from The Essential Paradise
In 1985, having moved to acquire the small island across Pirates’ Bay known as Treasurers’ Cay, Jonathan Cavaliere (now Lord Paradise) begins drawing up architectural plans for the main house and numerous outbuildings. The island already contains two small villages and the mostly-intact remnant of an early-19th-C fort, all of which are found disused and empty, are explored by Paul Cavaliere‘s crew during the first and second landings at Paradise of the yacht Starchase, and subsequently are restored and remodelled to serve as guest accommodation.
Style and design Edit
The main house is meant to evoke the gaudy English Baroque style as in Blenheim Palace, though the towers are an obvious homage to Teutonic Baroque as in Neuschwanstein. On foundations it measures over 200 metres wide and 80 metres deep. There are reportedly over 150 rooms (exact enumeration depends on whom one asks and what one counts). The structure, all of preformed and poured-in-place concrete, heavily-reinforced with steel rod (and impact-resistant metal mesh, which will stop most hand-launched projectiles and inhibits radio and infrared surveillance), comprises a subterranean passage, two basement storeys, ground floor, principal floor, three storeys above, and a central tower rising seven storeys, plus its conical attic, 23 or 24 metres above the level of the courtyard.
From the start Jeanne Cavaliere (now Lady Paradise) is a key contributor, drawing several sections of floor plans, especially the master suite and the library, as well as several of the guest cottages, on her own. A professional architectural staff are employed to finalise drawings for approval and submission to the building crew; the complete set of very large drawings is exhibited in a room in the castle.
The necessary land acquisitions, including a substantial section on Eden Island, most of which became the Baronet’s Tract, are finalised in January 1986. Using two full shifts of construction crews made up of locals and imported labour, mainly through the Cavaliere Construction Group, work begins in May 1986 and continues through November 1989.
Cavaliere makes frequent extended trips to the site, both to oversee architectural and construction details as well as to complete the designs for many of the outlying facilities and features that depend on the actual lay of the land. But he also performs direct labour as well, especially with attention to the disguised doors and other features during the woodwork and trim phases, thus ensuring their secrecy. Family legend holds that Jon Cavaliere himself is the only person who knows of all the castle and estate’s secrets, information he appears unwilling to ever divulge.
Jeanne specifies much of the interior decor, basing most of the room designs on elegant 17th- and 18th-C English and European models, providing herself with a distinctly tasteful, light and airy lady’s parlour towards the front courtyard in which she receives personal guests. The main bedchamber’s bed, the layout of the dressing-closets, much of the ceiling carvings and paintwork, and the details of the railing and stairways of the grand library are all of her devisement.
See also Edit
Camelot, Cavaliere family estate on Treasurers' Cay
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