2022 RDAA | Custom Rural or Vacation House | Kua Bay | Walker Warner Architects

No one builds a house in Hawaii so they can live indoors. The entire exercise is about immersion in the incomparable, elemental scenery. And few firms are as well equipped to design houses in service to that goal as Walker Warner is. Greg Warner grew up in Hawaii, developing his playbook for harnessing the best of what the island chain has to offer. For the Kua Bay house and guest house, he carefully reworked the generic developer lot into an unfolding experience of mountain view, ocean panorama, and rugged lava outcroppings.

Indeed, much sleight of hand occurs between the sunken parking area and guest house, which are carved into the lava rock, and the promenade up through the courtyard and into the house. The house is elevated just enough to place interior entertaining spaces directly in line with the ocean view. Window walls on both the courtyard side and ocean side open fully to the outdoors, turning the house into a mere hyphen between land and sea.

The pool area steps down from the house, quietly holding its own against the liquid horizon. A few steps farther down, a firepit area is carved out of rock and surrounded by grasses that bow in the breeze. “Stepping down feels more natural than building big podiums,” says Greg. “There’s something really compelling about getting so close to the grasses and lava.” Our judges agreed, calling the result “glorious.”


Custom Rural or Vacation House

Walker Warner Architects

Kua Bay


Project Credits

Architect: Greg Warner, AIA, principal in charge; John Pierson, senior project manager; Daniel P. Baciuska, AIA, job captain, Walker Warner Architects, San Francisco

Builder: Robin Ledson, Ledson Construction, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Interior Designer: Nicole Hollis, NICOLEHOLLIS, San Francisco

Landscape Architect: Ron Lutsko, Lutsko Associates, San Francisco

Lighting Designer: Eric Johnson, Eric Johnson Associates, Novato, California

Structural Engineer: Kris Johnson, GFDS Engineers, San Francisco

Project Size: 6,000 square feet

Site Size: 1.7 acres

Photography: Douglas Friedman

Key Products

Cabinetry/Windows/Doors: Custom

Cabinetry Hardware: Nanz

Cooktop/Grill: Wolf

Counters: Calacatta Marble

Dishwasher: Asko

Exterior Glass Doors: Vitrocsa USA

Faucets: Dornbracht

Lighting Control: Lutron

Ovens: Gaggenau

Refrigerator/Freezer/Wine Refrigerator/Icemaker: Sub-Zero

Roofing: VMZINC

Skylight: CrystaLite

Toilets: TOTO

Washer/Dryer: LG