Interior Designer Stephanie Brown hits the mark on design with classic Hawaiian features with a modern edge.
Few places rival the natural beauty of the islands of Hawaii, and Vancouver-based interior designer Stephanie Brown’s clients wanted a Maui home that mirrored that surrounding beauty, with a contemporary edge.
“We imagined a space that would flow seamlessly indoors and outdoors, with extensive use of walnut wood, limestone flooring, and a calming, neutral color palette, rich with texture,” Brown says. “We ensured continuity of details and palette throughout the sprawling home, guest house, and various outdoor lounge and activity areas.”
Brown had worked on similar projects in the past, so when she began designing this Hawaiian luxury home, she already had a vision on what she did and did not want to do with the space.
“For instance, we wanted the wood tones to feel rich but neutral—not red or orange–so we opted for American Walnut throughout,” Brown says. “And because the woodwork is quite dominant, we selected a very light limestone floor and off-white wall color for the main spaces, to enhance light and openness.”
“We also wanted to ensure a Hawaiian aesthetic, without being obvious or kitschy. While we included a few “thematic” decor elements such as surfboards, palm leaves and grasscloth wallpaper, we kept the palette neutral which helps everything feel a bit more elevated, luxurious and modern,” she added.
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“We also wanted to ensure a Hawaiian aesthetic, without being obvious or kitschy. While we included a few “thematic” decor elements such as surfboards, palm leaves and grasscloth wallpaper, we kept the palette neutral which helps everything feel a bit more elevated, luxurious and modern.”
Adding to the Hawaiian aesthetic are archeological stone walls that are preserved and interwoven throughout the grounds of the luxury home, which provides a connection to the area’s history.
“The home features traditional Hawaiian architecture, so a challenge was to creatively detail the interior in a way that would help “tip it” towards a more modern aesthetic,” she says. “The exterior also needed guidance, to ensure outdoor elements such as the pool, pathways, plantings and separate activity areas all felt more modern and spoke to what was happening inside the home.”
One of Brown’s favorite features in the home is the dining table topped with one-of-a-kind ceramic vessels by Heather Rosenman.
“Their ivory tone stands out nicely on the dining table, which is a 14 foot long custom creation that I designed, and is made from solid oak with a cerused finish, made by Lock & Mortice in Vancouver,” Brown says.
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In the main hall, there is striking black and white artwork by Hawaiian artist Kamran Samimi and a traditional wood surfboard made by local Hawaiian Paddle Co.
“We continued with the surfboard theme with a custom ‘skinsurf’ board in the primary ensuite by Jeff Trotter Design, and various photography pieces by surf-photo-legend Brian Bielmann,” she added.
This luxury home is complete with a pool, a gym and yoga pavilion, a bocci court, pickle ball court and an orchard. But it took a great deal of planning to get to the stunning finished product, as a majority of the project was executed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was actually in Maui doing some site visits in March 2020, literally the week the pandemic began,” Brown says. “Following that trip, we oversaw the remaining build from Vancouver, working closely with Makena Builders via emails, calls and texts and even Instagram to help answer questions.”
“And when it was time for the move-in in January 2021, pandemic travel restrictions kept my team from joining me — I had to jump through quite a few hoops—testing, quarantine—just to be there, and thankfully our wonderful clients and Makena Builders became my “design crew” to help put all the final furnishing and decor elements into place,” she added.