Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Introducing LifeEdited: Maui

It’s been years since we revealed the first LifeEdited Apartment (LE1) in New York City. It was both design laboratory and CEO Graham Hill’s personal apartment. But as some might know, Graham splits his year between NYC and Maui, initially due to a kite surf addiction. A few years ago he bought a 2.2 acre piece of land in Maui with the intention of one day designing and building a home that incorporated many of the same ideas that informed LE1. That one day is today. LifeEdited is building a mini compound, calling it, appropriately enough, LifeEdited: Maui (LEM). The home will showcase the best design and technological ideas for high quality, low impact living. 

Thus far, LifeEdited has mostly been an urban tale. Doing more with less is a necessity in the city. In Maui, we have a 1000 square foot max of what we are allowed to build…so the beauty is that we are making a four bedroom, 2.5 bath with that space where all the bedrooms transform to other uses during the day. We created a program (subject to some change) that reflects how the project can achieve this aim. We want to maximize use and experience while minimizing impact. Here’s what we came up with:   

  • Making the main house under 1000 square feet. We don’t want to encroach on the land any more than we have to.
  • Employ transforming design and exploit outdoor space as much as possible. We want to make the space we have do as much as possible.
  • Make it off-grid and net zero or even net positive. We will use solar power, water catchment systems, composting toilets, etc.
  • Employ smart home tech to improve user experience and reduce energy consumption.
  • Employ electric vehicles such as bikes, trikes, cars that will be charged with power generated by on site solar.
  • Employ agriscaping, taking advantage of the fertile soil to grow food on the property.
  • A water catchment reservoir.
  • Use carbon offsets to mitigate one of the project’s biggest energy sinks: airline travel.

An hour long TV show about the project will air on the DIY Network later this year (and likely on HGTV). And we will be giving regular updates on this site and social media. We will be reaching out to press and various influencers on our mission to spread the less is more gospel!

  • DoingItAllWrong

    Finally! It is interesting to read about small apartment living, but this project will be a lot more relevant to me and the large number of people that don’t live in a human filing cabinet. The energy efficiency and off-grid aspects, along with the the development of a small, but not tiny house will be particularly interesting. Hopefully these are things that will start to catch on much more in house building all over, but it will take a a major change in mindset of most people.

    • David Friedlander

      glad we’re staying relevant. the first choice, which is deciding on the basic structure of the house, will be the most interesting. more soon.

      • DoingItAllWrong

        I would be curious to see the different options that were considered and the rationale for the design that is picked and the designs that were not chosen. Some of the discarded ideas might work well for some of your readers in different situations. Looking forward to this series of articles.

        • Agreed. I’d love to see the runner-ups.

          • Renee Celestine

            Me too

        • David Friedlander

          this week, maybe next, we’ll be discussing the choice of house itself. since we haven’t chosen who we will work with, you’ll see the runner ups. these firms are all doing some pretty innovative stuff in terms of single family housing, reducing both energy needs (embodied and ongoing) and construction costs. stay tuned!

  • LC

    This is great as I live in Maui. At the moment I do not have a tv so I won’t be able to follow in the way, but will look forward to reading all about it. I would love to own land as well, so this will be very inspiring and informative.

  • Mike E

    HC&S Maui is closing down – lots of materials will be barged away to scrap yard – or reused for this project!

    • David Friedlander

      thanks for the suggestion! we’ll look into what they’re scrapping and see if we can work into designs.

  • Daniele Geltrudi

    What a disappointment!
    If you really love nature you must not build “sustainable” housing inside.
    The “sustainability” of the single isolated house is the right answer to the wrong question.
    I am a supporter of Life Edited long as it remains a project that preaches the house in the compact city.

    • DoingItAllWrong

      There are many places where the population density is relative low because there are relatively few people living in a region. That’s why I think this project will be interesting – environmentally friendly housing is appropriate for many different situations, not just in high density cities.

  • This project perfectly describes one of my life goals of building a truly sustainable, low density housing solution for myself. I’ll be reading with great interest!

  • One request: build it so it looks like it belong in Maui and not as a block of steel from the future.

    • Renee Celestine

      In addition to looking like a house that belongs in Hawaii. It would be nice if the way the house is designed and situated on it’s lot takes advantage of the local weather patterns. Such as those marvelous breezes Hawaii has.

  • ShotbyJake
    • David Friedlander

      saw this. different than what we’re up to, but damn cool.

  • Christian Wagley

    The Hawaiian islands are one of the easiest places to have a home that lives lightly, considering that energy use is the biggest environmental issue with a home…The temps are not too hot or cold and there are usually consistent trade winds that can be caught for a cooling breeze (most homes don’t have air conditioning). So energy needs are much lower and then alas–the sun shines most of the time, so solar PV works great. I like the extensive eaves of traditional Hawaiian homes of the white settlers, as they are great at keeping rain and sun from heating-up and damaging the home. You might even honor them with their traditional colors of red metal roof (for the red clay of the islands) and green wood walls (often board and batten) (symbolizing the foliage). I don’t recall seeing them so much on Maui but did on Kauai.

  • Tom McClintock

    I’m a huge supporter or Graham Hill’s philosophy, but this seems to be a bit of a departure… I’m not sure how building a second home from scratch fits into an “edited” lifestyle. There are so many other examples of the design elements they mention above, this seems more like a vanity project than pushing an envelope.

    That said, I’m sure this project will be interesting. Maybe if this house ends up in the hands of someone who actually needs it I could get more behind it…

  • Sabbie22

    I completely agree with @DoingItAllWrong:disqus. I would also like to see maybe a crowd sourced design, as in having people submit designs or having the community vote for one out of an assortment.

    • It’s nice to get input, but popular decisions and intelligent decisions are often not the same.

  • Tania

    I live on Maui and will stay tuned 🙂 However, I would like to mention that there are already residents living off grid in small homes. I am hoping you seek out and feature a few of them on your special. Growing up in Hawaii, it was also not uncommon for us to grow up in a home 900 square feet to 1,200 square feet (a family of four or in the case of my cousins 5 in <1000 square feet). Many of these homes still exist.

  • Sabbie22

    I love this website and the original LifeEdited apartment was one of the first things that really got me interested in the tiny house lifestyle. I was thinking that it would be nice to have the wonderful people like those commenting to have a say. Perhaps allowing readers to make designs and then you guys pick one? Or maybe you giving readers a few designs to choose from and vote for. Just a suggestion.

    • Sabbie22

      Okay. Sorry. I know realize that I already mentioned something like this. Not trying to sound pushy.

  • Ever since I discovered Graham Hill’s TedTalk about “Less Stuff; More Happiness,” and thoroughly researching and visiting LifeEdited 1, reviewing the designs for LifeEdited 2, and David Friedlander’s apartment, I have been rethinking my needs and desires for space that is appropriate to my needs. I live in a 1,225 sq. ft., 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhouse condominium in a small city (more of a larger town really). I don’t need nor utilize the space I have, and have come to realize that shared community living, just isn’t the longterm “fit” I want.

    I want a smaller (between 420-1,000 sq. ft.) responsible single family house that embraces the principles of LifeEdited, and therefore I am looking forward to what LifeEdited: Maui will demonstrate and showcase. I know that I will learn from this project. I also can’t wait to contribute ideas for this exciting project.

    Let’s get this project going, share ideas, get inspired, and all learn from this experience.