When it comes to American castles, not all of us can have loggia'd megalomansions to call home (though big thanks to Gisele Bündchen for showing us exactly how "not pompous" a "stone bridge spanning a koi-stocked moat" can be!). Some of us have to set our sights a little lower. OK, a lot lower. OK, fine, the bar is so low you've got to slide around on rolling pins to limbo under it. But never fear! The options are out there—they're just ... unique. Take, for example, the $150K castle in New Orleans that listed last month. Sure, it's been called as "the sorriest castle in all the land" and, sure, it's totally tilted and, sure, there are no interior shots to be seen, but think of all the castle you're getting for every dollar. To be clear, there are few castles in this nation that are unambiguously beautiful, though none of these are in that category. Here now, 10 totally disappointing castle listings that, at the very least, maximize your castle trappings per dollar.
↑ If you're looking for a castle undiluted by the gaudy chateau stylings of the mega-rich, look no further than Sulphur, La., where the gloriously cheesy Chateau de Bon Reve was once on the market for $5.2M. That may sound a bit steep, but consider all you're getting with the purchase: a banquet hall, horseshoe staircase, chandelier-spangled cupola, and an edifice whose pokiness rivals that of Medieval Times theater.
Sited on a private lake, the four-bedroom castle was built in just over three years by the owner himself. He's begun renting the place out for weddings and banquets to supplement his income, though, to be honest, it seems like the place is way better suited to be a mini-golf course and/or arcade. [link]
↑ Using using Spain's Palacio de la Magdalena as inspiration, car dealer Steve Grindstaff spent more than a decade building this mansion. Why? Because he "always dreamed of being a knight and one day living in a castle," his wife once told the Journal. Five years after it was completed, he hoisted it on the market for $28.5M—an egregious, utterly inconceivable price tag for a town ranked No. 5 on Kiplinger's 2012 list of the country's 10 least expensive cities for living. Once the owner realized people were less-than-eager to pay $30M, the price was utterly eviscerated. The estate—with an indoor basketball court, stained glass windows, and hand-painted antique bar—ultimately went for $3.36M. [link]
↑ When it comes to this 12,000-square-foot manse in Staten Island, the Curbed NY commenters have got it exactly right, comparing the castle to "a fancy Olive Garden," the home of the former president of Ukraine, and "a film set for Married to the Mob." Included: one-million-pound drapes, a 700-gallon aquarium in the foyer, and inlaid medallions. [link]
↑ Up for $1.5M in what appear to be the swamplands of Chevy Chase, Md., Rossdhu Gate was once a gatehouse for a 1927 Scottish-inspired castle. The outside is done up in a very bright white, with some gargoyles thrown on to medieval it up. Inside it looks like the Gryffindor common room. [link]
↑ Let's run down the list for this winery in Paso Robles, Calif. Battlements? Check. Drop-down grated entryway? Check. Stone floors? Check. Moat? Yeah, baby. This place has all the castle requisites—plus, you know, 11 acres if vineyard, if you're into that. [link]
↑ In the magical and far away lands of Marengo, Ill., this castle is on the market for $1,099,000. Built in 1990, the castle includes a private turret, pond, and (inaccessible?) battlements. The list also includes 10 acres, which seems like just the right amount of space to host a stellar Renaissance Faire. [link]
↑ If you're not in the buying game, consider this rental in Vancouver, which boasts "European style custom designed living." What exactly does that mean? A fairytale-inspired foyer, that's what. [link]
↑ Fisherman's Castle, as this architectural oddity in New Orleans is known, was built in 1981 by Simon Villemarette, a Louisiana builder who was "tired of building rectangular structures" and hopeful that the castle might garner tourist attention during the 1984 World's Fair. It's going for just $150K. [link]
↑ Listed for $179,900 as a short sale, this ruined castle in New Scotland, N.Y., was built in 1935 by a reclusive social activist and potter. Now the 4.5 acres are dotted with a dilapidated 2,500-square-foot home and the limestone ruins of a church, tower, and pottery studio, which will all appeal to someone "with a vision and sense of adventure," according to the brokerbabble. [link]
↑ Still, there is no fake castle more hideous, no listing more mistakenly gilded, unnecessarily fresco'd, or disastrously lamé'd than this debacle in Las Vegas, on the market last summer. Featured: a bathtub area even Liberace might tone down, a windowless room with red carpet, a disco ball, and a suh-weet metallic gold couch. Unsurprisingly, it's also the priciest example on this this list, having last asked $5.25M.
Say what you will, it seems like a great place to write that Liberace-was-a-vampire-all-along young adult novel you've been sitting on. [link]