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Hawaiian Home Traditions that are now “Mainstream”

Hawaiian homes are often a blend of several architectural traditions, drawing inspiration from the pre-mission homes designed for multigenerational living to more contemporary styles made to protect and sustain Hawaii’s unique environment.

Whatever the style, Hawaiian homes are certainly unique. However, mainstream residential architecture is beginning to incorporate several elements of traditional island living into their designs. So next time you check out the latest new builds in your neighborhood or even start working with an architect to design a home of your own, see if you can spot these newly mainstream Hawaiian home traditions…

A Kitchen-centric Indoor/Outdoor Living Space: We talked about the importance of outdoor living spaces in our post about Lanai porches, but many Hawaiian homes take this trend a step further by connecting their kitchen directly to their outdoor living space. And in some homes, a secondary outdoor kitchen is included as well, making the transition from indoor to outdoor cooking and dining practically seamless.

Rainy weather? No problem. In homes that extend the living space off the kitchen, the outdoor space is often covered, and sliding or bi-fold glass doors allow the home to be closed-off when absolutely necessary.

Double Kitchens and Prep Spaces: Multigenerational living is still very common in Hawaii, with grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren all living together and sharing common living spaces. That also means many homes come equipped with both a kitchen and a kitchenette, or a larger kitchen with double stove tops, ovens, and sinks to facilitate multiple families.

Second Entrances and Master Suites: Multigenerational living doesn’t just happen in the kitchen. Homes designed for multiple families often include separate entrances and secondary master suites, allowing each generation a degree of privacy and convenience. And though multigenerational living is slowly on the rise outside of Hawaii, this design is ideal for single family homes as well since the secondary entrance and master bedroom create a perfect opportunity for rental income.

Tiny (Affordable) Homes for All: Hawaii’s policies for ADUs and Ohana Units allow residents to build additional living spaces on their existing property, providing a perfect template for followers of the Tiny House movement when it comes to creating a functional space with limited square footage. The ADU and Ohana movement prove that tiny homes are not just for those hoping to live “off the grid” but a sustainable way to increase affordable housing opportunities within the community.

Gone Green: Hawaiian residential design often leads the sustainable building movement, finding new ways to conserve energy and natural resources so that Hawaii stays beautiful for everyone. Fortunately, these green practices are now becoming standard, and more and more homes are incorporating energy-efficient appliances, solar energy, and rainwater conservation techniques in their design plans.

We love seeing elements of traditional Hawaiian home design incorporated into mainstream residential architecture. And if you’re ready to build your dream space, we’re here to help. Contact us today to get started on finding every member of your team, from architects and designers to contractors and builders. And don’t forget to check out our free online estimator so you can start your project with your end budget in mind.