Photographer: Henry Houghton
Real Estate

One-Quarter of This $15 Million Hawaii Mansion Is Outdoors

A house on the Kona coast gives a new meaning to indoor/outdoor living.

Ron Johnson and his wife, Susan, had been vacationing in Hawaii for years, first at the Four Seasons and then in a home they purchased in the Kona district of the Big Island. Four years ago, they purchased a series of plots in the Hualalai Resort, a gated community, club, and resort on the northwest side of the island with the aim of developing them and flipping them for a profit.

The house was completed in 2015.
The house was completed in 2015.
Photographer: Henry Houghton

After a year or two of sitting on one property without developing it, the couple decided that they'd rather build a house there for themselves. "Something more grand that really captured the essence of Hawaii," said Johnson, who's the president and chief executive officer of Central Bancorp, a group of financial companies based in Colorado Springs. "Stone, fire, water—those are the interesting elements here in Hawaii, so we tried to emphasize those in the house."

After 14 months of construction ("everything has to come here on a boat," Johnson said. "There's very little on the island other than lava"), the couple moved in, in October 2015. They've been able to enjoy the house for a year, but now financial considerations, said Johnson, have made it necessary to sell. "Life sometimes takes turns, and I find myself needing to stay more engaged in our group of businesses," he said. "This isn't the right time."

The house overlooks a golf course and the ocean beyond.

The house overlooks a golf course and the ocean beyond.

Photographer: Henry Houghton

He's placed the home on the market for $14.95 million. Buyers will find a pristine home with 7,000 square feet of indoor space and another 2,400 square feet of "Lanai" area, a term that denotes a covered (albeit outdoor) living space. Including the house's garage, the home covers a total of 10,540 square feet.

The interior is full of mahogany paneling and marble floors.

The interior is full of mahogany beams and marble floors.

Photographer: Henry Houghton

The house was built with mahogany trim, marble floors, and cedar beams, and the light fixtures, Johnson said, are custom-designed for the house. (Its interior was designed by Gina Willman, a Hawaii-based interior decorator.) There are five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two half-baths. In addition, there's also a large home office, a media room with soundproofing ("I have a stereo habit," said Johnson), and a large, central living area with a kitchen, living room, and dining room.

The resort’s championship golf course.

The resort’s championship golf course.

Source: Hualālai Realty

The outdoor areas, though, are the house's biggest selling points. "The one thing I've learned from the time I've spent in Hawaii is that a house is really about its outdoor space," Johnson said. "That's why you come here, and that's where you want to spend your time, so we tried very hard to get the outdoors right." To that end, he built a full outdoor kitchen with a barbecue and pizza oven, two refrigerators and an ice maker, installed a pool and terrace, and hired landscape designers to create a lush garden.

The house was designed with outdoor living in mind.
The house was designed with outdoor living in mind.
Photographer: Henry Houghton

If you tire of the house itself, it overlooks the 10th fairway of the resort. Johnson says that to buy the house you don't technically have to join the club, but adds, "Why would you be here if you couldn't use all of this stuff?" By that he means the resort's tennis courts, seven restaurants, a spa, a beach, and two championship golf courses. The initiation fee, Johnson said, is $250,000, and annual fees are another $45,000. "All of that's available to you when you're at home," he said.

The home office.
The home office.
Photographer: Henry Houghton

The house is just a 10-minute drive from the Kona airport. Johnson belongs to a service called the Kona Shuttle, a private club that owns a 737 which leaves Oakland, Calif., for Kona every Thursday and returns every Sunday; the flight takes about four and a half hours. (Commercial flights, it should be noted, fly on a regular basis to Kona, too.)

The house has been on the market for a few months. "Right now is the slow time," Johnson said. "By the time you get to the December holidays, this place will be packed."

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