Three months before they married in June, Joe and Kathy Heisler found a house with, they said, "the right feel." That perfect fit, however, meant different things to each of them.
Joe Heisler, a 44-year-old architect working in Baltimore, was sold on the view, having always wanted to live high on a hill. Kathy Heisler, 45 and employed by a Towson law firm, loved the home's kitchen and its circa-1900 charm, all of which she knew would be the ideal showcase for her vintage collectibles.
And so in April, the couple moved into a spacious Victorian in the hilly borough of Glen Rock in York County, Pa.
"We got a real bargain," said Kathy Heisler of the 3,000-square-foot house, which was completely renovated 20 years ago. "We were able to move right in."
Situated on a narrow street that overlooks the valley and small town, the home is a solid, imposing structure, yet at the same time, it is homey. Soft touches are evident in a large covered porch with wisteria vines hanging from its roof, white wicker outdoor furniture, two-story bay windows and a second-story turret.
Beyond the original front door, the home bears all the markings of Victorian interior structure and architectural embellishments. On the first floor, four large rooms with 10-foot ceilings follow a circular flow around an open center oak staircase. French doors off the front parlor open onto the wraparound porch, and both the octagonal-shaped dining room and living room feature three large bay windows. A rear, first-floor addition behind the kitchen and living room houses a pantry and guest bathroom.
The only real expense the Heislers had was the installation of a metal fence around the in-ground pool, nestled up to a rocky slope in their backyard.
Each room in the house is a repository for a variety of collected memorabilia. The living room is decorated with 1939 World's Fair souvenirs and movie magazines that are six decades old, while three upstairs bedrooms house an extensive collection of Art Deco glass vanity pieces placed on period oak dressers. The attic on the third floor, renovated in early 1940, contains old toys collected by Joe Heisler and an extensive collection of antique, miniature die-cast cars behind a wall of glass cases.
Kathy Heisler said it was love at first viewing. "The very first day we toured this house, I told Joe we were in a lot of trouble," she said.
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making the house their own
* Throughout the house, Joe Heisler has decorated the walls with pieces of architectural detailing, such as a wrought-iron gate and original wood bric-a-brac from the front porch.
* Kathy Heisler removed all the contemporary light fixtures, replacing them with period glass globes.
* The couple chose vintage furniture from flea markets, antiques shops and auctions. Three periods grace the rooms - Art Deco, Mission and, of course, Victorian.