How To Get That Laid-Back, Luxury Vibe For Your Island Home

Attention to detail creates that clean, laid-back, luxury vibe, encouraging us to live in harmony with the sunny weather in Hawaii. Combine clean lines and muted colors with exotic wood, stone, shells, and objects found in the islands.

129-3 Pualei Drive in Puamana, Maui, is a study in contemporary coastal living. Here are a few tips and observations from the front line:

Turn off the AC and let some sunshine in! Vitamin D is crucial to a person’s overall well-being, benefitting both mental and physical health. Tropical modern homes are designed to capture breezes and sounds from the ocean with open windows while maximizing shady areas.

Indoor / Outdoor living is a big part of tropical living…

Exposed beams and white-washed wood are reminiscent of plantation homes and driftwood.

Use island style accents like a canoe paddle on the wall for decoration or a beautiful vintage Capiz shell globe for a lamp. Here a raffia area rug and some indoor house plants in blue ceramic pots add some color.

Display your collections! Above a basket of collectible glass fishing floats, coral from a fishing trip mixed in with some ornaments create a conversation piece for the living room…

An original lamp is made out of a piece of coral found on a snorkeling trip.

Rattan furniture is synonymous with the tropics — above a collectible set of vintage 6-strand chairs and side tables. Beware of reproductions. The backsplash in the open kitchen is blue glass, like tumbled beach glass, adding to the tropical vibe.

Artwork and funky objects reflect who you are and where you’ve been! Display original objects found over the years on travels or on the beach — polished, cleaned, displayed. Hardback books look nice with the dust jacket taken off.

Look for the original Maston cruise line menus and have those matted and framed. Or better yet, ask auntie if she has any left over from her voyages to Hawaii in the ’50s. Avoid making a color photocopy and getting a plastic bamboo-style frames at Walmart! That’s one detail that makes the difference between a generic condo and laid-back luxury vibe.

Ceiling fans now come in wonderful designs that look like ship propellors. These are apparently fiberglass made to look like wood — withstands humid climate.

Create large shaded living spaces outside. Furnish with a funky Rattan reclining chair with a sun shade and colorful pillows. Pick up a mermaid statue or a souvenir mug at a second-hand shop and polish it up. Note this great system for hanging your surfboards off the roof.

Ukuleles are great as a decoration piece. Countertops are Cambria Britanica quartz. Walls are painted a gray blue. Details like this transform a condo into a Hawaiian Style home!

Use materials like Hawaiian Monkey pod… Get some fun signs from a neighborhood artisan.

Engineered vinyl flooring resists the water and sand but still has that hard-wood floor look.   Rather than shopping at Pier One, re-finish an old piece of furniture! Display your shell collections in a shadow box. Pull out those old fashioned speakers and a funky rattan mirror from the garage to add personality. Pick something up at the Salvation Army and sand it!

Display your ukulele, coral and shells…frame that black and white photo of tutu on the beach… placed just right these items will create a tropical modern home with a sense of place.

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February 28, 2020

I love this. I feel inspired to do something for my home. The colors are clean and soothing. I especially like the whitewash treatment and exposed beams. I feel transported to the North Shore of Maui.

Anna Severson

February 28, 2020

Thanks Deborah! Love the exposed beams… their home motivated me go home and clear out some of my clutter and get the cool vintage pieces framed!

April 14, 2023

Please contact me on my number using WhatsApp, as I have questions and I am interested in discussing further.

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