This 19th-century house must have been the marvel of the neighborhood when it was constructed, but decades of neglect put it in danger of being demolished. Its modern-day restoration, however, is simply a wonder to behold.
Constructed in York, Pennsylvania, in 1887, the house was built in the so-called Queen Anne style. This architectural approach is characterized by steep and irregular roofs, bold color schemes, bay windows, porches, multiple gables and dormers and sometimes even a tower or a turret.
Yet despite being named in the sake of Queen Anne – who ruled Great Britain from 1702 to 1714 – the style was actually based on the architecture of earlier periods. For example, the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, which spanned the mid-16th and early 17th centuries, were a strong influence. Furthermore, the style wasn’t actually used until the end of the 19th century.
Originally developed by British architect Richard Norman Shaw in the late 19th century, the style soon caught on in the United States. In particular, it became a popular option among the wealthy upper class who could afford to construct these characteristically intricate and picturesque residences.
Indeed, the owner of this particular home in York was a wealthy businessman named Samuel Nevin Hinch, whose associate had a similar Queen Anne house built just next door. But when Hinch and his family passed away and ownership changed hands, the home slowly fell into disrepair.
The peeling paint, crumbling shingles and walls – not to mention a termite infestation – made the originally beautiful home a prime candidate for demolition. But thankfully, the decrepit residence caught the interest of one couple in 2006.
That couple – Jim and Jean Leaman – subsequently decided to purchase the home and restore it back to its former glory. However, it was certainly no easy task, considering the fact that they both had full-time jobs and were in their 60s. After three years of hard work, though, their dream was finally realized.
And they weren’t content with just giving their new home a complete makeover on the outside and inside. No, they also outfitted it with appropriately lavish 19th- and 20th-century furniture. Some 122 years after it was first built, then, the house once again looked brand new.
The proud owners, meanwhile, said that their work even motivated other people in the area to renovate their homes as well. “Since restoring the building and painting to original historic colors, other homes in the neighborhood have reverted to historical paint schemes,” Jean told Country Living magazine.
The spacious 2,879-square-foot home features two floors with a total of 12 rooms, including five bedrooms, three bathrooms, an attic and a basement. Meanwhile, the classic wrap-around porch offers a great way to enjoy a sunny day or a quiet evening.
In addition, the home features plenty of green space, with a total lot size of 8,712 square feet – which includes a patio with a large variety of plants and a small pond. But wait until you see just how luxurious the home looks on the inside…
Indeed, the couple spared no expense in reproducing the rich 19th-century atmosphere. The floors are lined with five different types of wood, the stained glass windows are fully restored, and the walls and ceilings are covered with handmade duplicates of Victorian-era wallpapers.
And so, combined with the hand-picked furniture, an organ and paintings of Europe’s romantic period, the interior is certainly a throwback to a different time. But, make no mistake, the home is still equipped with all the conveniences of modern technology.
The house also features two interestingly themed bedrooms. The Grecian room features Greek themes alongside a queen feather bed and an adjoining bathroom with a clawfoot tub, while the Asian room recalls the Victorian obsession with Oriental culture.
But that’s not all; the attic area offers a bright and cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for sitting back and working on your favorite hobby. And considering how much room there is up here, it may as well count as a third floor.
But perhaps the best part is that, rather than keeping the home to themselves, the Leamans decided to operate it as a bed-and-breakfast establishment instead. Thus, in 2009, the Lady Linden Bed and Breakfast came into being.
Generally, those who have stayed at Lady Linden have nothing but good things to say about the home, which holds a perfect five-out-of-five rating on TripAdvisor. As one recent review noted, “The outside of this Queen Anne beauty is only matched by the sumptuous interiors. Lovingly restored by the owners, it is a step back in time.”
But while the Leamans may have brought this century-old house back to life, they themselves are ready to move on. Indeed, Jim and Jean, who are now aged 75 and 72 respectively, are keen to retire and plan to travel throughout Utah and the American Southwest in their motorhome.
So they put the splendid house – which can be purchased as a residential home or as a bed and breakfast – up for sale in May 2016. It’s currently listed with a price tag of $350,000, which translates into an estimated mortgage payment of $1,816 per month.
As Jean told the York Daily Record, “It was my husband’s passion to have this house and restore it to its original beauty.” We can only hope that the next set of owners will continue the tradition and keep this picturesque home in good shape. After all, at this point it’s not just a residence but a piece of local history.