Hawaii Is Open 4 Business

Aloha!  Should I flip on the neon light that flashes crispy and hot? It is summer time in Hawaii and incase you were wondering – we are OPEN for tourists and guests.  If you haven’t been here in the summer get ready for heat/humidity. Crispy is the definition of tourists who visit us and think it is “in style” to return home burnt and tan (dude, it’s not cool – wear SPF that isn’t harmful to our coral reefs).  News flash – tanning means you don’t care about yourself.

Kauai or otherwise known as the Garden Isle is my home.  I live in a small town on the south shore known as Koloa.  We are blessed with a ton of sunshine however; we are adjacent to Mt. Waialeale (means “overflowing water) the wettest place in the world. So, just to clarify – it is humid in Hawaii.  So many times over the last two months I have had friends, families and colleagues share with me they want to cancel their vacations to Hawaii.  My next response is why?  “THE VOLCANO!”  Did you know there are several islands that make up Hawaii?  Kilauea volcano is located on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The volcano has been devastating and disruptive to many locals however, to put it in perspective it is a very small area of about ten square-miles being impacted on an island that is 4,028 square-miles. My home on Kauai is 300 miles from the Big Island, while Oahu is 200 miles away.  Kona, the main resort area located on the Big Island is 100 miles from the volcanic activity.  You have no fears and the air quality remains good.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Tourism is Hawaii’s prime economic engine.  Tourism generated $1.96 billion in tax revenue last year, while visitors spending climbed to $16.78 billion, according to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority. Visitors spend an average of $20.9 million per day in Oahu alone.

It is important to note that Hawaii has what might be the highest statewide home prices in the United States, with the median home value in the state at about $605,000, according to the housing website Zillow. And while the unemployment rate is low at around 2 percent, that figure obscures other problems. Hawaii had the highest cost of living of any state in 2017, according to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, driven largely by housing prices. Zoning restrictions in parts of the archipelago and the use of private residences as vacation rentals constrict available affordable housing even further.  The result: Even though Hawaii’s economy seems to be strong, wage increases have trailed the climb in home prices, fueling an exodus of people from the state.

Hawaiian’s have learned to rely on tourism to survive.  It is not uncommon to meet someone who works multiple jobs just to support themselves or their families.   The Hawaiian culture is embedded with ALOHA and pride for the culture and land.  There is so much to share and we are all so happy to share it with you. Each island has it’s own personality but they all thrive on one common thread “respect” for the land, people, animals, sea and family.  Cherish what we have here for you.  Respect local culture.  Take only what you need.  Give thanks for what you are given.  Slow down and share with others. It’s what we do.  You are our guests but please do it too.

Lastly,Hawaii is one of the most racially diverse places in the world as there is no majority – everyone is in a minority. In the 2010 Census, 24% of Hawaii residents claimed multi-ethnic backgrounds (two or more races), far more than any other state in the USA (the second highest is Alaska). You will find a “mixed plate” of ethnic groups in Hawaii; 39% of Hawaii’s population is Asian, 24% is White, 10% is Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders, 9% is Hispanic, 2% is African American, 0.3% is American Indian and Alaska Native.

As Hawaii has become home to many different ethnic groups over the last 200 years, each ethnic group has added elements of its own culture to local life. Hawaii’s variety of cultures can be traced back to the old “plantation days” in the Islands, when various ethnic groups migrated to Hawaii to earn a living and support their growing families. Today, contemporary culture in Hawaii is a mix of the different cultures and ethnic groups that make up its unique population.

What does all this mean?  We have the most magnificent people living here.  Everyone really does embrace each other and their culture.  The weather is amazing and our beaches and mountains are like nothing you will ever see anywhere else.  Our food is above and beyond, hands down the most amazing infusion your palate will ever experience.  If you aren’t sure if now is the right time to visit, the answer is “come now”.  The minute you step on foot on our islands you will be helping many people while at the same time learning and sharing aloha.


Note:  Artwork@ http://www.welzie-art.com  Ink@www.sacredtiestattoo.com









Dancing In Your Sheets

Over the last few weeks you might have noticed that summer has officially arrived and temperatures are soaring.  With or without air conditioning (I live in Hawaii & AC is not the norm) it’s probably time to lighten up your bed sheets. Here is the best tip – you nee linen and breezy, organic cotton. Linen has an open weave, so it’s extremely breathable. Organic cotton feels crisp and cool even when extremely hot and humid. The more you wash either one, the softer they will become.

You might find that locating the perfect sheets is a little more challenging than you might have thought. Very few stores stock linen or linen/cotton blends.  I have noticed the stores that do have them on their shelves have a high retail ticket price attached.  I have been searching and here are a few of the best online vendors that provide the best quality sheets at a value.

Parachute’s linen sheets are hands down the most preferred linen sheets according to many shoppers. The sheets are super light, wrinkly (think casual, chic elegance), and comfortable in a way that made them feel like home.  One of the best features is they continue to get better with every wash. $399-$440

Rough Linen lives up to its name for the first few washes. The fabric is rough and natural in a way that makes it feel like raw canvas.  I suggest to wash them a few times before you throw them on your bed — and, like a pair of selvage jeans, the linen softens up. Best of all, they’re so sturdy you’ll probably be able to pass them down to your kids.  $360-$400

Like a classic navy blazer, fantastic cotton sheets should already be in your repertoire. If they aren’t, you should check out the Boll & Branch long-staple, 300-count, 100-percent organic cotton sheet set. These are perfect for summertime. $200-$295

Lastly, Brooklinen also has classic sheet line that is a little lighter weight however; their Luxe series is just wonderful.  Check out a thin pinstripe to give your room a little more texture $240

linen bedding


Hanging Into Summer

As home trends evolve, one of the most significant changes over the last 30 years has been in window treatments.  Selecting the perfect window covering or accent can make a room feel more open, provide privacy, create height and add personality. Choosing window treatments in soothing shades and monochromatic color palettes can update any space and create a calm, serene environment.  The right window treatment will keep the room simple but also create a harmonious transition between the walls and your windows.

Luxury and home furnishings go hand in hand.  Volume is a major trend in luxury window treatments.  Overall, drapes are getting longer and wider to accommodate the illusion of making the windows appear larger in scale.  Lush fabrics like velvet, silk and linen look beautiful when tailored to highlight their texture.  Not only do they drape beautifully, they add glamour to a room without overwhelming the space.  Because they are so lush and precious on their own, they don’t need embellishment.

Extra long fabric puddled on the floor has been replaced with floor length draperies tailored to floor length.  Longer looser pleats are the current trend (five to six inches long). They appear less prim and proper than shorter ones.  Double rather than triple pleats are also being used to create a more casual and chic vibe.  These little details provide a more contemporary and less formal feel.

Don’t forget about the pinch pleat drapes.  They continue to be the standard for elegance in the industry. Pinch pleat drapes characteristically retain their shape, maintaining a consistent appearance open or closed. They also hang beautifully. Sometimes mistaken for the pinch pleat is the inverted box pleat drape.  For a more modern and tailored room this “back pleat” style provides a lighter and more contemporary feel.  If selected in a simple color palette these drapes can grace any home and add softness to a stark cold space.

Grommet drapes continue to be very much in vogue.  While some grommet drapes appear to be much more casual, it is still possible to glam them up and make a statement in any space.  The easiest way to add a sparkle is to make certain you purchase at least two sets of panels for each side of your window. This will allow you to add width and maintain 8-10 grommet folds at each side of the window.  Another great way to add style is add a band at the bottom either in a contrasting color for a graphic element or a monochromatic color to add height.  Vertical or horizontal banding is very popular and creates beautiful detail and interest to any plain drape.

When you look through drapery fabrics these days you cannot miss the bold graphic patterns.  The choices appear limitless from geometric patterns, trellis designs, large-scale floral patterns, bright bold colors and whimsical toiles.  Luckily, all these patterns look fabulous in the more traditional style drapes. The rod pocket and tab top styles continue to provide the volume and drape necessary to make the statement that these designs require.

Layering in your window treatments has also become an important trend. The overall look remains clean and the color palette should remain consistent for both treatments.  Blending colors rather than contrasting ones works best when you wish to layer your treatments.  Any type of blind or sheer can easily create this effect.

Regardless if you chose to go with traditional drapes, plantation shutters or layered blinds with drapery panels, you have limitless options available to add a unique style to any space.  Make certain your length is perfect and measured accordingly.  Go custom or shop the specialty store circuit.  Just make sure your choice reflects your personal style. Seek out that special treatment and make your windows look as savvy as you do.






New Outdoor Furniture?

It is hard to believe but summer has officially started and we will soon be preparing our outdoor patios and spaces for July 4thcelebrations. Time is now of the essence.

It is time evaluate your space and see what it is you will need to create a more engaging and comfortable living space. The term evaluate has many meanings. First, take time to sit in your furniture.  For many of us it might have been a year since we had the opportunity to recline or rock in our favorite outdoor chair.  Be prepared, anything can happen.  Last week, I discovered the entire synthetic woven back of one of our rockers had dry and cracked from the direct Hawaii sun.  Before I could even sit down I quickly found myself in a reclining position have way to the concrete.  Next, check the springs or glider functionality and see if it needs a tune up or perhaps a spritz of WD40.  Don’t forget to check your party umbrellas. Over the winter they have a tendency to mildew and might need a little elbow grease to get them back to new. Lastly, examine your cushions. Are they clean and free of stains?

Did you know July 4thweek starts the official first hard markdowns on many outdoor furniture and accessories at many retailers?  If you have had any challenges (like myself) you may find yourself ready to commit and invest in new outdoor furniture.

There are so many options available on the market today.  Outdoor furniture is made from a variety of natural and manufactured materials. Most clients are looking for patio furniture that is built to last and looks fresh and new for years to come.  It is also important that it stays attractive despite exposure to the elements, and is easy to maintain. Some materials are more durable than others while many withstand exposure to the elements better. In order to make the best purchasing decision, you should investigate the characteristics of each type of material.  It is imperative to pay close attention to the pros and cons of each. Some may be more resistant to wind or rain, while others will last longer in sunshine or heat.

The four main types of materials used in the manufacture of patio furniture include plastic, wood, wicker, and metal.  Plastic is usually the least expensive option. Plastic furniture is highly portable, it can be made from recycled materials, and chairs can be stacked for storage. Unfortunately plastic is not always the most aesthetically pleasing option. It can be cleaned with soapy water and a scrubbing brush (if needed), making it easy to care for and maintain. Plastic can be shaped, molded, and colored into just about any design, making it a good choice for those who want something different.

Patio furniture comes in a wide variety of wood types as well and can be used if one wants a warmer, more casual and natural look. Popular wood types include pine, teak, cedar, redwood and eucalyptus.  Hardwoods tend to be more durable and long-lasting, with teak lasting up to 50 years, and redwood lasting up to 25 years. Treating wood with special oils and sealants will increase its lifespan significantly.

Softwoods like cedar and pressure treated pine, although not as durable as hardwoods will last for several years outdoors.  Unfortunately, untreated pine has low resistance to rot and it is recommended that it be painted or sealed and stored indoors during winter months. Another advantage of wood is that it does not hold the sun’s heat.

Wicker can be natural or synthetic and gives an outdoor area a cozy or rustic look. This woven wood is durable, but lightweight. Wicker furniture can be made from cane, rattan, bamboo, or a number of other materials. Outdoor sets are usually made from synthetics in order to increase weather resistance and durability.

Wrought iron looks best in a formal and classic setting. It is a strong, durable material, and furniture designs range from traditional to contemporary. It is very heavy and will not tip over or blow away easily, making it a great choice for windy environments. This type of metal does require some care to prevent rust and increase corrosion resistance. It can be painted to both create a different look and to improve its resistance to corrosion. Some disadvantages of iron furniture are that it gets quite warm in direct sunlight. It can also be very cold on cooler days. A simple solution to both challenges is to utilize outdoor cushions.  More robust fabrics should be used outdoors, and cushions should be put away after use. Wrought iron furniture can be left outdoors year-round, provided it is cared for properly.

Aluminum will not fade or rust if it has been coated with a powder-coat finish. This metal is usually used in contemporary, streamlined designs. It requires less maintenance than steel or wrought iron.  Unfortunately this is a more expensive material and high-end sets can be pricey. However, aluminum is corrosion resistant and can survive outside for extended periods.

After you have committed to the furniture and have it delivered, it is now time to create your ideal outdoor living space and prepare for that July 4thcookout that everyone will be talking about until next year.





Give A Little Get Allot

Have you heard of the one-inch rule?  Have you noticed that there is sometimes just something you can’t quite explain but it just ads that extra touch to a custom deigned room?  According to a close designer colleague, you should never underestimate the power of an extra inch when creating your special space.  Could this be one of the little magical details that designers input into every space?  When it comes to hanging drapes, arranging bedding and fitting slip covers designers across America most usually “add an extra inch” to their tasks.  An extra inch of fabric, draped along the floor of your home can create an elegant look without being too serious.

A great example would be utilizing the inch of extra fabric in your bedroom.  Dreamy white curtains that float along the floor bring a chic, feminine feel. It is possible to parlay this rule into bedding and throws, but it’ll have a greater impact if it’s limited to one element in a room. If the curtains are longer, keep the bedding floating just above the floor. It’s all about balance.

Lastly, to achieve the full impact of the one-inch rule, you have to invest in good quality fabrics.  Don’t skimp on blends and poor quality textiles.  The beauty of this look is all in how the fabric breaks and folds.

So the next time you look at elegant yet inviting living space and think  “Why doesn’t my den look that spectacular?”  The answer is a simple as an inch. Give it a shot.  One inch can go a long way in design.




Island Style

If you are looking to create an intimate and tranquil space that takes you back to those days at the shore there is no better time than now to make it happen!  Summer is here and it’s not to late to give your home a quick lift. Now is the time to create one of the most amazing beach cottage inspired rooms that will be sure to transport you to a land of warm Hawaiian breezes.  Beach bungalows aren’t always about wicker chairs, nautical accents and coral objects.  It is up to you to elevate your space into one of today’s new modern beach retreats. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Embrace natural elements in your space. It is important to mix textures and layer elements as needed.  For a living room, try a textured handspun hemp rug with a distressed wooden cocktail table.  For a more tropical feel, layer in open weave slipper chairs and contrast them with rustic elements such as monkey pod side tables.  If you are looking to add a more modern element select concrete cube style side tables and introduce elements of stainless steel.
  2. When selecting your color palette opt for simple lighter colors. Think of colors that evoke reflections of the sea and sky.  Creamy white, atmospheric blue or linen stone are all great basic foundation colors for a space.   Contrast these colors with warm textures of wood ranging from pickled-white-pine to warm cozy bamboo.
  3. Simple slipcovered linen upholstered furniture is a must for any beach house space. It is important not to be too “matchy-matchy”… mix it up a bit by adding rattan armchairs rather.  I promise you will love the simplicity and easy care of a cotton linen slipcover on your sofa.  It creates an elegance and ease to your space as well as allows your versatility as trends evolve.  You are not committed to a 10-year life of just one fabric or color.
  4. In your bungalow dining room it is important to find a warm wooden table and add in chairs with a woven cane bottom or for a more urban look, try bamboo styled Chiavari chairs.You know, the gold or silver ones you have seen at weddings.
  5. Beach houses look best when they are accented with bright bold patterns or cabana stripes.Amp up your style with multiple graphic and vibrant prints.  The boost of color adds life to a white on white wood palette and adds personality and dimension to your space.
  6. Lastly, don’t forget the touch of whimsy and humor. Adding unique accessories such as hand carved koa surfboards, colorful paintings, unique shells and beautifully embroidered pillows are all examples of elements that will personalize your space.

Beach House



BBQ In Style

Summer is officially here!  Cookouts and poolside snack are a must.  This season is time to be environmentally green as well as fashionably on point with your food presentation.  Go out there and elevate your summer barbeques with washable and reusable melamine dinner wear.  Even if you have not heard of melamine, you most likely have eaten off of a melamine plate.  Because this unique material is lighter and more durable than china it is the most practical from poolside, patio or deck.  Many eateries have even turned to melamine to avoid constantly replacing broken dinnerware in outdoor settings.  But melamine tableware isn’t just limited to plates and cups. You’ll also find melamine bowls, saucers, trays, fry cones, and even chopsticks. Melamine can also be made in a wide range of colors and styles, making it an extremely versatile product that can be used in a variety of settings.

Melamine is a hard plastic. More specifically, it’s an organic industrial compound created by combining melamine resin with strengthening materials. That means it can stand up to the rigors of everyday use.

There are dozens of designer melamine lines created to replicate the look of fine china and other ceramic dinnerware. Available in both solid color and patterned designs, you’re sure to find the perfect high-end melamine dinnerware to parallel your style. Because melamine is so versatile, you can get the same visually appealing presentation from melamine that you can from other materials like porcelain, china, or even slate.  They are available in a variety of price points and available everywhere this summer from Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pier1 and Target.

Unlike glazed dishes, melamine tableware is 100% dishwasher safe. In fact, many lines of melamine serving ware can handle heat that exceeds recommended dishwasher water temperatures. And thanks to melamine’s high heat-retaining properties, it dries faster than standard dishware.  Lastly, Many reports have surfaced questioning the health hazards of melamine tableware. However, the FDA’s Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine states that this type of plastic tableware is safe for use. The study concludes that the chemicals in melamine will not migrate, or transfer, into food, as long your food is not heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. While some melamine products may contain safe amounts of BPA, many brands offer certified BPA-free melamine products.