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With more than 45 megawatts of photovoltaics installed to date, Sunetric has climbed its way to the industry’s peak, and is ready to help more Hawaii homeowners switch to solar. > See page 3



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Falling for Fall hen I first moved to Hawaii from Cleveland several years ago, the thing I missed most was the autumn season. Crisp leaves, apple cider, brisk air. But soon I found out that autumn does come to Hawaii, only in a much subtler way.The temperature cools, the days get shorter, the wind picks up, and hey, there’s plenty of football going on. And even though the changing leaves aren’t as obvious as some areas on the Mainland, if you look carefully, you can find them, which makes them even more special. Autumn is definitely in season in Hawaii. If you’re like me, the new season puts you in a new mindset — and makes you want to fix up your home to match the mood. Bring some more apparent signs of the season into your home by choosing items that you feel good about this fall. Let’s start with color. To get some inspiration, I always start by thinking about one of my favorite things about a new season: food. Fall food is com-


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fort food. Think about the rich colors of hearty stews, squash, pears, apples, pumpkin pie and your own favorites when choosing accessories. Holly Weber, design consultant at Homeowners Design Center, suggests using colors such as saturated orange and brown hues to create warmth in the home. These can be in the form of throw pillows and blankets, or even hanging art. You can also kick it up and paint an entire room or an accent wall. Weber also suggests incorporating some rustic elements to complement the theme. Add woven rugs and baskets. Think about materials. Steel and iron lamps and lighting add to the charm. For a lighter commitment, consider

freshening up your floral arrangements. Incorporate succulents and some not-so-typical plants such as flowering kale or ornamental cabbage. Arrange them in a playful vase or even in a wall hanging. There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to decorating your home for the season. Go for what makes you feel good, and stick to what you love.

Hawaii Renovation is a weekly advertising supplement published by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. SALES MANAGER DARWIN ROGERS

Phone: 529-4740 | Send your comments and story ideas to





Making the right choice when going solar


Who provides the warranty on the system? It’s best to choose a contractor who takes full responsibility for the design, installation and warranty so issues don’t fall through the cracks. It’s also good to ask whether the company has been in the PV business for as long as the current warranty they are offering. At a minimum, the contractor must have survived at least one full warranty cycle to prove it’ll be there after the sale, should you need it. Sunetric offers a six-year warranty and has been in business for more than eight years.



With more than 45 megawatts of photovoltaics installed to date, Sunetric has climbed its way to the industry’s peak, and is ready to help more Hawaii homeowners switch to solar. > See page 3

emember when you bought your first car? Think about all those questions you asked yourself and the alltoo-eager car salesman. How much should I spend? Is the car safe? How is it on gas? How about a test drive? Buying a car is a lot like purchasing your first photovoltaic (PV) system (except solar doesn’t burn hydrocarbons). With competition in Hawaii’s solar energy industry heating up, your PV contractor options have grown and will only become more confusing. And it’s not like you can take a PV system out for a test drive. With the right questions, though, you can take the contractor out for a “test drive.” Don’t let your enthusiasm for getting rid of electricity bills get the better of you. Sunetric presents these questions so you can collect your thoughts and make the smartest investment for your home:

Does the contractor have a C-13 license and other solar-relevant certifications? Sunetric holds a number of license classifications including a C-13 Electrical Contractors license. This means Sunetric employees are licensed to install the systems they sell. More so, Sunetric employees are NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners)-certified, which means that Sunetric specializes in photovoltaics. Also, make sure that the company is an HSEA (Hawaii Solar Energy Association)-approved contractor.




SUNETRIC contact // 262-6600 address // 905 Kalanianaole Hwy. Box 21 web //

How do you measure experience in the business? Many companies tout cumulative years of experience. If Sunetric were to measure itself based on that, it would have more than 400 years. Other companies tout hours of training, but that is no substitute for years of experience. Don’t be misled by companies that talk about open permits; a real measure of success is the number of closed permits a company has. Also, ask how many megawatts (MW) it has installed in Hawaii. Sunetric has installed more than 45 MW of PV, which is more than three times as much as any other company. What’s your history with customers? Check with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Professional and Licensing Division. Make sure your vendor’s background always reflects the customer’s

best interests. Sunetric has an A rating with the BBB and boasts a near-perfect customer satisfaction rate. Part of that stellar rating comes from customers knowing that every job begins and ends with safety as a priority and core belief. What is the workmanship warranty? Sunetric offers a six-year warranty on all work performed on its installations. Furthermore, a highly trained roofing crew allows it to offer five-year warranties on your roof, whereas other companies only offer one-year or none at all. And most of Sunetric’s systems come with a 25-year warranty. Is the system sized properly? Don’t fall victim to companies playing the bait and switch game. Many companies will say that their smaller-sized systems can pro-

duce the equivalent of another company’s larger-sized systems just to acquire your business, leaving you with a large portion of your original bill to HECO. An improperly sized system will affect its efficiency and is indicative of an inexperienced contractor. Sunetric’s proprietary design tool is the result of more than eight years of refined calculations. The company specializes in determining your needs and providing you with near-exact solutions, so you can expect to receive that zero dollar bill you are looking for.

“Going solar can seem like a complicated process,” said Alex Tiller, Sunetric’s chief executive officer. “However, if you ask the right questions and choose a company with a history of quality, relevant certifications and years of experience, solar can be the simplest decision you can make.”

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Big design ideas for small kitchen spaces B igger isn’t always better in the real estate world, and what’s more, it’s not always possible. With more baby boomers downsizing from McMansions to smaller, more manageable houses, and a growing number of people opting to rent rather than buy, many families are looking for new ways to decorate, design and work with smaller spaces. Kitchens sell homes, but this most-used room in the house hasn’t escaped the “less is more” trend, either. Interior designers, decorators and home product makers are responding to the growing demand for practical, beautiful options that make sense in smaller kitchens. If you’re looking to make a big impact in a small kitchen, here are a few ideas to get you started: Work the walls You may love your cozy kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you want to make it look or feel any smaller than it already is. Lighter wall colors can help a little kitchen feel more open and airy. One winning decorating technique for small kitchens is to paint the majority of the wall space in a light neu-

tral tone, like a pale cream or taupe and then add a pop of brighter or darker color to one accent wall or area.You can edge up the excitement of this technique by using a mural for kitchens on the accent wall, rather than just a different paint color. Have an oddly shaped niche in your kitchen? You can turn that problematic space into a design statement with custom, repositionable wallpaper that can be custom-sized and custom-colored to fit your specifications. This unique product can be adhered and re-adhered hundreds of times so you can take it with you to your next house if you choose. improve your efficiency as well. Smart-size your appliances Sure that 30-cubic-foot stainless steel refrigerator is beautiful in the showroom, but how much will you love it when you can’t fully open the door in your small kitchen? Refrigerators come in several sizes, so you should be able to find one that will fit your space. The same is true for stoves, microwaves and dishwashers. Choosing appliances that make size-sense for the space you have not only improves the livability of your petite kitchen, it can

Get creative with storage One of the biggest challenges of a small kitchen is finding space for everything from pots and pans to flatware, dishes and foodstuffs. Small spaces call for storage creativity. Whether you hang some pots and pans overhead, replace traditional cabinet shelves with pullout drawers or use special racks to store plates vertically, you can find plenty of creative smallkitchen storage solutions. Liven things up with light Often, a small kitchen will have just one window — or no window at all. Yet light is an important way to make a tight space

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feel more expansive and inviting. Task lighting is essential for work areas in small spaces. Pendant lights can create ambiance and provide practical illumination without sacrificing any wall space. And if you crave natural light for your windowless kitchen, consider installing a skylight. Tubular skylights can bring sunlight into your groundfloor kitchen even if there’s a second floor above it.

Small kitchens are here to stay, whether as part of the trend toward smaller, more efficient homes or the reality of rental unit life. With some decorating creativity and practical design tactics, you can ensure your small kitchen yields large benefits — both in terms of enjoyment and resale value.


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How to care for your natural stone he Romans built the Colosseum with it, the East Indians built the Taj Mahal with it, and Americans built the Lincoln Monument with it. Natural Stone is humankind’s first and still highly prized building material. It has been used in castles, palaces, temples and public spaces throughout history. “Marble, granite, slate, limestone, quartzite and basalt, just to name a few, continue to signify beauty, durability and versatility in today’s homes,” said Layla Dedrick, Bella Pietra owner. “This holds true in Hawaii, where Bella Pietra has supplied thousands of square feet of natural stone for both the commercial and residential market. From the renovation of an old favorite, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, to a stunning new high-rise in the Honolulu skyline, the Pinnacle, natural stone from Bella Pietra sets the stage for many of Hawaii’s beautiful buildings.” Natural stone, like any other building material, requires proper care. Contrary to popular myth, stone is not high-maintenance. Learn just how easy it is to maintain the beauty of stone floors and countertops for a lifetime of enjoyment, including helpful hints on “dos and don’ts” at Bella Pietra’s free workshop Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. at Bella Pietra.


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Free Seminar Stone Cleaning and Maintenance Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. Bella Pietra Reserve your spot at

BELLA PIETRA contact // 587-7779 address // 701 N. Nimitz Hwy. web //

Presented by Dedrick and Dan Curtis, western regional sales manager of Miracle Sealants, workshop participants will learn how to:

• Decide which solutions and products are safe

• Clean your stone (routine maintenance and long-term care)

• Restore an etched or dull surface

• Prevent potential damage

“Natural stone countertops and floors will be the longest-lasting design investment in your home, and basic care and cleaning is simple and requires little effort,” said Dedrick. “Even with food or drink spills, dirt tracked in after soccer practice, or years of use, your stone will continue to provide years of use and enjoyment.” Dedrick notes that prevention is key to ensuring maximum luster to your natural stone floors and countertops. Using floor mats or area rugs helps minimize potential damage by picking up abrasive dirt and grit. Immediately wiping up spills and using neutral cleaners are just some of the many helpful tips attendees will learn at this workshop. Seminars are free, but very popular. To ensure your seat, register at www.bellapi


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A celebration of the industry’s very best By Karen Nakamura he Building Industry Association of Hawaii (BIA-Hawaii) honored the seven entrants of the 56th annual BIA Parade of Homes at the Oct. 2 awards gala and has awarded the most outstanding home on the market today, the 2012 grand champion winner, to the HASEKO Development Inc. entry, “Ka Makana at Hoakalei Koa Lifestyle Series, Residence 65.10.” The 2012 theme, “A New Home Revolution,” will showcase new homes on Oahu and educate consumers on the latest trends, technology and design innovations in residential construction during two weeks of free open houses Oct. 1-14. The BIA 2012 Grand Champion Winner, “Ka Makana at Hoakalei Koa Lifestyle Series, Residence 65.10” by Haseko Development Inc., is located in Ewa Beach and also won the Single Family Detached Category in Division V of $799,000-$999,000, the ASLA Landscape Award and the MBA Financing Award. Other developers and their projects that you can explore in the October open house weekends include Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc. “Nohona III at Kapolei Puliki –Plan 4”; D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes,


LLC “Kahiwelo at Makakilo ‘Ehiku-Plan 7”; Gentry Homes Ltd. “Sandalwood by Gentry Plan 1-‘Iliahi,” “Sandalwood by Gentry Plan 3- Ha’aheo” and “Trades by Gentry Plan 3Kaiaulu” and Haseko Development Inc. “Ka Makana at Hoakalei Koa Premier Series, Residence 60.50.” When you visit the 2012 new model homes, enter to win up to nine Solar World SW245 Photovoltaic Sun modules with micro inverters and a monitoring system from Bonterra Solar.Visit for information on the Bonterra Sloar Services Photovoltaic System, BIA Parade of Homes Grand Prize, location maps and driving directions to all the Model Homes. We invite you to our free open houses Oct. 1-14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and hope that you discover all the reasons these new residential homes are “not your parents home.” The image below is of the 2012 BIA Parade of Homes Grand Champion Winner “Ka Makana at Hoakalei Lifestyle Series Residence 65.10” by Haseko Development Inc. Karen Nakamura is executive vice president/CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.

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Beyond builders basics Five projects to transform your home from cookie-cutter to custom-built aah, a new home ... your chance to personalize your living space with details that suit your taste and personality. Or, so you think. Many builders only allow you to choose colors and offer limited options beyond their builders-grade materials. Or, if you’ve purchased a previously owned home, it too is most likely equipped with many basic options. Luckily, it’s easy to bust out of builder basics and add a few easy and inexpensive updates to make your cookiecutter home stand out from the rest, and what better place to start than the heart of your home: the kitchen. “A minor kitchen remodel is really one of the easiest ways you can make the most of your home — while also giving it your own personal style,” said Danny Lipford, renowned home improvement expert and host of the nationally syndicated TV show, Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. “Plus, according to Remodeling magazine, it’s one of the top five projects that will recoup your investment when it comes time to sell.” Not sure where to start? Lipford recommends these five projects:


Cool countertops If your kitchen is like most, you probably have laminate countertops, since they are available in a variety of colors and patterns and are relatively inexpensive ($10-30 per square foot).They lack in style, however, and scratch and buckle easily. To give your kitchen a high-end look, consider updating your countertops with a more resistant surface such as solid surface, a molded resin that is stain-resistant and mimics the look of concrete ($35-80 per square foot); marble, which in addition to its natural beauty is heat-resistant ($40-100 per square foot); or engineered stone, which is a mix of quartz and resins to create an extremely durable and fashionable surface ($4590 per square foot).

dent and are available in a variety of styles and designs; are all ideal and easy-to-install options.

ion. Moen offers a variety of stylish high-arc pullout kitchen faucets with new innovative finishes, such as the Neva pullout faucet. Available at Lowe’s, Neva features Moen’s two newest finishes — Soft Grip and Spot Resist. Soft Grip is a stylish, black finish that is soft to the touch for a comfortable and sturdy feel in your hand — yet is durable in design for everyday use; while Spot Resist Stainless does just what it says — resist fingerprints and water spots — virtually eliminating the need for daily cleaning while maintaining a beautiful, brilliant finish. Luxurious lighting Fluorescent lighting in the kitchen is a staple for many builders since it’s functional and inexpensive. However, it’s not very aesthetically pleasing. Luckily, replacing fluorescent lighting is a simple project that will instantly make a style statement in your kitchen. Try one of these options: Track lighting, which is a fixture that sits close to the ceiling, but features multiple decorative lamps in a row; pendant lamps, which extend down from the ceiling like a chandelier; or mini pendant lamps, which offer a smaller version of a pen-

Wonderful Walls Are your walls still white or beige plain slabs? Adding color and texture is an easy way to make a dramatic difference. Painting is the simplest tactic, and by using a high-quality paint in a semi-gloss or eggshell finish, you can additionally make your walls easier to clean. However, don’t stop there. Adding textures with updates, such as wainscoting, crown molding or even a tile backsplash, are easy enough for a DIYer and can be cost-effective as well.

Fabulous Floors As the foundation of the room, you want your kitchen floor to sweep you off your feet, not send you packing. So, if yours is more “blah” than “beautiful,” it’s time for an update. Luckily, there are many choices available — from high-end choices such as hardwood or natural stone, to more affordable options such as ceramic tile and laminate. And, with the wide array of colors, designs and textures available with each, you can create a dramatic update that fits your budget and your unique design style.

With a few simple updates, the only thing cookie-cutter about your kitchen is what you’re baking! This article is courtesy of Home Improvement News and Information Center.

Fabulous faucets Does your faucet have a pullout spout with a beautiful finish that coordinates with the rest of your decor? If not, it’s time for an upgrade. For less than $200, you can easily swap your no-frills faucet for one that adds functionality and fash-

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Add the ‘wow’ factor with quality cabinets N

ot all cabinetry is created equal. For many consumers, standard cabinetry from China will work just fine. While the technology and quality of materials coming out of China is constantly improving, discerning clients will sometimes want a look that is just a touch above the rest. At Hawaii Home Expo, there is constant effort to have a range of products that not only appeals to the masses, but also the consumer who wants quality and concepts that are beyond the norm. This is why Hawaii Home Expo has partnered with Norelco Cabinet Solutions to provide quality custom cabinetry to consumers who really want their kitchens to “wow” their guests. Locally owned and operated since 1972, Norelco Cabinet Solutions has been designing and manufacturing superior cabinetry from its location in picturesque Kelowna,


contact // 695-3976 address // 2933 Koapaka St. web //

B.C. The company is able to offer beautiful cabinets for any room in a home by providing European technology, innovative designs and exceptional service to customers throughout Canada and the western United States. With its vast selection of styles, finishes, decorative features and functional solutions, Hawaii Home Expo now provides this custom cabinetry to suit every lifestyle in Hawaii. With more than a dozen wood species and door styles to select from, dozens of stain colors as well as thermofoil, melamine and

Echo wood reconstituted veneers, the customized options are nearly endless. While standard cabinetry is very good and will satisfy a lot of people’s taste, there really is no comparison to the custom look of Norelco Cabinet Solutions. Come see the difference at Hawaii Home Expo, located at 2933 Koapaka St., or call Hawaii Home Expo’s design specialist, Brandie Kasula, at 695-3976 (EXPO).

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Pavement maintenance made easy, affordable S

ealMaster Hawaii is as local a company as they come. It first opened its doors in 2003, but the Moody family has been in the Islands for four generations. Walker-Moody Pavement Products & Equipment and DBA SealMaster Hawaii manufacture their products in Hawaii, for Hawaii. They use local materials and local labor to put their products on the shelf. SealMaster Hawaii is the asphalt professional, backed by its parent company with more than 40 years of experience, and has one of the most recognizable names in pavement maintenance throughout the world.

Certified Hawaii product SealMaster Hawaii’s signature product is MasterSeal Ready-to-Use Asphalt Based Pavement Sealer. It’s a ready-to-use asphalt emulsion pavement sealer fortified with gilsonite and sand for added wearability and slip-resistance. The big brother to this product is OptiPave Plus Ready-ToUse Asphalt Based Pavement Sealer. It’s a ready- to-use asphalt emulsion pavement sealer fortified with gilsonite, Top Tuff

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(latex additive) and sand. The high level of sand provides superior durability and safety for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. These products, as well as others, are certified by the State Procurement Office and Hawaii Product Preference. They are made in Hawaii with local materials for Hawaii’s roads.

SEALMASTER HAWAII contact // 839-2782 address // 2927 Mokumoa St. web //

Why sealcoat? The heart of an effective pavement maintenance program includes periodic sealcoating with an asphalt-based emulsion pavement sealer. Left untreated, asphalt pavement will deteriorate rapidly. It is made up of asphalt binder and rock. Almost immediately after paving, the asphalt binder combines with oxygen and becomes brittle or oxidized, leading to cracking and weathering soon after installation. Moisture penetrates the asphalt causing further damage and deterioration to the pavement. Sealcoating (with MasterSeal or OptiPave Plus) protects against oxidation.

Unsealed pavement allows water to penetrate the pavement structure, leading to base erosion and ultimately pavement failure. Sealcoating provides a protective barrier to stop water penetration. Also if left unsealed, oil and gasoline will soften and deteriorate the exposed asphalt binder. Sealcoating provides a protective barrier that resists attack from oil and gasoline. Pavement maintenance is simple with the help of SealMaster Hawaii. Do it yourself or use a SealMaster authorized contractor. Talk with a professional at SealMaster Hawaii by calling 839-2782 and visit the showroom at 2927 Mokumoa St. The company services all islands.



Make your dream home a reality with specialty loans W hether you’re planning to build your home from the ground up or add a second story to your current home, more and more homeowners are building their way to their dream homes. While financing a building project can be tricky, specialty loans, like constructions loans, were created specifically for these types of situations. With proper financing from the start, a specialty loan can help you evaluate your overall construction plans and help ensure your project is completed on time. Constructions loans are typically short-term loans and offer the option of interest-only payments during the construction process. Each construction loan is customized to each borrower’s situation, as differ-

ent amounts of the loan are disbursed during each phase of HAWAII CENTRAL construction.This helps to keep FEDERAL CREDIT UNION the progress of construction on address // 681 S. King St. schedule and within budget. contact // 536-3677 Since construction loans are web // much more complex than a typical mortgage, it is vital to go with a lender that is experiproject, you need to ensure you have enced with construction lending. At professionals who will be there for Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union you every step of the way. With on(HCFCU), the construction loan site visits to see how each phase is program has quickly increased in going, HCFCU’s home loan officers popularity since it first began in 2010. ensure each phase is moving along as HCFCU loan officers have helped scheduled. Also, all construction loans and funded numerous construction are processed and funded locally, projects this year. They understand allowing for a quicker turnover and the process and the obstacles past access to the funds you need. borrowers have dealt with on the To see if a construction loan is the way to their new home. right fit for your building project, or When dealing with a construction

for more information, call 529-4599 or visit one of HCFCU’s home loan officers at 681 S. King St. Home loans are processed by CU Network Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union.

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Consider your space and needs when choosing an HVAC system W hen you’re remodeling your home it seems that there’s an endless list of design and decor choices to consider. At the end of the day, your decisions often revolve around helping your home put its best face forward. You might choose hardwood floors because of how they’ll look when the sunlight hits them in a well-lit room. Or perhaps you opt for a vibrant color on an accent wall in a room that doesn’t get a lot of light. Selecting your HVAC system is no different — you want the one that functions the best in your home and meets your needs for comfort. There are a wide variety of heating and air conditioning systems available for homeowners to choose from, so which one should you choose for your space? Learning more about three common types of systems — window units, ducted central heating and air, and ductfree systems – and the types of spaces where they work best can help you make your decision.

Window units The most basic of air conditioning units, window units do well to address a need in

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a specific room with minimal cost and no construction. If you find yourself comfortable most of the time and safe when you’re trying to go to sleep, a window unit in your bedroom may be your answer. Window units are an affordable upfront investment and can be moved from place to place, as well as stored for winter, making them a versatile choice. Ducted central air systems If your home already has the framework of ducts required for this type of system, it can provide both heating and cooling comfort throughout your entire home. These systems are great for larger homes and apartments, as you won’t have to worry about installing and maintaining multiple window units and space is saved by moving the working parts of the air conditioner outside. Advanced systems also allow you to maintain different temperatures in different parts of the home, so everyone can be comfortable. Duct-free systems Many consumers may not know there is

another option out there, one that is actually more energy efficient than traditional central air and still provides even temperature control. Duct-free systems still include an outdoor fan, but the outdoor unit is connected to the indoor unit via compact lines instead of large, unsightly air ducts. These lines deliver refrigerant directly to an indoor unit, and produce and distribute hot and cold air throughout the space. LG Electronics offers customizable duct-free units, including its Art Cool series, which conceals the indoor units in a 20-by-20-inch picture frame. The new Art Cool Premier model also ranks in the top 5 percent in their category for energy efficiency, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rankings and feature an industry leading seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) of 28. Where are duct-free systems appropriate? • Remodels and additions, eliminating the need for bulky ductwork • As a supplement for rooms that never seem to be the right temperature

• Older homes unable to accommodate ductwork • Design-oriented homes seeking to mask appearance of home comfort systems

By taking some time to think about which type of HVAC system works best for your home, you’ll help ensure that you get the best system for your money and that you’ll live in comfort for years to come. For more on duct-free HVAC systems, visit This article is courtesy of ARAcontent.



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Living the Abundant Life By first developing an attitude for gratitude, you too will be able to identify the financial power spots of your abode and better appreciate the plenitude all around you


Alice Inoue QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Finances are constantly on my mind. I can’t afford expensive changes such as repainting my house or changing out my furniture. Can you suggest specific things that I can do that directly affect the financial and wealth aspect of my life (that won’t cost a lot)?

oncerns about finances, love, career and health are at the top of most people’s list. When I read your question, Elena immediately came to mind. She received a personal consultation as a gift, and when I saw her, the first thing she said was, “If you are going to tell me to purchase anything, I can’t afford it.” Elena was a single mother of two children, doing her best to manage her life on a lowpaying job. She was overwhelmed with life and felt hopeless, and, although happy to have me there, she thought that nothing I could suggest would help her situation.

your life. • Be conscious of how you store your cash. Be purposeful in how you physically organize your money.


“Inner” feng shui To optimize the results of the home changes I wanted to suggest, I knew I had to address something else: her attitude and way of thinking. Most people do not realize that feng shui has just as much to do with one’s mental and emotional states as it does with arranging the environment. Based on our initial conversation, I knew little would change if Elena made no internal shift as well. Feng shui encompasses everything in the environment, including the people who occupy it. When you are willing to look within and make some changes, the results are always optimized.

Start with gratitude Before we got started, I asked Elena to take some time each evening to appreciate the good things that happened to her that day, no matter how insignificant. If Elena could celebrate being rich in health, friends and family, or even the clean air she was breathing, it would help her open up the

• Open your eyes to abundance. Abundance is everywhere. Take time each day to notice the amazing array of plenitude around you, from the fruit and vegetables at the market to the gracious people you encounter. energy to receive more of what she wanted. Although her focus was on money as the desired abundance, to get the energy moving, she needed to enjoy the abundance that was already present. Developing the habit of gratitude can help you transcend anything that happens during the day. I explained that if she kept focusing her energy on all the financial challenges she faced, she would attract more of the same. After our “inner feng shui” talk, I offered the following suggestions for her home that might be useful for you. Find your financial “power spots” To start, stand at the front door facing into the house and identify your wealth area: the back left hand side of the house. Then, in key individual rooms, find the power spots: the left corner farthest from the door. Now equipped with this information, do the following: • Clear out the clutter from these areas. Clutter is a sign of stagnant energy. Even just moving the clutter out of the financial power spots will help to activate a shift in energy. • Fix or get rid of anything broken. See if anything in these power spots needs fixing or removing. Is a window stuck or painted shut?

Do you have a broken chair, clock or lamp in the area? Even a squeaky chair should be oiled. • Enhance these areas with prosperous symbols. Symbols stimulate our subconscious. In your power spots, place a “lucky bamboo” plant, jewelry box, photo of your dream car, or anything that symbolizes wealth to you, including a piggy bank that you can add loose change to each day. • Use wealth colors to accent this area. Use green, purple and gold “wealth” colors in this area to symbolize abundance filling your home. • Clear out your “money holders.” Your money holder is a symbol of value, so clear your purse or wallet of non-essential items, symbolizing unclogging the flow of wealth in

• Let abundance flow through you. Like time, appreciation and love, money is a form of energy, and hoarding works against a greater flow of energy (or, in this case, money) coming in. So live generously and give of your time, energy and appreciation when you can.

Elena slowly changed her thoughts about her life, attracting a better paying job that came “out of the blue.” Support came from areas where she least expected it, and she started to feel more optimistic about her life. Elena was no longer blind to the abundance in her life. Do you know where yours is?

Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance, LLC. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant and offers a series of instructional DVDs and award-winning books on feng shui, happiness and spiritual life wisdom. Visit www.alicein

Gain freedom and independence


he garage symbolizes your freedom in all situations outside the home. When is the last time you parked in your garage? A garage used for storage creates energy that takes away from your independence, tying you down. What can you get rid of today? Move it directly to the curb for imminent donation.

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Tips and tricks for a bigger-looking bath

o you wish you had a bigger bathroom? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Moen, almost half the respondents wished they could make their bathroom larger. But, a complete bathroom overhaul isn’t in the cards for most homeowners. And when your bath is too small, it can quickly go from being a retreat from the outside world to a stress-inducing, cluttered place. Whether you’re hoping to update the guest bath or the master suite, you can create a larger-looking bath without actually expanding your space. With a thorough cleaning and some space-expanding illusions, you’ll be relaxed and rejuvenated in your new, bigger bath in no time.


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Blend in, but make a statement Using an intense color palette is not always the best technique when it comes to a tiny bathroom. Bold, dark colors can weigh a room down, making it look even smaller. Instead, use pale and cool colors, like soft whites, pastels and neutral tones to add size and depth. Continue the color scheme to the woodwork, trim, vanity and door to create a “disappearing” look that will lengthen the walls. It’s important to look at the small details, like faucets and accessories, to create a statement. Choosing a sophisticated design, such as the Moen Weymouth faucet in Chrome, LifeShine Brushed Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze or the new LifeShine Polished Nickel finish can provide a beautiful focal point in your bath.

Take a look in the mirror A mirror in the bathroom can do more than just show your reflection — it can stretch the space by reproducing it. Additionally, mirrors reflect both natural and artificial light, making a smaller room look bigger and brighter by bouncing illumi-

nation throughout. Don’t think that mirrors need to only be above the sink. A great trick for improving your room’s reflective qualities is to hang a large, horizontal mirror along the longest wall of the bath. However, if a large mirror is out of your budget, or not practical for


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your space, the same effect can be created by grouping an arrangement of smaller mirrors. Unique mirrors can often be found at flea markets in different shapes and sizes. Another easy, dramatic way to use mirrors is to turn the fronts of vanity cabinets into your canvas. Use glue to attach large, square mirrors, or tiny mirror tiles — either square or round — to the outside of cabinets and drawers. For a never-ending room, position two mirrors on opposite walls to create the perfect illusion. Whatever technique you choose, mirrors are great decor pieces that won’t muddle a small bath. Say no to big and bulky Traditional, large vanities with cabinet drawers can make an already petite-looking bath appear even smaller. In order to avoid this common misstep, there are two paths to follow: either install a vanity with open storage areas or try suspending shelving for a contemporary feel. This will create a more spacious look — without losing precious storage — by giving the shelving a light and airy appearance. Open shelving is perfect for towels and linens, plus items like tissues and cotton balls, which can be stored in decorative jars or containers. Avoid a clut-

Simple solutions for a ship-shape bathroom


veryone wants an immaculate home, but not everyone wants to spend their free time scrubbing and straightening. The reality revealed in a recent Good Housekeeping magazine study is that the average homeowner spends roughly 19 hours a week cleaning. Wish you could reclaim some of those precious hours? Follow these simple, inexpensive bath updates and your wish will be granted:

tered look by placing large wicker baskets on the bottom shelf of the vanity for large everyday items, such as brushes, toiletries and makeup. You can create a beautiful bath — regardless of the square footage — that will become a place of relaxation and worthy of attention. For more information about Moen products, visit

Shower sanity Clutter can drive anyone crazy. In fact, in a recent study conducted by Moen Incorporated, men list having too many items cluttering up the shower as their No. 1 bathroom pet peeve. So how can you de-clutter the shower? Try a new Stainless Steel Shower Caddy or Grab Bar with Integrated Shelf from Moen to organize shower necessities, helping to keep the shower area neat and tidy no matter how many people use it.

Terrible towels Adding a new Retractable Towel Ring from Moen is another great solution. The thoughtfully designed product offers the traditional benefit of a towel ring, with a retractable cord that expands out and effortlessly retracts back to its original position.The towel remains on the ring at all times, keeping the countertop and floor towel-free, making it the ideal solution for every bath, kitchen or laundry room. This article is courtesy of ARAcontent.

This article is courtesy of ARAcontent.

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his is something I hear all the time: “I don’t have any art for my wall!” Well, are you a shutterbug? Do you have a camera? If so, why not create your own art? All you really need is a good eye and an outside-the-box attitude. Options for creating your own custom art to personalize your space are so affordable these days. So, if your space suffers from blank walls or a blah generic feeling, I have some tips that will bring it to life in a way that’s uniquely you. A few years ago, my company held a $30,000 living room makeover contest. The winners, the Agena family of Moanalua, had a long living room that the parents shared with their four young children. My big challenge was to create two separate spaces — which I did through furniture arrangement, different lighting systems and two focal points — but then I really wanted a finishing touch that would add the kids’ personalities to their space. A bunch of 8-by-10 family photos would have gotten lost in the largeness of the room. Anything I did had to be bold. I decided to showcase the kids in a fun, colorful and unique way. Since I had chosen orange as an accent color for the room, with throw pillows and other touches, I decided that would be the color of the art. I asked Kara Wagner to take some candid shots while I played with the kids.Then we got large, inexpensive frames from Walmart, blew up the images, had them colored in shades of orange, and to give the art more of an Andy Warhol box-like feel, we added the kids’ names in a band across the bottom of each photo.This gave us the dimension we wanted so the art wouldn’t feel like school photos. The result? We got our fun splashes of color, the kids loved their pictures, and the space was instantly and undeniably theirs.

Follow Your Art Tired of staring at blank walls? It may be time to channel your creative side. Pick up a camera and add a bit of picture-perfect uniqueness to the open areas of your home or office


Tip No. 1: When taking photos of people, try to capture candid moments, and not your 16 • OCTOBER 7, 2012

above The Agenas love the splash of personalized art of their keiki in their living room. Richard Lowther photo far right The author gets the framed images of the Agena children ready for the wall. Kara Wagner photo right A black-and-white image of a street sign Courtney Tessitorri photo

subjects posing and staring into the camera. You’ll get much more natural, interesting glimpses into their personalities! Here’s another example: This past week, I finished staging a model apartment at Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s 680 Ala Moana project (I’ll be sharing more about this project in future columns). I wanted to hang a piece of art in the bathroom, but somehow nothing I found was just right. The solution? I decided I wanted to create my own art and personalize it for the space. At first, I tried to get a photo of the vintage address sign that was up on the building at the beginning of the project, but it had been

taken down the day before. Bummer! So, Courtney Tessitorri from our office walked around the building, pointed her camera up at the street signs at the corner, and snapped a quick photo. We had the image processed, blown up into a black-and-white image and, voila! we had custom artwork for less than $20, including the frame! Tip No. 2: Walk around your home or neighborhood and look for charming, beautiful or iconic images that define the place. And don’t feel you need to center your shot perfectly. Sometimes, shots that are off-center or taken from interesting angles result in a more interesting image.

In one of these examples, I added vibrant shades of color. In the other, I took color out and turned the photo into a black-and-white piece of art. What will you do? Grab your camera and go create something from the heart — your own unique art!

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. in Moiliili. Lee’s interior design work has been featured in local and national publications, on HGTV and in her DIY design workshops that teach homeowners the basics of style. To find out more, go to



Satisfying customers with top-notch service W hen Ellis Harkin decided it was time install solar at his Ewa Beach Gentry-built home, he searched with the resolve of a retired Army serviceman and current U.S. Defense Department employee for the perfect Hawaii solar company. “I’m a soldier and I like things Americanmade,” he said. “I wanted quality materials and workmanship, and didn’t want any foreign-made panels on my house.” His search led him to contact SolarWorld in California, the oldest and largest solar manufacturing company in America. SolarWorld suggested he use one of its certified installers in the Islands, which include Bonterra Solar. “The next day, I got a call from Bonterra,” he said. “Their senior sales consultant, Steve Hochart, came to the house. He was completely prepared to answer all of my questions. I was really impressed.”

From contract to installation, the process was easy Harkin signed a contract with Bonterra, obtained a clean energy loan from

BONTERRA SOLAR contact // 548-7657 (SOLR) address // 4218 Waialae Ave. #A203 web //

Bonterra’s banking par tner, American Savings Bank, and his 25-panel photovoltaic (PV) system was installed in one day. “The main thing is I didn’t want a sloppy panel layout,” Harkin said. “And I wanted some room to grow should I need more panels down the road. They did everything right. They handled all the paperwork. On the day of the installation, they started at nine in the morning and by 6:27 p.m., the system was online.”

Bonterra welcomes another homeowner into its ohana “Ellis is the kind of customer we love working with,” said Andrew Yani, Bonterra Solar founder and principal. “He knows what he wants and we do everything we can to make him part of our solar ohana.” “Bonterra was installing solar systems on three other houses in the neighborhood, so they included me in a group discount,” Harkin said. “I really liked that.” (Bonterra

Solar is the trusted solar installer for Gentry Homes.) Harkin said he and his wife wanted to go solar since buying their house 12 years ago, but they wanted to wait until the solar market established itself. “The time was right,” he said. “The cost of electricity was going up and Bonterra was the perfect company to work with. In the first month after the system was installed, I saved $350. I can’t say enough about Bonterra Solar.”

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Experienced roofers who you can trust By Caroline Wright

he average roof is designed to last for about three decades. That’s why a good roofer rarely visits the same house twice — unless he’s still around when it’s time to replace the roof he installed three decades ago. Raymond Toyama, owner of R.S. Toyama Roofing Service in Honolulu, said his phone started ringing after he began advertising in this publication. “Many people saw my name in the newspaper and called me and said, ‘Hey, you’re still in business? I want you to come and replace my roof!’ I did their jobs maybe 20 or even 30 years ago! They thought I’d retired.” With a crew of six skilled roofers, one administrative employee and a schedule that keeps them all quite busy, Toyama is anything but retired. Launched in 1979, his company specializes in roll roofing, slate, tile and composition shingles for residential structures, and has become known for quality craftsmanship and competitive pricing. It can be easy to spot the need for


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roof replacement, Toyama explained. “The first obvious sign of trouble might be a leak. And if your roofing is getting old, or if you see pieces of your roofing on the ground after a heavy wind or rain, you’ll know that you should have somebody climb up on your roof and take a look at it.” Toyama learned the roofing trade from his father-in-law, Nobu Kageura, with whom he worked for 10 years before launching his own business. Kageura, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 91, set an example that Toyama has tried to follow in his own business. “He taught me to take care of my customers,” Toyama said, “and that sometimes we all make mistakes. But when you do make a mistake, you must make sure you follow up and take care of the problem.” As a licensed and certified roofing company, R.S. Toyama Roofing Service stands behind its work with a seven-year workmanship warranty — the maximum allowed by Hawaii state law. Combined with the manufacturer’s material warran-

ty, which usually runs from 20 to 30 years, Toyama’s workmanship warranty, backed by his company’s longevity, is a commitment to quality designed to bring homeowners peace of mind. The average lifespan of a new roofing company is only about 3.3 years, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association. Over the years, Toyama has been hired by quite a few homeowners whose roofs were poorly installed by companies that went out of business,

R.S. TOYAMA ROOFING contact // 847-6265 address // 1321 Hart St.

even before their workmanship warranties expired. “The fact that we’ve been in business for 32 years — I think that says a lot about our company!” Toyama said with pride.



Renovating from the ground up

>> Before

By Kyle Galdeira


hether it’s building a brand-new home or implementing an addition to an existing structure, Hua Xia Construction is poised to handle

the job. The family business is equipped to assist customers with everything from additions of full rooms or levels to kitchen and bath renovations, which represent some of the popular requests in recent months. Hua Xia also takes pride in its smooth finishing techniques, especially on various flooring applications, where experience and professional quality are vital. Xiang Feng Cao got his start in the construction industry while working as a carpenter in China. He eventually opened his own business and workshop there before deciding to move to Hawaii in 2000. The skillful craftsman worked for various local companies until deciding to build his own construction team. Cao, with the help of his son, Andy, formed Hua Xia Construction in August 2008. The company draws inspiration from historic construction projects in China and Japan that have withstood the tests of time and remain solid structures today. Hua Xia aims to help its customers build or remodel their homes in similar fashion and brings a desirable combination of style and durability to each job. As Andy explained, Hua Xia’s team of experienced workers receives a great deal of business via positive refer-

rals and by prospective customers noticing other finished projects. Hua Xia will handle the design and permitting process all the way through completion of the project, building quality structures from the ground up — or in some cases, from the inside out. The company also provides homeowners with detailed models to aid in the visualization process and will work to incorporate materials that are both cost-effective and of the highest quality. From minor renovations to multi-million dollar projects from scratch, Hua Xia is poised to handle the task. Cao and his staff stress customer service every step of the way, and they provide homeowners with detailed models to aid in the visualization process. “We provide customers with a 3-D layout of their project so they can visualize what their home will look like,” Andy said. “Customers appreciate the quality of work that we provide and a reasonable estimate beforehand that is usually met upon the completion of the job.”

>> After

HUA XIA CONSTRUCTION contact // 636-1888 web //

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Tapping into an array of design possibilities O hana Building Supply is a one-stop shop for homeowners and contractors alike. The company’s selection includes a variety of high-quality kitchen and bathroom materials at very reasonable prices, from ready-made to custom cabinetry, a full line of granite countertops, stainless steel sinks and hardwood and laminate flooring, all to fit any architectural style. Ohana Building Supply’s in-stock cabinets are constructed of all-plywood boxes with solid wood face frames and doors. Locally stocked are Maple, Light or Dark Cherry and Milzen Cabinets’ Espresso Oak and White Oak, constructed of plywood boxes and engineered MDF flat-panel-style doors and frames. Ohana Building Supply also has two new styles of cabinets that are available, Elegant Cherry and Honey Beech.These new cabinets are face-framed cabinets constructed of 5/8-inch plywood boxes and 3/4-inch solid wood doors and frames.The cabinets feature solid wood dove-tailed drawers and come standard with soft-closing hardware for doors and drawers. These cabinets look as good inside as they do on the outside and

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OHANA BUILDING SUPPLY contact // 833-8338 address // 2815 Kaihikapu St. web // would be a great addition to any kitchen remodel. Currently, all of Ohana’s cabinet lines are on sale and, as always, if you buy a set of kitchen cabinets, you get the granite free (for select colors). Ohana Building Supply is having a blowout sale on its Maple Shaker cabinets, which are being offered at $39.99 per linear

foot (some exclusions apply, not valid with free granite promotion). This promo won’t last long and only applies to stock on hand. If you’re on a budget or are thinking of remodeling a rental unit, these cabinets will be the perfect fit. Ohana Building Supply also stocks a selection of granite countertops starting at $99,

such as Taisan White, Bainbrook Peach, White Galaxy, River White, Jurparana Golden Kam and Lapidus, just to name a few. Finished with an elegant bull-nose edge, these stylish countertops add character to any kitchen and bath. While supplies last, Ohana is offering free granite (select styles to choose from) with the purchase of any kitchen cabinet set. Other granites are 10 percent off with the purchase of a kitchen cabinet set. Ohana also stocks an assortment of laminate flooring, under-mount and top-mount stainless steel sinks and ceramic vanity bowls. All of these products are in stock and available for prompt delivery or pick-up. Servicing both homeowners and large contractors, the friendly staff will provide excellent customer service from design to installation — the completed product is sure to shine. Visit the company’s showroom and ask the sales staff about current promotions and specials that are available. Showroom hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.



Smart solar guidance for every homeowner W hile getting a photovoltaic solar system can save homeowners thousands of dollars in electricity costs, coming up with the up-front investment for a PV solar system has been an expensive obstacle for many, until now. Akamai Energy has made it the company’s mission to make it more affordable for all Hawaii residents to “go green and save green.” With the aggressive state and federal tax credits available in Hawaii, getting a PV solar system is a “no brainer,” according to many solar companies. In most cases, a homeowner’s net investment (after receiving tax credits) can be paid down in four years or


contact // 542-7164 web // •

less by applying the average monthly dollar amount that the homeowner is paying toward their electric bill each month. The one obstacle that prevents many homeowners from getting a PV solar system is the “out-of-pocket” or “up-front”costs associated with the system. Akamai Energy has addressed many

Hawaii residents’ concern that “going green can be expensive,” and is offering the most affordable photovoltaic solar system pricing in Hawaii. Now, everyone can afford to save money on electricity and invest it back where it belongs, with their ohana. “I called every solar company out there. No one came close to Akamai Energy’s prices. They saved my family over $12,000 in up-front costs,” said Dean S. of Aiea. “Imagine that ... $12,000 saved in up-front costs ... that meant extra money for my wife and I, the kids, the holiday’s coming up, and more savings on the way each month with our new PV system.” According to Randall K. of Honolulu, “Akamai Energy’s pricing is very realistic and

fair, and actually made us go from leasing to doing an outright purchase. At first we thought leasing was our family’s only option because most of the PV companies were charging so much to purchase a system. When I met with Akamai Energy and seen their pricing, I was very pleased that we were able to afford to purchase a PV solar system versus leasing a system. My wife and I could take advantage of our hard-earned tax credits, instead of giving them away to the leasing company. Had we done a lease, we would’ve wasted thousands of dollars on a 20-year lease and never, ever owned the system.” For a free estimate, call Akamai Energy at 542-7164, email or visit

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Sticking to the ‘three Ps’ of decorating for a fresh look S earching for a trendy home and garden makeover that gives instant gratification and doesn't require a lot of time and resources? The latest trends in fashion and home decorating are drawing inspiration from the bright colors and laid-back attitude of the tropics. “Vibrant tropical colors are influencing home decor,” said Doug Jimerson, editor-in-chief of gardening for Better Homes and Gardens. Whether you want to makeover a deck, patio or porch, add some tropical flair by following the “three Ps” of outdoor design: plants, paint and punch.

Plants “New tropical plants are easy to grow for any outdoor space,” Jimerson said. “With fantastic colors and foliage, it’s simple to add splashes of intense color throughout your garden, deck and patio.” Jimerson suggested going big and bold with gorgeous blooms of colorful hibiscus that come in dozens of bright tropical colors. “Whether you’re planning a ... graduation party or just want a restful retreat, decorating your backyard with easy-care, sun-loving hibiscus offer a blaze of color for any occasion. Cut hibiscus flowers floating in water make an exotic centerpiece, and using

the blooms as garnishes takes al-fresco dining to the next level,” Jimerson said. New Bloomtastic! and Patio Tropics! tropical plants from Hines Growers, offer immediate color and impact for any-sized garden, deck, porch or patio. Simply leave them in their pretty pots to add lush flowers and foliage to your outdoor spaces or grow them throughout your landscape for a pop of vivid color. One of the best hibiscus varieties is Bahama Bay Hibiscus “Amazon Queen” with huge blooms that match the Pantone Color Institute color of the year, Tangerine Tango. Pair it with the new bright yellow Bahama Bay “Enlightenment” hibiscus and add some Tiki lights for a festive garden party or luau.

Paint Paint is one of the easiest, most economical ways to create a tropical feel inside or out. Choosing a color that reminds you of the beach sets the theme for your overall design. Margie Grace, of Grace Design Associates, and a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), advised not to limit painting to just walls. “Paint an old set of chairs Caribbean blue, containers coral red and sunshine yellow,” she said. “Just remember when choosing a shade, tropical colors aren’t going to fade into the background. They’re going to make a vibrant statement.” An accent wall on a deck or patio painted in key lime or ocean blue instantly transforms a space. Carry the tropics inside with a less-saturated color like a warm-mango tone or pair a rich, intense color accent wall with neutrals. Punch Adding tropical patterns and fabrics to your decor brings flexibility and endless possibilities. Cushions in tropical colors, throw pillows with bold floral designs and tropical inspired linens on the table are an easy way to add punch. Use a single pattern to underscore your tropical theme or mix things up with a variety of prints and stripes. Keep in mind the many patterns that fall into the tropical category, including floral, greenery, and ocean and beach elements. Then kick it up a notch with a new intriguing Black Hawaiian Spider Lily, Crinum Purple Dream. “Crinum’s exotic-looking dark purple almost black foliage and deep pink flowers on dark red stalks is trendy and looks nice mixed in the landscape or in containers,” said Jimerson. Surround yourself with lush tropical foliage to turn your home into your favorite staycation paradise. This article is courtesy of ARAcontent.

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Putting a personal touch on plumbing By Kyle Galdeira

’s Plumbing provides customers with a welcomed sense of assurance from the moment they meet owner Frank Duarte. Duarte puts customers at ease as he relies on his many decades of experience in the trade while walking homeowners through every step of the process. One will sense Duarte’s confidence and energy as he explains the different options available while approaching various kitchen or bathroom renovations. After all, Duarte has been in the plumbing business for more than half a century, and is proud to say that his company has served the people of Hawaii for more than 30 years. As a licensed plumbing and general contractor, Duarte offers homeowners knowledgeable concepts stemming from both trades, and gives his clients peace of mind knowing that they will be in good hands throughout the process. “We are a small company, but we do a lot of work and give the personal touches that many larger companies don’t,” Duarte


said. “Many customers will tell me, ‘Working with you and your staff makes us feel like family.’ What better way to end a project?” D’s Plumbing offers complete bath and kitchen renovations to its clients and handles the various projects from start to finish. Duarte explained that the company handles all the necessary details, such as removing old flooring, kitchen cabinetry and countertops and old appliances and replacing them with new ones. “We will supply and install your new kitchen and bath cabinets (all wood) and countertops to suit your budget,” Duarte explained. “The primary goal at D’s Plumbing is customer satisfaction. No matter how small or large the job might be, customer satisfaction is essential in any type of business.” According to Duarte, the inclusion of proper plumbing and lighting fixtures is always important, whether in the bathroom or the kitchen. He explained that both complement each other, and that the experience of D’s Plumbing rings true in such cases. Currently, D’s Plumbing is seeing an

increase in requests from customers to convert bathtubs to D’S PLUMBING walk-in showers, which have contact // 230-8308 • 734-2032 been growing in popularity. For web // those who enjoy sitting while showering, the company offers custom built-in seats and grab are available based upon the availability of bars to aid those in need of additional help the team throughout the week, and D’s is getting in and out of the shower. Duarte poised and ready to schedule appointlooks forward to assisting customers as ments with potential customers. they discuss various options with him. “A call to D’s Plumbing will provide you For more information, log on to with the best solution, and it will prove to be or a call that you will never regret,” Duarte said. call 230-8308 or 734-2032. Free estimates

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Beautify your garden with simple do-it-yourself projects W e are lucky to live in Hawaii! Where else can you make improvements to your garden and home year-round? Big Rock owners Bonnie Cooper and Brian Joy encourage you to turn your dreams into reality with the company’s naturally beautiful, lightweight cast stone manufactured at Big Rock, and the assortment of imported garden items it stocks. Below are a few DIY garden improvements that are easy to do and inexpensive: Japanese water gardens Stone water basins, or tsukubai, were traditionally found in Japanese tea gardens and signify the synergy of man and nature. Water continuously flows into the stone bowl from a kakeki (bamboo pipe), fed by a submersible pump. No plumbing is required. Simply dig a depression in the ground a little larger than the stone bowl and line the area with a 5-by-5-foot pond liner, available at Big Rock. Place the stone bowl on the pond liner. Place the tiny submersible pump behind the bowl. Camouflage the exposed liner with gravel and river rock. Stand the

24 • OCTOBER 7, 2012


contact // 834-7625 (ROCK) address // 1050 Kikowaena Place web //

bamboo Kakehi (spout) behind the bowl, outside the liner. Attach the tubing from the bamboo to the pump. Fill the bowl and liner with water, and plug in. The price ranges from $165 to $550 (determined by stone bowl size), and the project takes a few hours. Japanese bowl fountains These pre-cast bowl fountains look like real rock but are “stonecast.” They weight little and come with the pump and bamboo attached. They can be used indoors or out, making them perfect for lanais. They are available in three sizes and designs, prices range from $300 to $450, and the project would only take a few minutes.

lightweight pre-cast waterfalls. These range in size from three to seven feet high. The small ones are one-piece and have a pump. All of them look like rock and can be used in the garden, lanai or even the living room. The time it takes to set one of these up is only as long as it takes to unload it from your vehicle, fill it with water and plug it in. Waterfalls are an instant and magical addition to the garden. Prices range from $465 to $5,000, and the project could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Waterfalls Big Rock carries more than a dozen

Big Rock moss rock paths Big Rock invented these beautiful step-

ping stones in 1983. They look like natural Hawaiian stone and are available in assorted sizes and shapes, some with petroglyphs. Fiber reinforced concrete makes them strong enough for driveways, too. Simply set in a level bed of sand or soft earth, and use turf grass or small river rock in between.

Bamboo fountain kits Turn any container into a tranquil fountain with our new bamboo fountain kits. From tiny to large, set on any bowl or container and just plug in. They are perfect for gifts, the office or the garden and are priced from $30 to $65.


OCTOBER 7 • 2012 25

Stylish rooms are meant to be lived in F all is the time of year when thoughts turn back toward the home. With kids back in school and the holidays approaching, many homeowners look for ways to make their rooms more stylish, but struggle to find the balance between beautiful and livable. “Of course, your home should be stylish. But if you can’t enjoy living in it, what’s the point?” said Erinn Valencich, a Los Angelesbased interior designer and blogger for HGTV’s Design Happens. “I believe in creating beautiful spaces that are fun, elegant and livable.”

Redecorating a space with a few key elements can completely transform the look and feel of the room without breaking the budget. “When starting the room-refresh process, keep the livability of the design elements in mind to make sure you have a balance that works within your lifestyle, but still gives the room personality and a special flair for style,” noted Valencich. One of the easiest ways to breathe new life into a room is by refreshing the floors. A dull or scuffed floor can make a room look tired. Selecting the right flooring will create the perfect canvas to help tie all a room’s design elements together. Flooring is one of the key design elements that will bring both personality and livability together. Adding personality “Great rooms have a personality ... a mix of vision, style and inspirations from everyday life, all while being comfortable and easy to live in,” said Valencich, who shares her tips at Blending a variety of influences will add distinction to a room. Start off by having a

clearly defined color palette. One option Valencich suggested is selecting a richtoned floor to serve as a warm background for furniture. “I like the Burnished Walnut planks from Quick-Step’s Veresque collection to really help ground a room,” said Valencich. “These floors feature exclusive GenuEdge Technology, which provides a realistic hardwood-edge visual. The floors stand up to busy lives, and stay looking great.” To add contrast to a warm floor, add a subtle color to the walls. Then, incorporating a collection and variety of prints and

frames will help break up the wall color and add visual interest. Once all these elements are brought together, Valencich recommended adding a few pieces and accessories that will add dimension, such as a chandelier or colorful accent pillows to tie the entire room’s personality together.

Livability within design Authentic style that works in real life is key to achieving a beautiful and comfortable room. Valencich’s recommendations include:

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• Keep both comfort and style in mind when selecting furniture pieces. • Develop a list of how the room will be used by your family and guests. Keep it topof-mind when determining the layout and flow of the room. • Select flooring and furniture that is durable. Be sure to review all the warranty information before making a purchase. • Consider how much maintenance will be required to keep the pieces in your room looking fresh. • Don’t let the room get too cluttered so that it becomes uncomfortable for guests to relax. • If you are going the DIY renovation route,

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seek products that are easy to install. “Keep all these different pieces in mind while going through the design-planning process. Then, mix in your sense of style and personality for a room that will fit all your needs,” said Valencich. Getting started If you are considering purchasing a new floor, offers a floor configurator that allows you to choose both wall color and floor styles to see how they work together. To make floor selection even easier, Valencich has curated her own collection of Quick-Step “Designer’s Choice” floors, which can be viewed at This article is courtesy of ARAcontent.



Transform your home with a first-rate paint job P

ainting contractor Jimmy Suh has been called an “ar tist” and a “miracle worker” by clients who have seen him bring new life to their home or office with his special talent. His company, Deep Purple Painting, was one of the most sought-after painting contractors in San Francisco for nearly 20 years. The record of hundreds of vintage homes Suh transformed can be viewed on a DVD he makes available on request.

DEEP PURPLE PAINTING contact // 739-2000

Two years ago, Suh decided it was time to fulfill his family’s dream of living in Hawaii and moved the business to Honolulu. His reputation was quickly established as a first-rate professional, much of his new business generated by referrals from satisfied clients. In addition to working directly with homeowners, Suh also contracts with builders and architects for new custom homes and remodeling jobs. “When new clients see my DVD or photos of my work, they always comment on the meticulous detailing we are capable of,” Suh said. “I understand color and the relationships between colors, how some colors complement others, and I can advise the client on choices if they want advice. There also is the matter of surfaces and textures — should a wall or trim be finished with flat or glossy paint, smooth or textured. There are many choices to consider, par ticularly if the client wants a whole new look. If all that’s needed is to refresh the interior or exterior of a home or office with a new coat of paint — same color, same style — we can do that, too.

“Anyone who has been to San Francisco in recent years knows how the old neighborhoods are being transformed with new paint and elaborate detailing. Every architect and interior designer wants a new and original color scheme. As for our work in Hawaii over the past two years, we can also provide local references and addresses so anyone interested in having us quote a job can star t there.” Suh also makes it a point of meeting with the client at the job site to assess the condition of the proper ty, the amount of necessary prep work, and to determine colors of walls, siding and trim. Once he knows the scope of the job, he prepares a written quote and time frame for the client. “I assure them that I am there at the job site to ensure perfection and customer satisfaction for every project we take on, whether large or small,” Suh said.

OCTOBER 7, 2012 • 27


OCTOBER 7 • 2012



Enjoy worry-free windows with the ‘neatest’ glass on the market

hen it comes to the best in window care, Discount Windows & Doors has always been at the forefront of new technological developments within the fenestration industry. In 2009, owner Jerry Griffin, who has more than 20 years of experience in the window and door industry, identified a need for a window system specifically engineered for Hawaii. Virtually every window being sold in Hawaii was designed on the Mainland, for the Mainland. The Makai Range of windows and doors was specifically developed for Hawaii using state-of-the-art technology to develop a window system ideal for this environment. The first consideration for the Makai Range was a glass suitable for Hawaii — something stronger and more thermally efficient than what is currently available, and something with the ability to repel salt, minerals and organic dirt common in Hawaii.The solution was Neat® glass from Cardinal Glass Industries. The standard glass in all of the Makai windows is Cardinal Low-E 366 Neat®: Insulated self-cleaning, double-strength glass with a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 that reflects more than 90 percent of radiant heat, leaving your home significantly cooler. These windows can almost clean themselves, which is pretty darn “neat.” And you get all of the performance benefits of Cardinal’s Low-E glass. Neat®’s naturally clean glass harnesses the sun’s UV rays to loosen dirt so water can rinse it away, leaving windows virtually spotless. Your windows will stay cleaner longer and be easier to clean. Homeowners and builders will enjoy the effects that a little sun, rain and Neat® glass bring to windows.


Discount Windows & Doors


It all starts with the sun The titanium dioxide layer of Neat® glass reacts chemically with the sun’s UV rays to cause organic materials that are on the glass to decompose. It works even on cloudy days, as 80 percent of UV radiation gets through the cloud cover. Thus, when it rains, the decomposed dirt no longer clings to the glass and easily rinses away. 28 • OCTOBER 7, 2012

DISCOUNT WINDOWS & DOORS contact // 673-6656 web //

Smoother glass is cleaner glass Neat® glass is ultra smooth. A thin layer of silicon dioxide makes it exceptionally smooth and hydrophilic — much smoother than ordinary hydrophobic glass.This allows water to disperse evenly, or “sheet off,” and evaporate quickly, greatly reducing water spotting. Easier-to-clean window glass just got better with Cardinal’s Neat® naturally clean glass. No manual activation is required, just a little help from the sun.The results are almost spotless

windows, and you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the view. For more information or a free estimate, call Discount Windows & Doors today at 673-6656.


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