate community on the sunny south shore of Kauai embodies the trend of tropical modernism through various custom homes, bungalows, villas and cottages. Celebrating indoor-outdoor living, Kukui’ula’s home design features breezy, open floor plans with a minimalistic approach to let the outdoors in. Highlights include floor-to-ceiling windows, outdoor showers in glass covered bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes with lush greenery.

Photos courtesy of Kukuiula

Hualalai Resort
Kailua-kona, Hawaii

Furnished by award-winning designer, Gina Willman, 72-3548 Kulanakauhale features contemporary interiors and clean lines complemented by natural materials. With versatile indoor-outdoor living space, the views of Hualālai Volcano, Mauna Kea and the Kohala Mountains are as spectacular as the panoramic Pacific Ocean views.

Photos courtesy of Hualalai

Residence 2604, a sleek residence designed by Bassman & Blaine, offers a relaxed, yet luxurious feel that pairs well with the world-class destination that is Kapalua Bay. The muted color palettes are highlighted with a pop of color to draw the attention to the scenic ocean background and provide a timeless, high-end feel for even the most discerning of buyers.

Photos courtesy of Montage Residences Kapalua Bay

Luana Garden Villas
Maui, Hawaii

The residences at Luana Garden Villas are thoughtfully designed for island living and combine tropical palette colors with sleek angles and geometric patterns. With residences available in two distinct color schemes, Vibrant and Serene, the interiors at Luana reflect the exterior natural landscape through a contemporary lens. The Serene scheme is inspired by the rare Hinahina (Silversword) plant that grows on the slopes of Haleakalā. This plant is believed to evoke serenity and peace and its soft greyish-white color informed the color palette for the Serene scheme. Characteristic of tropical modernism, Luana features wide, open spaces throughout each room and the expansive lanai at each villa.

Photos courtesy of Luana Garden Villas

Photos courtesy of Nic Lehoux

Ward Village
Honolulu, HI

Ward Village honors the rich culture of Hawaii’s past while transforming the destination into a model 21st century sustainable community, epitomizing tropical modernism by truly building a city of the future. Waiea, the first residential tower to be completed at Ward Village, has a sweeping, unparalleled glass façade and spacious view-oriented interiors. The interior, designed by Tony Ingrao, complements the building’s exterior with refined, exceptional detailing throughout. Ingrao embraced a clean aesthetic, keeping the design elegant and streamline — from sleek marbled bathroom walls to the clean, effortless lines of the kitchen and living spaces.

Hualalai’s individual communities each possess unique character and ambiance, all offering spectacular vistas and cooling tradewinds.

By Camilla McLaughlin

All photos courtesy Hualalai

An old Hawaiian saying is, “You don’t choose the island, the island chooses you.” After a recent visit to Hualalai on the island of Hawaii, I left completely smitten by the magic of the place, and in my wildest dreams I tend to think maybe I am one of the chosen.

It doesn’t take long to fall under the spell. Arrive at Hualalai and you’re greeted with a mai tai and a lei. Check-in takes place in a comfortable open-air space with the ocean shimmering under the moonlight in the distance. In a region awash with five-star properties, Hualalai is a standout, and what makes it so exceptional is passion — passion for the property paired with a reverence for the land and the Hawaiian culture that is shared by everyone who works there. It permeates every aspect of the resort from architecture to food to the Alaka‘ i Nalu, explorers of the waves. Very few places are able to orchestrate such a fine balance between authenticity, a connection to the land and a superlative guest experience.

During a recent visit, anticipation of an annual food and wine celebration with visiting celebrity chefs, was full on. An herb garden was being readied for a pop-up cooking academy. Chefs worked with David Choi, director of natural resources, to gather salt from a nearby stretch of beach. Also at the ready was a stock of oysters grown onsite in a lake fed by a subterranean aquifer and drawn through lava wells, only one of a couple sites verified by the state for this cultivation. These oysters are only available to residents and guests at the resort.

In addition to a Four Season’s resort, Hualalai includes residences ranging from villas to custom homes. Outdoor shower gardens, walls that disappear to open homes to the tradewinds, and designs that uniquely align with today’s lifestyle preferences are hallmarks, as are views of distant mountains and Maui. Almost everywhere, the ocean forms a backdrop thanks to changing elevations. Owners have extensive private amenities, including a clubhouse and restaurants. One of the resort’s two golf courses is private. Also reserved for residents is a beachfront restaurant, a prime place for dinner and sunset cocktails. Chefs at all the restaurants are masters at coaxing the best from the local bounty.   

Rather than buildings, the most prominent feature here is the landscape — miles of coastline and lava rocks, an iconic signature of the island. The grounds are extensive with pathways that meander past low-slung bungalows embraced by a jungle landscape. Locals like to say the resort sits lightly on the land, and that’s only possible when development is guided by a commitment to stewardship.

The U.S.’s 50th state is far from last when it comes to luxury real estate. As part of this waterfront edition of Unique Homes, we researched the 25 most expensive listings in The Aloha State. Although the country’s eighth smallest state, Hawaii offers the fourth longest coastline (behind just Alaska, Florida and California). From acreage to penthouses, from organic farms to rooftop lanais, our snapshot of Hawaii’s priciest offerings is as diverse as the archipelago’s environment.

$70,000,000
2676 E. Kauapea Rd., Kilauea
The ultimate Hawaii retreat on 15+ bluff-top acres with a white-sand beach, main house, guest pavilions, and caretaker’s quarters.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$45,000,000
5418 Weke Rd., Hanalei
A multi-property estate boasting old-Hawaii charm on the ocean at Hanalei Bay.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$36,000,000
1118 Ala Moana Blvd., GPH #36, Honolulu
The 10,000-square-foot Grand Penthouse has 5 bedrooms and over 1,300 square feet of outdoor patio space, including its own pool.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$35,000,000
1118 Ala Moana Blvd., GPH #35, Honolulu
On the 35th floor of Waiea, this 6-bedroom penthouse boasts a rooftop lanai with an ocean-facing infinity pool.
List Sotheby’s International Realty

$31,000,000
4200 Anini Vista Dr., Unit D, Kilauea
An impressive estate on the dramatic coastal bluff of Kauai’s North Shore with views of mountain, shoreline, reef and beyond.
Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty

$30,000,000
2620-A Kauapea Rd., Kilauea
This gated ocean-bluff estate has a deeded trail to the beach, a guest home and one of the most beautifully detailed homes on Kauai.
Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$29,500,000
2590 Kauapea Rd., Lot 65, KilaueaThis elevated 28-plus-acre estate features ocean, mountain and
extended coastal vistas.
Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$28,000,000
3244 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei
One of Maui’s most exclusive homes, this 13,422-square-foot residence is located on world-renowned Keawakapu Beach in South Maui.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$26,000,000
51 Kaikea Pl., Kailua
A 2.5-acre oceanfront property on 3 lots with private, gated access to Kailua Bay.
Aska Estate Hawaii Inc.

$25,000,000
4000 Wailea Alanui Dr., Apt. 102, Kihei
Magnificent, totally remodeled “double unit” with the most dramatic oceanfront location in South Maui.
Dave Wagner, Wailea Point Realty Inc.

$24,995,000
210 N. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua
Truly a resort within itself, this stunning Kailua beachfront estate has a 5-bedroom main house and 3-bedroom guesthouse. KW Worldwide

$23,000,000
69-1566 Puako Beach Dr., Kamuela
Majestic oceanfront residence comprised of 1.16 acres with approximately 450 feet of prime ocean frontage on the Kohala Coast.
Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$22,800,000
72 S. Kalaheo Ave., Kailua
House of Paradise, a chic, sophisticated, contemporary avenue-to-ocean beachfront estate on world-renowned Kailua Beach.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

$22,000,000
69-2014 Nani Paniau Dr., Kohala Coast
On 7.45 acres, this is one of the largest, privately owned oceanfront estates on the island of Hawaii.
Robert Chancer & Steve Hurwitz, Mauna Kea Realty

$21,500,000
4469-W N. Waiakalua Rd., Kilauea
This is one of the most profitable certified organic farms on Kauai and comes with a Hawaiian-Japanese-style home.
Neal Norman, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers

$20,000,000
73-2230 Ala Kohanaiki, Kailua-Kona
The Moana Residence, on the best lot at Kohanaiki, is a 5-bedroom, 5.5-bath home of approximately 7,000 square feet under roof.
Joni Metzler, Metzler Realty

$20,000,000
1133 Ikena Circle, Honolulu
With unparalleled attention to detail, this elegant property is designed in the 19th-century French style rarely seen today.
Sachi Hawaii, Pacific Century Properties

$20,000,000
5403 Kalanianaole Hwy., Honolulu
Sophisticated and modern 1.43-acre oceanfront estate with 185 linear feet of beach frontage, a tennis pavilion, sparkling pool, Jacuzzi and pool pavilion.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

$20,000,000
59-367 Ke Nui Rd., Haleiwa
Comprised of 2 properties. Here you can sit on your porch and have a front-row seat to view the world-famous surf spot called Pipeline.
List Sotheby’s International Realty

$19,900,000
3 Kapalua Pl., #3, Lahaina
A rare opportunity to own a stunning Island Contemporary architectural masterpiece by award-winning Hawaii architect Jeffrey Long.
Keller Williams Island Living

$19,500,000
600 Stable Rd., Paia
On approximately 500 linear feet of white-sand beach, this home offers world-class panoramic views of the ocean and the West Maui Mountains.
Wailea Realty Corp.

$18,000,000
2332 Makiki Heights Dr., Honolulu
One of the largest estates in metro Honolulu, this hillside property features a main house and guesthouse on beautifully landscaped grounds.
Patricia Choi, Choi International

$18,000,000
4383 Royal Pl., Honolulu
This island treasure, designed by Frank Roberts, AIA, has been home to the Doheny family for 50-plus years and offers the rarity of 165 linear feet of beach frontage.
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

$17,800,000
5949 Kalanianaole Hwy., Apt D, Honolulu
One-of-a-kind setting surrounded by water — a private lagoon on one side, a bird sanctuary on the other that opens out to the ocean.
Dolores Bediones & Takako Friend, Locations Hawaii

$17,750,000
280 Poipu Dr., Honolulu
One of the nicest oceanview homes on Oahu, situated for the trade winds, with the pool area offering perfect breezes to ensure comfort.
OahuRE.com

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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