The Star Barn: Restoring a Pennsylvania Landmark

The Star Barn: Restoring a Pennsylvania Landmark

One of the most iconic historic locations in Lancaster County, PA, is the Star Barn, originally owned by Colonel John Motter. It was built in 1877 by John Z. Grove and Son as part of Motter’s working horse farm, located in Middletown. For decades, it was a memorable landmark for travelers along Route 283, and in 2000, it was officially registered as a historical site.

In 2014, David and Tierney Abel acquired the Star Barn and envisioned restoring the landmark to its original status, sensing it had been “dedicated to God, and He had more enduring purposes for this unique complex.” After a year of discussions and meetings, West Donegal Township granted the Abels zoning approval to relocate the Star Barn to Elizabethtown, PA, in 2016. The barn was able to maintain its registration on the National Register of Historic Places even with its relocation.

Breathing New Life into the Star Barn

In the years between 1877 and 2014, the Star Barn experienced the wear and tear of time, and elements of the barn and land began to deteriorate. Not only was the property no longer used as a working dairy farm (as it had been between 1925 and 1986), but a major highway had been built adjacent to the property, and encroaching residential developments began to limit the picturesque views of Pennsylvania farmland. It became clear that a new plan and considerable work was necessary in order to save this historic barn. That’s when Vintage Millwork & Restoration entered the story to help with this historical restoration.

We were hired to bring the exquisite details of this beautiful, historic barn back to life. Our team of skilled professionals created many custom millwork pieces for the Star Barn, matching the charm and beauty of its original designs with historical accuracy. We worked alongside B&D Builders, who was tasked with removing the original structure piece by piece before re-erecting and restoring it at its new Elizabethtown location.

Vintage Millwork & Restoration’s primary tasks were to craft the barn’s iconic star louvers — which are 17 feet from point to point — as well as the cupolas, doors, corbels, Gothic louvers, and Gothic windows with restoration glass. We restored the farm’s springhouse as well, creating a beautiful one-room cottage with a picturesque view of Lake Liberty. Each element of the restoration project needed to mimic the original, which meant careful planning and craftsmanship were required at each phase of the process.

Incredible historic locations like the Star Barn have endured many phases of American history and continue to be a beautiful reminder of the past. Its new location and restorative work give a glimpse of what its original owners first built as a Gothic Revival horse farm.

The Star Barn of Today

The restored Star Barn is now home to an event venue with a seating capacity of up to 600 guests, part of the larger Stone Gables Estate. We were proud to partner and collaborate on this historic project. It is a local treasure that will continue to be enjoyed for generations.

Help Your Historical Building Tell Its Story

If you’re starting a restoration project, contact us at Vintage Millwork & Restoration. We pride ourselves on breathing new life into timeworn structures with skilled craftsmanship and historical accuracy.





Q&A with Vintage Millwork & Restoration’s General Manager, Amos Fisher

Q&A with Vintage Millwork & Restoration’s General Manager, Amos Fisher

Great brands have great leaders. For more than 20 years, Vintage Millwork & Restoration has been a leading expert door supplier and door manufacturer in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, supplying fine products locally and across the nation. Their skilled craftsmen are known for using old-world craftsmanship, modern technology, and first-class materials to create exceptional doors (and other architectural products) of outstanding quality and design, and the company tailors its custom products to each project’s unique design and style.

Simply put, Vintage Millwork & Restoration has the quality custom doors you want with the customer service you need to make a project go smoothly. First founded in 2000 as part of B&D Builders, the company started doing business as Vintage Homes & Millwork in 2017, then changed their name to Vintage Millwork & Restoration in 2019. They quickly became known for craftsmanship, attention to detail, and getting a job done right, and today, their skilled builders, designers, project managers, and millworkers continue to be dedicated to crafting custom doors and millwork using a hands-on approach to the entire process. Over the years, they’ve become a trusted partner for architects, builders, and general contractors because they understand the demands of the job and the importance of good communication.

The team is led by Amos Fisher, who joined B&D Builders in 2009 before starting with Vintage Homes & Millwork in 2017 and ultimately becoming the general manager. Amos “lives and breathes wood” and began his passion for woodworking when he was just a child. He is the proud leader of the Vintage Millwork team and has great plans for the future of the company.

We sat down with Amos to find out what he loves about the business, how he got into woodworking, and what makes Vintage Millwork & Restoration products stand out. Here’s what he had to say.


Tell us a little about your background and some of your hobbies outside of work.

I grew up with woodworking because my father was a timber framer for 15 years, and I always had a huge passion for wood! A few of my hobbies outside of work: one is I have a small woodshop at home, where I make various stuff out of old reclaimed barnwood — light cabinets, hat racks, crafts, et cetera. It is a hobby shop, where I love to share time with my boys. I am also a big horse lover. I love training show horses.


How did you get started at Vintage Millwork & Restoration? What attracted you most to the company?

I started with the organization in 2009. One thing that attracted me was my love for horses and equestrian facilities. Another thing that attracted me was a chance to grow as a business leader, and I seized the opportunity. The first five years, I was in the field working with B&D, and that experience helped me significantly with understanding the product and gaining knowledge in the custom world. I morphed into the millwork side of the organization in 2014, and there again, I seized the opportunity as very few people within the organization wanted to take that step at that point in time.


Vintage Millwork & Restoration has a good reputation for quality control. How do you maintain consistently high-quality products?

We want the right people in the right seat. We have a great team set in place. We have a quality control meeting with the entire team every Monday. We take quality very seriously, and we will do anything to ensure the client gets what they envision or dream of.


You seem to have a real passion for the products you produce. Why do you think that is? What makes this type of work special to you?

One reason is because of the “finishing touches.” The process of building can take a long time for clients, but the wow factor that a front entryway and the finishing touches we can produce to please the client is worth the while. It’s a very special part of the process for me.

Another reason is the different wood species we work with and the beauty of the grains and how they are cut and milled.

I also have a big passion for what we can create out of old reclaimed wood. We make wine racks, tables, and some custom doors out of reclaimed wood.


Talk about your shop. How do you combine old-world craftsmanship with modern technology to make such remarkable pieces?

This is a tough question. That starts with design and knowing what old-world craftsmanship is and how to incorporate that into our modern technology of building. It is basically knowing how to replicate the skills and designs that our forefathers used over in Europe with today’s technology.


Could you explain how you work hand in hand with builders, designers, and contractors to ensure that their clients’ needs are met?

Establishing relationships is the first goal. We have an edge as we understand what we are selling, and we are good at envisioning and creating a product that is buildable for designers and architects’ designs. We work with the builders/contractors on designs/shop drawings, stain color, hardware specs, and installation.


Lastly, where do you see Vintage Millwork & Restoration going in the next five years? What goals would you like to accomplish?

That’s a great question! Our goal is to become the premier door manufacturer on the East Coast and eventually throughout the nation. I want to have a large production line with another added CNC door machine. We want to continue to grow at Vintage Millwork & Restoration.


Team Up with Vintage Millwork & Restoration!

If you’re in the market for a quality exterior door manufacturer or custom door supplier, Vintage Millwork & Restoration is your go-to source for beautiful designs and quality craftsmanship. The company’s unique doors are tailored to honor the style and aesthetics of your unique project, and they’re proud to partner and work closely with you to bring your vision to life.

If you’re ready to get started on your custom door project, contact Vintage Millwork & Restoration today.

9 Questions about How We Ship Our Doors

9 Questions about How We Ship Our Doors

We love visiting our customers’ sites to discuss and deliver our products, but did you know our custom doors and hardware are also available for shipping?

We pride ourselves on making high-quality, expertly designed doors and other millwork products to match your vision and exceed your expectations, so when it comes to shipping our products, we take extra precautions to ensure they arrive in excellent condition.

Here are nine questions we’re frequently asked about how we ship our doors:

1. After I Order My Door, What Is the Next Step in the Process?

Once your custom order is received, we get to work making your expertly engineered, quality-crafted project. As soon as it’s finished, we will notify you that it’s ready to ship.

2. How Do You Prepare the Door for Packaging?

The first step in the process is securing the door in a closed position to keep it from shifting during travel. The door and its hardware are packaged together, so when they arrive, they are ready for installation.

3. How Do You Package the Door?

The door and its hardware are wrapped in foam and placed in a custom-made wooden crate, so they ship securely and arrive in perfect condition.

4. Are There Extra Precautions You Take to Ensure the Door Arrives in Good Condition?

We go the extra mile when packaging the contents of each shipment. Once each door and its hardware are wrapped in foam and packaged in a wooden crate, the shipment is completely enclosed in waterproof plastic to keep moisture out.

We are meticulous about our shipping process because we want our customers to receive our high-quality products in excellent condition.

5. Do You Have a Quality Guarantee?

We have a warranty on every door we make, which is included in every contract.

6. What If I’m Not Satisfied with My Door?

Give us a call if you’re not satisfied, and we’ll be sure to figure out a solution. We rarely have dissatisfied clients because of our superb customer service.

7. What Happens If a Door Is Damaged upon Arrival?

Because of our attention to detail in the shipping process, damage is a rare occurrence. However, if you are not satisfied with our products when they arrive, please contact us so we can resolve the issue.

8. How Long Does Shipping Take?

Shipping times vary, depending on the shipping company and your distance from our facility. You can usually expect to receive your custom door a few days after it leaves Vintage Millwork & Restoration in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

9. Do You Ship Nationwide?

Yes, we do!

Don’t see your question here? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Are you interested in starting a project? We’d love to help you get started today.


Builders, Architects & Designers: Your Questions Answered!

Builders, Architects & Designers: Your Questions Answered!

At Vintage Millwork & Restoration, we love working with builders, architects, and designers to deliver the custom products you need. We’re happy to answer any questions you have before kicking off a project, but here are a few of the ones we hear most often.  

1. Does Vintage Millwork & Restoration have a typical style?

The majority of our projects fall into a more traditional design. However, we can build anything you design, and we’ll work with you each step of the way until it’s right.


2. Which wood species do you recommend for my project?

We highly recommend using sapele mahogany and quartersawn white oak for your projects. Sapele mahogany is unique because even though it’s classified as a hardwood, it has some of the same features as softwood and can be used for some of the same projects. It’s harder than many North American hardwoods, and it’s almost twice as hard as genuine mahogany! It’s also a commonly available material for us to order. Quartersawn instead of flat-sawn white oak is best for stability as well as aesthetics. Even reclaimed white oak is highly resistant to cracking, water damage, and decay, so a lot of it has held up over the years.


3. Are doors made by Vintage Millwork & Restoration engineered?

Yes. By engineering our doors, we provide them with added stability and less chance of warping. To do this, we layer quarter-inch pieces of wood, strategically positioning them with the grains running in different directions, to form the core of your door. This minimizes points of weakness and the potential for warping. We can layer the same type of wood or blend different wood species for the core and the exterior. The result is a solid, durable, beautiful wood door that will last and provide better thermal insulation than standard doors.


4. What can I expect to see when we meet?

At our first meeting, we can provide photo examples of our work, as well as samples of wood and finishes to choose from. If you visit us in Paradise, PA, we can give you a tour of our shop as well, to see firsthand how we blend traditional craftsmanship and modern technology.


5. What hardware does Vintage Millwork & Restoration offer for custom entryways?

As a dealer of Rocky Mountain Hardware and Ashley Norton, we’ll work with you to determine what fits best with your door designs. We also offer custom hammered hardware, which adds an extra wow factor to the overall project.


6. Do you work with custom glass?

Yes. We work with both insulated glass and historical glass depending on what the project calls for. All the glass we use is made by shops in the USA.


7. What type of finish do you use?

All of our custom doors are finished with a marine-grade epoxy to ensure they’re long-lasting and weather-resistant.


Talk to Us

Don’t see your question here? Please don’t hesitate to contact us! Are you interested in starting a project? We’d love to hear all about it.

What to Expect During the Door Installation Process

What to Expect During the Door Installation Process

Your custom wood door is finished and ready to be installed — but what’s next? Often, customers ask us what to expect on installation day, so to help clear things up, we’ve outlined the door installation process below.

The Day Before

You’ll want to prep the job site the day before to make it an ideal workspace for your door installers. There are three main things we ask customers to do:

  1. Move furniture and other items (e.g., rugs, doormats, plants, etc.) out of the way.
  2. Find a temporary place for pets to stay so they don’t interfere with the installation process.
  3. Check the weather report — particularly if an exterior door is being installed. You’ll want to know in advance if you should prepare to bundle up or expect excessive heat while there isn’t a door in place.


The Crew Arrives & Work Begins

When you’re replacing a door, the door installers will need to do some intensive prep work. The first step is to tear out the existing door and frame and make sure everything surrounding the door opening looks in good condition. You never know what you might find once an old door is removed (e.g., rotting wood, pests, etc.). At this point, the crew might need to stop to address any issues they found. But if everything looks good, they can proceed to fitting your new custom door.

The process for a installing a door in a new build project is much simpler than it is for an existing door replacement. Because the crew won’t need to remove a door first, and the build is new and should be in good condition already, preparation should be minimal and not take up much time.  

As noted above, if you’re having an exterior door installed in winter, the house may get a bit cold due to the gaping hole created by the door installation prep. In this case, most crews will try to complete the door installation in one day. But, if the project needs to take longer, they’ll close off the opening overnight. Door installers will also put down a sill sealer below the door to ensure water and draft resistance.

Finishing Touches

Once the door is securely in place, the crew will finish adding its hardware and review with you how to use it. They may add trim, if necessary, and make a few touch-ups, including a final clean and polish. Before leaving, your door installers will clean and vacuum the work area to ensure it looks just as it did when they arrived.

How Long Does Door Installation Take?

The length of the process depends on the size of the job, but typically with a single front door unit, you can expect the new door installation to take two workdays.

For more information about custom entry doors, contact us [here]. []