Points of View

This Lanikai home t akes ad­van­tage of the jaw- drop­ping vist as that sur­rounds it.


WHEN IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER JENN JOHN­SON STARTS A PROJECT, SHE ASKS HER CLIENTS WHAT they want their house to feel like. With the own­ers of this Lanikai ridge home, she re­ceived a won­der­fully strong list of wishes and guide­lines, “and that's what makes a cus­tom home cus­tom, just for them,” notes John­son, whose com­pany, Indigo Repub­lic, is based in Kailua.

First re­quest, “NO white,” ex­claims John­son, “which if you know me, was re­ally dif­fi­cult. Next re­quest, no fake ma­te­ri­als. This made me re­ally love these home­own­ers even more.”

The own­ers, who were raised in Kailua, also wanted to make the home a space to host lots of fam­ily and friends, in­clud­ing an en­tire level de­signed just for guests. “My fa­vorite part is the pool guest room,” says John­son. “You can se­ri­ously dive right in from your bed.” “I think you should have fun with the liv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of a home,” says Karl Mench, owner and founder of de­sign/build firm Con­cept 2 Com­ple­tion. “And what could be bet­ter than slid­ing out the be­d­room win­dow into a pool?”

As a car­pen­ter, ar­chi­tect, and gen­eral con­trac­tor, Mench took on the project once the own­ers had a set of plans they'd worked on, ad­justed the plans, and then car­ried the project all the way through the fin­ished prod­uct.

“They had a fairly de­vel­oped de­sign con­cept,” ex­plains Mench. “Af­ter some back and forth we restarted and took ideas that worked best with the site and ex­panded on them.”

Be­cause of the site's spec­tac­u­lar ocean views, Mench ori­en­tated as many spa­ces as pos­si­ble towards the view of the Moku­lua is­lands and the Wind­ward coast. “We were able to give ev­ery space a view of the ocean.”

Af­ter what Mench de­scribes as the al­ways-dif­fi­cult per­mit process, his team moved the project into con­struc­tion. The most chal­leng­ing site con­di­tion was the steep­ness of the lot, which was solved by cut­ting into the hill­side and build­ing a large re­tain­ing wall to cre­ate a flat build­ing site.

“The flat lot was needed in or­der to pro­vide the ex­te­rior liv­ing spa­ces de­sired by the client,” notes Mench, de­scrib­ing the site it­self as the big­gest chal­lenge dur­ing the three-year build in­clud­ing the site work.

“We had a spot where the neigh­bors' drive­way and house al­lowed us an ac­cess of only 10 feet by 10 feet. All ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing 40-foot steel I-beams, had to come up on the back of a pick up truck.

We also have a very tight space on the site where we could lift large struc­tural pieces. We had to back way out at ev­ery stage and not paint our­selves into a cor­ner.”

“Karl Mench took a prop­erty that was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to build on and made it hap­pen,” says the owner. “He took our ideas and melded them with his own and de­signed a home with flow and an un­der­stated el­e­gance that we love.”

John­son feels the end-re­sult pushes the de­sign en­ve­lope.

“I was so im­pressed with how both the home­own­ers and ar­chi­tect re­ally pushed the trop­i­cal mod­ern de­sign far be­yond my ex­pec­ta­tions. I was hon­ored to work with such an amaz­ing team of crafts­men, builders, de­sign­ers and clients. We def­i­nitely had the “A” team, and you can see that in the fi­nal prod­uct.”

The house proved it had the ca­pac­ity to en­ter­tain on a ma­jor scale when it was bro­ken in with a birth­day bash for more than 100 peo­ple, a party which be­came one of the team's dead­lines. “I re­ally got to see what the own­ers meant by "en­ter­tain­ing,'” ex­claims John­son. “It was so amaz­ing to watch the house eas­ily ac­com­mo­date such a large group of friends and fam­ily.”

The flow be­tween the ex­te­rior and in­te­rior spa­ces al­lowed the group to move eas­ily in the space, which max­i­mizes the full po­ten­tial of ev­ery inch of the hill­side lot.

“When the large slid­ing doors are opened, you have a beau­ti­ful in­door/ out­door liv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Mench.

“My fa­vorite space is the kitchen and liv­ing room ar­eas.”

John­son agrees. “I could lit­er­ally sit in the liv­ing room for days watch­ing the ocean chan­nel. It's one of the most breath­tak­ing views I 've seen in Lanikai. Be­sides sit­ting on your own linen sec­tional with a silk rug un­der your feet, you can watch the en­tire stretch of Lanikai Beach from the pri­vacy of your home. All the walls are glass and pocket back, so you can re­ally con­trol the air­flow.”

“The views from the mas­ter be­d­room are also very spe­cial,” adds Mench. “When­ever you can see the ocean and Moku­luas from your bed you've done some­thing right.”

“Ever ything is cen­tered around t hose beau­ti­ful ocean views,” says ar­chi­tect and con­tract or Karl Mench. “The big­gest re­quire­ment was t o give each room an ocean view.” In t he mas­ter be­d­room, both an ocean and Lanikai r idge view greet t he own­ers ever y morn­ing.

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