Swell Design and Stately Stonework

A Diamond Head residence is transformed into an Island dreamscape.
Swell Design Diamond Head
Photos: Olivier Koning

When Swell Design reimagined this project on the east side of Oahu, it honed in on the breathtaking landscape. Taking advantage of the beachy locale, the international design company dedicated nearly two years to a full-scale rebuild, modernizing the home to achieve its full potential. From its grand picture windows to the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a sprawling patio, this abode was designed for residents and guests to take in the seascape from any vantage point.

“We wanted to gain floor height to maximize the ocean view from the main floor through the master bedroom and kitchen,” explains Daikichi Saito, Swell Design project manager. Once that was achieved, the team got to work to ensure the ocean views from the different rooms in the house were just as good.

Those mesmerizing ocean views drew the team to the property and inspired it to bring natural elements into its interiors through details like exposed wood and textured stone. Saito describes the design as a transitional living style, which blends both classic and modern aesthetics. The result is updated and fresh, complementing the Island feel of the Diamond Head neighborhood.

Swell Design Diamond Head

Inlaid carpet-cut geometric tile creates a stylish effect on the entryway floors.

Balance is key for transitional style — and was achieved here with the contrast of white wood paneling with natural beams, black fixtures and railings, and statement-making stone accents. The Swell Design team added its signature touch of functional, fluid layouts for ease and entertaining, along with its trademark staircase design.

“We wanted to have a space where homeowners and guests could maximize the open space with the pool deck or even the lanai, and added a spiral staircase to connect the pool to the dining room, which we have done on every project we have built,” shares Saito.

The four bedroom, four bathroom open-air abode encourages the eye to wander, whether you are taking in the sights and details from the dining room, pool deck or bathrooms. Swell designer Robert Chang collaborated with Meagan Jensen of Bella Pietra Design on each space, selecting artful tiles that evoke a sense of effortless elegance.

Diamond Head Bathroom Terrazzo

Floors in the private bathroom off the master bedroom showcase custom-cut old-world terrazzo tile.

They enhanced the foyer with a carpet-cut geometric tile that lays framed by the entryway — it’s an innovative feature that Jensen describes as “a built-in marble rug.” As Chang and Jensen moved through the house, they identified ways in which natural stones could playfully add to the aesthetic in each room. “We focused a lot on bathrooms, which are a great place to splurge on something unique and creative,” shares Jensen.

For flooring in the private bathroom off the master bedroom, they chose an old-world terrazzo by Artistic Tile, a brand carried exclusively in Hawaii by Bella Pietra Design. The large-format tiles were custom-cut throughout the bathroom floor to flow seamlessly, despite their varying sizes, from the double vanity; these tiles were also used in smaller cuts in the shower.

Diamond Head Ombre Shower

Billie Ombré marble tile, which is hand-laid on mesh before installation, was used for this accent wall in the master shower.

A bold accent wall in the master shower features Billie Ombré marble tile, which is customizable and intricately hand-laid on mesh before installation. The design team chose to trim the edges of the accent wall with black details, ensuring the continuity of open, white shower space while also elongating the walls and expanding the ceiling height. “I really like doing a vertical strip, which they did in both of the two master bathrooms right behind the fixtures, so you’re facing the accent while you shower,” explains Jensen.

Another standout space is a powder room located on the bottom floor of the home. Lilac marble was an unconventional choice here, with gentle violet hues that create a subtle yet stately effect. “I love when people do something cool in spaces like the foyer and powder room to give it that instantaneous wow factor that guests will remember,” says Jensen. “I’ve always wondered if lilac was too specific a color, and I thought the result was so elegant and cool.”

Diamond Head Lilac Marble

Lilac marble in this powder room adds opulence to the small space with statement-making stonework.

The sophistication of this Island oasis is evident in its clean lines and artistic aesthetic. “In this house, every room has its own identity, but with cohesive natural elements that pull it all together,” shares Jensen. Showcasing their elevated approach to transitional style, the partnership between Swell Design and Bella Pietra Design made this home a gem in the heart of Honolulu.


Editor’s Note: This article has been slightly modified from the original print version for optimal online reading. To view the full print story, subscribe to our digital edition or pick up your copy of Hawaii Home + Remodeling at one of our partner locations.

Categories: Featured Homes, Interior Design, New Builds