Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winners all around: Traditional Home's Hawaii sweepstakes prize day!

Back in February, we were featured in Traditional Home's Hawaii sweepstakes for the magazine's readers. Besides flying over on Hawaiian Air and staying at the Ihilani Resort, one lucky winner got a package of personalized style tips and touring beautiful homes with us!

As much planning as we put into this day, it turned out to be as much a prize for us as it was for our winner.

When Arleen Horna of Las Vegas walked into Cathy's Marketplace last Friday, her smile lit up the showroom. She had such a bright, sunshiny personality that you couldn't help but smile with her! Her son George was supposed to come along, but unfortunately had gotten too much sun during his surf lessons the day before, so Arleen, Kara and I had a total girls' day.

We started out in the showroom with a one-on-one lesson on training your own eye for design. Arleen was a great student!

"I get it!" she said. "It makes so much sense
now I know what to do with my living room."

Let me tell you, that was music to my ears!

And we were off to the first stop on the road tour we had planned: Queen Emma's Summer Palace. The docents gave us a private tour showing what an authentic Hawaiian home looked like---a home for royalty, that is! It was so interesting to see Hawaiian artifacts that have been so faithfully preserved by the Daughters of Hawaii, who are so dedicated to keeping the queen's story and home and spirit alive, from the beautiful koa pieces to precious gifts from English and other royalty. It was definitely a tour worth taking, and I plan to take Nicki back there sometime soon.

Next stop: lunch! The Plumeria Cafe at the Kahala Hotel was decked out in Christmas splendor, while the terrace upstairs was full of Christmas trees and gingerbread houses. The scene brought to life what we had started learning in the showroom, how layering and repetition of colors and textures bring a space together.

Over lunch we learned what Arleen's job is. It's a perfect fit for this total people person: She's a trainer in the human resources department at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas!

Our all-girls' lunch was fun, but I wanted to give Arleen a sense of top-of-the-line home style, Hawaii-style! We turned to a dear friend, Jeff Fox of Kahala Associates, who was so quick to respond when we made our request, it's no wonder his clients love him.

Here's a link to his listing in Diamond Head so you can see what Arleen saw: a $7.6 million oceanfront estate with the most incredible panoramic views. The pictures don't do it justice. You have to hear the ocean and smell its scent---it was just incredible.

Jeff's other listing, a $2.695 million Portlock property, was not oceanfront but also had great ocean views. Here's the link.

By then it was time for Arleen to head back to the Ihilani. We were a little behind schedule, so Arleen would face full traffic on her drive back across the island and I fully expected her to get in her car and take off. But she's such a sweetheart, she stayed and chatted and did a little Christmas shopping in the showroom.

Our good-bye was a little emotional for the both of us. For Arleen the trip to Hawaii was a dream come true. She told me she's been wanting to come here since she was a little girl. She's going to take what she saw and learned back with her and remember it her whole life. Her time with us truly touched her.

It was a great day all around. Arleen got her prize, but Kara and I got so much back from Arleen's happiness and enthusiasm, we felt like we got a gift too! We are so glad we got to spend the day with this wonderful lady, and we wish her all the best.