Home Design: Love Endures
For sixty years, despite the odds, this north shore dwelling has proved that home is where the heart lives.
Story by Kathy Collins | Photography by Jonathon at JBR LIFE | Remodel by Frank Zajac of Aloha Remodeling & Construction
In this sprawling, sun-drenched Spreckelsville beach home, love is everywhere. Literally. It's the first thing you see as you approach the front l?nai, spelled out in eighteen-inch-high wooden letters mounted on the wall.
Inside, from the spacious kitchen and dining area to each of the three charmingly cheerful bedrooms, "LOVE" is rendered in whimsical wall art. Like colorful Post-It notes on a bulletin board, affirmations of aloha decorate the walls of the children's bathrooms. Even when the occupants are out for the day, the house seems warm and welcoming, alive with positivity. It's almost as if the nearly-sixty-year-old dwelling is celebrating its narrow escape from demolition, grateful for the opportunity to harbor yet another Maui family.
Built in 1957, the plantation-style dwelling went through several owners before Jane and Jack Thompson married and took over the home that Jane had lived in since 1975, a year after her parents purchased it. Until Jack's death in 2011, the couple enjoyed an idyllic island lifestyle, raising their children and, for twenty years, operating a bed and breakfast.
"It was always a great family house. Kids coming and going all the time. Our house was open to kids, friends ...of course, that's how the whole neighborhood was back then. It was, and still is, a special place," Jane remarks.
She sold the house and moved to Kula in 2012, but the quaint charm of Spreckelsville and the desire to be close to dear friends lured her back to the beachside village after a year. She now resides a block away from her former home. Any pangs of wistfulness when she passes the house? Jane says no. It was the perfect place to raise her family and it served them well. "I'm so grateful for having been able to live there for nearly forty years. I hope the [current] family has as much fun in that house as we did." She's especially pleased that owners Kevin and Sabrina changed their minds about razing the structure.
"We bought it with the intention of tearing it down," says Sabrina, "but the longer we were in here, the more we wanted to save it. ...We decided to use what was here and build on that. We wanted to keep it beachy and casual, keep the kama`aina feel."
With a long-held passion and talent for interior design, Sabrina knew exactly what she wanted, and hired contractor Frank Zajac and Aloha Remodeling and Construction to carry out her plans. They significantly increased the recreation/entertainment space, extended the master bathroom, added a couple of outdoor baths and converted a fourth bedroom into a laundry. Wherever possible, Aloha Remodeling restored and enhanced the home's original features, rather than replacing them; in the kitchen, modern appliances fit in perfectly with the old plantation-home drainboard and cupboards.
"Frank was wonderful," Sabrina enthuses. "I just told him what I wanted, and he did the work whenever we left on vacation." Over three summers and a couple of Christmas and spring breaks, Sabrina saw her vision realized.
The home has retained the relaxed, tropical charm of sweeter, simpler days gone by. Realtor Martin Lenny, also a neighbor, was pleased to see new life given to the beloved abode. When it had seemed destined for destruction, he had lamented not being able to purchase it himself. "It's amazing what they've done," he says. "We're so happy that they decided not to tear down this wonderful house and preserve it instead."
As she tells it, Sabrina fell in love with Maui on her first visit, six years ago. "I was riding my bicycle up Baldwin Avenue, loving the beauty of this island. I passed Montessori [School of Maui] and thought, 'This is where I want to send my children to school.' Then it started to sprinkle, and this may sound silly, but I felt I was being baptized. Baptized to Maui. In that moment, I just knew I had to be here."
Two years later, Sabrina and Kevin purchased the Spreckelsville house, enrolled their three children in Montessori, and settled into "our beach cottage in Hawai`i," just as she had envisioned.
On their days off from school, the youngsters frolic with friends at the seashore or in their spacious backyard, swinging from the monkeypod tree Jane planted decades ago. As in the Thompsons' time, the small, close-knit neighborhood remains family-friendly. Sabrina says, "Everyone knows everyone here; it's a great place to raise kids. And this house, from the start, has been so inviting, so bright and cheery; it's been a special home for our family."
Indeed, it is a home not just built, but maintained, rescued by, and filled with love — several times over.Maui No Ka Oi Magazine Article: Love Endures