His home is his castle. For $2.298 million it could be yours

Mike Nakatsu's home is his castle. Literally. The East Vancouver builder designed it that way. And now, for $2.298 million, it could be yours.

Builder/owner Mike Nakatsu's East Vancouver folly pays tribute to Japanese, English and Irish roots

In the mood to feel royal? Builder/owner Mike Nakatsu gives a tour of the architectural oddity. 1:42

Mike Nakatsu's home is his castle. Literally. The East Vancouver man designed it that way.

And now, for $2.298 million, it could be yours.

The Fraser Street folly — which hit the market this month — is a tribute to the 39-year-old's English, Japanese and Irish roots.

The listing has attracted attention in a Vancouver real estate market not always renowned for architectural oddity.

The home has the Tudor grey granite exterior of an English castle — turrets and all — along with the wide-open wood-floored interior feel of a martial arts dojo.

The result is kind of like Harry Potter as interpreted by Akira Kurosawa.

But Nakatsu says he feels like a character from a different movie when he stands behind the parapets and looks out at the graveyard across the street.

"It's like I'm on top of the world. I'm like Scarface," he says. "Without the drugs."

Why no drawbridge?

Nakatsu and his brother built the house according to designs he drew up along with his wife and three children.

He put in arched mahogany doors and 3.6-metre high ceilings so he can practise archery inside with a Japanese longbow.

He fires the arrows into a closet and claims to be good enough that impaling loved ones isn't an issue.

Mike Nakatsu says he feels like he's 'on top of the world' when he stands behind his castle parapet. He can see a graveyard on the other side of Fraser Street. (David Caron)

It may appear ornate, but Nakatsu says the castle design also happens to be a perfect facade for the box-style home that maximizes the use of available space in a building.

And if there's no moat and drawbridge — it's not for lack of trying.

"It was in the plans," he says.

"But the drawbridge would have had to stress the trees and the City of Vancouver really loves their trees and I cannot stress the trees. I wanted the drawbridge as a wheelchair ramp."

'A little eccentric'

Nakatsu says the house took two years to build. The family has lived in the home for only one year, but he says he's ready to sell.

"The house is perfect, but I'd like to build something different," he says.

"I want to be creative. I want to build another one."

The inside of Mike Nakatsu's castle has high ceilings so he can practise firing his Japanese longbow into a closet. The wine stays on the rack during this proceeding. (David Caron)

Although the house is listed at nearly $2.3 million, the property was assessed in July 2017 at $1.85 million.

Realtor David Caron admits the house is an unusual listing.

"I can't see anyone buying this for an investment and renting out," he says. "I think it's going to be someone that has the same passion as Mike for this place. It's going to take someone that falls in love with the childhood of it and the fun of it."

Nakatsu says he loves it. He figures someone else will too.

"It's like some kind of Dungeon and Dragons nerd's place but it's meant for a family," he says.

"It'll probably be a family or someone that's a little eccentric."

Nakatsu says he already has plans for his next design — as another real-life castle, either built out of sand or something approximating Lego.

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About the Author

Jason Proctor


Jason Proctor is a reporter in British Columbia for CBC News and has covered the B.C. courts and mental health issues in the justice system extensively.