An Aramoana woman has turned her home into a castle after an
epiphany led her to build turrets, which she has done with
the help of her friend building an ark next door.
Margaret Ellis said she was living in Invercargill seven
years ago when she decided to return to Aramoana to build a
castle So she asked Just Doi, a man with knowledge on mortise
and tenon joints, to help.
The plan was described to architect Merrall MacNeille, who
agreed the dream was possible.
Mr Doi said it took about three days to raise the four
initial main frames but many of the castle rooms were added
later. The most recent addition, ''the captain's cavern'',
was an old University of Otago house.
Miss Ellis said the castle housed many prized possessions,
including an oversized ''wishing chair'' that made an adult
feel momentarily childlike.
Up the spiral staircase, in the master bedroom, soared a
large model albatross, once-broken pieces salvaged from the
Dunedin transfer station, where Miss Ellis works.
The golden clay plaster cast on the castle was finished by
three men with a combined age of 233, she said.
But Miss Ellis and Mr Doi plastered the 1960 caravan in the
garden, after building crenellations on to the caravan.
On the other side of the castle is the ark, a building
project five years in, Mr Doi said.
The two-level ark was designed with enough room for Mr Doi to
walk about comfortably but his son, Marco Seifert-Simpson
(15), had outgrown the lower level, Mr Doi said.
In the downstairs ''pointy end'' of the ark was the toolshed
and bathroom. In the stern is the living area. Upstairs in
the ''deckhouse'' were the bedrooms, where Mr
Seifert-Simpson's bed could be retracted into the ark wall to
When the ark was finished, it would be seaworthy but would be
moved to land nearer the water, Mr Doi said.
Why build an ark?
''To inspire people to do their thing,'' Mr Doi said.