LIVING IN A CASTLE
Kathy, Living in A Castle
Driving down the old highway near Upper Dorchester in New Brunswick there is an amazing sight – a house that looks for all the world like a castle. Mr. C. who owns the house doesn’t like to call it a “castle” though. Why did he build it to look like some ancient fortress? He said that when he was in the Vancouver area he saw a round tower and wanted to build one himself, so he used his training as a carpenter/mason to make his own tower. People passing by the house in their cars got so excited about the tower that they started taking pictures and asking him questions. After that Mr. C. built another towers for his adoring public, and he has generated a lot of interest in the local area and even people even further afield from other provinces.
The history of the original house is that it was built in 1952 with the dimensions being 24 feet by 24 feet square. Since, it was lived in by very elderly persons, they could not do maintenance on the house, so it was leaking and in very bad condition when Mr. C. bought it in 1993. He explains: “We decided to build on – one side we wanted to build on as our living room and the other side we wanted to increase our bedroom space …”. Because the original house was square he had no other choice. Mr. C. started doing some major renovations in 1996 or 1997 and has worked on it for over ten years. He still wants to finish the stair, the dining room and the furnace room and feels that he probably will have all the renovations done in a couple of years. His philosophy is that he doesn’t want to get into debt, so he does the work himself and economizes on some of the building materials.
On the outside of the house, Mr. C. has used stucco cement with wires underneath for support. This gives the house a medieval look combined with the two round towers. Inside he has a large kitchen with a wood stove plus an electric stove. His cupboards are homemade from boards of pine and spruce and they are temporary until he can afford the factory-made cupboards later on. Mr. C. has plans to put a large wood furnace in the basement to heat the house and his “castle” house is more than twice as big as the original house used to be. It has six rooms in it now a bedroom, a dining room and two bathrooms. Mr. C. explains about the most special feature of the inside of the house – his banister: “The railing – I still have to get the hardwood to make the stairs—I went to the woods and got a tree that had a virus on it, a lump you know, and everybody kind of likes it. It’s different than a usual railing.”
Mr. C. says that the stucco cement that he has used on the outside of his house is not common around his area, but is commonly seen from Manitoba to Vancouver. To insulate his home from Maritime weather he had to put foam insulation under the stucco. His decision to build on the land his house is standing on was based on the fact that it was cheap and available. Mr. C. also gets a nice view of the mud flats, the river, and the marsh. When I asked him if he intended to build a moat around his “castle” house, he laughed and said, “No!”
Report Submitted by Kathy from Atlantic Canada