The term “castle” is one that seems to get used liberally when describing luxury homes, meant to define a stronghold of serenity where we retreat into our own world. This figurative description is appropriate when discussing the two properties below, however, a more traditional definition of castle is equally and quite literally applicable. While they may lack the traditional battlements of the European fortified structures dating to the Middle Ages, these castles located in the United States are grand edifices that reign over their surroundings.
Fernwood Castle in Layton, Utah, is set on over two and a half tranquil acres minutes from Salt Lake International Airport and world-class skiing. Behind the security gate, a new heated driveway winds past fountains and lush landscaping to the impressive front entrance. Built in 1982, the estate combines the ornate embellishments from centuries ago with the amenities of today. Elaborate woodworking, hand-painted murals and stained glass windows show a rare level of artistic grace. The great room with cathedral ceilings and massive stone fireplace – one of 14 throughout the home – is perfect for entertaining on a large scale, while the soothing sounds of a waterfall can be heard beyond the dining and kitchen area.
In the kitchen, carved cabinets and a tin ceiling are combined with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops for a truly unique appeal. The master suite is a retreat fit for royalty with two sitting rooms and a spiral staircase to a second story with mini bar and walkout patio overlooking the Salt Lake Valley. Additional features include a state-of-the-art theater, exercise room, two in-ground pools, tennis court and numerous ponds and paths meandering through the amazing estate.
Halfway across the country, historic Dunham Castle presides over 15 acres in Wayne, Illinois. Mark Dunham was a successful and esteemed horse breeder and built the extravagant residence in 1883. Modeled after a French chateau Dunham saw on his European travels, his castle was originally outfitted with an abundance of tapestries, statues, French artwork, premium parquet floors and the finest features of the time. Spacious rooms and a third floor ballroom hosted numerous gatherings that flowed onto the sloping lawns surrounded by gardens and woods. A significant piece of its region’s history, Dunham Castle stands as a proud monument awaiting a return to grandeur.