Forget Romeo and Juliet. Toss out Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Wave goodbye to Bonnie and Clyde. If you want true romance, then you need to know the story of Barney and Catherine.
They met in 1990. Seven years later they married in 1997.
What makes this a true romantic story? The incredible getaway space — Catherine’s Castle, complete with composite roofing turrets — that Barney designed and built for his wife to mark their 30th anniversary.
Located in the middle of a 500-acre wildlife sanctuary, this is Catherine Schumacher’s sanctuary. Barney built it for her as a place to relax and getaway. It’s there that she goes to read and take care of her bee and butterfly garden. She escapes there with their dog Boe and watches the wildlife wander by.
“This is a one-of-a-kind place that’s just as special as she is,” says Barney Schumacher. “It was a difficult project, but it was a gift of my love for her.”
Built for North Dakota Weather
The project started in the Spring of 2020. Barney custom designed the tiny 240-square-foot cottage to handle the brutal North Dakota winter weather. He used the best solid and stable materials he could find. Cement, cast stone, brick and metal are incorporated into the plan. Then came the roof.
“With North Dakota extreme temperatures, wind and hail, I could not use natural slate,” says Barney. “It would not stand up to a wind-driven hail storm. That’s why I chose DaVinci composite slate. The minimum roof pitch is 12/12. And, there are turrets on the roof. I knew the DaVinci product would be the very best option.”
Composite Slate the Practical Choice
The labor of love took Barney more than two years to create.
“Whenever you build a structure that is round or oval, you have many challenges,” says Barney. “Everything must be cut to fit, which means everything is custom. That includes the brick and cast stone, door frames, inside window sills, fascia and soffit, to and bottom framing plate, everything. You can’t buy these things. So every part of this project was indeed a labor of love.”
For Barney, the easy part actually came when he discovered the DaVinci product for the roof. “I wanted the look of real slate, but not the problems,” says Barney. “DaVinci Multi-Width Slate has the look of natural slate. However, it withstands the winds and hail we get in this area. In addition, it has a very high fire rating in case there is a prairie fire. So with DaVinci, we got the aesthetic appeal backed by the practical considerations. That made it a great choice.”
Castle Fit for a Queen
Intended as a year-round getaway, Catherine’s Castle has electric heat cables under the tile floor, a mini split heater and air conditioner, along with a charming Jotul gas heating stove. The structure is cozy and warm even when it is -30F outside with a 40 mph wind blowing. In addition, it’s cool and comfortable on 100 degree summer days.
Catherine may never wish to leave her castle with its beautiful composite roofing turrets.
Inside her husband added many enviable features. There’s a tiny soaking tub, fiber optic connection to the Internet for Wifi, and antique furnishings. The interior features hand carved white oak used for the headers and window sills, along with a white oak half round entrance door with a 12-inch arched door jam. There’s a speakeasy window in the door, a fairy door knocker, a curved arched ceiling with Tuscany plaster finish and hand-hewn rafters of white oak.
“My wife absolutely loves her castle,” says Barney. “She wants to spend every weekend she can there. Catherine calls it a ‘work of art’ and that’s exactly what I was trying to create for her.”