If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a work of art, now is your chance. The Onion House in Kona, Hawaii is a prime example of renowned architect Kendrick Kellogg’s visionary style. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Kellogg was one of the early innovators of organic architecture, which can be seen throughout the vacation home’s striking aesthetic. Although the home is clearly a work of artful design, Kellogg’s original plans were so eccentric that local contractors refused to build it, forcing the architect to construct the “multi-layered” home himself using locally-sourced materials.
Located on a remote hill overlooking Kona’s beautiful shoreline, Kellogg built the home for the McCormick Spice Family in the early 1960s. The hilly location was a practical step to keep the structure safe from tsunamis and storms. The home’s design, however, entailed complete whimsy.
Kellogg’s drawings were so extraordinary, he had a hard time finding a contractor to build the complicated structure. Instead of adjusting his designs to meet the standards of the industry, however, a determined Kellogg moved his family to the site to build the structure himself – with Frank Lloyd Wright’s metal worker and glass artist James Hubbell.
Many of the materials for the home, including Italian tile, plumbing fixtures, and sheets of colored glass, had to be specially ordered from the mainland and beyond, delaying the building process. Soon, the architect began to see the advantages of using local Koa wood and lava rock, and incorporated the locally-sourced materials wherever he could.
The home is set on a massive base of lava rock, which was carefully carved to create the large terrace that overlooks the ocean. The odd roof “tunnels” comprise a creative defense against harsh sunlight during the day, while walls of stained glass and the translucent roof panels provide pleasantly diffused natural light.
Outside, a covered outdoor walkway runs the length of the compound, connecting the separate master bedroom to the main structure, which houses two smaller bedrooms, a bath, and the kitchen and dining space. A 70-foot turquoise pool surrounded by tropical gardens is at the heart of the design. And then there are a few private areas in the compound, including a walled meditation garden.
Photos via Onion House Hawaii