It’s not often you get a chance to own a piece of history…but maybe ‘own’ is too strong a word, especially here in Hawaii. There was a time when only the wealthy had fine homes and the rest made do; Roman Palazzos, French Châteaux, English Manors, the list goes on.
The Arts & Crafts Movement: A Celebration of Craft in Hawaii Architecture
But then something happened around the turn of the last century: the Industrial Revolution, which spawned many things, but perhaps one of the more important was a reactionary one – the Arts & Crafts Movement – a celebration of, well, craft, not to put too fine a point on it.
3935 Round Top Drive (MLS# 1304169)
It began a more humanist approach to life and living, and in architectural terms, that meant using locally sourced materials, or at least those that evinced the area’s geography, well-proportioned rooms that didn’t dominate or intimidate their occupants, and a rusticity that both spoke to and celebrated the natural beauty of the building materials.
This style was eagerly adopted by Americas’ wealthy families, if not those homes being built at the centers of their power, New York, Boston, San Francisco, but in their outliers, the Hudson River Valley, Marin, and yes, here on Oahu.
A Particularly Beautiful Piece of Hawaiian History
An amazing and almost unsullied example is now available at 3935 Round Top Drive. Built by the Wilder Family in 1907, and sited on an approx. 2.5 acre parcel with commanding views of Manoa Valley, this home is simplicity in itself, giving a sense of peace and warmth and family like few others can.
These qualities are hallmarks of the Arts & Crafts movement, and the architect of this home knew his or her craft well (the real identity being Sarah Wilder, her husband James ‘Kimo’ Wilder, or Thomas Gill being debatable).
A massive fireplace becomes a 3-dimensional textile weave of brick and mortar, board and batten walls are unapologetic constructs that are the very definition of the word ‘cozy’, and built-in cabinets are not only utilitarian, they allow the home itself to showcase dinnerware and pottery, everyday household items that normally are hidden from view behind cabinet doors.
As I said, it’s not often you get a chance to ‘own’ a piece of history. Rather, let’s say: here’s to the new caretaker of this particularly beautiful piece of Hawaiian History.