SAGLE, Idaho — He can see it in his mind.
Kris Frandsen, who owns what is known as Castle Von Frandsen near Bottle Bay on Lake Pend Oreille, said he and friends were in the tunnel leading to the towering stone structure and playing music. The sound echoed off the massive, two-foot-thick walls and danced across the waters as nearby boats paused to listen.
It's those memories that he will hold close to his heart when it comes time to say goodbye to the castle that he has spent the last 18 years building, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.
"Fires at midnight. Playing music," Frandsen said. "Just fires and the kids all together, night after night. They would hit two-by-fours together for percussion, with whatever they could make sounds with. My favorite, favorite memories are of being in the tower, of boats out front, listening to us play."
But, with his children now in their 20s and living in another state, Frandsen said it became more important to spend time with them than to keep the castle.
His first home, in Washington state, resembled a castle. But when it came to building his home on Lake Pend Oreille, Frandsen said he didn't want it to just look like a castle, he wanted it to be a castle.
"I've always been into medieval [things]," he said. "I've always been into castles, period."
Frandsen said there really isn't anything he doesn't like about the time period.
"I just love it all," said Frandsen, who lives in Spokane and sells medical equipment. "I love the attire. I love the horse. I love the music. I could go on and on. I just love it all."
Frandsen, a musician himself, said there is something magical about the acoustics of music bouncing off the stone.
"The tunnel, honestly, is probably my favorite," he said, then laughs. "That and the battlement walls because they kept my kids safe."
His children love the castle, but their lives are pulling them elsewhere, and they can't make it back to Bonner County that often.
Von Frandsen Castle, as owner Kris Frandsen refers to it, was designed with Lego bricks with builder Roger DeClements of CastleMagic. And, for the past 18 years, he and DeClements have worked to bring that vision to life.
Photos: Castle Von Frandsen
Some years they paused for the winter, but in others, they kept on despite the short construction season. While the castle isn't yet complete, Frandsen estimates it's 75% to 80% done.
"It's closer than it's ever been," he said, before chuckling.
All of the logs, both the fir and the cedar, that were used in construction are from the property. Some of the five different types of stone come from the property, some from a quarry in British Columbia in Canada. As in castles built in the Renaissance and medieval periods, stone serves as both the outside and inside walls. Traditional construction methods were used, with no modern cranes or technology. Scaffolding kept the construction authentic and care was taken to ensure construction was as green as possible.
With walls that are two feet thick (and filled with insulation, rebar, conduit, and concrete), Frandsen said the structure stays cool in the summer but stores heat as the fireplaces warm the stone.
Before he decided to sell the castle, Frandsen said few people even knew he owned a castle — much less one as authentic as they come and that would fit right into the 13th or 15th centuries.
When a friend who knew Frandsen called Brenda Burk and asked if she wanted to help sell "The Castle," Burk said she knew exactly what they were talking about. She also knew she was going to say yes.
She'd watched the place slowly take shape over the past 18 years and said she was excited to help the castle find its next owner.
"It's been a labor of love," said Burk, who works at Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty, of her conversations with Frandsen and why he wanted to build the castle. "It was his childhood dream to own a castle."
With the structure of the castle completed, the building can be anything anyone wants it to be — a home, a bed and breakfast, a hotel, or an entertainment facility. The options really are limitless, Burk said.
Situated on a 10-acre lot, Burk said the next owner could even build a modern home next door and keep the castle as authentic as they wish.
The castle is over 8,000 square feet and is designed to be a two-bedroom, two-bath residence, with a master suite on the middle level and a master suite and entertainment area on the top. A kitchen and living space fill the entry level — which comes complete with a tunnel and stream running underneath. The level with the tunnel has a plunge pool and a planned round turret to the side of the main castle can be completed to add guest suites and a great room to the site.
"It depends on how large and elaborate that you want to make it because it could be twice as big," Burk said. "You can make it whatever you want."
While the place doesn't have modern heating — Frandsen wanted it to be authentic to the time period, it does have electricity and modern plumbing.
The castle sits on the lake, and has both boat access and road access. The biggest things left, Burk said, are the finishing touches on the inside, landscaping and improving the driveway.
"This [place] is so amazing, but it's so difficult to get across that it's not a look-alike castle," Burk said. "It IS a castle."
One day when Frandsen was in Sandpoint, he stopped in at one of the art galleries where he spied a painting of his castle, Burk said. The shopkeeper asked he what him thought of it, asking if he knew the inspiration was a real castle across the lake.
Yes, Frandsen told the person, he knew of the castle. He bought the painting, but never told the person he not only knew of the castle, but that he owned it as well.
Frandsen said he hopes the next owner of the castle will keep it as authentic as possible, and hopes that it will be loved by them as much as it has been by him. He hopes it is a fellow medievalist, who will honor what he set out to accomplish, honor the craftsmanship created by hand and honor the labor of love that the castle has been.
"It's really not about the money as much it's about as giving it to somebody who is going to cherish it," he added.
It will always have a place in his heart and always be a source of special memories.
"It's really a magical place," Frandsen said.
The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.
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