Michigan castle seeks to court new owners for $2.5M


Once upon a time, in the summer of ‘69, a Michigan man had big dreams of living in a castle. For Christmas that year he gifted his wife a card containing blueprints of their future fortress and a promise to build it for them someday. Twenty-one years and $10 million later, those paper plans were turned into a one-of-a-kind property inspired by the couple’s travels.

“They visited castles around the world and got craftsmen from all over to do the woodwork and stonework,” said Dylan Tent, the Sotheby’s agent now tasked with selling the 6,106-square-foot, four-story stone mansion set on 6.25 acres in Rochester, Michigan. It asks $2.5 million.

According to Tent, this listing is a far cry from Cinderella’s whimsical abode.

“It’s built like a tank,” he said, adding it took more than 60 tons of steel to construct the frame alone. The front door, accessible after crossing a mechanical drawbridge, weighs 750 pounds. The roof, accessible by a 60-foot-tall spiral staircase accessible via a secret passageway, is pure slate.

Of course, getting to the castle — which is hidden away at the end of a suburban development — is half the fun.

The castle home stands on 6.25 acres of land.
The castle stands on 6.25 acres of land.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography
The property comes replete with fantasy-world details, such as turrets and stone touches.
The property comes replete with fantasy-world details, such as turrets and stone touches.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography

“You get to these two stone pillars with a creepy-looking gate,” said Tent. “You can’t see the house at this point, then you drive up an unnecessarily long crushed gravel horse trail — dragon statues stand sentry — that winds through the woods.”

Dramatic effect? Check!

If you don’t want to mess with the moat — and who does? — enter through the four-car attached garage that, despite the disco ball and LED lighting, is decorated to look like a Charles Dickens-era London. The first room you’ll find yourself in isn’t a foyer or a mud room. It’s a Tudor-style pub with two secret passageways and what Tent calls a “Scooby-Doo rotating wall.” At the push of the button the wall spins around to reveal a billiards room.

The original owners spent millions of dollars on customizations.
The original owners spent millions of dollars on customizations.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography
Anything but your ordinary staircase landing.
Anything but your ordinary staircase landing.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography
The garage is designed to resemble a Charles Dickens-era London.
The garage is designed to resemble a Charles Dickens-era London.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography

In fact, the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom house, which has 26 rooms, is full of surprises. Each floor has a secret door to the tower’s spiral staircase. On one floor the door is hidden in a hall of mirrors (think Versailles but on a much smaller scale). In the kids’ bedroom there’s even a hidden ladder leading up to a fort and a trap door that then heads down to a secret room, which Tent says would be great for gaming (or covertly binging “Game of Thrones,” if your parents don’t approve).

The castle’s original owners had kids, but its current owners — who inherited the property in a business transaction — don’t live on site. The castle has been vacant for three years. “There’s definitely some deferred maintenance,” said Tent. “But overall it’s in good condition and needs few updates.”

One of the updates would have to be made to Tent’s favorite feature of the listing: a hot tub grotto complete with stalactites and stalagmites — so real looking they’d even fool any bats.

A Versailles-like hall of mirrors.
A Versailles-like hall of mirrors.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography
Stone and brick touches abound.
Stone and brick touches abound.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography
A chandelier over a Jacuzzi tub.
A chandelier over a tub.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography
A grand entertaining area fit for royalty.
A grand entertaining area fit for royalty.
WayUp Media, Nick Asplund Photography

The house also boasts an elevator (recently serviced so you don’t need to worry about getting stuck), five fireplaces, a gym and an underground wine cellar. While the furnishings, including a freakish number of cherub statues, aren’t factored into the asking price, negotiations are welcome. The master bedroom alone features $250,000 worth of hand-carved furniture.

No expense was spared in the master bathroom either. There’s an elegant chandelier hanging over the tub, and a stained glass door opens into the home’s porcelain throne. The toilet room even has a bidet, something they actually had back in the day of King Louis XIV. (Napoleon Bonaparte even traveled with one.)

Unfortunately for Tent, who has had about 10 showings since listing the house in mid-August, the castle can only be used as a residence.

“It’s in a gated community and neighbors don’t want it to be turned into an Airbnb or a wedding venue,” he said. “I get at least five to 10 calls a day from prospective buyers asking about that.” (Ironically, he got engaged at the castle last fall.)

While Tent is open to all questions, he won’t entertain lowball offers. “If we don’t get our price, we aren’t going to just give it away,” he said. “It’s too unique and can’t be replicated.”



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