Erika Engle

Designers gear up
for two HGTV
challenges in Hawaii

TWO Hawaii designers' work will be featured on the two Designers' Challenge shows being produced on Oahu.

Exactly what they're doing is under wraps, according to agreements involving the homeowners, designers, production company and Home & Garden TV.

Each show features a homeowner's remodeling project, presentations by three prospective designers, selection of the designer, the construction process and the finished work.

As Star-Bulletin colleague Ruby Mata-Viti reported in April, one project is being done at the Kahala home of Laurie McCarney and husband John Cox. The other is at the Waialae Iki home of Michelle and Jack Schneider.

Designer Lisa Kotero of Kotero Design Corp. was chosen for the McCarney-Cox home. McGee Homes is doing the construction, scheduled to be completed in August.

"What we're trying to achieve is to make that room more a part of the house and also integrate the scheme of the house's kamaaina style to that room," Kotero said. The roof has been raised to allow a more expansive view of palm trees and the large back yard.

Cindi White, senior designer at Jeff Long & Associates, led a team the Schneiders chose to redesign an entryway, a living area and dining area. Normally only one space is done, but these "are all connected. They're not huge spaces, but nevertheless they are three different areas to think about," she said.

"As it is a renovation, you never know what you're getting into when you get into the walls," said White. "The real strength is, not only are we interior designers, we also have the full support of an architectural department." White's project team includes Kimberly Ferrante, Mina Habibi, Sherrie Niimi, Jennifer Harada Okino, Wendy Takemoto and Matt Jun. Canaan Construction Ltd. is the contractor for the Waialae Iki project, targeted for completion in October.

"The network decided to go on the road," said Pie Town Productions Inc. field producer Susan Wichmann.

"Normally the shows are done in Southern California, but by going on the road we can capture other unique architecture and flavors of other geographical portions of the country," she said. "Hawaii is one of the most unique."

Pie Town normally uses its own crew because it is familiar with how the show is shot, but in April, "I believe we had an entirely Hawaiian crew, and they were excellent," she said. A lone shooter will capture the projects' progress for inclusion in the final show.

The camera crews are paid. Contractors and suppliers are paid. The designers are not paid.

Jeff Long, owner and president of the firm bearing his name, is hip to the jive.

"I think it goes without saying that any time we have an opportunity to present our work in a national forum, our attention to direct payment is probably, you know, not as a priority but as an underpinning to the work that we need to do."

He knows of what he speaks, having been featured in an earlier HGTV show on the integration of water into residential architecture. Inquiries and work on the mainland followed.

The shows by Calif.-based Pie Town Productions will air on HGTV in late winter or early spring 2005 on Oceanic Time Warner Cable's analog channel 59, digital 323 and Craig Wireless Honolulu Inc. channel 70.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:


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