The following article appeared in a December 5th article on SAVVY Main Line, authored by Caroline O'Halloran, SAVVY's founding editor:
So nice to see the lights on at the long vacant Tudor-style building at the corner of Lancaster Ave. and N. Valley Rd. in Paoli.
It’s been a while.
After waiting nearly a year for upstairs renters to vamoose, KingsHaven Properties spent two years rehabbing the ramshackle, circa 1925 structure.
Work crews gutted the place, knitting three buildings solidly into one. KingsHaven shored up the shoddy Tudor facade, knocked down a rear cottage and even bought the house behind it to maximize parking.
After our nickel tour, we’re pleased to report that the inside’s just as swell as the outside.
Now dubbed the Bennington, the first floor has five retail spaces – the largest of which houses the terrifically tasteful KingsHaven Design, the company’s spinoff home décor store, set to open to the public Dec. 10.
KingsHaven Design’s first retail store carries hand-hammered custom lighting fixtures, antiques, custom upholstery and distinctive accessories. "Traditional with an edge" is how owner Lauren Wylonis describes the aesthetic.
At least three other slots are up for grabs. The hope is to attract tenants of a feather – perhaps a curtain or antique hardware company – making the Bennington a destination for high-end home design.
Five luxury one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second floor command $2K to $3K monthly rents. Our fave features quirky roof lines and a fabulous rooftop terrace.
Clearly, KingsHaven saw something in that down-at-the-heels Paoli corner that many missed.
"It had the potential to be charming," KingsHaven CEO Lauren Wylonis tells SAVVY. "There were good bones beneath the ugliness."
A forensic psychiatrist until five years ago, Lauren clearly can read real estate the way she once read people.
Two cases in point:
In 2014, her company bought the neglected Pembroke estate (circa 1898) in downtown Wayne for $2 million, totally modernized and expanded it, and is now listing it for $7.6 million. (Estimated monthly nut? $29,000, but if you have to ask…)
And Lauren’s own 17,000 sq. ft. Berwyn home on 108 acres – newly constructed but built to look like it went up in 1880 – made it into Architectural Digest.
Not too shabby.
As for downtown Paoli, Lauren is convinced her handsome restoration is just the beginning of the town’s renaissance. "I believe Paoli’s going to be another Wayne in 15 years."
With so much good stuff on Paoli’s drawing board – a new train station complex, walk-to-train housing, and a more pedestrian friendly Route 30 – she just might be right.