They renovated the downtown space at 124 Spring St., and opened their restaurant, Rogue's Manor at Sweet Spring, in 1993. They lived in the attic for the first five years, eventually adding four upstairs suites.
After buying the Beaver property, the couple moved. They still live in the main house, which is attached to the great hall under construction. They enhanced the house's exterior to make it blend in. Treuer did some rock work, painted it, built a front entryway and added to the roofline - his friends call his special touch to projects a "Smithification," a play on his first name.
Treuer isn't a trained architect or engineer, and the cottage and great hall are the first buildings he has designed from scratch. Many tradespeople have brought a range of Old World skills to help build the castle.
The cottage and great hall feature post and beam construction, steel beams and glass. There are also many styles of ornamental ironwork; railings are in gothic, old English and Italian balloon styles. The cottage's roofing is complex because of its four octagonal-shaped towers.
Inside the cottage, there's a hand-carved, modern reproduction of an old English throne. Wooden keystones above windows have Treuer's initials overlaid. He exposed the interior of the building up to the gable, using a labyrinth of ladders and walkways. Paintings by Larry Mansker show men in armor jousting.
In one suite, the bed canopy is made of wood from an antique storefront from New Orleans. In another suite, the bed is in the center of the room and the walls are covered with daggers and swords, donated by a collector who recently died.
Outside the cottage hangs a molded rhinoceros head, which Treuer found in a Eureka Springs antiques shop.
The basement workshop in the cottage is where the woodworking - doors, window frames and trim - is done. Dozens of worn gloves are stapled to a beam.
Using dynamite, workers did the major excavation work for both foundations at the same time. The cottage was finished about four years ago. They've been working full time on the great hall for two years and are now completing the roof.
The medieval period, with its romance and simplicity, fascinates Treuer.
"We have evolved out of those times and cultures. And I guess the romance and fantasy of doing this kind of makes it more real and brings a realism to ancient history. Granted, it had to be pretty rough." The castle's buildings are wired for modern conveniences, such as computers and a central vacuum cleaner system.
Treuer has donated use of the cottage for fundraising events and rented it for tours and weddings. He's building the great hall primarily for personal use, but will rent it for weddings and other events. Tours of the buildings and grounds are available by appointment. The suites and hall at the Gate Keeper's Cottage also can be rented. Tour information, rental rates and photos of the construction are available at www.roguesmanor.com.
A GREAT HALL
Part of the reason for building the cottage first was to make a prototype for the bigger, fourlevel great hall. Treuer and Sederstrom developed an overall style that continues in the new building, which is about 100 feet by 60 feet including the wraparound decks.
The top floor will be their apartment, with an office and library on the middle floor and a dining room and theater on the main floor. An empty wine cellar that's functioning as a workroom is in the basement next to a cold stone bluff.
Heavy chains support balconies. Another pair of chains will be fixed to a skybridge leading up to the great hall, bringing in that fantasy of a castle drawbridge.
The glass is mirrored on the outside, to reflect the view and keep the sun's heat from penetrating inside. The birds can't see them as they watch the creatures at feeders near the patio.
The impressive view encompasses the Little Golden Gate Bridge and an old railroad bridge. Treuer believes the bluff has been a strategic location through history for hunting, living and other purposes.
To go with the great hall, Treuer created a great rock, multi-story fireplace. The firebox has an 8-by-6-foot opening. He also designed the damper and flue system. The grate was built from old railroad track, and logs are brought in by a tractor.