Professor-turned-farmer’s circular home perches over dream remote homestead

Mitch Marks bought agricultural land on The Big of Hawaii in 1990 and years later when he was retiring from teaching he decided to give farming a go.

Initially, he had planned to his retirement home, but recognizing that only 10% of the food here is grown on the island, he began to farm what had been a coffee plantation a century ago.

Claiming he was blessed with very fertile soil by the Goddess of the Volcano, Pele, today he farms mangos, cacao, avocado and enough Kona coffee to supply a coffee shop when their own crop was ruined by infestation.

For his own home, he knew he wanted to be integrated with the land, so he asked architect Steely to him a home where he could “live” in his . Steely surrounded that atrium with a perfectly home with full- glass windows to let in the color of the vegetation, the sounds of the farm and an occasional visit from a chicken.

Steely worried that a round home would be unmoored so he lofted a wedge above it as a geometric office. Like a D-fin from an old surfboard, this gives the home its name and a sense of direction.

Completing the circle (home), triangle (fin) and (atrium), a rectangular lap pool juts off the home from above.

Architect Craig Steely

Steely's Lava Flow Home that Mitch Marks to want to “live in an atrium”

On *faircompanies:


  1. When I was in high school drafting class I designed a round house with a courtyard/atrium just like that one and nobody could understand it. Besides maximizing view, a round shape actually maximizes space too. Less materials, less wall, more space. Look it up.

  2. Nice video Kirsten. Living on the islands ourselves, I know most people don’t share his tolerance of the koki frogs.

  3. It’s a shame that so many of the comments are about the owner and his apparent wealth. We don’t know him, how hard he’s worked, what his partner has contributed, how he’s managed his finances over the years, whether he had an inheritance (and if so, he clearly hasn’t wasted it at a casino). I see a hardworking guy who has branched out into another industry, who appreciates his surroundings, is friendly to his neighbour and is thrilled with his architect’s design. Thank you for showing us so many different homes, Kristen ❤

  4. Fun fact: The Coqui frog it native to Puerto Rico. The only 2 places on earth where they can survive is Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

  5. Wow ! 🤩 Love it when great design meets the ultimate location. Plus, it’s a farm. win-win,win. 👍👍 thank you for sharing !

  6. Heartachingly beautiful! To see the sunset, to smell the forest cooling, the sound of frogs. I’m alone and i think that house would be wasted on me but to share it with someone I love… so much joy.

  7. When you say that the shape of the triangular structure on the roof reminds you of something, Kristen, perhaps you are thinking of malqafs in Egypt, a type of traditional wind-catcher cooling device that is just the same shape.

  8. The house proper may not be a lot of square feet but the living space is since it includes the outside. That landscaping cost was probably as much as the house. I do t begrudge him his success but please don’t pass it off as a “little”house/farm.

  9. This is so beautiful…a round house is good feng shui allowing for constant flow.

    Good for him…he deserves it for having been a teacher all those years, which is not an easy feat. Pele HAS been good to him and he’s fully aware of that…🤩

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