Every three years, Malama Manoa hosts the Historic Manoa Walking Tour, a self-guided exploration of the historic neighborhoods in lovely Manoa Valley.
This year’s tour will take participants past 60 homes, many built between 1920 and 1940 by famed local architects C.W. Dickey, Mark Potter, Ray Morris, and others.
Formed to preserve both the natural and built environment of Manoa Valley, Malama Manoa has specific requirements for homes included on its historic walking tour.
Surprisingly, one of the homes on this year’s tour is a brand-new residence completed in 2018 by Honolulu’s Graham Builders.
New home featured on a tour through history?
“A home has to be at least 50 years old to be listed on the State Register of Historic Places,” explained Linda Legrande, advisor to Malama Manoa’s board of directors. “Another qualifier is architectural significance. There’s a vernacular that characterizes older neighborhoods. We feel the scale, style, and design of this new home all honor that requirement.”
Fitting into the neighborhood doesn’t mean designing a home that’s identical to those around it.
A conversation with Bonnie Oda, client care director for Graham Builders, reveals the company’s thoughtful approach to new construction in older communities.
“Successfully blending old and new architecture must take into account cultural roots,” Oda said. “New architecture should honor and harmonize with the old in sensibility, scale and proportions, while also being an expression of current times.”
A touch of old Manoa
Located on Oahu Avenue, the property presented some challenges for Graham Builders. “The original home was hidden behind a wall and situated low,” Oda said. “The impression was unwelcoming.”
Creative solutions by the Graham Builders team caught the attention of Malama Manoa. “The design is aesthetically pleasing and has high regard for sustainability in terms of lot coverage and permeable surfaces,” says Legrande, referring to the large yard and minimal use of concrete. “It has an old-style feel. The garage is behind the home and not the main attraction upon approach.”
Board-and-batten siding and a wraparound deck at the front added a touch of old Manoa, with cable rails for a modern update.
“Ultimately,” said Oda, “a new home should complement its surroundings for reasons above and beyond property value.” Instead, she references a Hawaiian word that evokes aspects of goodness, integrity, righteousness and harmony.
“Fitting into the neighborhood is the right thing to do in our diverse culture,” she said. “Time moves forward; design must also. But we can still be respectful. Pono!”
Join the self-guided Historic Manoa Walking Tour from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 15; visit MalamaManoa.org for information and registration.
To attend the tour’s Open House at the Graham Builders home featured in this article, send an email to clientcare@ grahambuilders.com.
View this article as it appears on Honolulu StarAdvertiser’s Hawaii Renovation section here.
Photography by Hawkins Biggins Photography.