After finding paradise on a Hawaiian papaya farm, filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau tapped San Francisco artist Jay Nelson to build their dream home in just five weeks. Located just one block from the beach, the Kauai residence takes inspiration from laid-back surf shacks and is mainly built with reclaimed wood.
The cabin’s concept was simple: To create a cabin that is small and sparse yet spatially rich. The 55-square-meter (592-square-foot) cabin, commissioned by a private client and completed in 2016, comprises a large living room, bedroom, ski room, and small annex with a utility room. It functions off the water and electricity grids.
Designed in 1972 by local architect Edgar Waehrer, this home was renovated by creative director Ben Watson and his partner, painter Claudio Tschopp. As a later example of Northwest modernism, the home combined the clean lines and open plans of mid-century modernism with an emphasis on natural local materials and natural light. However, while the 16-foot ceilings in the home gave a sense of airiness, the plentiful wood paneling on the walls kept it dark and feeling damp, and so the couple bleached the walls to better reflect natural light.
Ray sits at the central hearth on the north end of the comfortable sunken living area. From this perspective, you can see how the interior spaces flow into one another, passing one half-level up into the breakfast nook and kitchen and out from there onto the overgrown hillside. The various built-in furnishings have all been there since the house's construction.
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