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Luxury

Cheese and Castles? This Wisconsin Fortress Is a Concrete Marvel

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It's not every day that a castle comes up for sale -- and in rural Wisconsin! Located in the town of Beaver Dam -- an hour's drive from both Milwaukee and Madison, and two hours to Green Bay -- this four-bedroom, four-bathroom fortress-style home recently went on the market for $1.5 million. It also took the crown of last week's most popular home.

One reason behind its royal appearance? The homeowner runs an epoxy floor business and has a background in concrete work.

"They just had a dream to build a castle," explains broker-associate Rick Kilian of Turning Point Realty. "It's a pet project, and it took off. It took a number of years (to build)." Previously, the homeowner and his wife resided in a log cabin home that was also of their own design.

As you might suspect, given the owner's business, a lot of concrete went into the home's construction in 2007. (One thousand yards, says Kilian.) But it's not what you think. These stained-concrete floors resemble hardwood -- not dull gray slabs.

Concrete can help reduce the electricity bills by saving energy. The material is able to regulate temperature, which is perfect when you've got 4,700 square feet to control, says Kilian.

"Everything in this house is very thought out," says Kilian, a former mechanical design engineer, pointing to a 3,000-gallon water tank in the basement for rainwater that feeds into the radiant floor heating and an 8-foot-8 shower in the guest bathroom with nine shower heads and six jets. As he says, "You would never run out of water."

In addition to an abundance of hot showers and warm floors inside the home, the area outside the home is noteworthy.

The castle sits on 37.25 acres -- holding 4,500 black walnut, oak, and pine trees -- which means it's a private retreat surrounded by nature.

There's also room to expand into the walk-out basement and double the living space with an additional 4,400 square feet. Kilian suggests adding an overhead garage door to the basement and using it to store collector cars during the winter.

Who will be the next owner to cross the threshold? Kilian has a few hunches. He says, it will be a buyer who "wants privacy but they also want the quality. The inside is really nice -- it's above and beyond," he says. "You can have corporate retreats or you can have a bed-and-breakfast."