Giant rocks excavated from the site serve as natural anchors for the building’s exterior beams. “You can’t dig five feet on this property without hitting a boulder,” says Chris. As suggested by the couple’s architects, the boulders act as a support system, unique architectural ornamentation, and extra seating.
The unique wall panels are made of HardieBacker cement board from James Hardie. “That’s the material I’m happiest with,” says Tanya. “I like the way it looks, it’s cool, and it works.” Typically used for waterproofing beneath floors and countertops, the board is perfect for combating the extreme rains that sometimes pound the house.jameshardie.com
With no Ikea in Hawaii, the Gambys took advantage of a trip to Los Angeles during construction to pick up their kitchen cabinets—simple models made of glass, plywood, and particleboard. They shipped the cabinets to the island and, à la all things Ikea, put them together onsite, situating them high above the counter.ikea.com
During construction, Tanya’s brother, a boat builder on Oahu, found tons of eucalyptus pieces that his neighbor was about to throw away. Chris broke many a saw blade planing the incredibly dense wood for the floors, which he stained with Jacobean by Minwax. The Waterdrop jug is from Esque.minwax.comesque-studio.com
After build-out, the family realized they needed a light for their dining room. Tanya and Jackson took to their storage container, where they found fake flower branches they had bought at Ace Hardware, and paired them with a crumpled string of old Christmas lights. “We plugged it in and that was that,” says Tanya.
The building process was a collaborative one, with the Gambys and their architects engineering the house to meet building codes as the pieces were being installed. In the middle, a glass hallway containing the dining room connects to the kitchen.
The back patio is bordered by boulders picked up on the Gambys' land. Tanya says that particular design element will be repeated in the next home they build: "We've actually unearthed one the size of a minivan that we're going to use in the bigger house."
The Gamby children have plenty of room to play; in addition to the pallet treehouse their dad built right outside of their bedroom window (with a slide to reach it!), they also have a playhouse in which to make believe.