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The East Manoa Hillside Enclaves

View from an East Manoa hillside home

Twelfth in a series

By the 1950s, Manoa had become one of Oahu’s most densely developed neighborhoods. The verdant, amphitheater-like valley attracted builders and buyers from the early decades of the 1900s, as it does today, with its natural beauty, convenience to town, and presence of numerous educational institutions.

As development progressed into the valley, homes, churches, and schools supplanted farms and dairies, one of which was located on acreage subdivided to create the distinct pocket neighborhood known as Woodlawn.

Hawaii artist Hank Taufaasau lives in the house built by his parents on a vacant Woodlawn lot in 1953. “They wanted to live in Manoa for all the usual reasons, but not much vacant, buildable land was available at the time. With a big family, they needed a property to accommodate a large house and preferably in a family-friendly neighborhood. Woodlawn is a paradise for children with forested land to explore and hiking trails we followed up the ridges to St. Louis Heights and then down into Palolo. Sometimes we were allowed to camp out…one of our favorite spots was the hillside above the Chinese graveyard, a dominant feature of the area.

“Woodlawn is still ‘old Hawaii’ with its lush vegetation century old trees and banana, mountain apple, and lychee in the gardens surrounding the old homes. Many of them were built by prominent architects of the day and have been well maintained. Those that have become dilapidated are generally torn down to make way for new homes…with 10,000 square foot minimum lots, underground wiring, and great views, Woodlawn is one of Manoa’s most desirable neighborhoods.”

Currently the price range of homes for sale in Woodlawn is broad from $1,750,000 down to $690,000. A unique home designed with particular empathy for the setting at 3269 Beaumont Woods Place has been listed by Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtor and Vice President Fred Lunt for $830,000. Lunt noted that the owner, a designer of numerous residential and commercial projects in Hawaii, is giving up a home she loves.

The two level cedar home offers spectacular valley and ocean views. Built in the 1970s, the four bedroom, three bath home typifies the architectural movement toward bringing the outdoors in and living in harmony with nature.

In the owner’s words: “Woodlawn has a special intimacy with nature and a sense of community. The design of the house was very forward-looking for its time with an open floor plan, 35 foot ceilings on the main level, where the living area, kitchen, and one bedroom are located, and numerous large windows that capture views of ocean, sky, and mountains while embracing Woodlawn’s cooling mountain breezes. Two upper bedrooms open to viewing decks. The smaller bedrooms work well as a home office or guest room.

“The quiet, peaceful atmosphere of Woodlawn is conducive to working at home…as a designer, it proved to be a stimulating environment for me over the years. This is also a home that has given me great pleasure and privacy…I define it as ‘experiential’ in the sense that it provides a vantage point from which you simply absorb the beauty of Manoa. For example, when you sit quietly on the deck with morning coffee watching the shadow of St. Louis Heights move across the valley at dawn…or when the mist moves down the valley to the sea creating brilliant rainbows on the way…and then in the evening, you wait for the spectacle of sunset over the ocean, the valley’s sparkling lights, and the starscape above. I’ve been fortunate to live in what I believe to be the perfect Manoa house.”

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