Based in Long Beach, Calif., Michael Kollin, president of Kollin Altomare Architects, faced challenges when he took on a project in Maui, Hawaii. On top of being a five-hour plane ride from the site location, the homeowners were on a nine- to 10-month sailing trip, and the lot required creative thinking from everyone involved.
To this day, architect and homeowner still have not met, but that doesn’t mean the project was unsuccessful. Kollin would ship the designs to the ports the homeowners were visiting and they’d e-mail feedback in return. “It was challenging and not as quick a turnaround as usual. The homeowners were distant but more involved than the average client,” Kollin says.
The clients had recently completed a large house a few years before starting this project. “It is nice to work on their second home because there is a relaxed mentality,” Kollin says. “It makes my job a lot easier.”
An Inverted Dilemma
The house is located on the ocean and next to a golf course. The homeowners wanted to take advantage of the views of both areas. “The major goal (of the project) was to capture the clients’ desire to have a view of the ocean, golf course and to maintain privacy,” Kollin says.
Capturing the views created a challenge for Kollin because the lot wasn’t ideal. “The house sits on a pie-shaped lot and the point of the lot faces the ocean,” he says. “As you walk onto the site and look toward the ocean, it doesn’t open up, but rather comes to a point.”
To overcome the challenging lot, Kollin worked with the builder, Chris Ondatje of Alliance Contracting in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, and senior designer, Michael Brown of Kollin Altomare Architects on numerous floor plans before settling on the right one. “We created two wings and a central core. The central core housed the common areas such as the great room, media room, wine cellar, garage and kitchen,” Kollin says. “One wing contained the master and guest suite, and the other wing contained the kids’ bedrooms and laundry.”
The homeowners also wanted a centrally located kitchen and a great room that opened up to the pool. “The great room serves as a secondary bar service in the pool area. On the left of the great room is an infinity pool with the golf course beyond that and then a view of the ocean,” he says.
Kollin wanted the house to seamlessly move from inside to outside spaces. He created open breezeways by connecting certain areas of the house. “There is a glass panel hallway that leads to the master bedroom. It’s a semi-enclosed breezeway,” Kollin says. “In the master bedroom, there are glass sliding doors that pull away from the corner of the room and offer views of the ocean and golf course.”
Kollin created a clear sense of arrival for guests when they walk up to the house. “We created a gate house that guests pass through to get to the house. Once through the gate house, there is a koi pond and entry tower, taking the guest through teak and rock formations,” he says.
Another challenge for Kollin was the strict guidelines of the homeowner’s association. “Custom homes still have to fall under certain guidelines, color choices, roof hangs, roof pitches and materials,” Kollin adds. “We did our due diligence by knowing the community and knowing the styles of the houses in the area.”
The style of the house is a cross between Hawaiian and soft Asian influence. “Hawaiian style is similar to Polynesian with long overhangs, an over-pitched roof, natural stone siding and teak trim,” Kollin says.
Kollin says the style is the strongest in the great room because of its high ceilings and accenting. “Guests and owners spend most of their time in the great room, which is why most accenting and influences are in that room,” he says. “It includes 14-ft. ceilings with African mahogany beams and a lot of teak accents.”
Kollin’s proudest characteristic of the house is the sense of arrival it offers. “It feels tropical, secure, private and soft,” he says. “Once through the gate house, the feeling continues through the rest of the house.”