At Wali Nikiti, an organic open-air home on Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands, indoor and outdoor living is one and the same.
By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright
1 of 5Photo: Holger Eckstein
"It's the house I wanted to build for a long time," says Italian-born Davide of his Caribbean getaway. "There is nothing that separates us from the outdoors."
Davide Pugliese and his Australian wife, Cele, inspired by their sailing adventures around the world, relied on innovative materials, state-of-the-art building technologies, and artistic flourish to create their one-of-a-kind, open-air house. "We enjoy being surrounded by the elements," Davide says. "We like being in the sun, the wind, and the sea when we're sailing, and now also in our home."
2 of 5Photo: Holger Eckstein
Wali Nikiti's Origins
Wali Nikiti is the combination of two Aborigine words. Wali means hut or shelter; nikiti means bare, as in minimal. But, as one guest puts it, "The result is maximum wow!"
In fact, guests are often so taken by the sheer magnitude of the beams and the all-around ocean views that they don't immediately realize that the home has no windows or exterior walls.
3 of 5Photo: Holger Eckstein
Indoor-Outdoor Living Spaces
Davide worked with architect friends to design the two-bedroom, 4,200-square-foot home. Accessed via a hardwood bridge, the structure is surrounded by indigenous palms and vegetation that tumble down a lush hillside to the ocean. Guests enter through a pivoting door into an upper living area featuring a synthetic thatched roof system and hand-picked, structural columns and beams.
4 of 5Photo: Holger Eckstein
Warding Off Weather
Designing a way to protect against storms—even hurricanes—was the most challenging aspect of building Wali Nikiti. So the couple looked to boating materials for a solution. Roll-down screens—similar to those found on boat decks and designed by Doyle Sailmakers BVI—offer protection from light rain, wind, and sunlight. For more threatening, hurricane-like conditions, the company also developed a system using the same material found in trampolines. "It blocks 95 percent of rain, wind, and flying objects," says Davide. "It's amazing."
5 of 5Photo: Holger Eckstein
A Perfect Place to Entertain
"We often have gatherings at our home," says Davide. "Because there are no walls to separate the different areas on the main floor, it makes it very easy to both entertain and participate in the party, even if I'm busy in the kitchen." And as platters of Beet Carpaccio, Wasabi Gravlax, and Carne Salada, served with ice-cold Tortola Mojitos, are happily devoured, it's obvious that being in the kitichen brings the host great joy.