Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Liljestrand House is a shining example of Midcentury Hawaiian Modern architecture. The home was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff and built atop Mount Tantalus, allowing for tremendous views of the cityscape and neighboring Mamala Bay. Completed in 1952, the home is extremely well preserved to this day thanks to the efforts of the Liljestrand Foundation.
After coming to Hawaii in the late 1930’s, Betty and Howard Liljestrand began their search for the perfect location to build a custom home. In 1946, they purchased a half-acre lot located in a tranquil and lush forest preserve, conveniently close to the city and their work.
The couple’s next challenge was finding an architect to help create their dream home. Drawn to Vladimir Ossipoff’s innovative designs, Betty and Howard met the architect through a mutual friend and the team began construction on the home in January 1951.
Betty worked as general contractor throughout the project while Ossipoff designed everything down to the furniture, and the home was completed in 1952. The finished design was 5,400 square feet and showcased many of Ossipoff’s design principles.
Bob Liljestrand—Betty and Howard’s oldest son and president of the Liljestrand Foundation—explains some of the home’s characteristic Ossipoff features “His entryways were circuitous and mysterious. Views were revealed slowly and individually. The fine woodwork was inspired by the country of his upbringing, Japan.
There’s seamless integration between the indoors and out. He didn’t use fancy materials, but instead used common materials like concrete, redwood, concrete blocks, local sandstone, local wood and corrugated metal roofs.” He adds, “His homes were beautiful because of design, not expensive materials.”
Growing up in the Liljestrand house, Bob and his three siblings enjoyed pool parties in the boomerang-shaped pool and hikes in the surrounding forest. Betty and Howard lived there until their passing, and now the home is lovingly cared for and owned by the Liljestrand Foundation.
Today, the Liljestrand House is much the same as it was back in 1952 and is open for tours, lectures and concerts. To learn more, visit liljestrandhouse.org.
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