Design Centered

No stranger to sleek interiors, Thomas Sorensen gives his contemporary residence an eco-friendly upgrade.

This is a house with a hip-hop past and a soothing, Scandinavian present. Located on Diamond Head with dramatic ocean views, Thomas Sorensen’s home had a former life as the vacation house of Kanye West, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. But once it passed into the hands of Danish-born Sorenson, wild nights gave way to peaceful days.

“You definitely could tell there had been some parties. I had to redo the floors,” chuckles Sorenson, who is well known in Honolulu business circles as the owner of Honolulu Design Center on Kap’iolani Boulevard as well as the furniture store INspiration.

“Our focus right now is bringing in smaller-scale contemporary and urban furniture to Hawai’i to accommodate the increasing smaller condo living. With most condos being constructed in Hawai’i with little more than 1,000 square feet, the need is tremendous. We are bringing in more functional furniture that can adapt to smaller spaces.”

A native of Denmark, Sorensen lived in Honolulu from 1979 to 1987 before moving to Reno for his furniture manufacturing business, Scan Design. After selling his interest in Scan Design in 1997, Sorensen returned to the islands and found his dream Hawaiian house. He shares the home with fiancée and fellow triathlon enthusiast, Michele Henry, owner of Chinatown’s Tea at 1024.

“I always wanted to come back to Hawai’i—the climate, the people. The love for Hawai’i,” says Sorensen, “When I first discovered the house being listed for sale, I was immediately sold.”

Modeled after the Bulgari Resort in Bali, the home is a perfect foil for Sorensen’s contemporary furniture collection. “I truly enjoy mixing the Bali and very contemporary furniture/lifestyle together. I love the outdoor feeling, the tranquility of the house, most of all the sounds of birds in the early morning mixed with a whisper of the ocean.”

When possible development on the lot in front of his home threatened his tranquility and view, Sorensen bought the property planned for development, building a guesthouse which matches the original home’s style.

“It’s very tropical, very Hawaiian, very functional. It’s easy to maintain, with the same Bali stones used for the original home.”

The guesthouse runs entirely on solar. “Even the air-conditioning is solar,” says Sorensen. “And I finally got a place for my cars—my man cave. That was a big decision for building.”

Sorensen’s man cave features bar seating, a hydraulic car lift and a collection of white vintage cars. Outside, he’s built a putting green that doubles as fun for his guests and an outdoor entertainment space he lends to favorite non-profits to help them in their fundraising.

“It’s great for entertainment, family and fun,” says Sorensen, who brings style to condos across the islands but has left their convenience for the tranquility of living in a house. “When living in a condo before I had no rush in coming home. Now I want to leave late afternoon to enjoy the sunset and peace with Michele.”

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