The owner’s grandparents, a Waimea school principal and his wife, began creating this Puako haven in the 1950s, first camping out while painstakingly hand-clearing the lot of its kiawe grove and then building a one-room weekend get-away. Tutu (Hawaiian for “grandmother”) poured her love into planting and gardening, while her husband worked over the years on building the oceanfront rock wall, stone by stone. In time, two more rooms were added, the lanai enclosed, and an airy breezeway covered for a comfortable two-bedroom home with ocean views throughout. Typical of the beachfront homes that have made Puako so beloved, Puako Kai is ideal for two couples or a young family who appreciate a sense of place in a perfectly maintained Hawaiian-style beach house fronted by an extensive coral reef.
For many years Puako Kai was a central part of a cozy weekend community, where folks stopped their yard work around 4 o’clock, put the rice cooker on, fired up the charcoal grill, and gathered for cocktails or a fish fry while watching the sunset. On dark, low-tide nights, families quietly waded out carrying torches and nets to scoop up the sleeping fish, then returning to shore to “cook ‘em up quick” or salt them to grill the next day.
Thanks to generations of fastidious owners, Puako Kai is immaculate inside and out, lovingly landscaped bit by bit with mature coconut palms, plumeria, and royal Poinciana trees, colorful croton, “pua-be-still” and hibiscus. A simple floor plan of living/kitchen/dining area with a bedroom on either side provides comfort, privacy and ocean views from everywhere in the home. The décor has been thoughtfully enhanced with local art, including a Mary Koski print, carved-wood seashell containing collected shells, tropical wall hangings, screen, and shell and monkey-pod wood mobiles. The enclosed lanai adds living space for quiet reading or simple tea times, with a mini-bar and fridge to keep everyone hydrated and fed just a step from the outdoors.
Puako Kai makes intelligent use of its site, with a grassy backyard with lounge chairs for relaxing and a seaside stone overlook perfect for enjoying a cool glass of limeade while watching turtles, whales, and sunsets. A more recent trip to Japan inspired a redesign of the front yard, creating a pleasing open mosaic of hibiscus hedges punctuated by the existing fragrant and fruit-producing tiare gardenias, pikake, grapefruit, mango, beach plum, and lime trees.