1961 home is cleared for a multigenerational residence

Learn what you need to know before starting your construction project.

Home in the city

Like thousands of local families, the owner of this property longed for a home where she could age safely and also provide a residence for her adult daughter and her family.

Exorbitant costs of assisted living facilities can quickly deplete one’s life savings. The original home was not elder-friendly because it was built above ground and required 15-steps to reach the front door. Once inside, halls and doorways were narrow and didn’t allow wheelchairs, walkers or paramedic equipment passage.

The other consideration was that rental rates and property prices were climbing at a dizzying rate. Although the daughter and son-in-law have excellent professions, staggering housing costs would be a dark cloud without partnering with the mother.

The three adults decided to combine their resources and rebuild.

The lot presented two hurdles to achieve their vision of a multigenerational home with an accessible suite. Most limiting was the size of the lot. Bill 79, also known as the “monster house bill”, requires living area of all residences to be contained to 60% of the lot size. In other words, the small lot size would force the family to build a small home. This lot is only 2,114 square feet, limiting the living area to 1,268 square feet.

Another challenge was that this is corner lot. To provide clear visibility for drivers, City ordinance requires a 30-foot radius on corner lot properties. Given the small lot size, this rule posed another obstacle on an already constricted lot.

Through close collaboration with their design team, the family was able to achieve all of its goals. Mom’s accessible studio is located on the street level next to the garage. Featuring a wet bar and a well-planned, spacious bathroom, the homeowner has a comfortable retreat when privacy is desired.

The second floor features the main living areas, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large walk-in closet and jaw-dropping views of Diamond Head and Waikiki from most windows. Cable rails provide stability for stair climbers while giving a spacious illusion.

The end result is stunning, comfortable and fits the family’s needs. Built to last, this home will serve the family for generations to come.

Graham Builders has nearly three decades of experience and 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.

Photos by Hawkins Biggins Photography.

Project Details

DATE November 1, 2019


PROJECT TYPE Residential rebuild

CONTRACTOR Graham Builders, Inc.

Project Gallery