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Medieval castle-inspired Nautilus home for sale in North Florida

MONTICELLO – A private gravel road, guarded by giant trees in the middle of what seems like nowhere, leads to a modern, medieval castle-inspired home now on the market.

A storm cloud-shaped, whale-shaped garage is an unusual shed. But just as unexpectedly lies across the road: an unfinished tower with studio apartments and an auditorium modeled after the Knights of the Round Table.

Before it was purchased as a residential home in 2012, the building was called the Nautilus Foundation. It was dreamed, designed and built by the late François Bucher, a Swiss-born eccentric who spoke six languages ​​and was a medieval art and architecture scholar who taught at Ivy League schools such as Yale and Princeton universities and, later in his life, Florida State University. .

He embarked on a journey to build a secluded retreat for like-minded artists and intellectuals. Bucher, who is buried on the property, was given the land in 1980 by author William S. Burroughs, best known for writing the cult classic Naked lunch, according to the Orlando Weekly. The publication stated that the 55-acre estate was intended as an outpost for the International Academy of Architects.

The property includes a total of four lots and is for sale for approximately $2.4 million. It can be sold in parts or in its entirety. The main house and its property are listed as $1.79 million and the adjacent building is listed as $890,000.

A rare find in real estate

The property consists of two main buildings both of which have been carefully designed to replicate medieval architecture.

The “Trivium” is the main house and features four bedrooms, six bathrooms, a guesthouse, a secret room leading from the kitchen to the cinema and a huge library built to hold up to 10,000 books, matching Bucher’s affinity for rare books . and old books (it now contains about 6,000 books). The house, topped with a copper pyramid and a metal flag with the Bucher logo he designed, also includes a large office, a three-car garage, a workshop and a guesthouse.

The “The Quadrivium” has one finished small apartment with modern finishes, including a bubble gum pink refrigerator.

The main features of this building are the circular auditorium with a diameter of 22 meters and a ceiling of 12 meters high, a tower of 20 meters and several unfinished studio rooms that surround the structure. This building was designed according to the golden ratio, which is considered aesthetically pleasing by architects and artists. From above it resembles the curved shell of a Nautilus, with a silo roof in the middle.

Ondrea Maldonado, a broker with Joe Manausa Real Estate, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the 55-acre property had not yet been shown to potential buyers. The property listing came on the market on April 14 and is already arousing interest.

“They’re really just trying to get a better idea of ​​what they’re looking at,” Maldonado said. “What especially attracts their attention is our medieval castle in the forest.”

In all his 33 years in the real estate industry, Joe Manausa said he had never seen a property like this. When asked who the target customer would be, Manausa said: “It is whatever the buyer says it is because right now it is a residential property.”

“But it was built as a classroom for medieval history,” he said. “I mean, literally, the visionary who built it saw students spending the night in their apartments or in this round building, around the round table where the classes would be held.”

Owner: ‘We’ve had to do just about every renovation you can think of’

Sitting in the floor-to-ceiling library, which still contains some of Bucher’s books, Fiona Hollier talked about life in the house over the past ten years.

She and her husband, Guy Hollier, owner and CCO of Creative Kiwi, which specializes in creative strategy, direction and production design for large-scale events, came to the United States from New Zealand 22 years ago.

They lived in Las Vegas, Texas, Arizona and South Florida before finding their way to North Florida, away from the crowds, traffic and noise. In Monticello, with a population of about 2,630 people, they had found peace and an on-site pond that Hollier loved.

But the house, which had gone bankrupt, was not in good condition. Hollier said it was damaged by flooding and black mold. The air conditioning didn’t work either.

“We had to do just about every renovation you could imagine,” she said.

The couple reinvented the dark, metallic features of the concrete block home and wrapped it in stucco on the exterior. The Holliers brought in natural sunlight and high-end finishes to make the building feel more like a home for their family.

An avid gardener, Hollier soon retired to the botanical estate, scented with jasmine. It is a showcase where she has spent much of her time planting and caring for an impressive variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Despite spending a lot of money and time on renovations, Hollier said the right now is to sell the house to the next buyer.

“We built an 1,800-square-foot apartment for our daughter and our grandbaby. The rest we were renovating and when our granddaughter and our daughter left, they moved to Virginia,” Hollier said, adding that her now 6- year-old granddaughter was born. in the house… “We want to be close to family.”

Contact economic development reporter TaMaryn Waters at [email protected] and follow @TaMarynWaters on X.