Villa Katsura by OBM International

Villa Katsura is a luxury beachfront residence influenced by Japanese architecture and designed by OBM International. It is located on the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

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The owners of this beachfront oasis enlisted OBMI, a global architectural design firm known for its work in high-end hospitality, to help infuse the home with their love for Japan and Japanese art. Villa Katsura—named after Katsura Imperial Villa, a cultural heritage site in Kyoto, Japan—sits on the peninsula of Little Dix Bay on the British Virgin Islands.

OBMI wanted to tell the story of the natural setting. They describe the residence as having been woven into the hillside “with the precise elegance of origami.” The sloping site gave rise to the villa’s three distinct pavilions.

Built in 2014, the nearly three-acre property offers ample living space with 23,500 square feet with interiors featuring six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and a partial bathroom. The main house is oriented to maximize views of the Caribbean, with a living room, kitchen, library, media room, dining room, bedroom, and private main suite. The beach house includes three bedrooms, each with a view of the shore.
The main living space flows between the living and dining areas with exposed wooden beams that present an elevated look as well as hurricane proofing. The kitchen blends wood, stone, and marine-grade steel. Natural light and breezes filter in through the sliding doors, while shoji-inspired partitions nod to Japanese design. An onsen-inspired bathing area is a personal retreat that seamlessly flows between indoors and outdoors.

The pool, surrounded by gardens and bamboo, boasts a terrace with heated spa rocks, a steam shower room, fire pits, and waterfalls. In total, there are 11 waterfalls across the property as well as a koi pond, an entrance pagoda, and a weeping wall. The pool terrace overlooks the stunning sea with the pool terrace glowing at dusk. In addition to the pool area, the property includes a 20-person spa with a steam room and three fire pits. Tiger wood, European larch, Western cedar, and beams of Douglas fir bring warmth and texture to the terrace.

The property’s pathways meander through distinctive gardens landscaped by Kurisu International, renowned for creating restorative, Japanese-style gardens. With the natural environment in mind, a water catchment able to hold approximately 300,000 gallons and solar panels were put in place to increase self-sufficiency. Manicured stone pathways guide visitors through the property, ultimately leading to the private beach. Bamboo groves and water features lend to the serenity of the natural landscape.

The final result is an extraordinary hideaway home unlike anything else, a sanctuary of luxury and minimalist lines, where the architectural design is a work of art that is as surprising and breath-taking as the view.

Photography courtesy of OBM International

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- by Matt Watts