Island Time

Mark Gosselin had already built and sold a home in Maui when he set about creating his residence in Honolulu. The San Diego–based real estate investor and avid outdoorsman wished to be close to the city, and he knew precisely what he hoped to achieve on his oceanfront property near Diamond Head. “I wanted the home to mimic a resort, but with informal interiors and a contemporary, tropical architectural style,” he says. “I had the image in my mind; I just had to transfer it into reality with the architect and designers.”

That team included architect James McPeak and designer Carolyn Pace, both based in Honolulu, and designer Gioi Tran of the San Francisco firm Applegate Tran Interiors. Honolulu-based landscape architect Steve Mechler added native and island-friendly plantings to integrate the house with the site. Completed this spring, the 11,700-?square-foot, six-bedroom house features a courtyard entrance (marked by basalt pavers from Vietnam) that leads to a great room, two lanais, and the Pacific Ocean.

Outside In | Pocket doors allow the home’s sunken great room to be completely open to the elements on the ocean side. “This room epitomizes the indoor-outdoor lifestyle,” says Gosselin. “I’m more of an outdoor person, so I rarely shut the doors.” The area is one of his favorite spots for spending time with friends and family—including his wife; two sons, ages 23 and 20; and two daughters, ages 18 and 13.


For the dining area, the designers created a table from a slab of tamarind wood found in Bali, and custom-designed the steel-and-wood benches. They unified the open room with oversize, high-back dining chairs and woven-leather club chairs from Walters Wicker, and introduced a touch of color with fabrics from Donghia and Jim Thompson. Gosselin helped fill the saltwater aquarium, which includes decorative coral that plays off of the room’s muted palette. “Most clients can’t speak ‘design language,’ but Mark could,” notes Tran. “He specifically requested a textural, organic approach with neutral tones and heavy, masculine furniture—not the expected island-style decor.”

Bed, Bath, Beyond | A custom-milled, Idaho-fir-beam ceiling shelters the second-floor master bedroom, which includes a sitting area enlivened by swivel chairs, an ebony-wood table, and a handmade floor lamp found in a Honolulu shop. The bench at the foot of the bed is from Indonesia. Instead of bedside tables, the designers opted for cabinets that double as writing desks. “For this project, it was important that the scale, proportion, and finishes of the furniture complemented the architecture, so it wouldn’t look discordant,” says Tran. “The bedroom is calming and soothing yet still retains a rustic, contemporary feel. And everything was placed with intention.”

In the master bath, which is sheathed in travertine and chiseled coral, pocket doors recede to reveal unimpeded views of the water. The whirlpool tub is from MTI and has a Hansgrohe faucet.

For the master bedroom’s private lanai, Gosselin and the designers chose chaise longues that allow for reclining while taking in the vista.

Office Space | Beneath the master bedroom is Gosselin’s office, which he says he uses “probably a little too much.” He selected the leather wing chair, and the designers had the desk custom-built for him. The sculpture, originally from Bali, and the metal vase were acquired locally. “Mark didn’t want a lot of clutter,” says Tran. “He just wanted enough objects to warm up the room.” An adjacent aviary inhabited by obstreperous parrots “adds to the tropical feel,” says Gosselin.


Stone was used liberally throughout the home; for the office and the powder room, the homeowner and the designers chose travertine. “In the different areas of the house, Mark wanted an array of finishes for the stone, from brushed or tumbled to polished or honed,” says Pace. “He wanted to keep things interesting.” To that end, most of the countertops throughout the house are granite, and the exterior beams are covered in rough-hewn Hawaiian coral stone.

Point Break | After a day of stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, or surfing, Gosselin often relaxes on one of the lanais before heading to downtown Honolulu, about 10 minutes away. “I get bored easily,” he says, citing that tendency as the reason he left his home on the sleepier island of Maui for this one, which is close to the constant bustle of what the locals call “town.”


Involved in the Oahu home’s development from groundbreaking to build-out, Gosselin had little time to be bored. He selected much of the furniture, such as the cedar-ceilinged lanai’s round table and woven-wicker chairs, and the chaise longue resting in the shallow portion of the pool. Gosselin calls building and furnishing houses “a part-time hobby,” and though he also spends time at his two residences in San Diego, as well as at his home in McCall, Idaho, where he often skis, he is clearly captivated by his Honolulu getaway. “The feel and colors of Hawaii are so intense: The sky and water are a lot bluer than anywhere else, and the plants are greener,” he says. “This house really captures the spirit of the island.” 

Applegate Tran Interiors, 415.487.1241, www.applegatetran.com; Carolyn Pace Design, 808.545.5460; McPeak Architects, 808.524.3446; The Mechler Corp., 808.247.3109, www.mechlercorporation.com

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