When Allen Kimura decided to expand his Oahu home to accommodate several generations of his family, he chose Honolulu design/build firm Graham Builders to handle the project.

In their first meeting, the Graham Builders team carefully examined every inch of Kimura’s property. They scrutinized existing framing, walls, beams, and slab, and thoroughly reviewed floor plans. At each subsequent planning meeting, the team helped Kimura and his family pinpoint their hopes, needs, and budget for their new home in a collaborative process that included the whole family.

“The company really wanted it to be our house and to configure it [with] our lifestyle,” Kimura recalls. “They worked tirelessly to produce an amazing floor plan that we didn’t believe was possible. It gave us everything we could possibly ask for and more.”

Collaboration for unsurpassed results

With extensive experience in multi-generational design for families all over the world, Graham Builders’ senior architectural designer Malia Yee works to get to know each client family closely. In her preliminary research, Yee goes beyond collecting information on the number of occupants and how many bedrooms they might need.

“I ask who does the cooking? Who has cars? Who has hobbies that need space? Who’s going to need A/C? What about mobility issues?” says Yee. “Gathering plenty of information about the family’s day-to-day activities in the early stages of design helps us create a home that is welcoming and comfortable for everybody.”

A clear vision, and a realistic budget, help ensure a successful project. And privacy and separation are important factors – but so are zoning and permitting. “Often, each family member will want his or her own private space,” says Yee. “From a legal standpoint, what is allowed on the property? Only one kitchen, one wet bar, and one washer-dryer are allowed per each single-family dwelling.”

Graham Builders worked on designing common areas like kitchens in central areas of the home that can comfortably accommodate everybody in the family. “Sometimes two refrigerators and/or two kitchen sinks, for example, are great for multiple families, as are huge islands that seat a lot of people,” Yee says.

Collaboration is critical, but the most successful projects are those in which one party takes charge, adds Yee. “Important decisions should be left to one or two people. Too many cooks can complicate matters!”

Collaboration makes a difference

As Graham Builders’ clients attest, the collaborative process produces excellent results. “Our goals included design and construction of a single-story home; creation of more living space, including a master suite; creation of more storage space; and appropriate universal design for a multi-generational household,” says one client. “We were thrilled to see our vision that was years in the making finally come to fruition with the help of Graham Builders, and we are very satisfied. Our favorite room is the kitchen/dining area, which serves as the nucleus of our diverse household.”

“Rebuilding a new home was an opportunity to start fresh, meet the needs of planning for aging, and meet the needs of a younger generation,” says another client. “Malia did an amazing job in designing a space that included the visions each of us had for our new home.”

Allen Kimura expresses astonishment at how his 50-year-old house has been transformed into a modern multi-generational home. “Our home has become the rave of our neighborhood as many could not wait to take a peek inside,” he says. “Many people have come over and have been in awe of just how spacious and functional the house is. We love it!”

A leader in the design and construction of multi-generational homes and aging-in-place design, local company Graham Builders is the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii Torch Award for ethics in small business. Learn more about the basics of home remodeling and rebuilding at Graham Builders’ free Building Your Home for Life seminar from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, 2023. Registration and information can be found at grahambuilders.com, or call 808-593-2808.