This is what I accomplished in the 2016 building season:
Finished filling the two terraces
Brought in more fill in front of castle
Castle design mostly done
Septic design done
All brush & dirt removed from ledge where footings are going
Footing lines marked on ledge
Blasting on cliff for staircase
Footings finished for round entrance turrets & staircase turret
More brush removed from parking area to prepare for blasting in 2017
Click on pictures to enlarge:
This is the 20 acre lot plan showing the road I built from the town road.
Satellite pic of the 1100' road I built. I learned a valuable lesson: don't tell road contractors you are building a castle or they will think you are some sort of nut case. After 5 of them blew me off I got so pissed off I bought a full size excavator and did it myself! Best decision I ever made because it saved me about $150K, was loads of fun and now I have an excavator which is a really handy tool to have in a project like this.
I bought a Phantom III Drone to take shots of the cliff.
In 2015 I moved the cabin to a different cliff because it was sitting right where the castle livingroom turret needs to be built.
I blasted in July '16 to make space for a stairwell on the lower level. See the blast video above.
My design of how the castle will look on the cliff. I used Home Designer Pro
to do this. It was a good package for prototyping but it can't the detailed work like the crenellated parapets.
The small terrace took 4 years to build. It went painfully slow working on it on weekends driving up from Massachusetts. I had to be strapped into a climbing harness to do that one which actually saved my life once when I slipped on wet mortar and went over the cliff. The grand terrace took 5 years. When we moved to the area in 2008, the project really took off and I finished 3/4 of the grand terrace in only 2 years.
The stairwell turret in this picture has actually been lowered to account for out height restriction in Thornton. We are limited by the size of our largest fire truck.
Footings and foundation design from my structural engineer.
I hired a professional architect in to take the drawings I did in Home Designer Pro and turn them into real Autocad drawings with full detail. This is the f
irst floor plan.
Second floor plan.
Family room / recreation room under the living room.
AutoCAD rendering of the side view showing the split level.
I am modeling the entrance after Le Château de Vigny in France. I used Photoshop
to remove one of the stories to accommodate our height restriction. See the original
Design of the front of the castle.
Here you can see the lines I panted on the ledge to mark the positions of the
This drone shot shows the plan to scale with the actual build site. You can see the
footing lines marked on the cliff.
It took we a lot of trial and error to come up with a system of forms that would
work for a round turret being built on a granite slope with the goal of reusing some of the form plywood.
Rebar placed for the stairwell turret footing. This is an early shot and I was misreading my structural engineer's drawing. I was using 1/2" rebar epoxied 16" deep into the granite. The plan calls for 1" rebar so I had to go back and add more bar.
The left entrance turret footing
The right entrance turret footing.
Finished the '16 build season with 3 round turret footings done. These are the
hardest of the footings.
My architect took my drawings and did a rendering of the inside of the living room. The view through
the windows is the actual view.