Photography by Steven Wallace Media
I was born and raised in Pocono Pines, and I’ve always appreciated having lived up here my whole life. Now, my real estate investment company looks for area homes that need a little TLC. When I saw this A-frame, which was more or less overgrown on the outside, I knew I wanted to remodel it so that another family could enjoy it.
When I approached the owner at the time, I found out they’d had the home since the late 1960s when they built it. It was in the family for all this time!
But they were at a point where they just weren’t using it as much anymore, so they said they’d sell. We set out to remodel it so it would be a turnkey experience when someone else bought the property.
On the exterior, I really didn’t want to change anything by way of the architecture. We just repainted and added the fire pit out back and some Adirondack chairs. The deck was all original, and I didn’t change any of that.
In terms of the inside, it was very dated. We wanted somebody to relive coming up to the Poconos in the late 1960s, but with more modern comforts. I kept as much of it as original that I could, and fortunately, there were many elements I was able to work with.
For instance, the kitchen: I had to find smaller appliances, but I was able to salvage and repaint the cabinets. I changed the hardware and added quartz counters. There was no dishwasher, so I expended a cabinet to add one. The home also had no washer or dryer, but I was able to tuck those into the bedroom closet. The bathroom had an old, steel shower unit, and we ended up tiling that. I was able to reuse the existing sink and update the fixtures. And naturally, there are a few things, like the living room chairs, that simply wouldn’t have existed back then.
My understanding is that the cabin’s construction was started sometime in the later part of 1968, and therefore, the first summer they were able to enjoy the property was the summer of 1969. That’s why we coined it “Camp Summer of ’69.” It’s about playing cards or a game of checkers and getting outside. It’s a mindset: Let’s have some drinks and relax!
Meet the Owners
Emily and Claude Smith are the lucky new owners of Camp Summer of ’69, but they’ll be sharing it with more than just their family and friends. Emily breaks down how they knew it was the right choice to purchase as a rental property:
- Location, location, location. It’s four seasons. In the winter, you have skiing, and it’s the perfect ski house. But in the summer, it’s right around the corner from the lake. Between the water and the amenities, Lake Naomi feels like a five-star vacation resort. It’s just the perfect Airbnb.
- Don’t underestimate the power of style. I think the uniqueness of the property is really the number-one draw. You want a place you’re going to remember forever. People are just blown away when they stay there because it’s unlike anything else. For those who want to rent a house on Airbnb, I definitely recommend making it as special and unique as possible.
- Keep it simple, keep it classic. It goes a long way to actually restore something versus just gutting it. You can buy an old A-frame, gut it and put in new cabinets and such, but it doesn’t have that same character. I think that’s what makes Camp Summer of ‘69 special; it’s a modern time capsule of a simpler time, and that’s what people are yearning for.
Real Estate Real Talk
Insights from Andie Gerhard, the listing agent with Dembinski Realty Company, on what’s happening in rental real estate right now.
- Turnkey is, well, key. As far as what buyers are looking for in the second-home market, I would say most buyers enjoy a unique home that is fully furnished and turnkey ready. Camp Summer of ‘69 filled that desire right down to playing cards, a stocked gumball machine and a refrigerator full of glass Coca-Cola bottles.
- Competition is fierce. The house was listed on a Friday and an offer was accepted by Sunday. This listing resulted in more than 70 showings and many offers including a few from buyers that didn’t even view the property.
- A-frames are top of the class. Even after being in real estate and selling second homes for as long as I have been, A-frames were never something that I thought were going to create such interest or demand. But clearly Camp Summer of ‘69 did. So, it was a big learning experience for the both of us.