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DIY house brought family, friends together

KAHUNA VALLEY— A home design CD-ROM, $7. Five-bedroom home on six and a quarter acres in the Kahuna Valley, priceless.

Francesco and Daisy Garripoli got the know-how to build their Kahuna Valley home with a home-design kit Francesco bought at the convenience store. The property is also home to their nonprofit, also called Kahuna Valley, dedicated to health and wellness.

“It was just one of those little home design packets you get at the supermarket,” he said. “I would stick it in my laptop and go to friends’ houses and work on (the project) there.” This is because when they acquired the land, an old pasture, they lived in an old school bus. That bus is still parked on the land beside the house as a reminder.

“We lived in the bus for about a year while we were building the house,” he said. “My family and friends and Qigong students from all over came over at different times and all helped us with the construction of the house.” With no real construction or contracting experience, the Garripolis and friends relied on each other for a contribution.

“Everybody had a little something C5they brought,” he said. “It was ‘hey, this is where we’re at and this is what we can do.’ There were great people on this island who really helped out.” Francesco said work on the property actually started with the surrounding area, as opposed to starting with the house’s foundation.

“I planted ti plants on every corner of the property to help contain the ‘aina. People were saying I should work on the foundation, but I was working on the trees and the plants,” he said.

Next up was work on the waterfall and watsu pool.

“I wanted the waterfall to be the centerpiece. I feel like that was the cornerstone of the property,” he said. “Here’s this big empty spot where my heart was and the house came from there.” Daisy said it was like a big hole, and friends thought it was a crazy idea. They collected big lava rocks from various parts of the island and had them blessed for their property.

“Friends were asking, ‘do you know what you’re doing?’ And we were saying, if we did know what we were doing, we probably wouldn’t do it,” she said.

The watsu pool and waterfall are integral parts of the property.

“We have these beautiful waterfalls around us, and during the dry season we don’t get to see them as much,” she said. “Francesco loves the water and hearing the sound of it, and this is our way of bringing nature to our property.” The couple built the house to run on generators, because they didn’t have power from the county yet.

The wood came from what Francesco called a “conscious mill” in Canada.

“I hand-selected all the wood from a very conscious mill in British Columbia,” he said. “They knew their trees and so I liked them. That’s the type of energy we wanted for the property, so we shipped them here.” At times, the weather almost halted the construction, but they kept on working.

“One container (of wood) almost fell off the truck because it was so rainy and we couldn’t bring the container to the house,” he said. “You know, if you don’t know any better in what you’re doing, you’re at least focused on the vision of what you want.” Because their home was such a special project that they built themselves, producers of the Home and Garden Television (HGTV) show “Look What I Did!” visited and interviewed them for an episode. Other Kaua‘i homes visited by the crew were the homes of Bruna Stude and Carter Corey in Kalaheo, Christian and Nadine Riso in Lawa‘i, Sally and Dean French in Kalaheo and Tom Teitge in Hanapepe.

Look for their episodes to air sometime this summer.

“Daisy and I worked side-by-side at all hours of the night, putting tile down and grouting. I think if you can keep your relationship going strong during conditions like when we were building this house, you can take on anything,” he said.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or


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