Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Life, Love, and Work

June 1, 2016 | By | Comments (0)

I began my last blog post about attending a wedding in North Kohala. The bride wore a gown, but dress for everyone else was an aloha shirt and rubbah slippahs (flip-flops in the rest of the United States). After the ceremony, which took place at a remote valley accessible only by helicopter, the helicopter circled back, scattering 50 pounds of hibiscus blossoms like confetti. The groom works for the adventure company Hawaii Forest & Trail, so below is their wedding coach. Otherwise, here’s the ground, the helicopter in flagrante delicto, and me standing at an overlook at the Pololu Valley, where the celebration afterward was held.

Hawaii wedding car just married

Hawaii wedding flowers

Helicopter showering flowers at Hawaiian wedding

James Sturz at Hawaiian wedding

I met the groom’s stepfather, Rob Pacheco, three years ago, when he was mapping the island’s best hikes for Google’s Street View Trekker program, except there weren’t any actual streets around. So here are three photos from that, as well. It was on a free day of that trip that I first toured some available Hawaii houses.




One thing I’ve always liked about Hawaii is that it’s a real place, and not a summer escape that winds down in September. With roughly 190,000 residents (the state has 1.4 million), you can escape to the beach, a national park or resort, or you can pursue all the other elements of life year-round, although in a place where distance is an obvious complication.

We’re working on shipping now, as we arrange to get our appliances, bathtubs, and plumbing fixtures to the island, so I’ve begun fielding quotes from California freight forwarders. (Furniture will be a much later story, although we’ve started looking at local stores, as well as ones in Honolulu.) Our two outdoor showers are by the Dutch company JEE-O (distributed by Purificare in the United States) and came from Holland to New York before traveling inside my suitcases the rest of the way to Hawaii. Here I am with our contractor, Lyle, as we try to settle on the appropriate showerhead heights. I’ll follow up with more photos of them after installation.



We’ve come a long way from this:


to this:



Hawaiian dream house

Right now the plumbing and electrical rough-ins are going in, with solar power and the wind turbine to follow next. However, it’s Hawaii, so it can’t all be work. Sometimes you do have to stop.


And stroll down to this:



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