Gabrielle Anderman and Bennett Cale lived on the island of Maui for seven years before they found the perfect site for their future home.
Set on the western slopes surrounding Haleakalā, about a 25-minute drive from Kahului Airport, the two-acre site “was just raw land,” says Cale, a musician and financial adviser at Morgan Stanley. Before constructing a house, the couple embarked on a reforestation project, planting the site with native fruit trees and plants, “which was fantastic because by the time we started building, we had big, mature trees,” says Anderman, a visual artist.
There was more waiting in store.
The couple commissioned Marmol Radziner, an AD100 architecture firm, to build a family compound that included art studios and enough living space for themselves, their two children and a nearly endless stream of invited guests. After a significant amount of permitting and planning, the project broke ground in 2014 and was fully completed in 2018.
But after just five years in the house, their two children are headed to school in California, and so they’ve decided to put the house on the market for $12.6 million with Wendy Peterson of Island Sotheby’s International Realty. Considering the time and energy (and more time) it took to build, the couple definitely entertained keeping it, “but a lot of houses on Maui sit empty,” Anderman says. “A house needs to be lived in.”
The land they chose has a combination of views, climate and space. “A lot of people think of Maui as a tropical beach,” Cale says. “But if you live Upcountry in Maui, it’s just divine, a temperate 70 degrees.”
The property spans a deep gulch with stairs connecting each side. The main house is on the larger parcel of land; on the other side of the gulch is a smaller lot, where they eventually put their guesthouse—that has its own address. The property has views of the north and south shore of the island and, once Cale’s planting was complete, boasted 20 varieties of mature fruit including mango, papaya, avocado, lemon, lime, orange, banana and lychee.
It’s at the end of a cul-de-sac, which the couple says is unusually flat for Upcountry. The couple’s children in particular took advantage of it. “It’s a space where they can bicycle and play basketball,” Anderson says.
BUILDING THE HOUSE
The couple noted that the dominant trend on the island was to skip an architect altogether. “Most people just use their contractor or build it themselves,” Cale says. But they were committed to something more considered.
“We were always drawn to the work of Vladimir Ossipoff, the preeminent midcentury architect of Hawaii,” he says. Ossipoff’s design is known for clean lines and for buildings that respond to—and integrate themselves in—the island’s environment.
“When we started to look around, we were really looking for someone who has that same aesthetic and sensibilities,” Cale says. “Someone who really understands a site and how to make something that is inherently beautiful like the island of Maui even more beautiful.”
After casting about for recommendations, they settled on Marmol Radziner, a firm known for both restoring midcentury buildings and designing contemporary architecture with midcentury inflections from scratch.
“We wanted this place to have modern sensibilities and a modern aesthetic but also honor the land,” Cale says while explaining why they eventually approached Ron Radziner, one of the firm’s co-founders, in late 2012. “We wanted something that could be anchored to the land but still have a sense of floating here on top of this gulch.”
The result is a main structure with three bedrooms, 2½ baths, a large living area with a wood-burning fireplace, and a spacious open kitchen with wood paneling. There’s a separate two-story guesthouse that includes an art studio, home office, guest suite, private deck and outdoor shower.
Together, those two structures have 3,766 square feet of indoor space, along with an additional 2,000 square feet of decks. Although Cale acknowledges that indoor/outdoor living is “a concept that gets overstated a lot, you really can live outdoors here in Maui most of the year.” As a result, he says, they were committed to making most of the living areas flow between covered and open spaces.
A carport/music studio is made from honed lava and cedar; that structure adds 830 square feet to the running total.
Across the gulch is the final home: a roughly 1,000-square-foot guesthouse that has three bedrooms and one bath, with an additional 700 square feet of wraparound deck.
Given the number of bedrooms and added privacy of the guesthouse, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the couple has had a near-constant stream of visitors since they moved in September 2017. “It’s not rare for us to have guests come every month, at least for a week at a time,” Anderson says. “Family, friends, everyone wants to come to Maui; and the way we’ve set it up, it feels very easy to have guest quarters with guests doing their own thing.”
As soon as they moved in, the couple couldn’t believe their good fortune. “It was beyond my wildest dreams,” Anderson says. “We both woke up every morning feeling giddy, and very lucky, to live in this work of art.”
The excitement hasn’t dissipated, making the prospect of selling it, the couple says, a daunting one. But they’ve (mostly) resolved to let it go.
“If we’re going to be gone for six years, this house sitting half-empty almost feels like a crime,” Anderson says. “We feel like we need to have closure with this chapter and move on to something that will bring a new window of adventure.”