Historic Home Renovation Creates Timeless Showplace

Story by Rob Swenson

LANCASTER, PA. – Details matter in restoration work, especially when a historic home is being remodeled. So David Rader typically begins design work by reviewing old records.

“The one thing I really like to do, when customers are open to it, is to spend time researching and finding as much information about a house as possible,” he says. “Then you can work forward.”

Rader sells kitchen cabinets made by Showplace Wood Products and two other companies through Lasher & Associates in Pennsylvania and New York. He also does design work on the side. When friends Stacey and Lois Rawlings asked him for help in extensively remodeling a vacant but potentially elegant farmhouse they had purchased, Rader headed to the courthouse to research property records.

Lancaster is a city of about 60,000 residents in south-central Pennsylvania. It’s the home of James Buchanan, the nation’s 15th president, and part of a region rich in U.S. history.

Although the brick house acquired by the Rawlings had been built about 1875, records dated the overall property back to at least the mid-1700s. The property included the house, which hadn’t been occupied for several years and needed a lot of work, plus two barns and a garage. The buildings sat on about 10 acres of land.

The Rawlings, whose active household included three teenagers, sought Rader’s help in remodeling the kitchen. They wanted to update the kitchen but also preserve some of the historic look and feel of the room. “What we wanted to do in the renovation was reflect some of the time period,” Stacey Rawlings said.

Property records provided some interesting and useful insights to complement Rader’s observational skills. Early in its existence, the kitchen area had featured a large fireplace for cooking and an elevated tub that held rain water. That was about it. Through the years, features such as modern plumbing and appliances had been added. A stove had been moved into the fireplace area, for example. Laminate countertops that appeared to be at least 30 years old would have to be replaced to give the kitchen the desired look.

Changes that had been made in the kitchen over time reflected historic and social trends as well as a chain of ownership that once included at least one well-known local family. At one point, the house apparently had a detached summer kitchen, also known as a servants’ quarters. But the two structures had been linked by a hallway, probably in the early 1900s. That presented one of the initial challenges for the homeowners and Rader.

Rader suggested that a wall separating the two parts of the kitchen be demolished to create a bigger, more open kitchen area, and the Rawlings liked the idea. Removing the wall more clearly exposed another issue: The floor was not level. There was more than a 4-inch difference in the height of the floor from one part of the expanded kitchen to the other.

The upside of tearing out and replacing the old floor was that the Rawlings got the opportunity to install new plumbing and electrical infrastructure, including radiant floor heat.

The entire kitchen area essentially had to be stripped down to the shell and rebuilt, Rader and Rawlings said. Stacey Rawlings did a lot of the demolition work himself, and seeing parts of the house get torn apart was difficult for him and other family members. Conversely, seeing the new kitchen come together was exciting. The new, bigger kitchen area is roughly 22 feet by 30 feet.

To give the kitchen the desired look while also providing modern convenience, Rader suggested using a semi-custom line of inset-style, oak cabinets from Showplace Wood Products, a respected national brand. Inset cabinetry is built in a way so that the door fits within the face of the frame. “Showplace just has superior products, and they best fit the need,” Rader said.

Rader showed the Rawlings samples of the cabinets, which are manufactured by Showplace in a plant at its headquarters in Harrisburg, S.D. The Rawlings agreed that inset cabinets with decorative, finial hinges were a good fit, and an order for cabinets and moldings was placed with Jemson Cabinetry in Ephrata, Pa.

“A major renovation was going on in the rest of the house – all new electric, water, sewer. We needed to stay on schedule, and the cabinets arrived on the exact day they said they would, and it all fit, which was remarkable,” Stacey Rawlings said. “When it was all installed we said, ‘Wow. That’s amazing!”

The old countertops were replaced with soapstone, a product that has been available since the 1800s. When treated with a small amount of mineral oil, chalky grey soapstone turns into a beautiful, dark stone with white veining, Rader pointed. The Rawlings also had custom-made windows installed to complement the historic design of their house.

Work on the kitchen and the rest of the house is finished. The Rawlings have moved on to restoring other buildings on the property.

Scott Korsten, director of marketing at Showplace, got an opportunity to tour the Rawlings’ restored home while on a business trip in the region. Although the family had only recently moved in, they graciously agreed to show their house, including the kitchen area and the newly installed Showplace cabinets, Korsten said.

“The fact that our cabinets can be custom-built to fit exacting spaces was especially important in the remodel of this historic property”

“It was especially gratifying to see how well our cabinetry fit their goal of maintaining the historic appeal of the home. The fact that our cabinets can be custom-built to fit exacting spaces was especially important in the remodel of this historic property,” he said.

Assisting with the remodeling was an especially satisfying project for Rader. He appreciated what the Rawlings wanted to accomplish and that they were open to his suggestions. “It was a pretty special project,” he said.

The extensive remodeling of the kitchen was a positive experience for the Rawlings, too. “I would and have recommended Showplace to other people. It was a great experience,” Stacey Rawlings said. “We are enjoying the kitchen and the cabinetry.”

Who’s Your Daddy?

The I’ll chaperone your middle school dance … and bust a move because I’m hip n’ cool … dad:

The I’ll teach you and your friends how to hunt, fish, and trap dad:

The I’ll teach ya how to fix anything with a pocket knife and duct tape dad:

The I’ll spend hours with you in the driveway shooting hoops and pitching curveballs dad:

The I’ll show ya how to make supper and finish laundry before Mom gets home dad:

The I’ll volunteer to get groceries … so I can restock our secret supply of Swiss Cake Rolls … dad:

To every admirable, supportive, hardworking father and father figure, have a very Happy Father’s Day! You deserve to be celebrated.

For more information on Showplace cabinets, visit http://www.ShowplaceWood.com/.

The Colors of Spring!

Pantone LLC, the global color authority, introduced Marsala earlier this year as the Color of the Year 2015. Chosen for its natural earthiness, this hue is considered universal “… and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

Whether you’re looking to dress up your wardrobe, touch up your makeup, or spruce up your home, a quick trip out to the Spring 2015 collection may be eye-opening.

The beautiful weather requires your “Outside Fun” Pinterest board to shine. Bring it to life already with this colorful activity … round up the kids and the Kool-Aid.

Grocery list:
Packages of Kool-Aid
Disposable bowls
Rubber bands
Rubber gloves

Dissolve one package of Kool-Aid in one ounce of vinegar … in a disposable bowl … in the backyard.
Dissolve Kool-Aid flavors in separate bowls.
Tightly twist and tie t-shirt with rubber bands.
Dip t-shirt in bowls for your own creation. Note: please wear rubber gloves.
Set t-shirt aside for 24 hours before washing to let colors set.

For more information on Showplace cabinets, visit http://www.ShowplaceWood.com/.

Dress to Impress your Christmas guests!

Busying around the kitchen this Christmas season will be a breeze with the following goodies.

Base with Roll Trays.

Roll trays bring contents gliding out for easy access. Send your crazy great aunt in search of the sugar cookie dough bowl, or rather, send her directly to that bowl with the organization and convenience Showplace roll trays offer.

Walk-in Pantry.

What appears to be a tall cabinet with four doors opens to reveal a convenient walk-in pantry. With ample easy-to-reach shelving, your grandma can spend more time in the pantry and less time on the step stool in search of her homemade gravy ingredients.

Deluxe Blind Corner.

This clever corner cabinet opens to present two large, full-extension trays, on cantilevered arms, making great use of space that might otherwise be wasted. The entire family will be happier when your great uncle no longer needs to scour the dark abyss of what used to be the corner cabinet, grumbling relentlessly, in search of the jellied cranberries, a staple “he doesn’t even like.”

Pantry Pull-out.

And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas if your grandpa wasn’t stinking up the house with his smoked oysters. Fortunately (or unfortunately) he’ll have easy access to his crackers and canned shellfish this year.

For more information on Showplace cabinets, visit http://www.ShowplaceWood.com/.

Who wore it better?

Door style: Cambridge | Species: Cherry | Finish: Vintage Autumn

The heartland home (Left) featuring a palette of diverse textures and warm colors OR the family home (Right) on a quiet cul-de-sac with bold shapes and oversized carved accents?

Species: Paint grade | Finish: Vintage Soft Cream

The combination laundry room and guest bath (Left) with generous hanging space OR the laundry room (Right) with countertop space and shelving?

Species: Rustic alder | Finish: Vintage Nutmeg

The lakeside home (Left) with a large central island anchoring the design and creating storage, prep, and serving spaces OR the vacation home (Right) with two islands and a setting steeped in history?

For more information on Showplace cabinets, visit http://www.ShowplaceWood.com/.

Back to School.

It’s that time of year again … the Fourth of July is in our rear view, while Halloween is in our commercials and on our store shelves. A few back-to-school tips from an experienced scholar:

To our student …
Breakfast before the bus will soon take the place of breakfast at noon. Ask Mom to add a few essentials to her back-to-school grocery list: your favorite cereal with extra sugar added, Pop-Tarts, donuts with frosting AND filling, etc. If Mom’s list is full, try Dad’s.

To Mom …
Your laundry room will soon see fewer beach towels and swimsuits and more shirts confirming the lunch menu. Acquaint yourself well with your students’ practice and game jerseys as you’ll have a washing, drying, folding date with one or the other every evening. Add one essential to your back-to-school shopping list: stain remover.

To Dad …
Commence Operation Homework. To avoid the struggle bus, find a quiet place, free from distractions, reference the textbook, ask Google, and lastly, summon Mom. Add one essential to the back-to-school shopping list: an eraser.

Here’s to a successful 2014-2015 school year!

For more information on Showplace cabinets, visit http://www.ShowplaceWood.com/.

That Guy.

We all know That Guy. When That Guy is sent to the grocery store for a few necessities, he adds a few of his own sugary necessities to the list.

That Guy chaperones his kids’ middle school dance … once. After shaking his groove thing with his home dogs, he lost his privileges.

That Guy scours the freezer with his partner-in-crime, hours after bedtime, in search of the ultimate bedtime snack, ice cream.

Rather than watching the game in “his” chair, That Guy watches cartoons on the couch, after his little shadow claims the chair.

That Guy still has those outdated, awkward family pictures in his office.

That Guy is your coach, your Boy Scout leader, your guide, your teacher, your wrestling opponent, and your biggest fan.

Happy Father’s Day!

For more information on Showplace cabinets, visit http://www.ShowplaceWood.com/.