Rich and Shannon King didn’t quite know what they were getting into when they purchased a 25-room 19th-Century home in 2008. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the home is a stunner—a stately Second Empire Construction with beautiful original details, inside and out. It was, however, a major fixer-upper. At closing, the home was in serious disrepair, the top two floors occupied by squirrels and birds. To add more complications to the matter, the couple had unwittingly purchased at what would be the beginning of The Great Recession, ensuring that re-selling any time soon was out of the question. “We were very naive and thought it would take much less time than it did,” Shannon says. “Isn’t that always the story? As is the case with pretty much all old houses, once you get into fixing the surface problem, you see that there is a bigger problem behind it that is causing everything. This happened more times than we can count.”

Luckily, Rich and Shannon were blessed with both the patience and skills to persevere (Rich works in construction, so was able to oversee much of the work himself). Renting out renovated flats within the home in order to fund the rest of the repairs, the couple and their four children lived out of one of the home’s apartments while they completed the work. All-in-all, it has taken ten years (and counting) to get to where they are now, but looking back, it seems well worth it. With the intent of restoring the home as accurately as possible, Shannon and Rich have given it a second life, resurfacing old beauty and adding their own personal touches. In 2016, the couple began renting flats within the home on AirBnB and have loved the experience. ” I loved furnishing the apartments, interacting with guests and being able to share our home with others! It’s been a long and drawn out journey, but it has been so worth it,” Shannon says.


The Family Living Room

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


“We love old, authentic and original. We tried to keep as much of the original parts, trim and mouldings as we could.”


west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

“We love old, authentic and original,” Shannon says. “We tried to keep as much of the original parts, trim and mouldings as we could. Anything that was too far gone to save was replicated and replaced. In the living room part of the plaster moulding was destroyed, so Rich taught himself how to plaster and repaired it perfectly! Our aesthetic is very organic and a little European. We love furnishing our home with collected items that are old or interesting and we intersperse new modern items with that. I love contrasting something ornate, like our marble fireplace and mirror, with a simple cotton voile curtain in the window. Our design process is very slow. We live with blank spaces alot, until we find the perfect piece.”

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


The Family Kitchen

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


The Family Room

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


“We love furnishing our home with collected items that are old or interesting and we intersperse new modern items with that.”


west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


The Dining Room
(In progress)

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


Master Bedroom

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


The Matilda Flat

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


The George Flat

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


“We love to travel, so when we designed and furnished our personal space and our vacation rentals, we tried to make them restful places that feel like you are on vacation.”


west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


The Elizabeth Flat

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

“We love to travel, so when we designed and furnished our personal space and our vacation rentals, we tried to make them restful places that feel like you are on vacation. For our latest renovation, the Elizabeth Flat, we used a lime wash treatment on the walls to give it a European feel and furnished it with collected items that we either had on-hand or bought secondhand. We really focused on making it feel authentic, using tile that fit with the time period of our house, some live brass fixtures, and repaired the original floors where possible.”

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania


Exterior

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania

west elm - A Prewar Fixer-Upper In Pennsylvania



Rent Rooms at Fahnestock House on AirBnB

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Betsy Schuele

August 16, 2018

I love your renovation stories attached to West Elm daily emails. Some of the photos can’t be seen though because of some technological reason. Usually most of the story is there. I’m not a techie so I will blame it on my Verizon high speed internet service or my iPad. The most recent story was about a big old house in Lancaster, PA. My great aunts and others in my father’s family had older townhouses in Lancaster which were renovated by the younger buyers after the sale. I saw the interiors of the houses many times when visiting my great aunts and then my grandmother too when she moved back to Lancaster. I saw the restored street front exteriors when I was visiting a cousin in that general area of Lancaster. Shippen Street in Lancaster looked as good or better than I remembered it from 1950 on. The houses were built in the early part of the 20th Century most likely when my grandmother and her four sisters were married.

Diane Brian

August 20, 2018

What a treat. Travel to New York with children yearly. We love your city. I’ve moved from PDX OR. To FL. Spent many hours in West Elm. What an adventure this family has had and what a beautiful reward. Wish them the best and what a visual gift from West Elm. Thank you.

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