Taking up residence in the middle of an ocean, lake or river isn’t for everybody. But for anyone who yearns for a property line that laps to shore, options abound. Architecturally expressive abodes for the aesthetically inclined, secluded dwellings for the nature-loving set, spacious compounds for the party minded, and unforgettable retreats for families are just the beginning.
Take the Utopia Project. It’s not just a home. It’s a man-made island. With glass canopy panels that cover its interior or open out to create decks, it’s suitable for any climate. And its spaceship-style design allow for observatories with 360-degree views.Views of what, exactly? Well, that’s for the owner of this private island to decide. After all, the island home’s naval design, created by Yacht Island Designs in conjunction with BMT Nigel Gee, means it can be floated slowly to any desired location. Once there, the structure can withstand even the roughest seas thanks its four legged design. And for those who like the idea of a man-made island but prefer the look of a tropical paradise to that of a floating UFO, the firm offers just that—a 295-foot island complete with a waterfall and faux volcano.
Of course, most islands are not made out of steel. And certainly, the sky-reaching conifers, rocky points, rugged underbrush and verdant ferns are what would have attracted Frank Lloyd Wright to the tiny island in Lake Mahopac, New York, on which stands a summer house inspired by his drawings. Distinguished by its 28-foot cantilevered great room which juts into the lake, the modern masterpiece is visible from the mainland.
The house features an expansive deck that’s contiguous with the rocky ledges that define the perimeter of the island. And to enter the home, guests must pass through a surprisingly narrow passage, built to accommodate a huge boulder. Indigenous to the tiny island and named the Whale Rock, it makes a a dramatic statement in the entry hall, where it basks in natural sunlight thanks to an expansive skylight.
Of course, nothing says private island living like luxury. And Miami‘s La Gorge Estate is a pristine example. Originally built as a Mediterranean style for American entrepreneur Carl Graham Fisher, the villa, made up of three buildings, has since been remodeled to create a sleek and gracious contemporary modern home. Glass walls and large windows allow for unobstructed views of glittering Biscayne Bay from almost any room in the 16,000-square-foot main house.
Read on for more about these and other private island homes:
Architectural Island Gem
Location: Lake Mahopac, New York
|The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home includes a giant boulder inside.|
Photo: David Allee
You don't have to be a Frank Lloyd Wright fan to recognize his signature style in this private island home. Its 28-foot cantilever is nearly twice the length of the one at Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Celebrating the island's natural surroundings, the home features an enormous boulder in its entry hall and rocky surfaces discovered along the shores.
Private-Island Resort Home
Location: Near Grand Cayman Island
|Waterways connect the deck house to the rest of Dragon Bay.|
Photo: Dragon Bay
One of 19 deck houses at Dragon Bay, a resort community on a private island near Grand Cayman Island, this home is designed for outdoor living. Its floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide views of water on every side. The home has a wrap-around entertainment deck, private beach, infinity pool, and outdoor summer kitchen. A boat can be moored beneath the deck. Waterways and pathways provide easy access to the rest of Dragon Bay's amenities.
Futuristic Island Home
|The floating island concept provides all sorts of luxury.|
Photo: Nigel Gee
Arriving by helicopter? This man-made island concept has four landing pads as well as a mooring system and wet dock for anyone arriving by sea. Designed by Nigel Gee as “a place to be,” the naval-inspired destination is 330 feet in diameter and has 11 decks. The island's glass canopy allows sunlight to filter into the interior and can be opened, if desired, for fresh air. The top floor can also serve as an outdoor pool deck.
Location: Biscayne Bay, Florida
|The modern estate was once a Mediterranean-style villa.|
Photo: Touzet Studio
What was once an elaborate Mediterranean-style retreat in the 20s has been re-conceived as a modern luxury estate by Touzet Studio. Three buildings, including a main house, guest house and staff quarters, are situated on the private island. The glass-sided main house is oriented to Biscayne Bay with views from all six of its bedrooms as well as from its heated lap pool and multiple decks and balconies.
Pine Cay Private Island Community
Location: Providenciales, Turks And Caicos Islands
|This private island home covers 10,000 square feet.|
Situated on Pine Cay, an 800-acre private island, this 10,000-square-foot home is nestled in a lush landscape framed by an intimate pond. The villa-style residence is one of only a few exclusive residences on the tiny Caribbean island. Each of the home's four bedrooms is housed in a separate pavilion. Located at Amanyara Villas, it has its own private black-volcanic-rock, infinity-edged pool.