Take off the shoes, put on the skates and come on in

KAPAIA — From the outside, it almost looks more like a factory than a home. The sides are arches of thick, solid tin, all held together with nuts and bolts, not wood. No shingles at the top for a roof. It’s all tin. It is not your normal looking home.

The inside is where it’s at. The floors don’t have carpet, or hard wood. It’s all concrete with a solid coating over it so the Laboks, who own the home, can glide through the house on their skates.

Yes, skates.

Husband and wife, Bruce and Joi Labok, along with their close-knit family, have always been fond of skating. They love to roller-skate or skateboard everywhere, so when it came to building a house that they could live in, and also have a lot of fun in, the Laboks decided to build a house with a roller rink as their living room. Everybody from mom Ardell Ellingson, sisters Linn Ellingson and Susan Pittman, and the rest of the clan, all came out to work on the house.

A disco ball hanging from one of the arches in the ceiling adds the finishing touch.

“We’ve always roller-skated or skateboarded. We’ve been doing it all our lives and it’s fun, so we thought why not?” said Joi Labok. “It’s really fun at night.”

They named the house “Tintaro” because the house’s exterior is all tin, and it was built near a small taro patch.

The living room area is a wide-open space, with very limited furniture. The only furniture items are a rounded couch that looks into the fields, and an electric piano that looks like a mini-bar and sits in the corner. The rest is all open for skating.

“We didn’t want to have too much furniture so we can still play,” she said.

The concrete floor extends all through the downstairs area so that they can skate into the kitchen, green room (television room) or the guest room. They are thinking about extending the skating floor to the outdoors.

“We still have so many plans,” she said. “We wanted to have concrete all around the house so we can roller-skate all around and by the yard.”

Labok and her husband are both semi-retired, and moved here from California. Joi Labok is a retired fitness consultant and works part-time in ceramics with her sister Pittman at Clayworks at Kilohana. Bruce spent 30 years in the landscaping industry and now works part-time at the Kaua‘i Marriott.

They’ve built their five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom house, all around the concept of the roller rink for a living room. It took eight cement trucks to pour the concrete that would be the floor, and a cradle was required on the property to hold and put together the arches.

“The house can withstand 120 mph winds,” she said. “When it rains it feels like we’re in a waterfall because the water just trickles down the sides.”

There are five tin panels for each arch, held together with nuts and bolts, that the family put in by themselves.

“We had our fingers on every piece of the house. The first arch took all-day and we got all deflated, thinking ‘can we really do this?’” she said.

She and her husband got the hang of it and put up 11 arches in two weeks.

With the house completed, they put on their skates, turned down the lights, turned on the disco ball and had a skating party.

“One of these days, I want to open a roller rink for this island. I think that would be fun.” she said. “We’re pretty proud of our accomplishment, with our limited construction skills.”

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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