North Kohala, Hawaii

Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Git Along, Little Dogies — New Year’s Edition

Paula and I are just back from Hawaii, where the islanders were crazy about their fireworks as New Year’s Eve approached. Here’s a sample supermarket display: In North Kohala shops, you could find the Super Thunder Crackers with Double Bomb for sale below the Tampax (both Super and Super Plus), and the Cool & Refreshing and Magic Whip sparklers beside […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Escape, or Pakele

The allure of Hawaii is escape. I could write a thousand words about that, but nothing explains it better than this: Or this: The beach is Makalawena, on the Big Island’s Kona Coast, whose name means “mischievous winds.” It’s a 12-minute drive along a deeply rutted gravel road through Kekaha Kai State Park from the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to the […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Getting “Housy”

A year ago, when we began to build, I said the house would take a year to complete. Okay, it’s going to take a little longer. We’ve had some delays, and made some changes. We added air conditioning to the almost all-glass studio above our bedroom, enlarged the two outdoor lava showers (best to have extra room when naked around […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Lava

Over the last 33 years, when Kilauea’s Pu’u O’o crater first started erupting, more than 500 acres of new land have been added to the Big Island. Like our house, this place is growing. This summer, on July 26 at 1:30 am HST, after a three-year hiatus, lava started spilling from the crater and flowing six miles to the ocean […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Coastal View

The September issue of Coastal Living has just hit newsstands, and the “Coastal View” on the back page tells the story of our Hawaii house’s transformation from open land and tent to the one you see below. Slowly but surely, it’s taking shape. The first time I built a dwelling in Hawaii it involved guy lines, poles, and stakes. The foundation was […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Seeing Out

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: Down the line, once the […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: A Window into the Future, Plus Some Doors

After the frame, the largest items in our house by volume are the windows and doors. In my last blog, I talked about the container that’s about to sail from California with our appliances, plumbing hardware and fixtures, and HVAC unit—78 items in all. They’re traveling as LCL, meaning as less than a container-load. The windows and doors, on the […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: At Sea

My last blog talked about Hōkūle’a, Hawaii’s voyaging canoe. (She’ll be sailing the Massachusetts coast for the next two weeks.) The one below isn’t it. But I shot the photo at Hapuna Beach, which is where we’ll be in a few weeks. Since my wayfinding blog ran, I’ve been especially interested in oceangoing vessels. But ones that look more like this: […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Wayfinding

In May 2014, when Paula and I were closing on our North Kohala parcel, a 62-foot double-hulled voyaging canoe set off from Hilo on a three-year journey around the world. She’d already spent a year circumnavigating Hawaii, and now the open ocean was at her bow. Built in 1975 and named Hōkūle’a—Hawaiian for “star of gladness,” another name for Arcturus, […]

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

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 […]

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