Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Dream House | A real-life castle for a ‘Queen’

Published:Sunday | October 13, 2019 | 6:03 AM
The wildest of wishes have come true with the building of this fairy tale castle.

Once upon a time … beyond the world of every day, stood a magical castle, where heroes and heroines shared an adventure in a distant land of myths, legends, and fairy tales.

That was this lady’s make-believe cartoon world then, as a child. Today, as an adult, those childhood daydreams never left, and her wildest of wishes have come true with the building of her very own incredible, Cinderella fairy-tale castle!

Castles have always been rooted in fable. Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom has the iconic castle as the symbol of its flagship theme-park attractions, as well as on the logo for its television, motion picture and music company.

Instagram has Disneyland as the most photographed place in the world, because of its Sleeping Beauty castle. No one enjoys these parks more than the adults! Disney has hired, over the years, several of the world’s most famous, award-winning architects to design its parks, resorts, and attractions.

Castles are theatres of history, showcasing the lives of royalty and wealth, as well as their defence and protection capabilities. Billionaires of the 19th and 20th centuries, and even now, have built fortresses of luxury as their individual replicas to a time long past.

Folk tales are as old as civilisation itself, and the world’s most famous ones were bequeathed to us by the likes of brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. What is generally not known is that fairy tales were originally written for adults only! Interestingly, the world’s first architecture storytelling competition was founded “to explore a better manner of communicating architecture and, in turn, to change the way the world perceives architecture”. Representatives from 65 countries examined “architecture through the lens of fairy tales”. Judges have included Mark Foster Cage, former dean of Yale School of Architecture; and Moshe Safdie, professor of architecture at Harvard and Yale universities, and an American Institute of Architects gold-medal winner. The competition was partly sponsored with the partnership of the Pritzker Prize – the highest international award in architecture, and Arch Daily, the most visited architecture website worldwide, and others.

The noble owner of this huge castle was born in a small one-bedroom house, with all of eight brothers and sisters and parents, including herself, living together within its cramped quarters. She has lived in Europe since 1985 (on and off), before moving to America in 2000.

The enchanted, medieval-inspired castle with its gothic architectural theme may not boast haunted towers, torture chambers, murder holes, barracks, moats, ramparts and dungeons like others in Europe, but it does have other architectural similarities.

Amazing vistas

Eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms comprise the three-storey citadel, having parapet walls built with battlements all around. There are turrets and a tower bedroom – with no evidence of any imprisoned damsel in distress! This enormous rotunda with vaulted ceiling on the uppermost level, has a sitting area and a sleep section, exiting on to a massive outdoor balcony with amazing vistas right in front of you. Included is a great hall and a dining room, where knights can feast.

The features include two circular staircases winding their way up; along with circular columns, corbels, and interior walls sponge-painted in light orange for whimsical effect. The mighty walls on the outside are made to look like stone, left in a natural weathered, unpainted state for authenticity. A domed roof crowns the uppermost level, which is seen from near and far.

The building was actually constructed around an earlier house built in 1987 when the owner was 22 years old. It sits on a quarter-acre of land, enclosed by a perimeter curtain wall with its own tower. Construction finishing draws nigh for moving in at year’s end.

The yard at the front is to have a bridge (this one won’t be able to be raised). Meandering concrete planters are being completed at roadside.

Right across the road at the front is a private, white-sand beach, which one has all to themselves. Many castles in the middle ages were built by water.

While castles in the past have confronted sieges and repulsed attacks with storybook occupants who vanquished wicked dragons, wizards and evil witches, this one will only allow the owner to live happily ever after.

- Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email: barry-rattray@hotmail.com/lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.