Homes with Buried Treasure | Rare Real Estate Finds

Hyko Roppel August 7, 2012

There are some houses that look ordinary at first, but on second glance, you’ll realize that there is a bit of “extra” something that makes them valuable real estate for any homeowner. Here are two examples of houses that have “buried treasures” inside them:

Albion Castle

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to brew you own beer using spring water? Or how about amusing yourself with a wooden, 8th Century French Merovingian, throne-like, musical toilet that plays “Le Bon Roi Dagobert” when the seat is lifted?

If you do, then Albion Castle is the right home for you.

Sadly, the musical toilet is now on sale for $10,592, but you can purchase this 1,436- square-foot Historic Landmark and real estate for less than a million dollars.

Ideal  for single families, the castle has a newly-renovated kitchen, with new Viking appliances, 4 bedroom and 2 bathrooms. It is great for restaurateurs, brewers, and people who are looking for an interesting place to hold their special events.

The Albion Castle was started as a brewery in 1870 by John Burnell, who purchased a waterfront property now known as Hunter’s Point. The land featured underwater springs and arched tunnels to serve as water reservoirs, which he then used to start the Albion Porter & Ale Brewer. He also built a three-story, Norman castle-style tower to house in all the manufactured beer. His brewery became popular for a short time, although it had to be closed down during the Prohibition in 1920.

The property was resurrected by Leonard Mees, president of the Mountain Springs Water Company. He bought the water rights to the spring and changed the name of the company to Albion Water Company. It provided spring water to San Francisco residents and businesses until 1947.

Despite the activity, the castle itself had deteriorated considerably, although it was restored by sculptor, Adrien Voisin. It was again purchased by another sculptor, Eric Higgs, in 1998, and then purchased by a Napa mortgage banker. Plans were made to turn the place into a restaurant and brewery, although it never fully materialized. However, the interior of this Historic Landmark was renovated and restored to better conditions.

The castle’s blend of medieval-style stone work is now on the market for $975,000. It is currently on receivership sale, which means that the court has assigned the sale to a receiver to liquidate the assets for the owners.

Chateau Suenos

 

There is something about celebrity neighborhoods that can be attractive to a lot of home buyers. Take it from Justin Bieber, Cameron Diaz, Lady Gaga, and the Kardashian family — they all share the same neighborhood with Chateau Suenos in Calabasas, California.

Despite its elegant and beautiful facade, what makes this 9,211-square-foot château-inspired piece of real estate valuable is its split-level, 6-car garage that comes with two hydraulic lifts. This keeps vehicles below the ground, and it also makes the cars safe from children and the auto-eroding effects of California’s warm weather.

The house was built and owned by Jose “Pancho” Leon, who built the home in 2007. It was rented by Britney Spears after her infamous emotional meltdown in 2009 and lived there for two years. Spears, who never owned the home, invested a lot in renovations, apparently spending $700,000 for improvements. It came back to the market worth $10.8 millioin, although there were no buyers during that time. According to Leon, the house wasn’t facing foreclosure; he simply wanted to get rid of it and move on to another one.

The main house is built in an enclosed interior courtyard with a cast-iron fireplace and an imported antique fountain made from limestone. It has seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, maids’ quarters, a wine cellar, a home theater, a mosaic tile infinity spa, a swimming pool, and an elevator. What sets it apart, however, is its location. Chateau Suenos is situated in a highly-exclusive, paparazzi-proof area in The Oaks, which is something that a lot of celebrities are looking for in a home.

Chateau Suenos was auctioned last year, with an opening bid of $4.5 million, or 58% of the original price of $10.8 million asking price. It was sold for $5.6 million, almost half of the original price.

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