It didn’t take long for a buyer to snap up an opportunity to live in a Pennsylvania castle.
“The folks who built it back in 1931 went to Normandy, France, and stayed in a castle there. When they came home, they wanted to replicate the castle that they stayed in. From the outside, it 100% looks like a castle,” says the listing agent, Mark Malfara.
Listed for $485,000, the castle in Jenkintown, PA, came on the market less than two weeks ago, and more than a dozen offers flew in.
There’s no questioning the authentic appearance of the stone structure. From the driveway, it looks as if a drawbridge goes over a moat leading to the 2,245-square-foot home.
The same owners have called the castle home since the 1960s. Updates will be needed inside, but the rock-solid bones are evident.
“[It has] really great architecture, [with] lots of curves and big stone walls,” Malfara explains. “The spiral staircase actually looks to be made out of polished concrete. All of the metalworks that are around the house, like the railings, the door hinges, the doorknobs, things like that, all look like hammered metal, with really fine craftsmanship.”
Malfara says that the exterior is in good shape, but that the interior needs infrastructural updates. A new owner will want to install new wiring, fresh plumbing, modern windows, and a new HVAC system. Fresh paint and removing some wallpaper will also refresh the look.
A narrow and winding spiral staircase goes between each of the castle’s five floors. On the very bottom level, you’ll find the garage and mechanical room.
“It’s almost like living in a row home, where the first level is the kitchen and the dining room,” he says. “You have to go up the spiral staircase to your living room. Then you go up the spiral staircase to two bedrooms and a bath, and then up the spiral staircase again, to the master bedroom and a bath on the very top. It’s a very vertical house.”
On the tippy-top floor, the castle’s master bedroom is a spacious retreat.
“The ceiling height in there is tremendous,” Malfara says, noting the vaulted ceiling.
He acknowledges that the bathrooms are a little dated, but the vintage tile work does have appeal.
He estimates it would take approximately $150,000 to $200,000 to modernize the entire castle. The visitors laying eyes on the castle’s interior for the very first time had a wealth of opinions.
“Everybody had their own twist on what they would want to do,” he says, “and some people did say they would leave the bathrooms for a while. But mostly, everybody would redo the kitchen and the dining room area, to just make one big room.”
Outside the regal residence, there are gorgeous gardens, with a gazebo and a patio.
The gardens are very easy to maintain.
“There’s no grass to mow,” the agent notes, owing to the fact that “it’s all ivy and plantings that don’t need a whole lot of maintenance.”
Since this is the only castle dwelling in the area, Malfara says he didn’t really know how to price the property and took a stab at a proper valuation.
“We didn’t know whether the uniqueness factor would carry it to a higher number,” he says. “Or if the functionality of the current layout, which is not real modern, would hurt the price of the home.”
The pricing—and the layout—didn’t dampen interest in the one-of-a-kind home. About 100 private showings were held, as well as two open houses with an additional 200 more gawkers looking in.
“It is the most unique listing I will probably ever deal with,” Malfara says. “In my mind, it was a little bit of a battle between the uniqueness and the functionality of the layout and what the feedback would be.”
That was settled in short order, and this cool castle is now ready for its next chapter.