A castle in their
By Mike Masterson
Smith Treuer of Eureka Springs doesn’t know how many thousands of dollars he and his companion Debbie Sederstrom together have shoveled into “playing in their sandbox” atop the bluffs overlooking Beaver town on the White River.
But none of that seems important.
For Smith, a former clothing designer and trader in elegant paisley tapestries, the reward for seven-years of human creativity today rises in soaring flag-topped turrets and impossibly steep rooflines. Castle Rogue’s Manor, as the completed vision will be named, for me has become the most fantasy-filled sight in the Ozarks.
The outgoing couple, who for 13 years have owned the popular Rogue’s Manor Restaurant in nearby downtown Eureka Springs and the Beaver Town Inn just below their home, have prompted endless conversations with their castle, the completed portion of which is called the “Gatekeeper’s Cottage.”
The larger Paisley Hall structure of the castle eventually will adjoin their actual 3,000–square-foot residence on Quarry Bluff. This vast hall, which will house Smith’s collection of fine paisley tapestries, will be twice as large as the towering 5,000 square foot Gatekeeper’s Cottage. If the “smaller” completed version provides such a dramatic site from below, I can imagine how magical the view of both structures will appear.
Today, the heated foundation for Paisley Hall is poured with floor tubing that will circulate warmth. The wine cellar and subterranean passages also are prepared. “Every castle has to have a wine cellar and secret tunnels,” Smith said. One hundred tons of Arkansas Hackett stones the size of banquet tables lie waiting to complete the fireplace that one day will help drive chills from the great room.
Smith and Walt Delp, his right hand and primary carpenter on the Gatekeeper’s Cottage, have handcrafted every interior piece of paneling, bedding and window sills, mostly from from black walnut and cedar logs sectioned on site into hand polished planks.
The cottage floor of black walnut features two Golden Mean spirals (symbol of the universe) with centers perfectly aligned with the tops of both turret’s flagpole. Practically every square foot inside, including the massive Redwood tables, is created of hand carved woods. An upper staircase is inspired by a unique ladder in Thomas Jefferson’s home.
None of it has come easy. The silver-haired Smith said four of the nine roofers he was to interview for the dangerous and tedious job of applying shingles to the Gatekeeper’s heavily angled slopes turned their truck around and left when they came face to face with the task.
Carefully crafting the castle has been like scratching a lifelong spiritual itch for Smith. His magnificent obsession with the bottomless project has fulfilled an inherently eclectic nature by creating a structure inspired by fantasy and imagination that all can enjoy. “I appreciate and respect all religions of the world,” he said.
“It’s been a giant blessing for me and for Debbie and I’m just thrilled to share it,” Smith added. He said his best friend and partner Debbie has been his biggest enabler and supporter from the planning stages.
Castle Rogue’s Manor never has been a commercial venture. Friends, family and guests sometimes come to stay in one or both ornate master bedroom suites inside the “95 percent complete” Gatekeeper’s Cottage. They also have hosted members of the state legislature and several weddings and receptions.
“When we purchased these 20 acres and saw this bluff that overlooks the White River as it begins to form Tablerock Lake, I knew it just screamed for a castle,” said Smith, who said he’s traveled around the world five times and was awed by the many mountaintop castles he saw.
“We borrowed ideas and influences for the castle from all over: Asia, Europe, Germany, Colonial America and even the Tibetan culture,” he continued. “ I suppose you probably could call the blended results you see ‘Strictly Smith.’”
The castle has been Smith’s day job. Most evenings you’ll find the pair at Rogue’s Manor where he is busy greeting guests and managing busywork while she huddles over pots and skillets as the restaurant’s chef.
They met 15 years ago in Oregon and fell in love. Back then, he operated a salmon fishing lodge and she was the master chef at a local restaurant. Each agreed they knew they were meant to be together the moment their eyes met. And today, this Renaissance man of the world and the chef are together in the sandbox, patiently building a spectacular castle in the space where Indians once roamed an Ozark bluff.
Staff columnist Mike Masterson is the former editor of three Arkansas daily newspapers.