Homeowners Lucia and Brian of Manoa reimagined their master bedroom and bathroom to reflect their love of travel and exotic destinations. They hired Graham Builders for a renovation that transformed their spaces into stunning spa-like retreats.
“During COVID, traveling came to a halt for us,” says Lucia. “We were feeling cooped up and wanted to design a master bed and bath that felt like a resort, or a getaway in a foreign place. We were watching traveling vlogs to appease our desire to travel and came across one in Morocco. Although we have never been, it’s definitely on our list. We were inspired by the architecture, colors and detail that could be seen in some of the Moroccan homes.”
When searching for a contractor in 2020 to execute their bed-and-bath remodel, Lucia says they chose Graham Builders because of the company’s “quality of work” and timely responses. The homeowners communicated their ideas to the contractor through videos, magazines, posts from interior designers on social media and other sources of inspiration. After the project scope was established, permit requests were submitted in the summer of 2021. Construction began in March 2022.
“Lucia and Brian had a clear vision for their new space,” says Malia Yee, senior designer at Graham Builders. “Ultimately, we decided that select finishes — in particular tiles, light fixtures and arched openings, along with narrow double French doors and the bay window seat — would be able to convey a Moroccan feel without being kitschy and remain respectful of the budget.”
The homeowners prioritized quality accent tiles in their budget. Found at Bella Pietra Design, the tiles selected for the bathroom add a fresh burst of color and texture to the space’s neutral palette. Gold hardware and fixtures provide luxe touches, and Turkish sconces from Etsy were the finishing pieces that “tied everything together,” says Lucia.
In the master bedroom remodel, Lucia and Brian wanted to change the size of their walk-in closet and how it’s accessed. Expanding the closet space required a compromise that meant less bathroom storage and forgoing an originally planned accent wall. They opted instead for decorative tile.
The homeowners also requested high ceilings for the bedroom. This was a challenge, Yee explains, “since the bedroom is an extension off the main house, and the roof slope had to be lowered so that it did not rise above the existing home’s second floor windowsills.”
Evan Fujimoto, president at Graham Builders, notes that the project came together with a team of “trade partners” including a mason, framer, roofer, electrician, plumber, drywaller, painter, glaziers, tile installers and finish carpenters.
“Due to tight working spaces, and with the homeowners living in the home during construction, it took good communication and coordination so that each phase could move seamlessly from one to another,” notes Fujimoto. “Daily clean up and taking extra care to keep dust and construction debris to a minimum were also important. In the end, the finished product speaks volumes about the dedication of our trade partners to create a beautiful space for the homeowners to enjoy for years to come.”
Lucia says that she and Brian appreciate their refreshed bedroom and bathroom. Lucia offers the following advice for other homeowners who are considering a renovation:
“Get inspired — watch videos, read magazines, follow interior designers on social media — to get an idea of what you like. Start the process early: With these types of projects, there are bound to be delays and some unforeseen circumstances. Learn to compromise: As a couple, we learned to agree to disagree on certain things, especially when it came to the design and picking out finishes. Be patient: Things will not always go as planned but communication between you and the contractors is key.”