As you explore homes for sale in Kailua Kona, you will come across some of Hawaii’s finest architecture. Hawaiian architecture draws from Western styles but is modified to reflect the culture, environment, and spirit of the Hawaiian people. This makes for some of the most unique styles in the world. If you are considering buying a home in Kailua Kona, here is a guide through some special architectural gems in this Hawaiian paradise.

Modern Hawaiian

Many of the homes you will explore with Kailua Kona real estate agent Mike Despard will be Modern Hawaiian. Over many years, the many architectural styles that made their way to the island were adapted to Hawaiian culture and modernization to create a distinctive style. Charles William Dickey is credited with this move, having expressed a need for homes suitable for the island environment from 1899. Turn-of-the-20th-century properties in this style feature fountains, interior courtyards, and broad lānais. They are reminiscent of the California Mission style.


The Mission style was the first architectural revolution to reach Hawai’i. Brought by the congregational missionaries and their Presbyterian families, it features simple, unassuming homes with overlapping weatherboards and high-pitched roofs. Mission architecture adapted to the island, morphing into Hawaiian mission architecture, a distinctive style that features local materials like coral blocks.


Bauhaus architecture was developed in 1920 and, by 1960, had been adopted worldwide. Hawaiians adopted an American version of this style called International, which is preeminent in downtown Honolulu. Homes built in this style use classic methods in a simplified form and eschew heavy ornamentation. They often feature dull colors like black, beige, gray, and white and are built in an open-plan formation. Like other styles, Bauhaus in Hawai’i boats has significant influences on the island, including symbolic designs and koa wood furnishings and doors.


King Kamehameha V is considered the father of Hawaiian Renaissance architecture and the force behind the iconic Iolani Palace, the finest example of the style. The Hawaiian Renaissance was a re-imagination of traditional Roman architecture fused with Hawaiian concepts. Homes built in this style feature “crinkly” walls, wide verandas, petite columns, and grand facades with heavy curves and ornamentation.

Beaux-Arts and Art Deco

Art Deco and Beaux-Arts made their way to Hawai’i between the 1920s and 1930s. Art Deco is considered a catchall modernization of all architectural styles. Developed in the 19th century in France, Beaux-Arts is also a neoclassicist style that combines modernized principles of ancient Roman and Greek styles. Both styles now feature tropical treatments and Hawaiian motifs for a unique island style.


Hawaiian Romanesque architecture rose to popularity during the early years of the territorial era and the final years of the monarchy. It features heavy influences from the latter period of ancient Rome rule. Once on the island, this style was adapted to the island with dark basalt boulders. Hawaiian Romanesque features cruciform piers and groin vaults as support, barrel vaults, and rounded arches.

Explore Hawai’i Architecture Real Estate Agent

The Kailua Kona real estate market is as distinct as Hawai’i is from the mainland. If you want to buy a home here, contact a local real estate professional familiar with all the island’s unique attributes. The experts at Hawai’i Life have years of experience in the Hawai’i real estate market and can help you find a unique home in Kailua Kona. Call the office today to learn more.