Patience Hill: A property meant to be shared

Beautifully renovated country estate for sale in Manheim Township

Three years ago, when Brian and Sarah LaBorde learned they’d be moving to Lancaster from Nashville, Tennessee, they set their sights on living downtown.
Having lived in the suburbs before, the LaBordes were determined to make their new home within walking distance of all the restaurants and shops downtown Lancaster has to offer.
But after viewing over 100 properties — including everything from a warehouse to a funeral home — they still hadn’t found what they were looking for.
Then one day between showings, the couple’s Realtor suggested that she and Sarah kill some time walking around the grounds of a 4.6-acre property for sale just out of the city on New Holland Pike — clearly not the type of home or location they had in mind.
“We pulled up and I looked at it and I said, ‘This is it,’ “ Sarah recalls.
The home, Patience Hill, had been unoccupied for seven years. The five-bedroom country estate, once the home to 11 immaculate gardens, was a weed-infested mess on the outside and, in Sarah’s words, “a disaster” on the inside.
When she announced to Brian that she had found their home and sent him photos, he though she was joking.
“I love interior design and I love to decorate,” Sarah says. “Just walking through it I could see the potential.”
Over the next two years, the LaBordes turned that potential into reality. Now, as life takes them in a new direction, they are ready to turn Patience Hill over to a new caretaker.
“I saw the before and I’ve seen the after, and it is absolutely incredible,” says Anne Lusk of Lusk & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, who is handling the sale. “They had such a sensitivity to the architecture and the surroundings, and the things they chose to do to the property were perfect.”
The three-story stone frame mansion, now on the market for $1,595,000, has a rich past. The home was designed by well-known Philadelphia architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh and built in 1927 by Herman Wohlsen for Harry Hostetter, a landscape architect, and his wife, Agnes Shand Hostetter.
It is said that Harry coined the name “Patience Hill” because Agnes was growing impatient with the building process. The original plans for the property currently hang in the main upper stair hallway and have been passed from homeowner to homeowner, the LaBordes say.
It may not be the downtown spot for which they had planned, but Patience Hill is a mere two miles from the city, minutes from Route 30 and just up the road from the Lancaster Country Club.
And once ensconced in this peaceful setting with the trickling creek, chirping birds and the expansive great lawn stretched before you, it feels like a world all its own.
Among the property’s highlights:

  • Over 7,000 square feet of living space
  • Five bedrooms, four full baths and three partial baths
  • A fully equipped eat-in-kitchen with large soapstone island, double-door sub-zero refrigerator, four freezer drawers, Wolf commercial-grade oven and GE Monogram dishwasher.
  • Centralized butler’s pantry with long soapstone countertop and glass door cabinet space with built-in sub-zero wine cooler, two sub-zero refrigerator drawers and filtered water line, ideal for entertaining and making cocktails.
  • Great room with heated travertine marble flooring, exposed wood beams and a huge wood-burning fireplace.
  • Formal dining room, living room, mud room and office.
  • Hardwood flooring, extensive crown molding and secret built-in storage compartments.
  • Three-car garage
  • Beautiful wooded grounds that include a screened-in pavilion, grotto, fountain, ponds and a stream.

The LaBordes’ extensive renovations included gutting three bathrooms completely and partially renovating the others, installing hardwood flooring throughout the second floor, painting the interior as well as the 22 exterior doors and 36 shutters, replacing plumbing and electric, installing a home automation system and security system, and replacing all the light fixtures, because “I just happen to love lighting,” Sarah says.
Their most extensive renovation, however, was creating a magnificent master suite.
“When we purchased the house, Brian and I both realized one of the main reasons it probably sat on the market was that it didn’t have a true master suite, which is pretty necessary for modern living,” Sarah says.
There were few options to solve the problem that wouldn’t involve expanding the footprint of the home, something the LaBordes wanted to avoid for fear it would ruin the home’s external beauty. Instead, they found their solution above the kitchen, starting with a tiny bath and two small bedrooms that were once used as servants’ quarters.
Gutting those rooms, along with a front bedroom and storage space over the garage, they created a showpiece master suite with five banquet windows overlooking the great lawn. The large master bath features heated marble flooring and a glass shower enclosure. The suite also includes a showcase closet with display cabinets and a custom-designed walk-in closet with maplewood cubbies, racks and drawers.
“There’s no better closet I’ve ever seen in my over 20 years in real estate,” Lusk says.
Of the house as a whole, Lusk says the LaBordes’ attention to quality and style recaptured the original essence of the estate.
“They never lost the character and the timeless elegance of the design. It is truly one of the best renovations I’ve ever seen.”
Brian is in the process of creating a little homeowner’s manual for the new owner. “I’m still discovering things I didn’t know existed,” he says.
One of their favorites is the paneled great room off the kitchen, a room the LaBordes refer to as the wine room. It was added in the 1930s because the owner wanted to have her entire family over for Thanksgiving dinner but it was suggested she didn’t have enough room.
All of the walls are hidden cabinetry, and a trap door in the ceiling at one time allowed a large dining table to be lowered into the room.
“It entertains like a dream,” Sarah says of the home. “People love being here, and this property is meant to be shared.”
Leaving behind such a labor of love is bittersweet for the LaBordes.
“We’ve spoken with some of the previous owners, and everyone agrees it’s such a magical property,” Sarah says. “It’s such a pleasure and honor to live there. It’s really hard to leave it.
“No matter what future properties we own, we’ll never love a property more than we love this one.”
Interested pre-approved buyers should contact Anne Lusk at 271-9339 or 291-9101 for an appointment.