These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
If you've ever entertained fantasies of a modernist escape on a tropical island, you'll fully understand why each of these homeowners took the leap.

And even if you haven't, you just might after having a look at this collection of Hawaiian retreats where their homeowners are living the tropical dream. 

Puna Coast Retreat 

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 1 of 7 - An architect and his family swapped their fast-paced San Francisco city life for slow living and sunshine along the ever-expanding Puna coastline of Hawaii’s Big Island in this home designed by architect Craig Steely.

An architect and his family swapped their fast-paced San Francisco city life for slow living and sunshine along the ever-expanding Puna coastline of Hawaii’s Big Island in this home designed by architect Craig Steely.

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 2 of 7 - "We sought to create a house that would not damage the environment and not be too visible," says architect Tina Gregorič. A single zigzagging roof stretches over 5,380 square feet, doubling the area of the interior spaces and serving as an ideal spot for sunset cocktails and whale-watching in Maui.

"We sought to create a house that would not damage the environment and not be too visible," says architect Tina Gregorič. A single zigzagging roof stretches over 5,380 square feet, doubling the area of the interior spaces and serving as an ideal spot for sunset cocktails and whale-watching in Maui.

Kauai Surf Shack

Nestled away in a remote and lush coastal nook of the Hawaiian island chain is the dream home of filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau. Built by San Francisco-based artist Jay Nelson, the home is like being in an adult fort that reflects the sophisticated taste of its free-spirited, creative owners. 

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 3 of 7 - Nestled away in a remote and lush coastal nook of the Hawaiian island chain is the dream home of filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau. Built by San Francisco-based artist Jay Nelson, the home is like being in an adult fort that reflects the sophisticated taste of its free-spirited, creative owners. 

Nestled away in a remote and lush coastal nook of the Hawaiian island chain is the dream home of filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau. Built by San Francisco-based artist Jay Nelson, the home is like being in an adult fort that reflects the sophisticated taste of its free-spirited, creative owners. 

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 4 of 7 - The defining gesture of a house on the Big Island of Hawaii by architect Craig Steely is a 139-foot-long, four-foot-tall concrete beam spanning the roof. Owners Craig Mayer and Rick Penland relax on the lanai, or porch.

The defining gesture of a house on the Big Island of Hawaii by architect Craig Steely is a 139-foot-long, four-foot-tall concrete beam spanning the roof. Owners Craig Mayer and Rick Penland relax on the lanai, or porch.

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 5 of 7 - Although their plan was to order a bamboo kit house or have a contractor build a simple "kitschy island hut" at a nearby construction site, Mike Kurokawa and Paul Fishman ended up recruiting Craig Steely to execute something of a miniature Hawaiian Case Study program. He discovered not only how to navigate the execution of a modern home in remote Puna, but also how to design for the extremes of the region’s climate. Corrugated siding usually used for roofing is used for the exterior. 

Although their plan was to order a bamboo kit house or have a contractor build a simple "kitschy island hut" at a nearby construction site, Mike Kurokawa and Paul Fishman ended up recruiting Craig Steely to execute something of a miniature Hawaiian Case Study program. He discovered not only how to navigate the execution of a modern home in remote Puna, but also how to design for the extremes of the region’s climate. Corrugated siding usually used for roofing is used for the exterior. 

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 6 of 7 - Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Lavaflow 1 - Robert Trickey House was designed by San Francisco-based architect, Craig Steely. Captured by architectural photographer Mike Kelley, this home and studio was built on hardened lava from the 1955 Kilauea eruption. 

Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Lavaflow 1 - Robert Trickey House was designed by San Francisco-based architect, Craig Steely. Captured by architectural photographer Mike Kelley, this home and studio was built on hardened lava from the 1955 Kilauea eruption. 

These 7 Hawaiian Modernist Escapes Will Have You Dreaming of the Islands - Photo 7 of 7 - This home shared from our Dwell community is set on a spectacular Oahu beachfront and was envisioned as a gathering spot for the homeowner’s large extended family. Designed by Gast Architects, its numerous sustainable features led to LEED Gold certification.

This home shared from our Dwell community is set on a spectacular Oahu beachfront and was envisioned as a gathering spot for the homeowner’s large extended family. Designed by Gast Architects, its numerous sustainable features led to LEED Gold certification.