Living On The Ridge

Barker Kappelle Construction designs and builds a modern home on Hawaii Loa Ridge.
Photo: Olivier Koning

High atop Hawaii Loa Ridge, a steeply sloped lot sat vacant for three decades after the neighborhood was developed with stucco-style homes and concrete-tiled roofs.

That was until Phillip Barker of Barker Kappelle Construction received an inquiry about the property from a man who wanted a modern home on the ridge. Barker Kappelle has a reputation for high-quality, reliable, design-build residential construction and the lot owner knew he could trust the company to get the job done right.

The request was simple: Build a solid house correctly in a minimalist style with indoor/outdoor living space and a large pool. 

While the orders were straightforward, there was a reason this lot sat vacant as hundreds of homes were built around it. The Homeowner’s Association strictly enforces its own unique technical rules relating to maximum floor area, roof slopes and height restrictions. While easy enough to follow for the majority of properties in the community, applying them to this particular lot, with its challenging grade, created hurdles that could only be overcome by steadfast dedication and creativity.

Barker enlisted lifelong friends, Cameron and Ingrid Cotton, for the architectural portion of Barker Kappelle Construction’s  plans for a modern, minimalist house that the lot owner would be proud of and the association would approve. The team communicated frequently with the owner, carefully designing a house that would, in several instances, come within a 10th of a percent of meeting the committee’s allowances.

“Everything was maximized,” Cameron Cotton says. For example, the total floor area cannot exceed 40 percent of the lot size, so his design takes up 39.9 percent.

The result is a modern house that rewards the owner and builders for trying something bold and different while meeting regulations. 

The expansive lanai is connected to the open-concept kitchen and living area by Fleetwood doors. The lanai is partially shaded by a vertical-grain cedar roof, and the floor is made of porcelain tile. 

The cladding on the exterior of the house pairs white coral with vertical-grain red cedar. “Each individual board spans the length of the particular side of the house; there are no joints,” Barker says. The design gives the house a clean look while blending with the environment.

The four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home is three stories, but a passerby on the street would never know. The 18-foot height restriction combined with the 40-foot height differential of the sloped lot were embraced by Barker and Cotton with creativity and determination. 

The homeowner is an avid diver, and wanted water incorporated throughout the house. He and his guests enter the home through a custom-built terrace and walnut door, and are greeted with an open main level and a tile wall representing water. When the 36-foot-wide Fleetwood doors are opened, the main level becomes even larger, with a nearly 1,000-square-foot lanai. The wraparound glass handrail is the perfect, transparent frame for a striking, unobstructed view of Diamond Head.

A tile wall representing water separates the entryway from the house.

The kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, including a 42-inch Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer, Miele oven and Wolf stovetop. The countertops, backsplash and seamless kitchen island with waterfall edges are made of Caesarstone quartz. The owner loves the lift-up cabinet doors, which provide easy access to necessities while moving throughout the large kitchen.

The terraced floor plan places the bedrooms below the expansive lanai, eliminating the sound of footsteps from above when getting a night’s rest. Each of the four bedrooms has an en-suite bath.

The exterior cladding pairs white coral with vertical-grain red cedar spanning the length of the house, without joints. 

The homeowner’s most important request was for a large pool, and Barker Kappelle Construction delivered, with a 60-foot-long pool and 12-person Jacuzzi, with a seamless waterline between the two, and an ocean view. The pool deck tile curves into the pool with a soft edge, a fine detail replicated throughout the house, with its soft, clean, parallel lines.

Barker Kappelle Construction overcame complexities presented by the site and the building restrictions to design and build a modern, minimalist house on Hawaii Loa Ridge of which everyone involved is proud. 

Barker and the homeowner have become great friends through collaborating to bring the vision to fruition.

The homeowner wanted the entry to look like a picture frame. To meet association guidelines, the trellis is detached from the house and cantilevered eight feet from the wall, creating an interesting architectural feature and playful shadows.

“This house hasn’t really been a job,” Barker says, but more a pleasure, in that he was given the trust and opportunity to work with his good friends to create something unique and breathtaking. 

Cotton agrees. “It was definitely one of the most challenging houses I’ve had to design, but it was quite rewarding, as well, to know the hoops we had to jump through. To see the house today is quite rewarding for myself and Phillip.”

Categories: Architecture, Featured Homes, Interior Design