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Ancient Ponds Residence - de Reus Architects

Photography By Joe Fletcher

Overlooking coastal anchialine ponds where ancient Hawaiians raised fish, this home for an extended family was designed so that all its major living spaces capture views of Uluweuweu Bay. The design of this home was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts movement. At its philosophical root, the movement was invested in the essence of the human spirit, utilitarian values, rustic simplicity, and the use of handcraft, natural materials, and allied arts. The owners of Ancient Ponds Residence desired their home to be designed in this same early-twentieth-century spirit to accommodate their contemporary lifestyle.

The dogleg shape of the building envelope reflected setbacks from the anchialine ponds and many building restrictions. But the irregular shape allowed the layout of the home to meander with the ponds. The benefit to this is all rooms have a view of the ocean, and the house feels like an organic part of the land. Much like at traditional Hawaiian homes, here the makai (seaward) side of the home opens as much as possible to the views. The mauka (inland) side has enough windows for ventilation and private gardens.

The main gathering spaces along with the primary bedroom are in the main hale. Guest rooms are in a separate hale across the pool and garden. One arrives at the home at the end of the road by winding through large hala trees and entering a casual auto court. The exterior white coral stone arrival vestibule is compressed to a low scale with a cedar beam ceiling. The entry then expands into a high-ceilinged foyer with timber-frame trusses, leaded glass, and white coral stone walls. The focal point of the foyer is a covered lanai and the ocean beyond. The main gathering areas of dining, living, kitchen, and primary bedroom are reached from this foyer. Transition spaces are a prime architectural element throughout the home. Vestibules, foyers, and lanais add luxurious graciousness to the livability and functionally and provide shade and outdoor living areas.

Natural materials for the home were selected for their contribution toward a spirit of Arts and Crafts ideals, island life, and durability. The soft natural patina of zinc metal used for the roof complements coral stone exterior walls with flush grouting—a masonry approach typical of the early twentieth century in Hawai‘i. Teak hardwood doors and windows add richness and warmth to both exterior and interior. Interior finishes consist of local ohia hardwood and travertine stone floors; cedar wood trusses, rafters, and ceiling boards; plaster walls; and teak hardwood doors. The clients’ collection of late-nineteenth-century ship figureheads are featured throughout the house.

Arts and Crafts details course through the home: curved timber wood trusses at the foyer, curved wood knee braces in the lanai. Combed cedar wood wallboards, cast bronze hardware, an etched metal range hood, and cast bronze beam fastenings were all designed and selected to evoke the spirit of the Arts and Crafts era. The landscape design by David Tamura is evocative of old Hawai‘i. It includes large endemic hala trees, which are often found around older homes on the coast. Coconut palms were placed as if they grew naturally on the site, and edible plants are near the kitchen. The pool design references the anchialine ponds and is toddler friendly.

Architecture: de Reus Architects

AIA Design Principal: Mark de Reus

Project Manager: Dan Dzakowic

Interior Design: Philpotts Interiors

Structural Engineer: GFDS Engineers

Landscape Architect: David Tamura

Lighting: KGM Architectural Lighting

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