It’s no surprise that many Honolulu visitors are enticed to make their vacation a permanent stay. From the city’s high-rises to its calm white-sand beaches, residents get to experience the best of city and island life. Ranking at #60 in Best Places to Live and at #32 in Best Places to Retire in 2019, the Honolulu housing market continues to be among the most expensive in the country. As a melting pot of ethnicities, the city’s diverse blend of races and cultures is also evident in Honolulu homes. From Island Plantation-style homes to modern Hawaiian homes, Honolulu residences are often built to frame those breathtaking views of the Pacific.
Featured on this list are the best design-build firms in Honolulu. Our team went looking for the top contractors in the area and ranked them based on the number of projects they built in the city, the awards and recognition they received, their industry affiliations, their years in business, and the quality of their design-build projects. These firms have designed and built some of Honolulu’s multi-million dollar homes and have received accolades for their great design and construction services.
10) Island Home Builders
Website | 808-283-3467 | P.O. Box 2365, Kealakekua, HI 96750
Kealakekua-based Island Home Builders is a full-service design-build contractor that has been serving clients since 2007. In addition to its design-build services, the firm also works on kitchen and bathroom remodels and deck and floor installation as well as home additions, door and window installation, cabinet installation, home repairs, siding installation, and backhoe services. Marlon Ordonez, the founder of the company, is a licensed and bonded general contractor that has many years of experience in the construction industry.
Among its projects is this oceanfront property in Eiwa. The project is a 1,588-square-foot, two-story home featuring two bedrooms, and two and a half bathrooms with a 1,056-square-foot patio, and a two-car garage.
9) Blue Star Design & Builders
Website | 808-425-4466 | 928 Nuuanu Ave. #502, Honolulu, HI 96817`
Though founded recently in 2012, Blue Star Design and Builders has become one of Hawaii’s most trusted interior design and build firms. The firm has earned numerous positive reviews from its satisfied clients who rave about the team’s excellent craftsmanship and service. Additionally, the firm’s ability to deliver stunning spaces within clients’ budgets has been understandably appreciated by its customers. Founded by David Jaime, Blue Star Design and Builders combines the role of an interior and architectural designer with the contractor to produce seamless results.
One of its projects is a transitional home featuring an open concept floor plan. To maximize the space even further, vaulted ceilings with wood beams were incorporated into the design. The kitchen island can also be used as a breakfast nook, which is a great way to save space and maximize the kitchen’s functionality.
8) Canaan Builders
Website | 808-842-1400 | 1122 Makepono St. Unit #300, Honolulu, HI 96819
Canaan’s history in the construction industry started in 1978. Initially founded as Canaan Decorating, the firm operated as a luxury custom home builder and was later sold when founder Raymond Suiter decided to move to the mainland. In 2014, Suiter decided to return to Hawaii and rebuild Canaan as Canaan Builders. Today, the firm specializes in a wide range of services such as constructing luxury condos and custom homes. Since it’s founding, the firm’s philosophy of providing unmatched quality and craftsmanship still guides the firm.
Among its impressive projects is a home in Diamond Head. Located on the beachfront, the property features a beautiful front yard infinity pool. Floor-to-ceiling windows have also been used throughout the home, enabling homeowners to enjoy the breathtaking ocean views from the inside. Seating areas also frame the home’s front yard.
7) Gregory Design Build, Inc.
Website | 808-381-2929 | 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy. Suite #G-200, Honolulu, HI 96825
Honolulu-based Gregory Design Build takes pride in being one of Oahu’s leading custom home construction firms. Since 1995, the company has offered home remodeling, full-scale renovations, and custom home construction services. For many years, the firm has worked with numerous clients and has delivered outstanding projects. Gregory Design Build puts a premium on forging relationships with its clientele in order to deliver clients the home of their dreams.
One of the notable projects in its portfolio is the Hanapepe luxury home. The gorgeous island home features a lot of wooden and bamboo elements, which can be found in the home’s furniture, ceiling, doors, and walls. The home’s entrance is also a beautiful statement piece, with stone flooring that serves as a bridge to cross the water feature. In addition, the home’s grand infinity pool complements its oceanfront location.
6) Atlas Construction
Website | 808-951-9500 | 2222 Kamehameha Hwy. Honolulu, HI 96819
From remodeling homes and constructing home additions to building custom properties, Atlas Construction has provided clients throughout Honolulu, Aiea, Ewa Beach, and the surrounding areas with excellent craftsmanship and professional service. Bruce Kim, owner of the firm, has extensive experience in the industry, having built hundreds of homes in the area for more than two decades. This experience enabled the firm to develop a low overhead business model that lets the Atlas team deliver cost-effective solutions.
This plantation-style home is among the firm’s new construction projects. The design of this home offers many charming details from its traditional architectural styles to the use of wood and brick which adds character to the home. The home’s beige exterior also adds to the cozy feel of the property.
5) Graham Builders
Website | 808-593-2808 | 1144 Young St., Honolulu, HI 96814
Graham Builders has nearly three decades of design-build experience, serving homeowners on the island of Oahu. Established in 1990, the design-build firm specializes in constructing custom homes as well as multigenerational, extended-family, and single-family residences. Moreover, as Hawaii’s first commercial firm to have an NAHB Certified Aging in Place Specialist, the firm integrates strategies that make homes safer and more comfortable for toddlers through elders. As one of Oahu’s most reputable design-build contractors, the firm has garnered numerous awards including the 2018 and 2019 Hawaii Home+Remodeling Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, as well as the 2018 People’s Choice Award for Multigenerational Builder. Of all its awards, Graham Builders is most proud to be the only contractor in Hawaii to have been endowed the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics.
In 2018, Graham completed a two-story contemporary home in Kai. The multigenerational home features a contemporary exterior using engineered siding to add more visual interest. Glass windows and doors were also used in the home, inviting even more natural light into the space.
4) Ko’olau Builders
Website | 808-349-4539 | 3158-C East Manoa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822
Ko’olau Builders is a design-build firm that offers residential remodels, renovations, additions, new home construction, and commercial and federal contracting services. Founded by Nicholas Tang in 2010, the firm is affiliated with the Building Industry Association (BIA), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and the National Kitchen and Bath Association. In 2015 and 2016, the firm was recognized as one of the fastest-growing businesses in Hawaii on Hawaii’s Fastest 50 and was featured numerous times on Home + Remodeling Magazine.
One of the firm’s noteworthy projects is the Kahala Custom Home. Ko’olau remodeled the home to accommodate the needs of a young, growing family. The project consisted of demolishing three bedrooms and two bathrooms and replacing them with three new bedrooms, two new bathrooms, and a family room. The existing garage was also re-configured to make space for a laundry room.
3) Homeworks Construction Inc.
Website | 808-955-2777 | 2111 S. Beretania St., 2nd Floor, Honolulu, HI 96826
In business for more than two decades, Homeworks Construction has built an impressive portfolio of quality custom homes throughout Hawaii. The firm continues to strive to provide clients with outstanding design-build services and has developed a reputation for its building excellence. Over the years, the firm has earned numerous industry awards and has been ranked among the nation’s Top 500 Residential Remodelers by Qualified Remodeler Magazine annually since 1999.
Among its collection of outstanding projects is the Hawaii Loa Ridge Home. The clients picked Homeworks to build this luxury home knowing that the firm has an expansive portfolio of new homes and has wide-ranging construction experience. Upon completion, the project featured a high-end home with high ceilings and full wall windows to capture the glorious island view.
2) Barker Kapelle Construction LLC
Website | 808-664-9212 | 970 N Kalaheo Ave. Suite #A306, Kailua, HI 96734
Established in 2006, Barker Kapelle Construction has been one of Hawaii’s top design-build firms specializing in residential additions, remodels, new construction, and commercial construction services. Founders Phillip Barker and Brett Kapelle are both Certified Green Professionals and graduates of Green Builder College. Additionally, both of them have years of experience in the construction industry, resulting in the formation of a highly-skilled and environmentally conscious company. The firm is also a member of the American Institute of Architects and BBB. Over the years, many of the firm’s projects have been featured on Hawaii Home + Remodeling Magazine.
Baker Kapelle’sHawaii Loa Ridge project is a modern home with minimalist features, stunning wooden accents, and a beautiful pool. Overlooking the neighborhood, this perched residence was constructed in 2016 and cost more than $2 million.
1) Longhouse Design + Build
Website | 808-521-1467 | Alakea Corporate Tower, 1100 Alakea St., 3rd Floor Atrium, Honolulu, HI 96813
Longhouse Design + Build is a multidisciplinary architectural and construction firm. Initially founded as Long & Associates Architects and Interiors, the company has provided award-winning designs across the islands. As the firm continued to grow, the design-build services were added to provide a unified workflow throughout the design and construction process. With the firm’s outstanding reputation brought by its team of licensed architects, interior designers, builders, LEED accredited professionals, and support personnel, Longhouse Design + Build brings high-quality designs and professional craftsmanship which have been recognized by many publications such as the Modern Luxury, Homes & Land, Pacific Edge, Luxury Home, Honolulu Magazine, HI Luxury Magazine, Green Magazine, and more. Additionally, one of the firm’s projects in Kapalua was featured on HGTV Million Dollar Rooms.
Led by Jeffrey Long, a licensed architect, the firm’s diverse design expertise ranges from traditional to Mediterranean and contemporary Hawaiian to urban and mid-century modern.
Among the firm’s remarkable projects is a custom home in Kahala. The Elepaio Residence was based on another home that the owners loved during the trip to the islands. Completed in 2017, the nearly 6,000-square-foot home was built on a 12,400-square-foot property. The project features multi-level design with five bedrooms, five and a half baths, and more than 1,800 square feet of covered lanai space. This project received the 2017 BIA Renaissance Awards in the Overall Grand New Residential category.