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The Vintage Homes Of Pacific Heights

Pacific Heights, one of Honolulu’s oldest hillside neighborhoods, continues to offer buyers a selection of vintage homes, some built nearly a century ago but well maintained and sensitively remodeled by dedicated owners over the years.

Many of the large estates were the residences of families whose histories were linked to the economic and political history of turn-of-the-century and early 20th century Hawaii. The homes were built on sites overlooking the centers of commerce, downtown Honolulu and the harbor.

Over the years, many of the big estates were subdivided and the original homes remodeled or demolished to make way for new structures. Some that have survived are now on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtor Frankie Anderson and her husband Bob Anderson have ties to the Von Hamm family, owners of one of the largest of the old Pacific Heights estates and a historic landmark. The property has been subdivided, but the original home and ancillary structures were preserved by subsequent owners.

Bob Anderson, the son of R. Alex “Andy”Anderson, a former president of Von Hamm-Young but best known today as the writer of some of Hawaii’s most famous songs, grew up in Pacific Heights. Frankie Anderson, who has sold many Pacific Heights homes, is currently listing a property she says “exemplifies the understated elegance of our classic kamaaina homes.”

Designed by prominent Hawaii architect Ernest Hara, the 59year-old home on Laola Place overlooks a panorama of city, ocean, and coastline.

“Your attention is captured by the dramatic view as soon as you enter the property through the hundred-year-old antique gate,” Anderson said. “Most major living areas open to the views, as do the two lanais…one located off the living room and the other off the master suite which includes its own living room on the lower level. The formal dining room seats 12 and another 30 can be accommodated on the lanai, which becomes a magical venue at night for dining with the city lights twinkling below and the stars overhead.

“The kitchen has been beautifully redone by the owner, who is an ‘amateur chef,’ and it is a true ‘chef’s kitchen’ with two refrigerators, two sinks, two ranges and more. All are top-of-the-line stainless steel complemented by beautiful granite counters. When at the work area, you look out over the green hillside and the Von Hamm Estate in one direction and Diamond Head in the other. Extensive use was made of solid, polished hardwoods throughout…window and door framing and lanai railings are mahogany and all new ohia flooring was installed. Closet linings and roofing are cedar.

“The home’s interior living areas total 4,326 square feet, with high vaulted ceilings and extra large plate glass windows adding to the sense of spaciousness. Surrounding the home are manicured lawns and gardens with a variety of flowering tropical plants and rare trees, such as the aromatic tabernaemontana which perfumes the air around and even inside the house. Another special feature of the property is a hothouse, where the owner cultivates orchids and ferns. This home is not simply luxurious…it projects elegance and good taste in every detail.”

The estate is priced at $3,200,000 and shown by appointment. It is one of four vintage Pacific Heights homes being marketed by Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties Realtors, the others priced at $998,500, $1,200,000, and $1,650,000.

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