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Grateful Shed

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A family discovers the joys of DIY design—and muddy feet—in their home made up of distinct pods that blends harmoniously with its surroundings in the rainy mountains of Kauai.

  • 
  Tanya, Chris, Jackson, and Zeke spend much of their day outside.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Tanya, Chris, Jackson, and Zeke spend much of their day outside.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
    Photo by Linny Morris.
    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  When she’s not at the treehouse, Jackson hangs out in the kids’ room.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    When she’s not at the treehouse, Jackson hangs out in the kids’ room.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  The kitchen occupies one corner of the L-shaped structure. As throughout, the floors are made up of reclaimed eucalyptus that Chris planed himself.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    The kitchen occupies one corner of the L-shaped structure. As throughout, the floors are made up of reclaimed eucalyptus that Chris planed himself.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Just off the kitchen is the lanai, which serves as the family’s main gathering spot. The polycarbonate roof lets light through but keeps the rain at bay.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Just off the kitchen is the lanai, which serves as the family’s main gathering spot. The polycarbonate roof lets light through but keeps the rain at bay.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  When a nearby road washed out in a flood, Chris and Tanya hauled the broken bits of asphalt to their property and made a walkway leading to the entrance.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    When a nearby road washed out in a flood, Chris and Tanya hauled the broken bits of asphalt to their property and made a walkway leading to the entrance.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Connecting the kitchen and laundry area is the dining area, enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass panels. “Chris built the whole thing,” says Tanya.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Connecting the kitchen and laundry area is the dining area, enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass panels. “Chris built the whole thing,” says Tanya.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  The view from the dining area extends across the lanai to the lawn, which never needs watering—it stays green from the island’s frequent rains.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    The view from the dining area extends across the lanai to the lawn, which never needs watering—it stays green from the island’s frequent rains.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Jackson and Zeke escape their bedroom through a slide repurposed from an old play structure. The 20-acre property backs up to nearby mountains.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Jackson and Zeke escape their bedroom through a slide repurposed from an old play structure. The 20-acre property backs up to nearby mountains.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  The compact living area is just off the kids’ room.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    The compact living area is just off the kids’ room.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  A glass slider and a stackable LG washer and dryer maximize space in the laundry area, which includes a small utility closet.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    A glass slider and a stackable LG washer and dryer maximize space in the laundry area, which includes a small utility closet.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Nearby, the bathroom includes a composting toilet and a Home Depot sink on a pedestal Chris made from chunks of found wood.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Nearby, the bathroom includes a composting toilet and a Home Depot sink on a pedestal Chris made from chunks of found wood.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Boulder HolderGiant 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.Board MeetingThe 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  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Boulder Holder

    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.

    Board Meeting

    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

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Swede MotionWith 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  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Swede Motion

    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

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  Waxing PoeticDuring 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  Photo by Linny Morris.

    Waxing Poetic

    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

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  A Bright IdeaAfter 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.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    A Bright Idea

    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.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  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.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    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.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  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."  Photo by Linny Morris.

    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."

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
    Photo by Linny Morris.
    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
  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.  Photo by Linny Morris.

    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.

    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
    Photo by Linny Morris.
    Photo by Linny Morris.
  • 
    Photo by Linny Morris.
    Photo by Linny Morris.

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