Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I guess this is mostly an administrative issue, but I gotta apologize to readers that may wish to post who are not registered. I've received a lot of spam lately so I've had to shut off the ability to accept anonymous comments thanks to the hawkers of viagra, suspect stocks and whatever else is out there that is clogging up the moderated comments box. So, for now anyway, comments will require a Google or OpenID account.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Yet another version

Updated version. More square footage, the other was a little small. I'm thinking this might be too big at 2,600 sq.ft., but the corner building that looks slightly separate is intended as a "mother-in-law" apartment for our aging folks, perhaps a rental later, and perhaps an apartment for us as we age and rent the main house. Ideas, ideas...

Not complete enough to post on 3D warehouse yet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yeti Stone no more. At least the website no longer exists. Stricken from the rolls.

Model update

Yet another update. Getting closer to a very reasonable design. Unfortunately, it seems many of the castle details are disappearing - but then, I did mention getting away from the "crenellated box" style and moving towards a more German Schloss type building. I think the model shows that shift, and I've tried to maintain some of that castle feel to it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sketchup update

Just an updated version of a previously posted model.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ozark Medieval Fortress

OK, so this isn't really an owner-built castle that will be someone's home, but it is a castle that is being built by hand a la Guedelon Castle in France.

Check out the website for the Ozark Medieval Fortress. It is designed by Michel Guyot, the creator of Guedelon, and looks to be following the path of construction of the same.

Plenty of information on the website about the castle.

EDIT 5/26/10: NPR covered the castle

Ravenstone Castle

Ravenstone Castle is located in Harvard, Illinois.

From their own site:

"In 2001, Jose and Rose Michel broke ground on their dream home - a castle in the 16th century style. Truly making the house their own, Rose designed each room, arch and turret.

With plans in hand, the Michel family - including four sons and a daughter - built the castle from the ground up. They rented equipment, excavated the basement, set forms and poured concrete. While they were framing the roof, they realized they could see all the way to the grocery store in Harvard

So, at a glance, it appears to be another owner-built castle. I'll see if I can come up with any more information.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Land Ho!

Well, it has happened. Since thinking it might be fun to build a castle several years ago and then starting this blog in 2007, it's been a long road to this point. We've finally got a piece of land. Whether or not we actually build on it is another matter - life has a funny way of changing your plans for you - but no matter what, this land is in a great location and a worthwhile investment. Not the best picture in the world, it was starting to drizzle when we took this picture. Approximately 10 acres should suffice for a fine building. No plans to build anything yet, the market needs to pick up so we can sell our existing home in order to afford any sort of construction loan, so plenty of time to pin down a design and see if life lets us do what we hope to.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Polls!

Yep, the title says it all!

Poll results

Similar to the last set of polls here, there seems to be a disconnect between cost, size and materials used. Lots of respondents want all-natural materials, but also expect to have a huge and expensive castle. I was honestly surprised that there weren't more folks looking to build cheaply using "whatever is cheap or free".

Seems most folks are planning on having someone build their castle for them, which I can totally understand - if one does any amount of serious research in the direction of building a castle (or any home for that matter), the romantic idea of DIY quickly loses its luster compared to the huge amount of work that it would actually take.

To split hairs, the new polls will see what share of the work potential builders will do of their buildings along with some other miscellaneous questions.

Poll Results: What would you build your castle out of?

All natural materilals such as fieldstone

40 (50%)

Wood frame with stone facade

15 (18%)

ICF with stone facade

8 (10%)

CMU/CMU variants with no facade

4 (5%)

CMU/CMU variants with stone facade

6 (7%)

Other materials such as AAC or Rastra

3 (3%)

Whatever's cheap!

4 (5%)

Votes so far: 80

Poll Results: How much do you expect your castle will cost?

$10,000 - $50,000 with me doing most of the labor

14 (11%)

$50,000 - $75,000 with me doing most if the labor

3 (2%)

$75,000 - $100,000 with me doing most of the labor

4 (3%)

$100,000 -$150,000 with me doing most of the labor

7 (5%)

$150,000 - $200,000 with me doing most of the labor

4 (3%)

$200,000 + with me doing most of the labor

13 (11%)

As cheap as possible! I'm using local materials, factory seconds, and anything I can find that's cheap or free...

9 (7%)

Less than $100,000 and I'll be using a contractor

2 (1%)

$100,000 - $200,000 and I'll be using a contractor

6 (5%)

$200,000 - $300,000 and I'll be using a contractor

7 (5%)

$300,000 + with a contractor

49 (41%)

Votes so far: 118

Poll results: How big of a castle do you expect to build?

A cozy castle less than 1,500 square feet

24 (18%)

A modest castle 1,500 to 2,000 square feet

25 (19%)

A good sized castle 2,000 - 3,000 square feet

18 (14%)

A serious castle of 3,000 - 5,000 square feet

23 (18%)

5,000 square feet plus, and I'll need to hire a cleaning staff too...

37 (29%)

Votes so far: 127

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Castle in Little Rice, WI

This looks to be a truly owner-built castle in Wisconsin. Not a whole lot of information about it other than what is in the article. Have to wait and see if more pops up on the web.

Woodstock, Connecticut Castle

This castle is being built in Woodstock, Connecticut. It appears from what I've been able to dig up that the owner is a bit eccentric (aren't all castle builders to some extent?), and the article seems to confirm that. The castle is quite fanciful, and has features that are more romantic in style rather than defensive in construction. From what I gather the owner is doing none of the work, it's all contracted. Interesting enough to share, I figure - so here you go.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A quick link review

Checking for dead links on the castles has netted a few changes, and a lot of "no changes at all". Amongst the "wish castles" section, Tower Castle is gone. As far as the rest go, there have been absolutely no construction or other changes updated on the sites except for USA Castle's, who apparently has purchased land and done some preliminary planning to the tune of over $1.3M USD (ouch!). I'll move them from the wish castle to the owner built section once they get a slab poured.

On the owner built castle link section, it appears that Mr. Busboom's shop is going out of business, but the castle still available for events. The Pittsburgh area castle has an updated site with lots of construction photos and more - click on the "castle info" link. Lacey Michele's Castle, New American Castle, and Wing's Castle have a couple of new photos. Here's a site that has some more pictures of Castle Gwynn.

That's pretty much all the changes. I'm honestly not sure what to do with some of the wish castles, I'd hoped that there would be some progress amongst a few of them - plans, designs, hopes, locations, what have you; but the sites are for all intents and purposes, dead. Some haven't been touched in years.

Oh well, I've been running this site for years and haven't anything to show for myself except ideas, ramblings and digital doodles of my castle ideas. Pot calling the kettle black, eh?

A little more information on Roznik's Castle

Mr. Roznik has very graciously shared some additional photos of his castle. The online picture simply didn't do it justice, it is a considerably more massive structure than the front picture would let on. I count at least five turrets and four floors in height, not to mention the balconies on the turrets themselves. He's also taken the time to have an ashlar stone facade put on, which when considering the surface area it covers, is very impressive. At any rate, here are the pictures for your enjoyment. Many thanks to Mr. Roznik for sharing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

...and another! (On a roll today!)

This one shifts more in style towards what would be a gatehouse to a properly massive castle. I'm finding I appreciate the "cottage-y" look more and more, it just looks friendlier than a massive stone edifice. This model is pretty basic, and will need a lot of work to bring out the features - I'll be doing updates to it which will automatically update the model in this post. This model I'm liking quite a bit, it ought to be right around 2,000 sf. in total. As always, comments and suggestions welcome.

Incidentally, if you like the gatehouse style too, I found this Flickr group featuring scads of pictures containing really neat old buildings. Should be good for some inspiriation.

Model updated 9/12.

Another design

Here's a design that I put together in a couple of days; it's a bit of a mashup featuring English, German and Scottish styles. Just throwing ideas out there. Available on 3D warehouse for download.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One step closer

Well, I wasn't kidding in my previous post whingeing about my forced transfer to a new city for work and my new commute, plus the severely reduced time at home. It shows here in the blog too; I haven't really dug into the web looking for new castles, the ones I've found have been pretty much by chance, and I haven't been working on designs for the home, either. But, some things are progressing. We are just a short time away from sealing the deal on a modest parcel of land. If all goes well, we might be able to build on it in a couple of years; we've got to finish up this place first and wait for the market to look up a little before we sell so the equity can go into a construction loan. Fingers crossed, hope this goes through.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yet to be named Castle

One of the readers here has been working on a castle-type building for quite some time and has finished it! It looks like a combination of older style stone architecture and some Spanish influences. Quite an impressive building.

The builder has posted pictures and links to his blog over in our Castle Builder's Forums.

Huge congratulations for completing such a project!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On buying land

I got asked about things to watch out for when buying property by an anonymous visitor to the site in a comment section to a post. I was going to reply there, but the reply would've been a little long for just a comment, and my hope is that with a post in the main portion of the blog readers may chip in some comments here so that we all can learn something.

First, if you've got a real estate agent, ask them lots of questions. That's why you're paying them lots of money to broker the deal for you. Make sure that they understand what you want to use the land for and can have a good idea of whether it will meet your needs. Mind you, real estate agents generally aren't engineers, surveyors or lawyers too and often cannot provide specific information about exactly what can and cannot be done with the land, but they should be able to point you in the direction of someone who can answer your questions.

Second, ask yourself whether or not the land is truly where you'd want to live. Do you like the community surrounding it? Do you need lots of night-life and entertainment but are looking for land in a rural area where there is no such thing? If you have/want children, are the schools acceptable to you? Are there services nearby such as hospital, post office, grocery stores, doctor's offices, hardware stores, lumberyards, jobs or any of the scores of other things that you'll need to have access to in order to build your home and stay in the area for as long as you want to? Material transport costs can incur noticeable increases in the total price of building a home. Will you need access to these services regularly and wind up spending inordinate amounts of time spent in the car or dollars on fuel just for daily life? Drive from the land to your job during they busy traffic times and see if you can handle doing that every day. It's not easy to wind up with a house being built somewhere only to realize after a while that there are issues about living there (other than the house itself) that will drive you crazy.

Lastly, the land itself. Some of the concerns we've had are things that must be paid attention to no matter what, and others may be only specific to our area - I'll mention everything I can think of.

One is flooding. Talk to an engineer and/or talk to the town hall and make sure that your land is not part of a flood area. You'll have a hard time or next to impossible time getting loans to build on land that is designated a flood area and if you do build there the insurance costs will be much higher (if you can even get insurance), plus you might get stuck with extra construction costs to deal with the possibility of flooding. Flood area avoidance is imperative in my opinion.

Another is environmental issues. Make sure that your land does not have designated wetlands over a significant portion of it, or over where you might want to build. These wetlands may incur significant expense when it comes to your ability to install a septic system, may prevent you from building where you thought would give you the best view or whatever made you desire to build in a specific area, and could incur extra expenses such as running utilities and driveways to a further location. Wetlands can essentially render your lot useless, impractical or unaffordable for building, so make sure you aren't getting them unbeknownst you you, and make sure that there aren't plans in motion by the town/county to expand them on/onto your property.

Mind you, I'm not against wetland preservation, the land we are looking at has wetlands designated on it, and we will not disturb them. In fact we will be happy to have them and will protect them along with the critters that need them to survive, we would consider it our duty. I just don't want to see someone's dream home plans get smashed after purchase because of incomplete information about the property. If you can buy property with wetlands and successfully build your house with minimal/no additional expense, great! I hope you'll consider keeping those wetlands safe too.

Roads. If there is a road near the property, consider what would happen if they decided to widen it for more traffic and how that would affect you and where you built your house. Where I grew up they widened the road twice; the second time we were forced to move our fence several feet in order to provide proper setback from the road. At our expense. Not to mention we lost that land to the county.

How about if you want to build on a hillside - some places require that a road with a certain grade be made to the house so that emergency vehicles such as a fire truck can get to it. Can you afford such a road? It not, will it affect your insurance premiums? How about availability of a water source nearby for fire vehicles? I've been asked about that when applying for homeowner's insurance, and it does affect premiums. It may not be much, but over a lifetime it can add up.

Talk to an engineer or whoever will check the land and determine where you can build and what type of septic you can install. The engineers will determine what type of foundation you will need, whether or not you can have a basement, what type of septic you can have and a number of other things all based on the type of soil you have and how close to the surface bedrock is. Consider the septic alone; if you buy land without it being checked and discover later on when you start the process for building that the engineers determine you must have an above-ground septic, that could mean up to $20,000 in additional construction costs and materials instead of $5,000-$10,000 for a normal in-ground septic. Not a surprise you want at all.

Is there water available? Is it safe to drink? How much does it cost to have a well drilled? How much to have water trucked in if it is unsuitable for drinking?

If you want high-speed internet, is there DSL or cable at the road or nearby? How much to have it brought to the property? How about electricity? How much to have that brought to the house? Trash pickup? Is it provided municipally? Do you have to hire it out to a trash pickup service or will you need to make trips to the dump yourself? If cable/internet is too far away, can you handle satellite and dial-up?

How about taxes? Can you afford them where you're buying the land? How much will the taxes increase when you put a house on the land?

These are just the things off the top of my head that we have thought of while looking for and beginning the process of buying property. I hope it helps, and I also hope that any readers that have experience or other pertinent information about buying land will chime in and give their $.02 worth.

Oh, and last but not definitely not least: Make sure your other half, if you have one, is %100, uneqivocally on-board with this castle-on-a-piece-of-land idea. No matter how much work you put into it, no matter how beautiful the land, if your partner secretly can't stand it or you ignored their opinions on the subject you'll wind up unhappy one way or the other and wind up paying a price. I believe Mr. Busboom says as much in his castle interview here on the site as well. Sage advice.

Good luck with your purchase!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Burke's Castle burns

I didn't know about this castle, but leaned about it through an NPR article. It was owned by the man who ran Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. Article here: Click Slideshow here: Click

Not an owner built castle, but interesting nonetheless.

Rozniks' Castle

Rozniks' Castle

My other half discovered an NPR article that talked about modern castles. It must've been a slow news day - no scandals or other events to cover ad nauseam - to cover a fringe subject like this; but that's one of the reasons why we like NPR, they cover some really oddball interesting things like this. At any rate, one of the castles they mentioned was Rozniks' Castle near Farmington, Wisconsin. A pretty darn large castle from the look of it. It doesn't sound like they put too much work into it themselves (hammer in hand, I mean...), but had most of it built by conventional methods. I thought I'd share it anyway, it looks quite impressive.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not an ex-blog!

Yep, the blog is still here, along with me. I have several comments that folks have left - my apologies for not posting them - but I have not followed up on, mostly regarding Kasteel Noz. I have seen the website Mr. Noz has up, and when I get some spare time I'll definitely be contacting him to see what he'd like to share about his castle. Thanks to everyone for leaving the comments! On my end, that aforementioned transfer to NY has consumed most all of my spare time, I essentially only get 3 days at home - the rest are on the road where I can't spare much time to be looking for castle-related goodies on the interwebs and the 3 days off I have are spent playing catchup at home.

I know; excuses, excuses...

On the bright side, we have located a property in NY towards the mountainous side of Hudson River Valley that would suit our needs just dandily to build on. The acreage is right, it has a small running stream and is slightly sloping. Can you say millpond? I figure a little water wheel on a millhouse might generate enough electricity for a few lights, if nothing else it should be pretty to see and listen to. At any rate, we've started the ball rolling on the official process, so we'll see how it goes. Pretty exciting actually, a serious step towards a castle!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Comansion Castle burns?

I was visiting to see how progress was going on their castle and decided to have a look at some of the castles on the site. When I came across Dupont Castle's Kasteel Noz entry, someone had emailed that they thought it had burned along with providing a link to a news video. After watching the video of the fire, it appears that it was Comansion Castle, another California castle. If you watch the video, around 0:38 you'll see the door that matches the one in the Comansion Castle post. Hopefully, Comansion will be rebuilt.

As a side note, I've had some folks point to the website as a source of castle information. While I certainly appreciate any information whatsoever given by readers, personally I don't want to "leech" off of Mr. Dupont's site. Any castle information posted here I dig up myself by wasting hours on the web searching. This time I've made an exception, I figure an owner-built castle burning was important enough to share via link to; but basically, unless the castle owner/builders have a website or someone independently writes or posts about it, I won't write about it here.

Edit: The video has been moved to the Comansion Castle entry on the site.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Interview with Peter Wing of Wings Castle

I was perusing the web again looking for more castles and double checking some of the older castle sites to make sure that they were still there when I happened across something neat.

Rachel Connolly did an excellent short interview with Peter Wing of Wing's Castle at Here's a direct link to the video, and a link to the squigglebooth site. There are some nice shots of the castle that aren't available online, as well as the reason why the castle exists, which is: "Why not?"

Hope you enjoy the video, I certainly did.

Also, Castle Rogues Manor has a shiny new website; and Darkling Castle (even though it has ceased to appear much like a castle) has some neat construction pictures, and finally the Home Castle Building site has disappeared.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Yet another castle design

Here's another sketchup model, this time a split level. The basement is open to a courtyard and the gatehouse. The "hall" is half below grade to remove some of the imposing height it might have, as well as give that side of the castle a more "homey" feel and provide earth-sheltering. I couldn't add much more detail, otherwise it would've gone over the 10MB 3dwarehouse limit. The gatehouse is the same that I've used in the past, and is slightly modified and smaller. I haven't yet put a garage on the building yet. Oh yeah, the little "+" all over the place are from sketchyFFD; it's a script that allows smooth deformation of surfaces - the ground in this case. Comments, as always, are welcome.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Land ho!

Despite the lack of posting on this site, things are still progressing behind the scenes, albeit slowly. We have settled on looking for a parcel of land in one of the aforementioned areas of New York, well away from New York City. Quite rural, actually. Just what we're looking for. We've contacted a realtor and are making a list of properties that we'd like to have a look at, we'll probably head out that way during the middle of this month or early next month. We've already taken one trip out just to see what it was like and if we'd even consider living there; it's a beautiful area with farmland and small towns, rolling landscape and not too distant mountains.

So at any rate, the idea is to see if we can get 10-20 acres. To be honest, we can't really afford it; (can one ever?) but even so, with the real estate market in the dumps and the interest rates so low, opting not to purchase at this point would be foolish as the land would be completely unaffordable later. I say unaffordable, but land is quite reasonable in the area we are looking, it's just another expense that we don't need. I'd like to think we could plop our big stone house on the land, but it may turn into an investment parcel due to the need to sell our current place first.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Leaded glass

No, this isn't the unobtrusive link I was mentioning in the previous post :) . This is simply a "you can do it too" post if you want to do your own leaded glass windows for your castle, or just to add that little bit 'o medieval to your house. I'm certainly no Louis Comfort Tiffany or Whitefriars artist, so If I can do it, the rest of you would-be castle builders can too.

For a total outlay of a couple hundred dollars, I wound up with enough glass and tooling to build this (and several other) windows. It's a little expensive up front for things like a glass grinder, cutting grid, scoring tools and the like, and especially the glass considering I broke my fair share before a got wise and took a lesson. My advice to you if you want to make leaded glass windows: Take A Lesson Or Two! It'll save you money in the long run.

I started off with a half-dozen piece pane at the lesson, and this is the first thing I've designed and built myself. I have several more pieces to make, and most are in the Arts & Crafts or Nouveau style. I also have some nice Medieval flavored pieces to make that will come up for sale here, or possibly on Ebay.

If you're on a budget I'd recommend for finding glass and tools, I've bought out 2 other folks selling home hobby studios. I wound up with a lot of glass that would've cost quite a bit for less than retail and I didn't have to pay shipping had I ordered it online.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mihaly Castle & Studio

Robert Mihaly Studio

An owner-built castle and studio in Rougemont, NC. This castle has been under construction by the owner, Robert Mihaly, for the better part of a decade. The castle is a multi-purpose facility for the owner; it is not only a residence, but a studio, forge and a canvas for his art.

A very fanciful castle!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Well, things have changed around here in real life land. My company has closed the branch I in the city I work in completely (one major distraction and PITA), and I have been involuntarily displaced to another location: New York. For the time being, it looks like a commute will be in order, and that will be difficult only being home a few days a week as opposed to my current schedule which allowed me to be home every night in addition to the days off if I chose.

What's my grousing got to do with castles, you ask? Yet another blog disintegrating into whinging and complaining? No. As a matter of fact, this shove out of my comfy-chair lifestyle location is a kick in the pants to get going with building a dream. We will likely move to NY by the end of 2009 and hopefully sell our home at our current location in Massachusetts as well. The plan is that we'll temporarily rent for a little bit in a NY area that we'd consider settling in, get to know the area and see if it's where we want to be for the long haul, and get our finances squared away. We can also finally search for land to build on! The purchase probably won't happen for a couple of years, but compared to waffling over what to build, where to build and when, this is the light at the end of the tunnel. We are looking at the West side of the Hudson due to cheaper land with lower taxes, and we'll take a drive there at the beginning of next month to see the area and how the drive to the metropolitan area will be. I've even come up with a not-so-serious "working title" for the castle: Yanyca Castle (Yet another New York Castle), because there's so many castles in NY already... Trust me, it's not permanent. It'd be nice to build in one of the rural towns more upstate, like Wurtemburg. Wurtemburg Castle. Savillon Castle. Yeah...those names have a nice old-world ring to them.

I'm also getting a little farther along in stained glass (I'm not paying anyone to make my castle windows pretty for me!) and have been working on several designs, one of which is currently on the table being assembled (another distraction). These will be sold to make money with the intent of using it to bolster the finances for a better down payment on property. A non-obtrusive, non-offensive link will appear sometime featuring the pieces as they come up for sale.