Rebuilding for Multigenerational Living

A local family rebuilds a home fit for each member’s needs.
modern teal kitchen
Photo: Olivier Koning

The owner of this honolulu property was at a crossroads. Her family home had been well maintained since it was built about 60 years ago, but a few major projects were coming due at the same time. Coupled with her family’s changing needs, she considered whether to remodel, sell and buy somewhere turnkey, or tear down and build new. She decided to stay and have a new home built on the property that’s always been home.

living room
The living room is outfitted with sofas from HomeWorld Furniture and colorful pillows from Pacific Home.

The family chose to work with design-build firm Graham Builders to craft their new house. One of Graham Builders’ specialties is multigenerational homes with aging-in-place features. This was important to the homeowner, who wanted a house she could safely grow old in. It would need to have separate living areas for the three generations that live here: a private suite on the ground floor for herself and enough room on the second story to accommodate her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, with common spaces to share with one another.

The stairway’s open cable rail helps the adjacent living room feel a bit larger.

Graham Builders designed and built a contemporary two-story, three-bed, three-bath home that gives the family shared spaces to enjoy together, and rooms to retreat to for privacy.

The grandmother’s suite is easily accessible from the two-car garage and front door. It has a wet bar, plenty of storage and room for her to relax and move about. The bathroom is spacious and designed to accommodate needs that could arise in the future.

“Extra space in front of the vanity and toilet make it easy to maneuver a walker and possible wheelchair,” explains Evan Fujimoto, president of Graham Builders. “A zero-step shower is easy to enter – nothing to step over! – and the mosaic tile floor provides more ‘grip’ than larger floor tiles would. Behind the shower walls is bracing for future grab bars – the grandmother did not want to install them now.”

kids bedroom
The granddaughter got involved in the plans for the new home, too, selecting for her bedroom a unicorn theme and the paint color: Sherwin-Williams’ Aquacade (SW 7130) in Duration satin sheen.

Her suite provides the peace of mind that she can continue living here, at the place that’s always been home. “I’ve learned as the older generations in a home begin to have greater needs due to normal aging, it may have been time to think ahead,” she says. “I wanted a ground floor space to plan for aging. I’ve learned that you do not want to wait until something unexpected happens and you are forced to make other choices at the last minute.”

storage space
The grandmother’s suite is equipped with a wet bar and storage space.

On the second story, the young couple and their daughter have their own bedrooms and bathrooms. The family comes together in shared spaces of the open-concept kitchen, dining and living areas. It’s where the family spends much of their time, crafting at the kitchen table, cooking and sharing meals with one another. When they need time alone, they can each retreat to their own private space.

The shower walls are easy-to-clean solid surfaces, with bracing behind them for grab bars to be installed later. The shower head is adjustable to accommodate washing while sitting or standing, and a spout makes cleaning feet easier.

“This home offers the homeowners’ trifecta of hopes: privacy, functionality and flexibility,” Fujimoto says.

The kitchen is the heart of this family home. It has more than enough counter space and storage for the family’s appliances, which helps with organization and convenience, but their favorite part is the expansive view. “We wanted to take advantage of our fabulous city view of the Waikiki skyline,” the homeowner explains. In the old house, the family could watch the sunset from this location, on what was then an outside staircase to the second floor. “Nothing is better than ending your day to watch something so breathtakingly beautiful,” the homeowner says of their sunset view. “The colors awaken your spirit.” 



Categories: Family, Featured Homes, New Builds