Easy spring cleaning designs

Once a daunting event for many homeowners, spring cleaning has been simplified by practical, thoughtful home design.

“If you’re planning to build a new residence, or remodel an older one, there are plenty of options for design and materials that make spring cleaning — indeed, cleaning any time — much easier,” says Evan Fujimoto, president of Honolulu design/ build firm Graham Builders.


With the availability of solid-surface and quartz countertops, kitchen and bathroom maintenance has never been simpler.

“Both types are non-porous and easier to clean,” Fujimoto says. “Quartz can chip at its edges, especially around sinks, but solid surface can be refinished with fine sanding/buffing.”

Kitchens designed by Graham Builders often include soffits — boxy structures built to close the space between cabinets and ceilings.

“Tall cabinets provide storage, but top shelves are hard to access,” Fujimoto observes. “If you don’t need storage, build soffits to minimize high, dust-collecting areas.”

For both kitchens and bathrooms, Fujimoto’s team recommends solid-surface integral sinks, which eliminate seams between counter and bowl.

“With undermount porcelain sinks, the caulked seam below the counter overhang turns black over time,” he warns. “Solid surface or quartz is easiest to maintain in showers, too.”

If your heart’s set on tile, Fujimoto recommends larger format tiles (12 inches by 24 inches) to minimize grout lines.

“And remember to use small tiles on shower floors, to increase grout lines for better grip,” he advises.

Designers should avoid “landlocked” bathrooms — windowless baths with no access to exterior walls.

“Locating bathrooms on corners means you can have a window in the shower and another behind the commode,” Fujimoto shares.


For every room designed by Graham Builders, homeowners are offered a variety of options for simplifying maintenance.

“Tilt-in double-hung windows are very popular,” says Fujimoto. “They’re ideal for second-floor windows since the outside of the window swings down into the home like a tabletop and can be cleaned as effortlessly as wiping your dining table.”

When it comes to flooring, porcelain tile in light shades is durable, but hard to keep clean. Real wood, while easy to maintain, eventually requires refinishing. Fujimoto says his team installs plenty of luxury vinyl plank (LVP).

“Swiffer mops are all you need to keep LVP looking terrific.”

Designers at Graham Builders recommend homeowners keep light fixtures low and accessible.

“For cleaning or changing bulbs, it’s best to avoid high pendant fixtures on staircases where they’re hard to reach,” says Fujimoto. “Wall sconces are better options for stairs.”

High on the list of desirable features for home maintenance: a central vacuum cleaner.

“It makes cleaning convenient and less labor-intensive. It’s also a smart choice for those will allergies since the central vacuum collects dust in a central canister away from living areas for easier disposal,” Fujimoto says.

A leader in the design and construction of multigenerational homes and aging-in-place design, Graham Builders is the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii Torch Award for ethics in small business. The next free Building Your Home for Life seminar is scheduled for Saturday, June 4. Register now at grahambuilders.com or call 808-593-2808.