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Eastern Ambience: Homes Inspired by the Ancient Art of Feng Shui

Luxury Defined spotlights five homes designed in accordance with feng shui, the ancient Chinese “art of placement”

Feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, is an ancient architectural philosophy that dates from the Shang Dynasty (circa 1600–1050 B.C.). One of the Five Phases of Chinese metaphysics, feng shui, which is translated as “wind-water,” focuses on the art of creating abundance within the built environment. Its basic principles incorporate the placement and position of buildings and objects; the five elements—water, fire, earth, metal, and wood; and the theories of yin and yang (harmony of opposing forces) and qi (vital energy) to facilitate balance, wellbeing, wealth, and good fortune. In this Luxury Defined collection, we showcase five elegant homes designed in accordance with this ancient practice.

Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island

The latest edition to Shangri-La, a 1.8-acre sanctuary on Narragansett Bay, is the Tea House, where a veranda with Japanese seating acts as a majestic platform to view the sunset, while Zen-like landscape design and sculpture invite quiet contemplation.

The result of talent, time, and love of place, Shangri-La on Narragansett Bay is an extraordinary 1.8-acre waterfront estate consisting of a main house, two guest houses, a tea house, staff quarters, two greenhouses, a heated infinity pool with a pavilion, and several garages. The beautiful grounds include a private sandy beach. Abundant outdoor living space is expertly placed among the residences to capture the dramatic sunset views of Narragansett Bay. The “Glass House” and “Tea House” are new additions to the estate. Among the feng shui-inspired details are the Zen-like landscape design and koi pond, which invite quiet contemplation. This seven-bedroom utopia is a result of more than 30 years of carefully chosen landscape and architectural design. Shangri-La originated as a classic Bristol Highlands cottage on a private road. Following the acquisition of neighboring properties, the estate became a collection of residences where dwellers enjoy family, community, or a quiet retreat.

The feng shui elements of wood, water, and earth converge at this serene home in Clear Water Bay, the “secret garden” of Hong Kong.

Regarded as the secret garden of Hong Kong, Clear Water Bay is a residential area known for its tranquility and lush greenery. This contemporary three-story, 3,666-square-foot “single house” was meticulously designed with the five elements in harmony for an ambience of serenity. Wood and stone floors and a neutral palette add warmth. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow sunlight to flow through the living spaces and maximize the views of the gardens. There is a combined living and dining room, and a family room. The private quarters comprise five en suite bedrooms, including the master suite with its spa-like bathroom. Smart home technology, an elevator, and a six-car garage add another layer of comfort and luxury. The highlight of the home is the 4,246-square-foot garden, with a resort-inspired pool. Surrounded by lush vegetation, a stone courtyard terrace is ideal for gatherings large or small.

Sunset Ridge in Telluride, Colorado

Sunset Ridge’s setting can only be described as awe-inspiring—cliffside, on a private peninsula with a breathtaking panorama of the Rocky Mountains. Here, the feng shui element of water, flowing and still, serves not only to frame the mountain views, but seemingly to integrate the mountains into the structure itself.

Perched cliffside on a private peninsula, with one of the most spectacular views in the Rocky Mountains, Sunset Ridge is just minutes from Telluride, the historic Old West town and top-ranked ski resort. Defined by its dramatic rooflines and bold, linear architecture, Sunset Ridge was designed by its current owner and renowned Aspen architect Bill Poss not only to frame the mountain views, but seemingly to integrate the mountains into the structure itself. This effect is magnificently achieved with the abundant use of glass and water to capture and reflect the mountain peaks beyond. The contemporary living spaces include seven bedrooms, eight full and two half-bathrooms. Finishes, appointments and custom furniture were globally sourced by the design team. The indoor spaces gracefully flow out to balconies and terraces for year-round enjoyment and entertainment.

Pacific Spirit Estate in Vancouver, Canada

This Pacific sanctuary was holistically designed to integrate architecture, landscape, and design. The central feng shui element of water (placed to flow into the home to optimize vital qi energy) is visible at the entrance, where a waterfall cascades into a koi pond and a floating staircase rises to the second level.

Pacific Spirit Estate is a 0.7-acre property overlooking English Bay and the North Shore mountains in Vancouver, Canada. Garret Cord Werner Architects exceeded the owners’ vision for a holistic approach to the built environment, integrating architecture, landscape, and design. Simplicity reigns throughout this contemporary jewel. It is ideal for entertaining, yet also family oriented to cater for children. The property is constructed from two pavilion-like components connected by a central dining area, creating visual junctures designed for contemplation. The element of water (a central principle of feng shui to optimize vital qi energy) is apparent at the entrance, where a waterfall cascades into a koi pond and a floating staircase can be glimpsed rising to the second level. The garden is a sanctuary graced with native plants, natural sculptural stone arrangements, and local artworks.

St Ann’s Court in Surrey, England

The modernist masterpiece at the heart of this English country estate is mirrored in the main ring of the feng shui Lo P’an compass.

St. Ann’s Court is a unique and iconic modern country estate in Surrey, just 30 minutes west of Central London. Offering just under 12,000 square feet of interior space across 34 rooms, the property comprises a pair of substantial yet contrasting buildings. The primary home, the circular three-story Round House, is a Grade II* modernist masterpiece by renowned architect Sir Raymond McGrath. Arranged over three floors, the house was designed with Lo P’an divisions in the feng shui tradition. The accommodations include a spectacular circular living room, dining room, Mondrian-inspired kitchen and library. The 18th-century coach house has been reimagined as a contemporary home ideal as entertainment and work space. A blend of contemporary and traditional landscapes, the grounds are composed of seven distinct gardens, woodland, and five ponds.