Are your upcoming holiday celebrations creating visions of an upgraded home? Halloween parties, Thanksgiving feasts and cookie baking parties could be more festive and welcoming in a newly remodeled home.

Planning a home construction project that transitions from daily life to big holiday parties requires expert help. As Honolulu’s oldest residential design-build firm, Graham Builders has helped hundreds of families improve their homes. Evan Fujimoto, the firm’s president, offers these useful tips.

“Start at the front entry door,” says Fujimoto. “It should look beautiful and welcoming! As guests enter, views of your garden or lanai are like warm greetings. It’s best to avoid abrupt entries like front doors that immediately open into living areas.”

Flow within and between spaces should be natural and easy.

“It’s generally best to design flexible, multifunctional spaces that work for daily family activities, intimate dinners and large gatherings,” Fujimoto adds.

Like the concept of the kitchen triangle, the “entertainment triangle,” as he describes it, consists of the kitchen, indoor/outdoor living areas and a powder room that’s easily accessible from all of them.

Speaking of powder rooms, it’s best to tuck their entrances discreetly around corners or in hallways.

“Bathrooms that open up to public spaces are awkward,” says Fujimoto, “and guests shouldn’t have to go through a family’s private spaces to access them.”

Layered interior lighting greatly enhances a room’s appeal and mood. Illuminate rooms with ambient overhead lighting; use accent lighting for special focal points, and task lighting for smaller work areas.

“And there are plenty of great outdoor lighting options,” says Fujimoto. “Look for those that create a safe environment — and illuminate landscaping for a beautiful effect.”

Design outdoor areas to accommodate comfortable seating and tables to hold drinks and appetizers. If you have a family of musicians, be sure to provide armless chairs. For charm and variety, try placing seating in small clusters under a tree.

“It’s also essential to design for guests of all ages and physical abilities,” advises Fujimoto. “Create your spaces with wide doorways, accessible powder rooms and flooring that allows guests with strollers, wheelchairs and walkers to visit safely. Make everybody feel welcome.”

Founded in 1990, Graham Builders remains the only contractor in Hawaii honored by the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics. Plan your party dream home with Graham Builders’ free Building Your Home for Life seminar from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. Register at or call 808-593-2808.

CONTACT 808-593-2808