Fantasy castle is a work in progress

Ballston Lake couple indulge a love of the Middle Ages with a custom-made home fit for royalty

Section: Capital Region,  Page: B3

Date: Friday, June 23, 2006

Correction: Published June 24, 2006 A story about a Ballston Lake couple building a custom-made home that looks like a castle was incomplete in some Capital Region sections Friday. The complete story can be found in the Saratoga County section online at:

BALLSTON - Returning from work each night, before crossing the drawbridge over the moat, Dominic Karl turns into his driveway and surveys his kingdom. He gazes at his labor of love, a 6,600-square-foot castle he built mostly himself.

"I've always been into medieval stuff and the whole knight-in-shining-armor thing," said Karl, 33. At age 20, Karl created White Knights Limousine, another reflection of his love for all things Middle Ages. The Mechanicville native and his wife, Kristin, wanted to build a different kind of house. "We've always been a very unique couple," said Karl, a real estate investor for C.A. North Realty, based in Clifton Park. Karl sold his limousine firm five years ago. The house, visible from Lake Road in Ballston Lake, has an all-stone exterior with battlements lining the top. A deep moat and drawbridge to the castle's front door greet the Karls' guests. The only modern touch outside the castle is a dog run for the couple's two Siberian huskies and German shepherd.

Karl said he did 75 percent of the construction and labor himself, starting in August 2004, and hired professionals for finished electrical, plumbing and masonry work that would be inspected. The Karls moved in last October. Since then, they've played host to weddings, graduation celebrations and parties. Kastle Karl, as the couple calls it, is never empty. "Three nights as week you'll find at least 10 people here, swimming and just hanging out," said Dominic Karl.

The interior is as showy as the exterior. A grand piano sitting atop marble imported from Italy greets guests in the foyer. Most of the Gothic-style furniture has been shipped from England. For entertaining, the couple has a game room with poker, roulette and billiards. An indoor pool has large spray fountains and a Jacuzzi and tiki bar next to it.

The conspicuous castle has piqued the interest of motorists driving by. The Karls have found people peeking in their windows, taking pictures and pulling into their long driveway to catch a glimpse of the extravagant home.

For Dominic Karl, his kingdom will always be a work in progress. "Most people build the house and put the `done' stamp on it. I can't do that," he said. The Karls are adding a 1,200-square-foot outdoor patio. Next summer, they'll add basketball and tennis courts.

Christen Deming can be reached at 581-8438 or by e-mail at