Many homes built in Oahu’s valleys must deal with poor site conditions. Most of the soil is made of adobe clay, a highly expansive substance that is noted for movement and shifting. Sloping topography adds to the challenging circumstance.
To level valley lots, builders will often cut into the slope and hold back earth with retaining walls. This is fine as long as the retaining wall is independent from the interior of the home. Water leaks, mold and pest entry points are common outcomes when a retaining wall also acts as an interior wall.
This Pauoa homeowner experienced these problems. The builder of the original home carved into the slope to build a two-story home. After years of use, the sheathing used to waterproof the structure gave way. The result was a home with mold, and a foundation that was continually shifting.
Once Graham Builders completed an analysis of the soil and topography, the company recommended demolishing the existing home and rebuilding a residence with an improved foundation and retaining wall system. “The main goal of the rebuild was to fix those major issues, as well as update the layout and materials used,” said the homeowner. “Working with Graham Builders was a good experience. Everyone was knowledgeable, easy to work with and quick to address any of our questions.”
“The original house was two floors to accommodate my parents living with us,” shared the wife. “The new build is on one level to eliminate the stars to keep aging in mind.”
Aging-in-place features were important for the family. Features includes low-step showers, adjustable height shower head and a front ramp to eliminate the need for stairs. Graham Builders’ customary pull-out cabinet shelves and wide halls and doors will add to an easy accessible transition should the need arise.
“Our new house has 3-bedrooms and 2-baths. We ended up going with vinyl plank flooring because it is waterproof and required less maintenance than hardwood and laminate flooring options. Quartz counters in the kitchen was one of my must haves due to it requiring less maintenance than granite and having better scratch, heat and stain resistance.”
“I am satisfied with the outcome. My favorite part of the design are the vaulted ceilings. They make the inside of the home appear larger,” shares the wife.
“My favorite part of the home is definitely the kitchen,” shares their adult son. “I had a hand in selecting a lot of the finishes and appliances, making it a “dream kitchen” within the budget.”
With nearly three decades of designing and building homes for local families, Graham Builders recognizes the importance of designing homes that make elder care simple and safe. Building and renovating so grandma can live with the family can be tricky. Many homes that are more than 50 years old cannot handle an aging population dependent on wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks.
Graham Builders was the first firm in Hawaii to have a certified National Association of Home Builders Aging-in-Place specialist on staff. Over the years, Graham Builders has grown this number to three certified consultants who help homeowners make necessary mobility and safety changes to their residences.
Connect with us today and find out how Graham Builders can help you prepare your home for the future.
Photos by Hawkin Biggins Photography.