Kathy Barnstorff and Bill Maisey had been looking for a second home for quite some time. Both somewhat particular in how they envisioned their picturesque retirement home, they were struggling to find the perfect fit until they came across a quaint 1960s Rancher, nestled in the Queens Lake section of York County. Seated back from the road, the unassuming rancher is surrounded by Queens Lake. The water view sold them, and they bought it the same day they looked at it.
“That never happens,” laughed Maisey. “We’ve looked at many houses and we’ve made many offers, but nothing ever this quick.” The pair, both retired, agreed they usually like to spend more time when making big decisions, but this particular home and location spoke to them immediately. In addition to the lake and home itself, Barnstorff really likes the Queens Lake neighborhood. “Nothing is cookie cutter here, and there are some really unique homes.”
With the water view not needing any upgrades, they turned their attention to modernizing the mid-century rancher. Although dated, the home was well taken care of and only had one owner. Both Maisey and Barnstorff have similar taste and a shared vision, so they began the process of remodeling the home. It wasn’t a gut job, either. They found fun and interesting ways to keep some of the home’s vintage character.
Though they initially hired an architect to help with the redesign, they ended up using their own remodeling plans that Maisey generated on the computer.
The majority of the remodeling involved just expanding on what was already there and making improvements such as putting in more windows so they could enjoy the lake view from every room, taking out kitchen carpet and an indoor white brick planter, adding square footage to the master bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, removing walls, and installing current creature comforts such as heated floors, instant hot water, new appliances and a front door and a Versa Lift in the garage.
Barnstorff and Maisey also found unique ways to reuse or “repurpose” some of the home’s original features. For instance, a retro pull-down ceiling light that once graced the kitchen dining area is now lighting up the extra bedroom. The former dining room now serves as the office with doors from the entryway now used for closet doors. A bookcase formerly in the den is now in the office. Retro vent covers and a bathroom vanity hamper are still in the guest bath as well as the frosted shower door with swan design.
“We did take down the wallpaper,” Barnstorff conceded. Though a framed picture with a piece of original wallpaper hangs in the freshly painted bathroom.
Other bigger changes during the renovation included adding a deck, a screened-in porch and a new pier, so they could fully appreciate their magnificent water views, and a large workshop was built for Maisey’s racing vehicles and other toys. Indoors, the master bathroom received the biggest makeover, going from about 5 ½ feet wide to 11 ½ feet and getting all new subway tile and fixtures.
The decor inside is fun and whimsical with many of the pieces coming from local consignments stores such as an elephant-themed lamp, dining room table, outdoor swan sign, china hutch, and decorative birdcage.
Other new pieces such as the bright red kitchen island, hand-picked tile, neon light fixtures and stylized gas fireplace add a contemporary flair to the mid-century modern ranch.
It’s been almost five years since they purchased the home, and they find themselves spending more and more time there. They’ve affectionately named it the “Lake House” and have plans to eventually move there permanently.
“We just love it here,” said Barnstorff. “The house, the water, the neighborhood, it’s home.”