Leave the Beaches Behind: An Ultramodern Gem in Maui's Upcountry

Make the drive upcountry to Kula, HI, and leave the heat and tourists behind. You'll wind up at a breezy elevation of 1,500 feet, and away from the madding crowds. You'll see a pastoral landscape of grazing goats, farmland, and one unexpected sight. The visual anomaly is a modern steel-and-glass house, now on the market for $1.7 million.

"It's definitely a unique offering for Maui County," listing agent Katie Moquin says. She says the seller bought the land 15 years ago, and has been designing and building the structure ever since. "It's been a labor of love for him for the course of many years," she says.

Something worth noting: The seller isn't an architect. He's a doctor with "a major passion for architecture," Moquin says. "His favorite magazine is Dwell."

Perhaps the publication should pay a visit, because this house is worth a feature spread.

The seller moved off the island, so his Hawaii-mod home is now up for grabs. And talk about a Maui wowie. The three-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot space on 9 acres of land has an open floor plan designed to take advantage of its surroundings. The home's tall windows and glass doors allow for "outrageous" ocean views below, as well as peeks at the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala Crater, according to the listing.

Inside, the kitchen features quartz countertops, custom cabinetry, and high-end appliances. The sleek bathrooms are finished with concrete and tile details. The home's minimalist appearance is warmed by the wood flooring throughout. Decks offer a place to kick back and enjoy the amazing vistas.

While the house could serve as a tropical vacation home for mainlanders, the surrounding pastures do require regular oversight. When you're not tending to the land, nearby lower Kula offers delightful -- and delicious -- diversions. There are nearby farmers markets, a general store, and restaurants. It's not as overrun with tourists as other parts of the island. You can explore the Kula Botanical Garden or the Enchanted Floral Garden, then dine at La Provence or Kula Bistro.

And you can enjoy farm-to-table dining, Hawaiian-style. The produce on your plate might come from local organic farms, which are growing "every vegetable imaginable," the agent notes.

Back home, surrounded by agricultural land, the island retreat offers privacy. But you can never really escape the sun and surf of Maui. "You're away from it all, but only 20 minutes from the beach," Moquin says.