This Modern Ski Retreat Was Once A Rowdy Catskills Bar
Wanderlust's geometric façade with red door.ROBERT SOCHA
Wanderlust implies a strong desire to travel—even if it’s to a local bar. But don’t get too wrecked in the process.
Wanderlust's contemporary interiors complement the lodgey Catskills ambiance.ROBERT SOCHA
That’s exactly the fate of the former Wanderlust bar in Hunter, New York—the Catskill Mountains. Like many of its patrons, the 1970s joint fell victim to wild nights and an insufferable hangover following last call. The upstate New York bar eventually closed before its conversion into a typical ski hamlet A-frame house—a ramshackle that languished on and off the market for years.
The expansive home has 6 bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms.ROBERT SOCHA
That is, until two New Jersey developers (occasional drinking buddies) came to the rescue—razing the bar so to speak (or at least, it’s rowdy legacy). Harout Dermenjian and Anthony Pinto purchased and fully renovated Wanderlust, transforming the residence into a contemporary mountain marvel—resuscitating its animated essence, restoring it as an attraction people might wish to inhabit again. If the home’s intense Airbnb test-run is an indicator, mission accomplished.
The residence is designed with unique touches like this Wanderlust ski lift chair.
“We originally looked at this house four years ago when it was for sale,” says Dermenjian. “It was priced too high for the amount of work it needed so we passed. We wound up acquiring it in a foreclosure this past November. We kept the Wanderlust name.”
Contemporary kitchen with modern appliances and an adjoining deck.ROBERT SOCHA
Wanderlust is a idyllic moniker for such a modern mountain escape. Now the ski retreat hits the market again, properly this time, as perhaps Hunter’s most extraordinary home, listing for $848,888. If that price seems a steep slope, consider Wanderlust’s prime location at the base of Hunter Mountain, which is undergoing a massive 33% expansion for the 2018-19 season, courtesy of new owner Peak Resorts.
Each bedroom boasts its own unique stylingROBERT SOCHA
Bedroom with iconic celebrity photographyROBERT SOCHA
“This is the perfect home for a family that’s looking for convenience—location location location,” says Dermenjian. “Hunter will be a Vermont caliber mountain that’s only two hours from New York City instead of four hours. Hunter is also a four-season town. Usually mistaken as only a ski town, the Catskills are absolutely beautiful throughout the year with tons of activities for all.”
Peak Resorts is investing $1.7 million for trail, racing and snowmaking improvements at Hunter Mountain, which is about two hours from New York City. (Shutterstock)
True, the Catskills are also famous for quaint towns, lakes, hiking, biking, natural waterfalls (like Kaaterskill Falls), and the 1969 Woodstock Festival. But a half century after Jimi Hendrix's guitar rocked the region, skiing remains a top draw.
Kaaterskill Falls (Shutterstock)
Following its $36.8 million purchase, Peak Resorts gives Hunter Mountain a major ski lift, investing $1.7 million for trail, racing and snowmaking improvements—bolstering the resort’s 12 lifts and 57 trails (and future new lodge) which are merely a scenic five-minute trek from Wanderlust’s large front deck.
Ski slopes are a short scenic trek from the Wanderlust residence. (Shutterstock)
Pinto says this mountain expansion is propping up new restaurants, shopping and, ironically, a modern bar scene, which is attracting younger, upscale clientele to the area—including prospective buyers for the renovated Wanderlust.
The Catskill Mountains. (Dana Frank/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
“The house is a classic A-frame design which is very popular in ski towns,” says Dermenjian.
The home includes 6 bedrooms.ROBERT SOCHA
It’s not ski season but this furnished A-frame won’t wait. A-frames were originally considered experimental and so is Wanderlust, which combines the typical mountain lodge aesthetic with South Beach-style modernism (decorated with contemporary art, iconic celebrity photography, even a military uniform salute in thematic bedrooms). The master bathroom (accented in pine) features two toilets and two showers.
Contemporary master bathroom in pine with double showersROBERT SOCHA
The residence integrates sleek interiors, a contemporary kitchen, modern technology, and stainless steel finishes/appliances in spaces that include a Acacia wood slab desk, a retro red “Wanderlust” ski lift chair, and a mountain climbing art installation along the main fireplace chimney wall ("climbing to the top" symbolism)—all beneath a soaring wood loft ceilings and dangling decorative lighting. The From Chef To Table polymer desk features a dazzling tree hollow bark imperfection. Overall, the home also boasts natural materials, a soothing color palette and wooden decks off most bedrooms (and the kitchen), in the A-frame style.
The coffee table and desks were designed by From Chef To Table.ROBERT SOCHA
A-frames are triangular structures with open lofty interiors, glazed gables and steeply pitched rooflines extending to the foundation (resembling the letter A). A-frame homes are no stranger to resort areas. Rudolph Schindler (a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright) built the first modern A-frame (Gisela Bennati Cabin) at Lake Arrowhead, California in 1934.
A-frame architecture flourished in the 1950s. (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
Post World War II, America’s economic prosperity sparked interest in second cars, TVs and vacation homes, particularly along shorelines and mountaintops, according to the book The Modern A Frame by Ben Rahn and Chad Randl. Inspired architects like Henrik Bull, Andrew Geller and Walter Reemelin seized this moment, creating 1950s A-frames along mountainsides from California to Vermont to the Alps to the Andes.
Wanderlust is an A-frame residence listed for $848,888.ROBERT SOCHA
Hunter Mountain’s private, woodsy Colonel Chairs section is laced with A-frames. What makes Wanderlust unique is its size, backstory and modern aesthetic.
The loft living room space offers solitude.
“A frames are typically small,” says Dermenjian. “This one happens to be the biggest one I've seen. It’s over 4,000 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms. The house has 3 living rooms, a huge game room equipped with everything to keep anyone occupied for hours.”
Basement living room with unique oak tree divider poles.
The loft living space rises high above the main living room, offering a fireplace, solitude, books and a classic version of Monopoly. The massive basement-level game room includes a living room TV area, half-bath, laundry, pool table, ping pong table, shuffleboard, foosball, and a cozy white brick fireplace. This basement living room is sectioned by a series of awesome oak tree divider poles, a nice highland spin on the modern space.
Foosball and shuffleboard gamesROBERT SOCHA
The home’s main-level brick fireplace was the only redeeming feature at the original Wanderlust. Dermenjian and Pinto scored a deal but the residence desperately needed extra TLC. It had rotting wood exterior balconies, wrinkled dirty carpets, narrow doorways, small awkward room layouts, a hideous kitchen, doom-and-gloom lighting, and the ultimate eyesore, linoleum floors. Still, the duo somehow saw the home’s unique potential through the drab shutters and blinds.
Expansive game room with ping pong and pool tableROBERT SOCHA
“It involved a full gut renovation,” says Dermenjian, who designed the home. “The facade is actually original. We painted it and gave it a facelift.”
From the exterior, the painted, geometric façade is what distinguishes this A-frame from others in the neighborhood (like a fireplace, the residence glows at night among the privatizing trees). But there’s little doubt Wanderlust’s new interiors are unique to Hunter Mountain. The result is a new contemporary vacation home at an ideal time, during Hunter Mountain’s renaissance.
Wanderlust glows at night like a fireplace.ROBERT SOCHA
Who knew razing the rowdy bar could create so much modern-day scuttlebutt at the base of Hunter Mountain? This will be joyful noise for Dermenjian and Pinto when Wanderlust sells—as long as the new owners keep the drinking and partying to a minimum. That would be Wanderful.