Rainmakers

In the tangled realm of luxury home design, Archipelago Hawaii brings everything under one umbrella.

“It is one of the most complex industries I think there is,” shares Tiare Noelani Pinto, award-winning designer, co-founder and president of Archipelago Hawaii, of coordinating an interior design firm’s copious moving parts. “People hire an architect; they hire a designer. They hire their contractor, and they have to keep relationships with all of them. What we try to do is bring them all under one umbrella.”

From architects to contractors, Pinto and co.’s design “dream team” streamlines the décor process from the ground up. If you can dream it, you can do it with Archipelago Hawaii. Whether you favor second dishwasher or a tech center to charge iPods and iPhones, the sky’s the limit at Archipelago.

“Archipelago, meaning the chain of islands,” shares Roseann Bronston, vice president and business manager. “We design all the islands. It just seemed so perfect.”

Bronston and Pinto are Archipelago’s leading ladies, who do everything from finish each other’s sentences to “keep each other sane.”

“We have a fun crew,” Pinto laughs.

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Bronston chimes in: “She [Pinto] lands the creative/new business, and from the business side [me], we need to work to keep the cash flow coming through. With any challenge, we [the Archipelago team] know she’s going to succeed.”

The artful forces crafting Pinto and Bronston’s dream team include: design engineer Laurent Chouari; designer Jennifer (JJ) Caldwell; in-house architect Matthew Graves; associate designer Jamie Reeves; and a talented roster of local contractors.

“She’s what I call our ‘rainmaker,'” Bronston grins, referring to Pinto. “She finds the jobs. Every product you see is her vision in conjunction with what the homeowner sees for the project, and we make it happen.”

As a young Kailua girl growing up in Lanikai, Pinto had a summer shop in her garage, where she sold bikinis, macramé, crochet, embroidered halters and other clothing items.

“I’ve been an entrepreneur from a very young age,” Pinto reminisces. “I like creating things with my hands. I’ve always sewn. I’ve always crocheted; I’ve always liked jewelry, but when I’d go to people’s homes, they’d ask me about colors and fabrics; it was exciting to me!”

After studying graphic arts at Schumacher College in Colorado, Pinto attended Honolulu’s Chaminade University for interior design. Post apprenticing with Liz Howard of Howard Design Group for seven years, Pinto was ready to take matters into her own hands.

The result was Archipelago. The offspring of a 2007 merge between TCB Island Interiors, Slipcovers, Etc., Designs by Tiare and Studio Becker Honolulu, Archipelago Hawaii was born, unifying two companies with unique expertise. After powering through a few bumps during the economy crash, Archipelago Hawaii now touts the most comprehensive and creative design service in Hawai‘i.

Showering creativity into various projects, Archipelago Hawaii lives out its “luxury home design for your contemporary island lifestyle” tagline in producing some of the most stunning interior, kitchen, bath and home spaces in the islands.

“I always tell clients who want to see if we have their design style in the portfolio, that it’s not about me having their design style at all. It’s about creating something unique for them,” Pinto says. “It’s my job to take their vision and pull it together.”

Archipelago’s detailed client questionnaire, asking everything from one’s grooming habits to favorite color, helps, as Bronston puts it, “us figure out how they work.”

“If you don’t tell us what you want, you aren’t going to get what you want,” Pinto says. “There has to be a balance of comfort and trust.”

For Archipelago, finding the right balance of beauty and function is the key to success.

For Archipelago, finding the right balance of beauty and function is the key to success.

In addition to pleasing abode owners, Archipelago strives to supersede the obstacles of working in the middle of the Pacific— high cost and a longer design process—to give clients what they want, à la strategic planning.

“We’re challenging our contractors to suck out every bit of design we can get out of them within budget,” Pinto insists. The reward? A happy homeowner.

“Seeing [the project] go from a 3-D model, then walking in when it’s done … Wow! Or a month aſter they [the client] move in, you get the call. You don’t get it right away. They’re so sick of the project by the time it’s done that it takes them a good month to debrief, acclimate—and then, call me: ‘Oh my god, I love my house!'” Pinto exclaims. “I had one client who said, ‘I was going through my paperwork, and I found my wish list from when we started to do the house, and you gave me everything I asked for.'”

Another satisfied Archipelago customer realized he was cooking “more than he ever cooked.”

“It [the kitchen] was set in a way that made it easier for him to cook,” shares Bronston of the pleased homeowner. “He really liked the look, but also found it functional. That’s the key: It can be pretty, but if it’s not functional, then we haven’t done our job.”

Example: One of Pinto’s non-cooking friends is now whipping up every meal.

“I asked her, ‘I thought you don’t cook?'” Pinto chuckles. “She replied, ‘I do now.'”

Bronston adds: “I think for people it [the room/home] becomes the place they wanted it to be.”

Transforming former kitchen phobics into budding sous chefs is all in a day’s work at Archipelago. While most clients are word-of-mouth referrals from the Windward side to Kahala, Archipelago performs its magic across Hawai‘i, no matter how big or small the task.

“I like variety and doing it all. For a business model, we need several ground-up homes a year then we sprinkle kitchens in,” Pinto exudes. “I love when people call and just want paint colors and furniture. It’s nice to change it up!”

Regardless the task, Archipelago Hawaii continues its interior wizardry pre- and post-project. If anything goes wrong, give them a call, and Archipelago will be on the other line fixing the problem.

“We’re a one-stop service. Rumor has it that building is a hellish experience, but it doesn’t have to be,” Pinto shares. “We try to take the overruns and the stress out of the process.”

Local and full-service, it won’t be long until more people are planning a shower down from Archipelago Hawaii.

ARCHIPELAGO HAWAII | 201 Kapa‘a Quarry Road, Bldg. 25
Hours: Weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday by appointment only
263-8891 | archipelagohawaii.com

Photos courtesy Archipelago Hawaii / Photographer: Augie Salbosa