Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the liljestrand house by ossipoff in hawaii: the amazing recreation room and landscape (part 3)

A few weeks ago on vacation in Oahu, Hawaii, we had the good fortune to take a private tour of a quintessential Hawaiian Modern home, The Liljestrand House, whose famous Hawaii architect is Vladimir Ossipoff.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

Part one of the tour was the living room, dining room and kitchen. The kitchen was magnificent. And Part two of the tour was all the bedrooms with the creme de la creme being the master. Our final section of the tour is the amazing downstairs rec room and the landscaping. Here we go!

Bob Liljestrand, the son of Betty and Howard Liljestrand (the original builders and owners of the home), gave us the tour. The stairs down to the rec room were carefully constructed and quite aesthetically pleasing.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Bob said the railing on the right was added when Ossipoff's own mother slipped on the stairs at a party. Aren't these the prettiest stairs you have ever seen?

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

You are confronted with a large space that runs the span of the house. It contains various seating arrangements, a billiard table and a ping pong table and has both an indoor lounging space and another area that opens up completely to the outside.

Desk area and recliner chair right next to the stairs. Do you love the bright yellow and orange on the cabinets. Pure Ossipoff.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture



The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Polished deep brown concrete floor.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Notice how the beams are painted different colors. The bright yellow and orange theme is again all Ossipoff.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


There were several of these little lounge seating nooks. Apparently, back in the day, Ossipoff had alternated the back brick colors in bright colors (brown, yellow and orange). After Ossipoff's death they got toned down to brown and orange. Bob thinks that was his fathers doing as his Dad was never sold on the bright wall colors. We would love it today. Ossipoff was ahead of his time for sure.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


A bar is tucked away at the end with a piece of fabulous art.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


More guest seating or sleeping. And the art again. Ah, the art.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


A model was constructed for the Ossipoff exhibit, of the Liljestrand House. The model is tucked under what would have been another fireplace if Ossipoff had constructed it. For some reason, this wasn't finished. It probably wasn't necessary and Ossipoff was never particularly proud of his poorly venting fireplaces (says Bob).

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Another little private office tucked at the end of this space. Bob and Trudy (the House Manager) use this space to run the house and also curate its contents and papers.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


An array of all the publications the house has been in.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


This is the book, Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff (Honolulu Academy of Arts),  that Dean Sakamoto served as a primary editor on and in which the Liljestrand House is prominently feature.  Dean was on the tour with us which was interesting as well. I looked for the book on Amazon but, alas, it is out of print and carries a steep price.



The secret basement room with every single piece of paper, drawing and correspondence related to the creation of this home cataloged and kept very dry. Bob says that one of the reasons this home is great for architectural students is that the students can review and study the creation of this home from inception to completion via the detailed paperwork Bob's parents preserved.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Gratuitous cat shots. I always have to get a few in. One kitty lives at the house and one was visiting with Trudy (House Manager).

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Now for the fabulous outdoor shots.

Here is the back of the house. Upstairs are the bedrooms, and downstairs is the rec room.


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Traditional kidney shaped pool with beautiful blue mosaic tile.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture
Photo by Albert.


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture



The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Upstairs balcony area.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Patio off kitchen goes on forever. Look at the view. The house easily can seat 30 people for dinner at various tables on the first floor.



Looking from kitchen to living room area. Nice wide eaves, easy to walk between areas of the house from the outside without getting wet.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

Corner deck seating coming to a sharp point.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

Under corner deck.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

Chimney. Cool material!

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


Million dollar view.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture

Diamond Head in the distance.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture
Photo Credit to Albert.

The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture


The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture



The Liljestrand House, Ossipoff, Tantalus Dirve, Honolulu, Hawaii, mid-century modern architecture
Photo by Albert

Vladimir Ossipoff ran a constant war on ugliness in Hawaii. In everything he designed and built, he won.

Dean Sakamoto put together a retrospective of Ossipoff work for the Honolulu Academy of Arts. You can see his thoughts on Ossipoff here.

Wow, what a house. And what a privilege to walk through the home with Liljestrand's son Bob leading the way and having Dean Sakamoto, the curator of the only Ossipoff exhibit, trailing behind. It was only towards the tail end of the tour that I figured out what Dean's role in all of this was.

And now I can spell and pronounce Ossipoff and Liljestrand with nary a double check.

To tour the house, to learn of other ways that you can use the house, or to help support the Liljestrand Foundation, please contact (808) 537 3116 or email LiljestrandHouse@aol.com. Many thanks to Trudy for arranging our visit and for Bob's detailed and fascinating tour. 

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15 comments:

  1. Its simply stunning! Thanks for the virtual tour.

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    1. The actual tour was just delightful. Glad to have conveyed that!

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  2. I dooo love those stairs. What a gorgeous house. What a treasure. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I was drawn to the stairs and kept wandering back to see what other angles would look good in photos.

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  3. Wow! What a great tour to be able to get. Thanks for sharing. My fiance and I are going to Hawaii in August (honeymoon) - if only we could score a tour like that. :D

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    1. You never know! August is a great time to visit Hawaii.

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  4. Kudos to you (and Albert) for the photography. The views are magnificent--and very envy-inducing.

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    1. I have been in many mid-century houses. The Liljestrand House will forever be a favorite.

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  5. That is such an interesting house, with so many unusual features. It's absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. Many of the unusual and practical features come from Betty, the mistress of the house. I kind of admire her and her design sensibility.

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  6. This may be the most amazing house I have ever laid eyes on. I love everything about it. The outlook from the guest bedroom is sensational and the under the house area is fantastic - rumpus etc. Thanks you so much for taking, and showing us all these amazing photos Rebecca. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. : )

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  7. While attending the Universtiy of Hawaii summer session in 1967, I had the pleasure and honor of living with Dr. Liljestrand, Eric and Wendla in this exquiste home on Tantalus Drive. (Mrs. Liljestrand spent a good part of that summer on the mainland.) I would attend classes in the AM, return home to study, grocery shop and clean the house. I worked a few hours each week at Dr. L's Aiea clinic/hospital. My favorite room was the kitchen with all the stations, especially the sewing closet and pantry. I learned to bake my first pecan pie for the family from Mrs. Liljestrand's recipe. The pictures of their home bring back so many memories. The photos of the furniture, art, vinyl music space, colors and modern home architecture still stand up in time today in contrast to our present homes of this new century. My bedroom that summer still contained all the built-ins and bunkbeds. I remember they also had a ground level trampoline for their family...I thought it was so neat to be able to walk from the grass onto the trampoline and jump with the views of Diamond Head and Waikiki in the distance. Coming from Cleveland, Ohio, living in a100+ year old Century Home built by my ancestors, made this summer on Oahu and 3300 Tantalus Drive, a cultured study in modern Hawaiian architecture and Island living. Thank you for giving this landmark home it's due in today's published and digital media.

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    1. Marcia, thank you so much for your comment. I could really imagine how even a young college student was able to really appreciate living in this beautiful home. It was such a pleasure to visit and photograph. What a treasure. I am glad it is being preserved.

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  8. My Afro-Cuban percussion ensemble enjoyed playing for a private party at this fabulous property. We are: and we look forward to future engagements.

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