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Quirky home with ties to Muppets and Grateful Dead lists for $799,000 - topicofthetown

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A fairytale-like property for sale in Saugerties has been home to two local legends over the years: a set designer for Muppets creator Jim Henson, and an orthodontist and former spouse of the well-known LSD maker and Grateful Dead sound engineer Owsley Stanley.

“There’s nothing like it,” said Mark Kanter, of the Maverick Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties, who listed the circular, five-story tower house for sale for $799,000. “It’s striking from every angle.”

The 2,118-square-foot home, located at 107 Fishcreek Road in Saugerties, sits on a five-acre property that features a stream and pond. A fifth-floor wraparound porch provides spectacular views of the Catskills.

The colorful home was designed by artist John Kahn, who was an associate of Muppets creator Jim Henson and collaborated with him on sets and costumes. Kahn engineered and built the house, drawing from a former rock quarry to cut, join and inlay every bluestone detail himself. He finished the home in 1993.

Kanter said the dwelling could have been a cousin to Woodstock’s handmade houses that were built by artists in the 1970s and earlier.

“John Kahn was the right age to be part of that era,” said Kanter. “I think a lot of the whimsy of the house could be inspired by the 60s and 70s of Woodstock architecture. Because he’s a profoundly skilled engineer and woodworker, the quality of the house is way beyond anything that handmade houses were able to achieve.”

Kahn lived in the three-bedroom home for 14 years before selling it to a holistic orthodontist named Rhoney Stanley, whose practice is still listed on her website as being located downstairs.

Stanley was once married to Owsley Stanley, who was considered the world’s largest producer of LSD when it was still legal, and the former sound engineer for the Grateful Dead who designed the band’s “Wall of Sound” speaker system. She writes about their marriage and her time working alongside him in an LSD lab in her memoir, “Owsley and Me: My LSD Family.”

The home’s main structure features a masterfully designed spiral staircase that rises from the main floor and its kitchen and living area, to a second-floor bedroom suite, and then up to the top floor bedroom/study with an ensuite bathroom and a panoramic view from the surrounding windows. The toilet is directly in front of a window for uninterrupted viewing, and is given a wide berth like a true porcelain throne.

Inside, wooden beams accent the ceiling, and the walls and floors are colorfully painted. Throughout, furniture along the walls is curved to fit the home’s circular design.

There are four other structures on the property, including a guesthouse, a large two-story heated metal warehouse, a roofed storage building made out of a railway car, and a wood-fired sauna room and cabana with a deck overlooking a wetland area.

According to an article in 6sqft, the home was first listed for $1.2 million in 2017 by Stanley, who purchased the home from Kahn after he moved to Easter Island. Stanley later transformed the ground floors of the main house into a dentist office. With all of the equipment gone, the space could be turned into a one-bedroom suite with a separate entrance.

The funky home, which has been featured on @Zillowgonewild, was in contract and nearly sold in September when the soon-to-be-buyers had to pull out for personal reasons, Kanter said. The property went back on the market shortly before Christmas.


Kanter has seen everyone from Californians looking to relocate and investors who are considering it for a unique rental property, to highly skilled craftsmen who appreciate the detail of the house itself.

“For other people, it’s too unique for them and they can’t wrap their heads around how they would live in the structure,” said Kanter.

“From every place in the house, there are woodworking details and set design details that John Kahn put in the house — so much so that I said to the former owner [Stanley], ‘I’ve been here quite often, and I keep seeing details that escaped me in the past,’” said Kanter. “She said, ‘I’ve been living here for 14 years and I’m still finding details I haven’t seen before.’ She described it like living in a work of art.”

There is currently an accepted offer on the house for residential purposes.

Here is an inside look at the property.

The main structure has a masterfully designed spiral staircase that rises from the main floor up two more floors.

The main structure has a masterfully designed spiral staircase that rises from the main floor up two more floors.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

Real estate broker Mark Kanter said the home could have been a cousin to Woodstock’s handmade houses that were built in the 1970s and earlier.

Real estate broker Mark Kanter said the home could have been a cousin to Woodstock’s handmade houses that were built in the 1970s and earlier.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

Throughout, furniture alongside the walls is curved to fit the circular design.

Throughout, furniture alongside the walls is curved to fit the circular design.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

The home was built on a former rock quarry where John Kahn cut, joined and inlaid every detail himself of the structures there now.

The home was built on a former rock quarry where John Kahn cut, joined and inlaid every detail himself of the structures there now.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

The Saugerties property was built with reclaimed materials.

The Saugerties property was built with reclaimed materials.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

The top of the fairy-tale like structure features a wrap-around porch offers beautiful views of the Catskills.

The top of the fairy-tale like structure features a wrap-around porch offers beautiful views of the Catskills.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

The 2,118-square-foot, $799,000 home, located at 107 Fishcreek Road in Saugerties, sits on a five-acre property that features a stream and pond.

The 2,118-square-foot, $799,000 home, located at 107 Fishcreek Road in Saugerties, sits on a five-acre property that features a stream and pond.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

The toilet is directly in front of the window for uninterrupted viewing.

The toilet is directly in front of the window for uninterrupted viewing.

Courtesy of The Maverick Team at BHHS Hudson Valley Properties

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