Moved In and Finished? Custom Home Building in Hawaii

Moving day arrived On May 31st. The day had come for us to transfer all our stuff from our rental home to our new dream home and reap the fruits of all our labor. Since a good portion of our things were still in boxes from the mainland move, packing was not as big of a chore this go around. But when it comes to moving… and you may already know this, it’s never easy.

We are in our new home, and we couldn’t be happier. You might think its finished, but the fact is, we still have plenty to do. Our goal was to get it built far enough to pass county inspection. That includes all windows and doors must be installed, all plumbing and electrical functioning, appliances installed, and all final inspections passed. All done and ready to move in!

Crunch week to get things done. The third week of May was a shocking and sad one. Our dear friend for over twenty years and general contractor for all three of our Kona homes that we built over the years passed away suddenly of a heart attack over the weekend. Duane was 57 years young. Audrey and I were numb for days after hearing the news and are still in disbelief. Duane was an excellent carpenter and finish work was one of his specialties. He had the patience of a saint and took a lot of pride in his work. With the help of a few other local contractors who knew Duane, they stepped up to help get some of the details completed so we could meet our move in deadline. It’s a scheduling challenge to complete construction tasks, line up movers, and inspections and hope that you hit the mark. We all will miss Duane very much and our hearts go out to his wife, daughter, and family.

Counters were installed followed by appliances and plumbing fixtures. The quartz in the kitchen was a good choice by Audrey. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had decided to go with quartz in the kitchen and granite in all of the bathrooms. They all came out great and Audrey loves the kitchen counters. You know the saying: “happy wife, happy life.”

The garage floor I always wanted. Every home we built I always said, “it would be nice to do the epoxy painted floor before we drive on it.” Never did it until now! We used the Rustoleum kit available at the big box stores. I spoke with some experts, and some say it won’t last. I asked Sonja, owner of Concrete Creations, to do the job, and she was willing to take it on. She took great care in prepping the floor; that is a critical step to give the finish its best chance for holding up. I’m pretty confident it will hold up fine for a good number of years.

Landscaping will be an ongoing work in progress. My suggestion would be to have a plan if you have the budget. We didn’t have either and will just plant grass and a few flowers and shrubs were we need to. Whoever came up with the term “dirt cheap” didn’t live in Hawaii. It took 75 yards of topsoil to spread just around the house. I chose a soil called CTH. It’s about the most reasonable and includes a mix of compost and macnut husk.

Some plants are easy to start and grow yourself, and you can save a bundle. I had started a bunch while living at the rental and used them along the border of our lot for privacy. Ti leaf plants, plumeria, monstera, ginger, and heliconia are easy to grow from cuttings and keiki. I had a buddy of mine spotted a neighbor of his thinning out some big monstera plants. He called me and asked if I wanted some, and I said sure! He loaded a bunch in his pickup truck and dropped them off in my yard. That’s Aloha!

After the move details. Here was an interesting dilemma– our driveway was not installed for the simple reason you do not want heavy trucks on fresh concrete including the Moving truck. So we waited until after the move to start that project. It’s rainy season, and that can be messy on an unfinished driveway. Asphalt could have been an option, but we selected concrete (a bit more money) for longer lasting lower maintenance. If you are willing to deal with some inconveniences, like leaving your vehicle on the street (if that is permitted in the area), and dirty, dusty conditions due to un-installed landscape, you can do as we did. If that sounds like something you wouldn’t care for, don’t move in until its “turn-key.” The driveway was a big project, and we had stamped stepping stones installed to give a natural lava landscape look. Amazing artistic process– Sonja and her crew did a great job.

Driveway and Stepping Stones

First Night’s Sunset

At the end of the day, we reflect on all of the hard working contractors, crews, and all-around good people who helped make this dream home come to be. There are too many to mention, but one that we must. Mahalo to our dear friend Duane. Without you, this home would not have been built. Mahalo dear friend. Gone, but Never Forgotten.






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