A sweet renovation turns candy factory into home

dream home

April 12, 2009|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Frank Weatherly's 1983 acquisition of a vacant candy factory in downtown Lancaster, Pa., was a purchase negotiated, for the most part, out of necessity.

A friend had made him an offer he couldn't refuse on a Baldwin grand concert piano and - in addition to the fact that he always wanted to tackle a home renovation - he would need a place big enough to house his "grand" soon-to-be possession.

"I spent an entire day roaming around in [the factory], visualizing what could be done," Weatherly remembered. "I've always loved architecture, and it was structurally decent."

Weatherly decided to purchase the two-story, circa-1880 brick building, which measured 35 feet square. A 20-foot by 30-foot uninsulated wing was added onto the back later. The retired printer, who works as a tour guide for the city of Lancaster, paid $45,000 for the property and estimates he spent that much again on its renovation. Updates and improvements included replacing the roof, installing all new plumbing and wiring, refurbishing wood floors and painting.

The box-like interior was completely open on the second level, which has a 14-foot ceiling of knotty pine. It remains, but with three partitioned areas serving as two bedrooms and a bathroom.

The first floor consists of a long, wide hall with furnished nooks leading to a rear library.

An enclosed wing on the opposite side of the building, accessible by large double doors, opens onto a space paneled in spruce bead board on the walls and ceiling. The room is where the chocolates were made and was, for most of the candy factory's life, refrigerated.

It is in this large area that Weatherly showcases the piano, along with antique treasures that include four bronze statues - one each of Mercury, Victory (with her laurel leaf), Napoleon and Beethoven. All rest on highly polished oak and mahogany desks and end tables. A particular standout in the room enveloped in warm wood tones is a large armoire of burled walnut that once belonged to President James Buchanan. While this piece was an unusually lucky find, Weatherly says that the bulk of his furnishings have come from the area's plethora of flea markets, secondhand stores, auctions and antique shops.

An addition in back of the factory, once an ice-cream room, is now what Weatherly calls "the garden room," Victorian in its mahogany sideboards, wrought-iron tables and trellis-covered brick walls. A door, crowned by a three-pane transom, leads outdoors to a small but impeccably designed formal garden, symmetrical in its placement of ivy and evergreens.

"I owe my sanity to this house," said Weatherly of his factory-to-home adaptation. "I'm amazed at how it all came together."

Dream element: : Architecture. This building, originally a candy factory dating to 1880, is of sturdy brick construction in the Federal-style, taking its place alongside buildings and homes of many different architectural styles in downtown Lancaster.

Design inspiration: : Antiques. Unusually large interior rooms and high ceilings create a dramatic setting for the owner's vast collection of antique furnishings. Weatherly modeled his rooms (and gardens) on the manor homes he visited in England.

Surprise feature: : Various textiles in the house, including furniture upholstery, table coverings and bed dressings, are of woven tartan fabric, reflecting the owner's Scottish heritage.

Personal touch: : Weatherly's personal touch is found throughout the home in the placement of both priceless and whimsical pieces, historical memorabilia and family photographs, many of which have been ornately framed.

Have you found your dream home? Tell us about it. Write to Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, Real Estate Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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