Designing a Maui Kitchen for the View

General / People / Places / December 19, 2016

What to do if you buy an eclectic 1980s shoreline home in Maui – one that’s protected by law from tear-down?

You call in Denver-based Arch11 and its design associate, Claire Jordan.

You ask for a new kitchen – one that opens up to the sweeping views of the ocean on one side and the lush tropical flora on the other. For a space that takes advantage of trade winds to cool things down, for entertainment spots to sit and stay awhile, and for a wine fridge, cocktail-shaking area – and better storage.

“They wanted to modernize, but also tie in with the island feel with mahogany and glass countertops,” Jordan says.

Yes. Glass countertops. Made in Quebec, they took six months to get to the island.

“It’s an inch and half thick, from Think Glass – it’s a natural green color with a pattern to it on the underside,” she says. “And some white enameled quartz countertops, with floors that are whitewashed oak.”

The client lives in Perth, Australia, and also in Boulder, Colo., where Arch11 had already designed a house for him. So when it came time to buy property on Maui – halfway between the two cities – he turned to them again.

“So the inspiration came from what we’d done in the house in Boulder, but also how it works nicely and fits their needs in the given space,” she says.

The biggest challenges came from a laid-back attitude from the contractor, though the subs were spot-on. It was a remote-control process, conducted between Boulder and Maui.

“We had a lot of conference calls and some on-site meetings with subs,” she says.

Still, the six-month process delivered a glass-topped peninsula that’s perfectly positioned for a view out to the Pacific.

The only question now is: What about the exterior?

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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