Two brothers, Ivan and Alan Wilzig, built a castle in the Hamptons in the ’90s.
Ivan says the castle has dragon sculptures that look like “something out of Game of Thrones.”
The Wilzigs have been getting offers to sell the castle since it was built, but it’s not for sale.
On a hill in the quiet Hamptons hamlet of Water Mill stands a sprawling castle that’s home to dungeons, dragons, and a millionaire named Ivan Wilzig.
The castle has all the features you would expect: a moat, gargoyles, and crenellations — the teeth-like ridges that line the top of the structure.
“Everybody’s first question is, ‘Why a castle?’ And the answer is because I was an avid fan of Robin Hood, William Tell, Merlin, and Camelot, and every movie that I ever saw with good knights and bad knights,” Ivan told Insider.
His fascination with medieval times also comes from having an unusual first name in America, he added: “People called me ‘Ivanhoe’ growing up, the knight everyone knew from that famous piece of literature.”
Ivan and his brother Alan purchased five acres of land in September 1995 and proceeded to build a sprawling 15,000-square-foot residence on it.
“Back then, Water Mill and Southampton were the center of nightlife before it shifted to Montauk a few years ago,” Ivan said. In the years since the brothers bought the land, a lot of new homes have been built in the hamlet, contributing to a steep increase in prices and traffic, he added.
Southampton is home to a raft of celebrity homeowners, including Jennifer Lopez and Brooke Shields. Still, the Wilzigs’ home stands out.
“One of the things that makes the castle so unique is that it wasn’t built by a couple,” Ivan said. “It was built by two brothers, so there are two master bedrooms — each of us in our own towers on the far left and the far right.”
The Wilzig brothers are the sons of Holocaust survivor Siggi Wilzig, who died in 2003.
Siggi made his fortune in oil and banking: He was the former CEO of Wilshire Oil Company of Texas and the former chairman of the Trust Company of New Jersey, per his obituary in the New York Times.
The Wilzig brothers used to be bankers like their father, but have since found new callings. Alan is now an entrepreneur and motorsport racer, while Ivan is an electronic dance music artist and reality star who goes by the stage names “Sir Ivan” and “Peaceman.”
On Instagram, Ivan regales his 14,500 followers with snaps of himself alongside bikini-clad women at parties, promotion for his father’s biography, and photos of his “Peacemobile” — a tie-dye limo with the word “Peace” emblazoned on its side.
As for where he got the name “Sir Ivan” from, it all started with a license plate: Ivan got matching vanity plates for himself and his brother that said “Sir Ivan” and “Sir Alan” on them when they moved into the castle.
“I thought I was being cute with those on our cars,” Ivan said.
While the exterior of the castle looks like it came out of an Arthurian legend, the interiors are styled like an opulent palace.
Alan was concerned that decorating the interior of the home with medieval stone features would feel uninviting. In the end, the brothers compromised on their visions.
“My brother said ‘I’ll build you a castle, but it’s not going to feel cold like Dracula’s castle on the inside. It’s going to be more like the Palace of Versailles,'” Ivan said. “That’s how we got the medieval fortress with palatial interiors.”
The money to build the castle came from their father, although he wasn’t too keen on his sons’ plan at first, Ivan said: “But he came out there one summer when he was ill and he enjoyed it. After that, he said to us ‘Don’t ever sell it.'”
It was Ivan’s idea to build a castle, but Alan and his then-girlfriend, Karin, are the ones who made it happen.
The couple went out to the construction site every weekend to oversee the project and did a lot of the work by hand, Ivan said.
“If he had a question, I’d give him the answer. He’ll ask, ‘Is a 20 by 20 dance floor big enough?’ And I’ll tell him, ‘Nope, it’s got to be bigger. Make it 25 by 25 or something,'” Ivan added.
The Wilzig castle doesn’t belong to any particular style or time period. Instead, it’s a mix of Alan’s favorite features from castles around the world.
Alan told Insider he poured through pages of architecture books to get the design details right.
“They gave me what I needed to know about the medallions on the ceilings, the coffered ceilings, and the different types of plaster applications,” Alan said.
It took 18 months to build and decorate the castle.
“My brother, my sister, my mother — they bought all the furniture, lighting, and artwork and they put it all in storage in a warehouse,” Ivan said. “When construction was done, a caravan of trucks brought everything out to the castle in one shot.”
Each item had already been labeled with specific information about which room it would go in, which made the process quicker, he added.
“The place looked like an ant colony. There were marble guys, there were stereo guys — every different trade was represented there at the same time. And they were running around all day until the job got done,” Ivan said.
There are eight bedrooms in the castle, including four themed guest rooms. One of those rooms is an Egyptian-themed room that “feels like you’re in a tomb,” Ivan said.
The room has faux sand block walls and a recessed ceiling, and it’s decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphics, ornaments, and sculptures.
There’s also a Roman-themed room that’s filled with Roman busts and pottery.
The themed guest rooms are rooted in history, Alan said.
“At a certain point in history, the owners of the castles would go or send people on travels around the world,” Alan said.
It was on those trips that they discovered items they didn’t have in their own countries — like silk and tapestries or pottery — which they brought back home, he added.
The house also has a 1,500-square-foot garage that Ivan has found multiple uses for.
“It’s a dungeon, but also a changing area for the pool, and you can put cars in it so it’s still the garage — it serves three purposes,” Ivan said.
Even though he was the lead designer for the castle, Alan doesn’t have a background in architecture or history.
His thirst for knowledge was inspired by his father’s experience of being deprived of an education due to the war.
“His formal education ended in fifth grade because of the Nazis,” Alan said. “So for me, I took that as the ultimate incentive to say that I’m going to learn how every different thing in the world works.”
After a decade of living with his brother, Alan got married and moved out of the castle.
“When my brother decided to get married and have children, I wrote him a check for his half of the castle,” Ivan said. “I built it to be an extravagant, fun, wild, single-life house. Not to go out there and have it be Sesame Street with children running around screaming and crying.”
Even though Alan doesn’t own the property anymore, he’s still attached to the castle.
“Owning it was cool, but building it was even cooler still,” Alan said.
Ivan’s favorite piece of art in the house is a nude sculpture in the middle of the pool that depicts his ex-girlfriend transforming into a dragon.
The previous sculpture was of a topless mermaid modeled after Alan’s then-wife, which Alan took with him when he moved out, Ivan said.
To fill the void, Ivan decided to have his then-girlfriend pose for a nude dragon sculpture.
“It’s just unbelievable how much detail there is to it,” he said. “Her hands are still delicate and feminine, but her feet have already turned. You see her flesh going from smooth skin into reptilian scales and she has talons where her fingernails are.”
In addition to the dragon in the pool, there are another four dragon sculptures that surround the moat and one more on the table on the balcony.
The castle is Ivan’s summer home — he lives there from June to August.
In addition to the castle, Ivan owns a 3,000-square-foot NYC loft with a closet dedicated to his collection of capes, which Insider toured in 2019.
He’s also the owner of a $10.2 million W South Beach penthouse in Miami.
Ivan has thrown lavish parties in the house over the years, including fundraisers for his Peaceman Foundation, which helps people affected by PTSD: “I entertain on a weekly basis, whether I throw huge costume parties or charity parties.”
The castle has been featured on DiscoveryTV’s Epic Castles and Bravo’s Chef Roble & Co, and Ivan said that RuPaul and Mike Tyson number among his celebrity guests. (RuPaul and Tyson did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.)
Most of his parties have a theme and guests are encouraged to dress up for the occasion. There was a superhero party, a “Garden of Eden” party for his 60th birthday, and a “Medieval Madness” birthday party for his ex-girlfriend Mina.
“I had a one woman who made a 25-foot blonde braided wig like Rapunzel,” Ivan said. “She stood on one of the balconies and let her hair down all the way down so somebody could climb up it.”
Although he’s been fielding buyer inquiries for years, Ivan says the castle is not for sale because he “enjoys it way too much.”
The house has seen a recent TV-inspired spike in interest: Three “Game of Thrones” fans have made inquiries to buy the castle since HBO’s “House of Dragons” premiered in August, luxury real-estate agent Ana Prado told Jam Press, The New York Post reported in September.
And while the castle isn’t officially on the market, Ivan said he just might think about it — if it’s a $75 million offer.
Read the original article on Insider
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