Wild 'Cruise Ship' of a Home

Lake Arrowhead palace seeks to set price record despite retro 'Austin Powers' décor
Fridays on the Homefront
The home's front entrance (as above) is serene, modest modern. But inside? "It looks very Austin Powers," says realtor Carolyn Fox of her way-out new listing in Lake Arrowhead, in the San Bernadino Mountains. Call it what you like—including an amazing retro vacation home, pricey museum piece, even gaudy palace—this unusual home, which has inspired lots of folklore over the years, is looking for that special, and perhaps eccentric, someone to step up with nearly $9 million for a houseful of wow. Photos: courtesy Carolyn Fox
Fridays on the Homefront
Family room with chrome-and-Lucite staircase.
Fridays on the Homefront
Family room with chrome-and-Lucite staircase.
Fridays on the Homefront
This is only the second bedroom!

Amazing retro vacation home or pricey museum piece?

You decide—if you have $9 million or so lying around. Either way, a legendary home in Lake Arrowhead is on the market, one of two vying to be the most expensive ever in the resort community.

"When you walk in the house, the first thing you say is wow," says Carolyn Fox, representing 706 Shelter Cove Drive for REMAX realty. "It reminds me of a cruise ship because each room has a balcony. It's an '80s cruise ship."

That ship sailed in 1982, when a retired industrialist from Indiana and his Ice Capades alumni wife built an 11,750-square-foot mountain palace, and through the years it has inspired a boatload of folklore, some of it even true.

Walter and Carolyn Probst retired to the Palm Springs area in the 1970s, but Carolyn still had skating in her blood. They bought a lakeside lot and hired the now-defunct San Francisco architectural firm, Taylor-Huston, to design their vacation home in the San Bernardino Mountains.

At the same time, they bought an outdoor rink in Lake Arrowhead and built an 11-acre facility for Olympic skating hopefuls called Ice Castle International Training Center. The Probsts also made their mark in the desert, contributing enough funds for the construction of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage that one of its main buildings is named for them.

The lakeside home boasts six bedrooms, eight baths, separate rooms for workouts and billiards, terrazzo flooring, and a spectacular, two-story fireplace. Its décor is pure 1980s, and after current owners Mr. and Mrs. Alan Wu bought it from the Probsts, said Fox, "They haven't changed anything."

"A lot of people say we should [redecorate] but, I mean, where you do start? I love it the way it is," said Fox, who herself had trained at Ice Castle center before it was destroyed in a snowstorm.

One of the most striking retro features of the house is its extensive use of Lucite, including a chrome-and-Lucite staircase that has three remote-controlled, rotating wet bars underneath it.