Hawaii Architects and Interior Designers You Need to Know

Architects and designers that have influenced the landscape of Hawaii homes.
Hawaii Architects and Interior Designers You Need to Know
Photo: Courtesy of Kukuiula

Along with our pristine beaches, tropical weather and diverse food, Hawaii is filled with architectural gems of old and new that are influenced by a blend of designs and styles. The Islands’ architects have created gorgeous facades filled with stunning designs by local interior designers. Together, they elevate a house into a place to call home. 

Both of these design professions will be a core part of your team in building or remodeling your Hawaii home, shares Ross Morishige, Realtor-Associate, List Sotheby’s International Realty. As a leading real estate firm, List Sotheby’s International Realty knows the ins and outs of the Hawaii real estate market and can help you understand Hawaii architecture and design, past and present. 

When it comes to finding the right team for your new home or remodel, Morishige suggests trusting in friends and family for recommendations, as well as the local chapters of the American Institute of Architects and American Society of Interior Designers. “Choosing the right architect or interior designer is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong decision, however a great deal of thought and discussion should be spent on understanding how you (the client) work and communicate with them – you are building a team. 

“Taking the first steps to make your big idea, your dream, a reality will take some homework in the beginning, but will result in something that will be enjoyed for years to come,” Morishige adds about the process. 

Whether you are looking for an existing property or starting anew, here are the Islands’ need-to-know architects and interior designers, as shared by the team of real estate agents at List Sotheby’s International Realty. 


hawaii arrchitects
Photo: Courtesy of Liljestrand Foundation
Vladimir Ossipoff 

An important element of island architecture is the bridging between indoors and outdoors to bring in nature and connect spaces — and there’s one architect who’s well-known for his modern way of doing so. “Bringing Hawaii into the modern era like Frank Lloyd Wright did on the Mainland, Vladimir Ossipoff was one of Hawaii’s great architects,” says Tusha Buntin, Realtor-Associate, List Sotheby’s International Realty. “His iconic Liljestrand House on Tantalus has all the elements for living within nature and what Hawaii is best for.” 

Ossipoff’s midcentury modern design style integrates the outdoors in many ways, for instance, the use of natural wood, cantilevered balconies, large windows and open ceilings, shares Buntin. “His sense of design heightens the human senses of light, color, temperature and materials in a modern way.”  

Peter Vincent Architects  

“What I love about their design is that, in my opinion, it has a heavy resemblance to Ossipoff’s work,” shares Mike Poscablo, Realtor-Associate, List Sotheby’s International Realty. “The way they utilize the ‘living lanai’ concept into their design is exactly how Ossipoff would have done it – incorporating the outdoors into the interior living spaces, only with a contemporary twist.”  

Morishige points out that Peter Vincent Architects has had “a long history in Honolulu of high-quality residential architectural design.” 

Hawaii Architects
Photo: Courtesy of Kukui‘ula
Dean Sakamoto 

Dean Sakamoto wrote the book on Ossipoff’s influential work and has his own design fit for the Islands. “I was very taken by Dean’s current work on Kauai at Kahalawai 38 with Kukuiula,” says Buntin, recognizing Sakamoto’s own influence on Hawaii’s architectural heritage. “Again, like Ossipoff, Dean uses wood and open spaces that fit the environment so well. As an art historian and Realtor, I connected with his sensibilities of light, form and color.” 

White Space Architects 

“This … is another architecture firm that does amazing Hawaii-style architecture,” shares Poscablo. “What stands out with the work that White Space Architects does is that their residential design style is very traditional with some modern influence.” He says the firm typically uses local material and “the way the architecture blends into the environment is harmonious, really embracing the natural environment and framing the landscape.” 


Hawaii Interior Designers
Photo: Olivier Koning, Courtesy of Jamie Jackson Design
Jamie Jackson of Jamie Jackson Design 

Jamie Jackson’s award-winning designs and years of experience — designing places from Oahu and Kauai to New York City — make her a must-know designer in Hawaii. “She has a fantastic sense of flow, proportion and design in her work that the habitat is a joy to be a part of,” shares Buntin. An example of such work is this midcentury Ossipoff residence in Lanikai, Oahu. “Heightening Ossipoff’s architecture, Jamie has brought new modern color and shapes, which fit with the residence,” says Buntin. 

Philpotts Interiors 

“Philpotts Interiors, which specializes in creating luxury residential interiors specifically for our island living, has a long history in the Islands for quality design,” shares Morishige. Founding designer Mary Philpotts McGrath wrote a book, “A Sense of Place,” that details island design and lifestyle, a recommended read from Buntin. “I have worked with them for many years and feel that they are the best of Hawaii in this realm.”  

If you’re looking to purchase a piece of paradise, visit List Sotheby’s International Realty on its website to find its list of real estate agents and properties. 

Ross Morishige, Realtor-Associate, HI License RS-72073, 321-0468, rmorishige@listsir.com. Find his agent profile here

Tusha Buntin, Realtor-Associate, HI License RS-82314, 372-0757, tbuntin@listsir.com. Find his agent profile here

Mike Poscablo, Realtor-Associate, HI License RS-81089, 356-9923, mposcablo@listsir.com. Find his agent profile here.  

Categories: Homebuying Hawaii