Similar to the kitchen triangle concept, Graham Builders has identified the ‘entertainment triangle’ consisting of the kitchen, indoor/outdoor living areas and an easy to access powder room.

As the holiday season approaches, you might find yourself dreaming of upgrading your home for Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas, or other gatherings.

Planning a home construction project that transitions from daily family life to big holiday parties requires expert help. As Honolulu’s oldest residential design+build firm, Graham Builders has helped hundreds of families to improve their homes. Evan Fujimoto, the firm’s president, offers these useful tips.

“Start at the front entry door. It should look beautiful and welcoming! As guests enter, views of your garden or lanai are like warm greeting. “It’s best to avoid abrupt entries like front doors that immediately open into a living area.” 

Flow within and between spaces should be natural and easy. “It’s generally best to design flexible, multi-functional spaces that work for daily family activities, intimate dinners and large gatherings,” Fujimoto added. Similar to the concept of the kitchen triangle,  the “entertainment triangle” as he describes it, consists of the kitchen, indoor/outdoor living areas and a powder room that’s easily accessible from all of them.

Speaking of powder rooms, it’s best to tuck their entrances discreetly around corners or in hallways. “Bathrooms that open up to public spaces are awkward,” said Fujimoto, “and guests shouldn’t have to go through a family’s private spaces to access them.” 

Layers of lighting are captured through clerestory windows, overhead lights and under cabinet mounted task lights.

Layered interior lighting greatly enhance a room’s appeal and mood. Illuminate rooms with an ambient overhead lighting, use accent lighting for special focal points, and task lighting for smaller work areas. “And there are plenty of great outdoor lighting options,” said Fujimoto. “Look for those that create a safe environment – and illuminate landscaping for a beautiful effect.”

Design outdoor areas to accommodate comfortable seating and tables to hold drinks and pupus. If you have a family of musicians, provide armless chairs. For charm and variety, try placing seating in small clusters under a tree.

“It is also essential to design for guests of all ages and physical abilities,” advised Fujimoto. “Create your spaces with wide doorways, accessible powder rooms, and flooring that allows guests with strollers, wheelchairs and walkers to visit safely. Make everybody feel welcome!”

Founded in 1990, Graham Builders remains the only contractor in Hawaii honored by the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics. Plan your dream home around your parties with Graham Builders’ FREE “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on January 11, 2020 from 9-11 a.m. at the Honolulu Country Club. Register at or call 593-2808.