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The Best Custom Home Builders in Hawaii

16 Min Read

From the upscale neighborhoods around Honolulu to the peaceful oceanside residences on the Big Island, Hawaii has some of the most beautiful and luxurious custom homes in the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the climate is mild and the landscape is so dramatic and inviting. The best Hawaii custom home builders know how to integrate these island gifts into their projects, creating unique homes that could not exist elsewhere.

This is a list of the most experienced and accomplished custom home builders in the Aloha State. These firms understand the islands and know how to build homes that complement their beloved surroundings. This list of the best 15 custom home builders in Hawaii includes local industry leaders, award winners, high-end luxury boutique companies, and the firms behind some of the highest-priced homes in the state.

If you are thinking about building a custom home, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.

14) Smith Brothers

444 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA, 92075

Though the company started out in California, Smith Brothers Construction has an office in Hawaii and has built many luxury custom homes on the islands. A highly experienced residential design and construction firm, Smith Brothers offers world-class architecture, construction, and interior design. Founded about 40 years ago in Solana Beach, CA, Smith Brothers is owned by Jeff Smith and Cheryl Smith. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They are members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and the US Green Building Council.

The custom home builder’s portfolio of Hawaii projects includes many stunning, envy-inducing details, showing off the company’s high-quality craftsmanship and inspiring design ideas. A few of the more breathtaking examples include a huge shower with a moveable wall that opens onto a secluded outdoor zen garden. Another recent project boasts a stylish and comfortable modern living room that merges perfectly with the blue ocean just a few steps outside the wide-open front wall.

13) Joel Koetje Contracting

4471 Mamo Road, Kekaha, HI 96752

Joel Koetje Contracting is a leading custom home builder on Kauai. The company builds and renovates homes, restaurants, and retail spaces, from the island’s west side to its north shore. With more than 30 years of experience as a custom home builder and remodeler in Hawaii, Koetje also does kitchen and bath remodels, condo remodels, swimming pools, and government contracting.

One of the company’s best projects is a solar house in the small Kauai town of Kekaha. It has a sleek and bright atmosphere, high ceilings with elegant millwork, a wide-open living room and kitchen area, and an eye-catching spiral staircase. Another stand-out in the builder’s impressive portfolio is the “Thyssen Residence” on Maui. The home features an awe-inspiring, Hawaiian-style patio with a tiki bar, a fabulous pool, and wonderful views of the ocean. The company’s “Hale Ohana” custom home on Kauai has the exterior of a classic Hawaiian bungalow with wonderful wrap-around porches, while, inside, Koetje’s talent for stylish but homey interiors is on display. The company has an A+ Rating from the BBB.

12) Trend Builders

PO Box 773, Kihei, HI 96753

Maui custom home builder Trend Builders has constructed some of the best custom homes in Hawaii. The residential contractor works all over Maui and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The company builds luxury custom homes in many upscale neighborhoods on Maui, including Makena, Wailea Highlands, Keawakapu Beach, and Lanikeha. Trend Builders specializes in high-end residential construction and remodeling, as well as specialty high-end commercial and industrial projects. The company has a talented team of in-house experts in all phases of a construction project, from site-work and foundations to custom millwork and finish carpentry.

One of the company’s recent projects, a gorgeous property near Makena Beach on Maui, features a unique, rounded interior with artistic floors, and a curved and open second level that looks down on an infinity pool. Founded by Principal Tae Murphy in 1994, the company has won building and remodeling awards from Hawaii’s Building Industry Association (BIA) and has an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau. The contractor’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest.

11) Canaan Builders

 1122 Makepono Street, Unit 300, Honolulu, HI 96819

Canaan Builders has gained a reputation as one of the leading custom home builders in Hawaii over some 40 years in the industry. The custom home builder in Honolulu was founded in 1978 by Raymond C. Suiter, and re-founded in 2014 by Suiter and his sons, Max B. Suiter and Raymond T. Suiter. Canaan Builders, which has an A+ rating from the BBB, specializes in custom luxury homes and remodels, commercial buildings, retail spaces, and historical renovations.

Working all over the Honolulu area and Oahu, Canaan Builders has constructed palatial island homes in such areas as Diamond Head, Manoa, and Lanikai. In Honolulu’s Makiki Heights neighborhood, the construction company built a home with exquisite custom millwork throughout. It also features a stunning, high-ceilinged living room surrounded on three sides by glass doors and expansive views of the island city. The home is tucked away among the natural greenery, and, like most of the best custom homes in the islands, it looks as if it naturally belongs to the landscape.

10) Pyramid Premier Properties

4614 Kilauea Avenue, Suite 205, Honolulu, HI 96816

One of the highest of the high-enders in the Honolulu area, Pyramid Premier Properties builds and renovates homes in the Kahala, an ultra-exclusive, upscale neighborhood with some of the priciest homes in Hawaii. Several homes built and renovated by Pyramid Premier Properties have fetched the highest prices in the neighborhood in recent years. The residential contractor was founded by Tim Gutierrez. It has an international clientele and a reputation for designing and building unique homes in the Hawaiian architectural style. They also have their own design team as they are a one stop shop down to the homes design, the interiors, last fabric and furniture style.

The builder works with customers from their first dreams to furnishing the finished home. His showplace custom homes typically feature oasis-like outdoor spaces with lagoons and waterfalls; airy, open and highly-polished interiors; and very few barriers separating the two. A carpenter from Seattle, Gutierrez started the company in 1982 and still has his eye on every detail of the firm’s complex projects. The home builder’s work has been featured in Luxury Home Magazine, Honolulu Magazine, and on the CBS television show Hawaii Five-0

9) Mokulua High Performance Builder

1156 Luna’Apono Place, Kailua, HI 96734

Mike Fairall, founder and principal of Makula High Performance Builder on O’ahu, is one of top builders of green and sustainable homes in the Aloha State. The custom home builder in Kailua, HI, focuses on energy- and water-efficiency, healthy interiors, and sustainable construction practices and materials, while never scrimping on craftsmanship and beauty. They are also the only general contractor that’s a B-corporation company.

Fairall is Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) certified and has earned numerous other certifications from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). These include Master Certified Green Professional, Graduate Master Builder, Certified Graduate Builder, and Certified Green Verifier. He his also certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as an Energy Star Builder.

The company is the only Energy Star builder in the state of Hawaii and as such the only company building Energy Star homes. All their homes are built to Energy Star and LEED and are also one of the only contractors that do not sub-contract all their work, rather, they perform all their own masonry, framing and finish work, in house.

The company has received the prestigious Carl Reppun Award-Builder of Excellence Award, an accolade for boutique builders, from BIA Hawaii. Mokulua has also received BIA Awards for green building and residential remodeling, as well as the NAHB’s Certified Green Professional of the Year Award. The company’s work has been featured in Architect Magazine and Green Hawaii.

8) Homeworks Construction Inc.

2111 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

Homeworks Construction is a nationally recognized home building and remodeling company and a leader in Honolulu’s construction industry. The custom home contractor has worked on more than 750 projects over their 20 years in business. Homeworks has been ranked on Qualified Remodeler Magazine’s list of the nation’s Top 500 Remodelers for the past 15 years. The design-build firm has in-house architects and a sample showroom in Honolulu, and they specialize in kitchen and bathroom remodels and building amazing Lanais — Hawaiian-style patios.

President and CEO Jim Byxbee has more than 40 years in the industry. He started as a carpenter and has worked on more than 250 homes and 500 renovations. He served on the board of directors of BIA-Hawaii and hosted a radio show about remodeling. President and Responsible Managing Employee Marshall Hickox, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in building materials and wood science, has more than 20 years of building experience. Homeworks won Hawaii Home Magazine’s 2017 Best of Hawaii Home + Remodeling Award.

7) H-1 Construction

590 Farrington Highway, Suite 524-Box 226, Honolulu, HI 96707

Luke Stensland, a general contractor and owner of H-1 Construction in Honolulu, has built more than 100 new homes on the Hawaiian Islands. In addition to building custom homes, H-1 also works on remodel and commercial projects. The custom home builder, which has an A+ rating from the BBB, often works in partnership with Fujita + Netski Architecture.

In a recent award-winning collaboration, the two firms built Hale Kilo I’A, “House of the Fish Spotter” — a vacation home with an updated take on classic Hawaiian architecture. The project includes two open, shed-style structures with board-and-batten siding, painted a vibrant blue and white and situated around a grassy courtyard with a pool. The home won the 2016 Local AIA People’s Choice Award, the Hawaii Home and Remodeling Editor’s Choice Award, and the 2016 BIA-Hawaii Grand Award for New Residence $500k to $800k.

In addition to innovative new-builds, the residential contractor has completed more than 100 kitchen and bath remodels. The company’s work has been featured in Hawaii Home + Remodeling Magazine.

6) Metzler Contracting Co.

PO Box 617, Kapa’au, HI 96755

Since it was founded in 1976, Metzler Contracting has grown from a pioneer Big Island builder to one of the largest and best-known contractors in Hawaii. The company of about 200 employees builds luxury homes and remodels on the wondrous Kono Coast and elsewhere. Metzler also works on resorts and other commercial projects on the Big Island. Responsible Managing Employee John F. Metzler moved to Hawaii in 1973 and worked in construction on Kohala Coast resorts before starting his own company.

A member of BIA-Hawaii, the NAHB, and the National Association of the Remodeling Insustry (NARI), Metzler Contracting’s work has been featured in Honolulu Magazine, Architectural Digest, Construction Today, and other publications. The home building company has won awards in the BIA-Hawaii Renaissance Competition and the BIA Parade of Homes. Metzler’s recent custom home projects includes the stunning “Mala Hale,” an island-inspired home on the 18th hole of a Jack Nicklaus golf course. The home features carved Koa-wood details, lava stone pavers, and other native Hawaiian touches.

5) Armstrong Builders

80 Sand Island Access Road, Suite 209, Honolulu, HI 96819

Honolulu custom home builder Armstrong Builders is a major force in Hawaii’s busy luxury home and development industry. The residential contractor is a five-time winner of the BIA-Hawaii Builder of the Year Award. The company was founded in 1976 by Robert Armstrong and is part of the group of Armstrong companies, which also includes a design firm and has offices on Oahu and Maui.

Current President James R. Keller has worked with Armstrong Builders since 1985 and took over operations in 2005. A graduate of the University of Hawaii and Old Dominion, Keller has overseen the construction of hundreds of resort condos on the west and north shores of Oahu. The company also does major commercial work and develops luxury and resort developments all over Hawaii, including Turtle Bay Ocean Villas, Kai Malu at Wailea, and Kai Lani at Ko’ olina. Armstrong Builders is a member of the NAHB, the Urban Land Institute, and BIA-Hawaii, which named the company Builder of Decade of the 2000s.

4) Lyle Hamasaki Construction

735 Bishop Street, Suite 421, Honolulu, HI 96813

Since forming his high-end custom home building company in 1979, veteran finish carpenter Lyle Hamasaki has built more than 100 luxury homes in Honolulu. Along with building stand-out, resort-style homes, Hamasaki and his skilled team of high-quality craftsmen have worked on major commercial resort properties on Oahu, including constructing suites and venues at the five-star Halekulani Resort and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki.

Since 2014, the company has been the exclusive home builder for an innovative luxury development near downtown Honolulu called Kapiwai. Architects Mark DeReus and Joel Turke designed the condo-style, “eco-luxury” homes in the exclusive, stream-side jungle-garden community to be low maintenance and sustainable. Hamasaki constructed the elegant, modern homes — which are tucked away in a gorgeous garden setting with hiking trails and waterfalls — of steel, concrete, and wood, and they are filled with natural light and fresh island air. Hamasaki has been able to rely mainly on referrals for new work, and his customer service has earned the company an A+ rating with the BBB.

3) Architectural Design & Construction

2145 Wells Street, Suite 301, Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

An architect-led home builder that pays attention to sustainability, Architectural Design & Construction (ADC) on Maui has built some amazing custom homes that truly express and complement the wonder and beauty of islands. The custom home builder’s president and owner is architect Clayton Nishikawa, a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Nishikawa founded ADC in 2000. The home construction company is a member of Green Building Council and has a LEED-accredited architect on staff, as well as an Aging-in-Place expert.

In 2016, ADC received an Award of Merit from BIA Hawaii for new residential projects over $1M, for an elegantly curved contemporary Hawaiian home in Maui’s upscale Wailea neighborhood. The beautiful home features large curved doors that slide into the curved walls, and a curved porch roof with eight-foot cantilever overhangs for shade. Designed according to feng shui concepts, the home has a marvelous contemporary Hawaiian aesthetic, with its clean lines and seamless flow from indoor to outdoor spaces.

2) Longhouse Design + Build

1100 Alakea Street, 3rd Floor Atrium, Honolulu, HI 96813

Longhouse Design + Build is a Honolulu-based architectural and construction firm that creates breathtaking oceanfront homes worthy of their paradisiacal surroundings. The custom home builder in Honolulu was founded in 1980 by architect Jeffrey T. Long. The construction company developed into a design-build firm in 2016. Long has designed and overseen construction on more than 150 custom luxury homes in Hawaii, the West Coast, and Asia. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Long has won awards from the AIA, the ASID, and the BIA.

In 2017, the company won the BIA Hawaii Renaissance Overall Grand Award for New Residential for its “Elepaio Residence,” a stylish, 6,000-square-foot, three-level island bungalow in an upscale Honolulu neighborhood. The residential contractor’s work has been featured on HGTV’s Epic Beach Homes, and in Honolulu Magazine and Modern Luxury Magazine.

1) Oakes Management LLC

56-758 Kualapa Place, Hawi, HI 97819

Located on the Big Island, Oakes Management is an eminently experienced builder of island resort homes. With more than 50 years of experience in Hawaii’s construction industry, the company’s skilled partners have worked on several major, $100M-plus commercial resort projects, and their residential creations appear to be different only in scale.

The three-person leadership team includes Garrette Oaks, a civil and structural engineer with a vast commercial and residential portfolio; Lena Oakes, an associate member of the AIA with a master’s degree in architecture from Tulane University and experience working on large Big Island hotels; and Project Director Mike Reed, a veteran of nearly a dozen resort projects with more than 45 years of experience.

Oakes Management received the AIA Award of Excellence and Award of Merit for its commercial resort work, both in partnership with de Reus Architects. Typical of Oakes’ stunning residential work is its 12,000-square-foot “beachfront castle” in North Kona, a sprawling luxury residence with an Arts and Crafts design and all kinds of period-inspired details.

How can I find a home builder near me?

Read our latest articles on the best custom home builders across Hawaii. If you don’t see your city below, just let us know – we are happy to create a tailored recommendation list just for you.

Design-Build Firms in Honolulu

Custom home builders in Honolulu

About Our Rankings

This list takes a range of ranking criteria into consideration, including but not limited to: work history, customer satisfaction, awards and recognition, geographic area of work, cost, building permits, and clientele. We spent over 40 hours researching local contractors before calculating the final ranking for this post. If there is additional information about your business that could affect these rankings, please fill out this form and we will take it into consideration

Get Bids For Your Build

If you are thinking about building a custom home, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.