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Modern Shacks Will Build You the Ideal Second Home in the Catskills


These high-end smaller homes offer a minimized footprint with a big return in the Hudson Valley.

Modern Shacks homes incorporate contemporary lines reflecting natural settings. Photo courtesy of Modern Shacks

The Catskills is fast becoming the place to own a second home. Although there is a good inventory of older homes available, the trend of second-home buyers from New York City seems to lean toward a more modern aesthetic. At the same time, owners don’t want to spend more time cleaning and caretaking than they do relaxing.

That’s where Modern Shacks comes in. Sarkis Simonian and his partner Kristabelle McDermott are building high-end smaller homes in the Ulster County area.

If you’ve driven along Rt. 28 between Kingston and Woodstock, and wondered what that dramatic two-story glass-and-wood home was doing on a busy road, you’ve seen the model home for Modern Shacks. At 625 square feet, it has a walnut staircase leading up to a beautiful master bedroom, a barn-style sliding live-edge door leading into the modern bathroom on the main level, a master-crafted wall of shelving for storage and art display, and a full-service kitchen with beautiful cabinets.

In addition to building second homes, Modern Shacks is also called upon to construct “guest homes, Airbnb’s, art studios, pool houses, and writing nooks,” says McDermott, adding these are “a few of the possibilities we design and build.”

Energy efficiency is a bonus that goes along with the tidy nature of the construction. The wall of glass on the model home offers passive solar heating, controlled with shades. Top-of-the-line air exchangers ensure the healthiest indoor atmosphere.

Modern Shacks can be built to the homeowners’ specs, so prices vary widely. But so far, Simonian and McDermott have built homes ranging from $120,000 to $200,000 (not including land costs).