Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Seeing Out

July 29, 2016 | By | Comments (1)

Sally Ride, who flew two space missions, once said in an interview, “But when I wasn’t working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth.” In my last post, I wondered how our pasture would look from inside the house, once the windows had been set into the frame. It looks like this:

P1140082 (1)




Down the line, once the building site has a little less sawdust and the windows are actually clean, I’ll show how the Western Window Systems panes open and slide, including by our master bathroom shower to reach an outdoor one surrounded by a lava wall. But here’s one off Paula’s upstairs studio, opening onto the deck (currently, the construction crew’s favorite spot for lunch):


And since this is my blog, I’m a guy, I’ve already teased them in earlier photos, and it’s possible I haven’t gone full-testosterone yet, have you ever seen a more cheesecake photo of a backhoe?


With just a few exceptions, the windows are all in. So here’s how the house looks from the outside:




Now that the backer board’s up as well, red cedar siding is going on top of it in parts. We’ll also use those same tongue-and-groove panels as ceilings in the house’s largest rooms and in its eaves.



In 1946, American astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka was born on the Big Island, in Kealakekua—Captain Cook famously anchored in its bay when he arrived in Hawaii. Onizuka died in 1986, aboard the space shuttle Challenger. He was the first Hawaiian, the first Asian-American, and the first person of Japanese ancestry to travel into space. (Sally Ride later sat on the commission that investigated the disaster.) Onizuka would have turned 70 in June.

If you visit the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, you stop at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy at 9,200 feet, before going all the way to 13,802 feet. Until earlier this spring, the island’s Kona International Airport was also home to the Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center, an interactive museum for children. That center’s now been dismantled to allow for airport improvements for the Big Island’s first regularly scheduled direct flights to Japan since 2010, which start again this December on Hawaiian Airlines.


Photo: NASA

Part of Hawaii’s attraction for Paula and me has always been to use it as a launching pad to explore the Pacific, and we’ve already started making our first tentative forays to Australia and Fiji, into a part of the world that for us is still a great unknown.

Each time we leave Hawaii, it’s with a little sadness. As the house progresses, we’re looking forward to being able to stay there longer, until we can actually stay inside. In my last blog, which started with ships and windows, I ran a photo of arriving to Hawaii by plane, when our site was just sky and breeze and grass. So here are two more to end this one. In the spirit of windows into space and onto Earth, here’s the moon above Hawaii (Paula shot it on her iPhone, with my college housemate’s 13-year-old son, Ethan).


And here we are leaving Hawaii for now, landing in Los Angeles and already plotting our return.



  1. Yvonne Garner

    So very kind of you to share your dream with the rest of us. Congratulations!

    August 19, 2016 at 9:32 am

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