The phrase “classic plantation or classic kama’aina home” is often used to describe a specific architectural style of home for sale on Maui or for that matter all of the islands. Hawaii has its own unique style of kama’aina-plantation home. This architectural style dates back to the early 1900’s when the chief industries of Hawai’i were sugar and pineapple. The classic kama’aina-plantation-style home is the Hawaiian equivalent of owning a Craftsman style bungalow or a Spanish mission home and the design is loved by both residents and newcomers to the Islands as it blends into the landscape with ease.
The sizes of the homes varied with the hierarchy of the plantation system. Camp houses were built for the field hands, while larger homes were built for the “luna”, the boss or foremen.
Though Island temperatures are moderate year round, our trade winds, rainfall and Hawaiian sun can be harsh on homes. Architects of the era took the weather patterns into consideration for optimum Island living and designed homes with hip roofs or split-hip/pitch roofs. Eaves were extended with 4’ overhangs sheltering the home like an umbrella from the rain and sun. Homes were built up on wood posts & and concrete pier blocks allowing the structure to breathe and moisture to evaporate.
Early homes were framed with single-wall construction of old-growth Douglas fir and termite-resistant redwood. The ceilings were fabricated using Canec, a fiber board material made of pressed sugar cane fibers. Double hung windows open from the top or bottom, allowing air flow regardless of the weather.
Larger homes built for the owners and foremen “luna” typically had wide concrete-lava rock porches and ample veranda or wrap around lanai areas for outdoor enjoyment. The warmer island weather allowed homes to be more compact than their mainland counterparts and the covered lanai became an extension of the living space.
The caution to to buying an older home is at times their age as settling may have occurred over time and the home may no longer be plumb. Other considerations are repairing or replacing old windows, upgrading wiring and plumbing, lead based paint mitigation and caring for Canec ceilings.
We recommend you hire a home inspector, have a thorough termite inspection and consult licensed contractors who specialize in home renovation. The rewards reap a wonderful connection to Hawaii’s past and a home that will have timeless appeal.
If you would like to own any of these fine “kama’aina-plantation style” homes or are considering owning a home on Maui, give us a call or contact us. Our role is to educate you on our market and provide you with the best resources available so that your home purchase is a smooth transition.