An Aged Pearl City House is Remodeled for a Growing Family

Creativity turns design challenges into beautiful opportunities.
Photos: Olivier Koning

Relocating from the San Francisco Bay Area back home to Hawaii, Lynn and Kurt Naito needed to find a house that could accommodate their young and growing family.

They found an old house in its original condition for sale in the Momilani neighborhood of Pearl City — a gem, considering its close proximity to both their parents’ houses and placement within a good school district.

The Naitos purchased the 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with the intention to remodel, as it needed a lot of work before they could call it home.

“It had good bones, so we knew we could play around with it to make it our own,” Lynn says.

One of those “bones” was a large central beam supporting the structure of the house, which set the tone for the remodeling project.

Atlas Construction President Bruce Kim was able to design the Naitos’ renovation to incorporate the central and supporting beams into the aesthetics and functionality of the house.

“We were able to incorporate some of the existing architecture that we couldn’t change and make it modern,” Lynn says. “Atlas Construction made the beams look like they match, as opposed to being purely functional.”

The open-concept design allows the family of five to be in separate spaces within the same area. 

To accommodate the additional space the Naitos wanted, including a laundry room, a pantry, a play area for the kids and an open-concept living area, Atlas Construction added 400 square feet to the house, extending the length and width of the beams to support the additional square footage.

“Those beams became so large that they kind of stuck out; they were very pronounced, almost an eyesore,” Kim says. “We based a lot of the elements around that. We knew we couldn’t hide them, so we brought attention to them.”

Atlas Construction used a dark stain to create a cohesive, complementary look that matched the new front door and kitchen cabinets from Bekin Cabinets. Strip LED lighting with high lumen was installed on both sides of the central beam to brighten the otherwise dark interior of the central living area.

Opaque glass sliding doors on the pantry and play area allow natural light in, even when pulled shut.

Scraped stranded-bamboo flooring connects the spaces while providing durability to withstand the wear and tear from the childrens’ inevitable dropped toys throughout the house. “We didn’t think of doing hardwood floors because of the kid factor,” Kurt says, but, with this design, a new ding would simply look like part of the flooring.

The expanded living area feels even larger now that it extends into a walk-in pantry and play area on either side of the front door. Both of these new spaces can be closed off with opaque glass sliding doors that allow natural ambient light to stream into the living area, while providing privacy from the outside. The sliding doors are also an easy way to separate spaces when needed, such as when entertaining guests.

Kim matched the opaque glass of the sliding doors to the new oak shaker with spray-on, dark-coffee lacquer kitchen cabinets to provide balance and texture to the connected rooms.

“It creates a space for us to bond and come together more as a family.”
– Kurt Naito, homeowner

“What I really liked about working with Bruce was he had such a good vision for the house. He stretched the comfort zone of what we were looking for, bringing us cool touches I never would’ve dreamed of,” Lynn says.

The renovated house is exactly what the Naitos wanted. The connected and open-concept kitchen, dining, living and play areas allow the parents and young children to be in the same place, yet in separate spaces.

“It creates a space for us to bond and come together more as a family,” Kurt says. “It allows for more family cohesion and enough space for us to all be there at the same time.”

Categories: Family, Featured Homes