Kamohai and Tristyn Kalama, the hosts of HGTV's 'Renovation Aloha,' give a surprising lesson in Hawaiian design

HGTV's newest stars sat down with H&G to discuss a Hawaiian design lesson that's replicable far beyond Honolulu

tristyn and kamohai kalama outside
(Image credit: HGTV)

Renovation Aloha has arrived! The new HGTV show follows the home flips of husband and wife duo Kamohai and Tristyn Kalama on the island of O'ahu, Hawaii. Though only three episodes have aired so far, we're hooked.

The couple completes some of the most ambitious renovation projects we've ever seen, from flipping a house with a literal tree growing through the roof in to transforming a bee-infested cottage, they know a thing or two about upgrading a house. Better yet, they do it with the support and help from their family members.

Throughout their projects, the Kalamas emphasize what makes home renovation and buying different in Hawaii. Both the cost of property and shipping materials are exceptionally expensive. Based on this focus, we were most interested in what makes Hawaiin interior design different than design in the mainland US or anywhere else in the world. Luckily, we got to chat with Tristyn and Kamohai to get the answers.

In our exclusive interview with Tristyn and Kamohai, we asked what readers can learn from Hawaiian interior design. To the renovation power couple, it's important to harvest the power of the surrounding landscape. 

They told Homes & Gardens: 'In Hawaii, it's all about indoor/outdoor living. Letting the beautiful surroundings of nature inspire the design.'

First, this has to do with bringing the outdoors in. Tristyn continued, 'In Hawaii, you'll see a lot of live flowers in our homes; they are simple, fragrant, and beautiful. You'll see a lot of landscapes and art that encompasses nature or Hawaiian tradition. You'll see lauhala and wood furniture.' It's about celebrating the natural materials of the island and the most beautiful parts of living there.

This Hawaiian design tip also relates to creating a seamless connection between the indoors and backyard in your house. The Kalamas told us: 'Hawaiian homes are smaller compared to the mainland. We can create more with less, multipurpose spaces. We utilize a lot of screen doors and windows that allow the outdoors in, we have amazing weather year round so we can leave our front doors and sliding doors open and have the screen allow tradewinds through our homes every month of the year.'

If you admire this look, building an outdoor living room on your patio is a great way to start, no matter where you live. Installing a sunroom or another multi-purpose space that celebrates light is another way to replicate the Kalama's advice.

No matter where you are in the world, bringing the outdoors in can bring warmth, light, and tranquility into your home. 

Sophie Edwards
News Editor

I am a London-based News Editor at Homes & Gardens. My interests lie at the intersection of design and popular culture with a particular focus on trends and celebrity homes. Before joining Future, I worked as a Content Writer and Communications Lead for Fig Linens and Home, a luxury linens and home interiors brand based in Fairfield County, CT. I have a BA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and an MSc from the Oxford University Department of Anthropology.