Property blends historic past, modern comforts

Former Willow Street homestead of Martin Meylin, now for sale, offers main house, three additional buildings and nearly 2 acres of scenic grounds

Some years ago, while sipping coffee, Larry and Geri Gray gazed out the window of their parlor and started to talk about their next renovation.
Since moving in nearly a quarter century ago — because Geri saw its possibilities — the Grays have lovingly renovated, added, tweaked and redesigned this Willow Street property that was once the homestead of Martin Meylin, inventor of the Pennsylvania Long Rifle.
In the process they have created an oasis that includes the main home, three outbuildings and a swimming pool, all accented by brick walkways, white fences, and meticulous landscaping and lighting to create visual appeal from every angle, day or night.
Now the Grays are ready to pass it on to the next owner. Anne Lusk of Lusk & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty is the listing agent.
The couple purchased the property on Landis Boulevard in 1993 and immediately hired Restore ‘N More of Manheim and Cox Evans Architects of Lancaster to go to work on the main house, whose foundations date to the 1720s with additions from the 1800s and 1940s.
“We kept the character of the historical sections and built to fit our needs,” Larry Gray says.
Among their renovations in the main house are a sunny breakfast addition overlooking the property, and a customized kitchen that includes solid cherry custom cabinetry, granite countertops, Thermador appliances, a farmhouse sink and bay window.
The first floor also includes a parlor, the site of weddings; a family room with fireplace; a dining room with original pine flooring and deep-sill windows; and an office.
The Grays did extensive renovations on the second floor to create a master suite that blends the home’s historic charm with modern pampering.
The master bedroom features a restored fireplace, built-in cabinetry and the original pine floors. A set of back stairs leads to the breakfast room below.
The master bath features a double vanity and a whirlpool tub, both with marble surround, and his-and-hers water closets — each with their own toilet and tile shower. The brass bathroom fixtures are from Czech and Speake in London. There is also a walk-in closet with custom cabinetry and a window seat.
A second bedroom has stairs — once hidden behind a makeshift closet — that lead to the third floor. Here, the Grays added a bedroom/office and a full bath.
“We believe in utilizing all the space productively,” Gray says, revealing hidden cedar-lined storage behind the third-floor bedroom wall.
That philosophy extends to the finished basement, where a wine rack has been carefully crafted to fit under the eaves of the staircase. Here you’ll also find a full wet bar with dual sinks, a media room, full bath and laundry.
The basement also has a framed 1941 auction poster for the home, touting its 13 rooms and electricity, among other things.
Today, the property’s bragging rights extend far beyond the main house.
Secluded by a wall of trees, the nearly 2-acre property creates a world all its own. For Gray, who enjoys landscaping as a hobby, many plantings have a story — from the towering blue spruce that started in a 5-gallon bucket to the Korean dogwoods that flank a gate leading to the gazebo, creating the perfect frame for many a family photo.
The custom-designed in-ground pool and its brick deck sit on the site of a former barn. The Grays doubled the size of the cabana, essentially creating a mirror image of the existing building. A covered dining area connecting the buildings also includes a Jacuzzi.
One side of the cabana features a kitchen with built-in cabinets, stone floor, full bar, wash sinks and range with grill top. There’s even an ordering counter at the window for poolside guests. Beyond the kitchen is a full bath and sauna.
The other side of the cabana is an exercise room with built-in cabinetry. It’s the perfect place to walk the treadmill while gazing out on a picturesque orchard. After a workout, you can exit through French doors and relax in the gazebo.
Across from the cabana, on the opposite side of the pool, sits the carriage house.
“I created this out of necessity,” says Gray, a private consultant and former executive who wanted a place to conduct business apart from the main house.
The two-story building, which also includes a double garage, features a first floor office with library, fireplace and built-in stereo system. The flooring is reclaimed wood from an 1870s one-room schoolhouse. The second floor includes a loft area overlooking the library, as well as guest quarters with a full bath.
The building the Grays refer to as the gallery sits across the circular driveway from the carriage house, facing the main house. The gallery also houses a double garage on the main floor. Upstairs, a bright room flooded with natural light was designed to display Gray’s amateur photography.
Two long walls are lined with built-ins, including display shelves, filing cabinets and drawers that Gray used to hold his collection of daguerreotypes and cartes de visite.
In all, the property offers 7,200 square feet of living space, including 4,846 square feet in the main house. The homes location is approximately two miles from Lancaster County Central Park with superb hiking and horse riding trails
The estate, located in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, is priced at $749,900. It will be shown by appointment to preapproved buyers. Call Anne Lusk at 717-271-9339.
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