The difficulty of this project cannot be overestimated: converting a nearly abandoned 18 acre nudist colony in Maui into a functioning organic farm and vacation compound for my client and their many guests. Craig’s work here, as turnkey leader, is tremendously far reaching and demands many skills; not only design, but project management, general contracting, staff hiring, self reliance, ingenuity and natural instincts in working with a notoriously insular Hawaiian community on a site revered as sacred by its natives. From serving as the client liaison to the realtors during purchasing, to complicated survey work in the jungle, to hiring organic gardeners, Craig is there every step of the way, as well as assembling the permanent staff to take on the lifework of running the farm after infrastructure is established. At its peak, he runs a crew of 35 employees plus subcontractors, not only as the chief designer, but also as the general contractor.
The site itself is an extremely isolated flag lot without any utilities. Craig led the team create abundant solar power, a 30,000 gallon rain catchment water system, a waste vegetable and bio-diesel refinery, re-development of four shacks made of pallets into highly desirable cabanas for the client’s affluent guests, and a gut renovation of a near tear-down 5200 square foot main house initially built out of two pole house kits.
The main house consists of five bedrooms, three baths, a 1300 square foot open plan great room, library, a care-taker’s apartment and large workshop. The initial design concept of the house is a collaboration with Ariel Kemp, largely based on passive cooling and solar orientation: a lanai surrounds the entire upper level. Because the house is entirely off the grid, great care is taken in layout of the rooms so to make the best use of cooling, airflow and sunlight. While working on the design concept, Craig discovered a nearly forgotten lot of 200 wooden louver doors salvaged out of the prestigious Hana Hotel; doors made long ago by the craftsmen of Hana, and therefore possessed tremendous meaning. These doors are used to create the entire windward sides of the house, simultaneously allowing an adjustable amount of air and light into house on both levels.
Inside the house, Ariel and Craig design both kitchens and all the trimwork with Maui grown Eucalyptus removed from old house and shacks prior to the demolition. The canopy beds, armoires, and library, made of sustainably harvested Koa from the Big Island, are also custom designed under Craig’s leadership. The remaining furniture that occupies the house is purchased from auction of a neighboring estate. Common-grade exterior plywood is used for interior walls to provide structural strength and give a unique character to the interior walls. Salvaged tile is used in bathrooms and the downstairs apartment, while local pebbles are collected for the showers and breezeway. Even the faucets are custom crafted out of commercial restaurant suppliers. The finished house is a total reflection of site and green design, and equally as importantly, stands as an estimate to the care and craft of the local builders, their materials, and surroundings.