An ICF Castle in southeastern Michigan.

In southeastern Michigan, homeowners Michael and Sue Drew have used BuildBlock ICFs to build an incredible 4 bedroom “starter castle”. Complete with a large courtyard, brick battlements, and beautiful church inspired windows, this castle is built to last and provide a safe and comfortable home for their family for generations to come.

Project Description

In 2011 Michael and Sue Drew set out on an exciting journey. “Initially, we wanted to build a small 1,000 square foot Frank Lloyd Wright inspired cottage on the property. We went all they way through the design process, but just couldn’t make it work on the site.”

Once they decided a different sort of home was needed, the search began. That search took them to a unique home designer based in Oklahoma, Dan Tyree. Dan specializes in designing imaginative modern castles, beach, and craftsman homes throughout the world. He also designs many of his homes with ICFs in mind. Michael and Sue fell in love with one of the castle designs. In college they each loved courtyards and that was a special feature of this castle design. They added more windows and reduced some of the space and found the perfect design for a “modest starter castle”.

“There were numerous challenges with the site,” says Drew. “The water table is only 16-inches below the surface and we knew we wanted a full basement. So we had to build the house at grade and fill around the house to bring it up. We found all of the fill material on site and didn’t stop digging ponds until we had enough.” In the end, they dug three large ponds on the property creating a beautiful setting for the home. A scenic road protected by a fierce gate, worthy of the “castle under construction inside” marks the nondescript entrance to the Drew Castle.

The castle has a total of four bedrooms, three guest bedrooms, and the master suite.The interior design was inspired by trips to a historic hotel, the homeowners wanted to create a space for their guests where they could be comfortable. Each of the guest bedrooms will have a built-in kitchenette similar to many hotels. One of the guest bedrooms also has its own custom granite fireplace and a huge walk- in linen closet. The Drew’s designed the guest wing to have the ability to be closed off when not in use, this saves even more energy. The other end of the second floor contains the master suite. The entrance is hidden by a bookshelf door, one of the many quirky castle features. The door will blend into the rest of the bookshelves that line the hallway and opens into a Jack and Jill bathroom setup.

Walk in closets lead into each luxurious bathroom which features custom granite shower bases, sinks and matching bath tub designs. At the end of the short hallway, french doors open into the master bedroom itself. Through the bedroom is another set of pocket doors that open into the master bedroom sitting room. The sitting room features another beautiful fireplace with large windows and another small kitchenette. The homeowners think they’ll spend more of their time upstairs when not entertaining friends and family.

Staying true to the traditional castle design, the Drews had to do plenty of research about slate roofing. Mike explains that the “Slate Roof Bible” was his guide. It taught lessons about how slate roofing must be nailed into at least 1″ thick solid lumber for support because OSB and plywood will not last. Additionally, he used copper nails with the treated lumber since lumber is treated with copper, therefore they don’t react with each other. The castles beautiful windows, inspired from a trip to Portugal, beams natural light into the castle. 

VIDEO GALLERY(back to top)

We were lucky enough to follow Michael Drew on a tour of his ICF castle. Click the videos below and learn about their construction
process, as well as how they made design choices and why ICFs were their building material of choice.

How to Build an ICF Castle Part 1

How to Build an ICF Castle Part 2

How to Build an ICF Castle Part 3

How to Build an ICF Castle Part 4

How to Build an ICF Castle Part 5

Drew Castle: Cutting Electrical Chases

See how to easily and quickly to cut chases for electrical or plumbing in an ICF wall.

Experience more educational videos, project tours, and more on our Youtube Channel!

Project Gallery(back to top)

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The Drew Castle September 20, 2016