• Why Franklin?

  • The Krmarzick

  • One might be curious how a teacher from Ottawa, Canada and a soldier from Oregon wound up restoring a beautiful Victorian home on Liberty Street in Franklin, PA. Jen Krzmarzick was teaching ESL in Seoul, Korea when she met her husband, Mike, while they were learning Latin dance. The couple has been married for nearly 10 years, and their path to Franklin is a unique and interesting story.

    After they got married, Jen didn't have a work visa in the US, so she turned her passion for baking into a business, and she never got back into teaching. Mike retired from the Army this year after 23 years of service holding the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. He served as a Bandmaster/Commander, and he and Jen resided in Savannah, Georgia at the time of his retirement.

    Jen and Mike own and operate a business, Kitchen Vixen, where they create and produce cookie molds and cookie cutters along with European pastries and molded cookies. Their business generated a great deal of the criteria on their list of requirements for a new town to call their home. Many of their customers are located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, so they wanted to choose a property close to these areas for marketing their products.

    They were returning from the annual event, CookieCon, in 2022, traveling from Michigan to Bradford. They were going to see a house they felt checked off many of the boxes on their list of wants and requirements, when they decided to stop in Franklin. The city's Blues & Barbecue Festival was taking place, and they instantly felt a sense of community and the hometown charm they were looking for.

    The Kzmarzicks looked at the property in Bradford and considered making an offer, but Franklin was so appealing to them. They decided to look at real estate here. The Liberty Street property, which had been the long-time home of Gage Allam popped up and they knew they had to see it.

    They contacted their realtor on Father’s Day with only a two-hour window for a showing, and she complied. Instantly, they knew it was the one. There is space for their four rescue dogs. The basement and garage are perfect for their business needs. The proximity to stores makes walking for the things they need convenient, and the sense of being part of a traditional neighborhood is present. What they need in everyday life is right here. The quest to make this Victorian beauty their home began.

    The couple moved into their new home in April 2023 and immediately began restoration and renovations to bring their dream to life. They previously restored a Victorian home in Savannah, so this process was not new to them. The woodwork, including the stairwell, is being stripped and restored to its original beauty. They prefer a natural, classic style. The work they have completed on the home in a brief period of time is nothing short of amazing. They expanded the kitchen, gutted it, and started fresh. The laundry room on the first floor was turned into a pantry, and the laundry area was moved to the second floor. The downstairs powder room was renovated, and new air conditioning and heating were added. The back porch was enclosed and is now an office for their business and also serves as a comfortable doggie den for the couple’s fur babies.

    Mike and Jen shared some advice for prospective buyers of historic homes:

    • Turn to YouTube for instructions when doing the work yourself.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    • Complete tasks as you can - focus and stay calm.
    • The changing seasons affect your projects. Keep that in mind.
    • Be realistic if you’re doing the work yourself; it can become a full-time job.
    • Have two plans: An immediate plan and a long-range plan.
    • When you get overwhelmed, take a break - know your limitations.
    • Be both a dreamer and a realist; you need the dream to create the finished product.
    • Have more savings and accessible funds available than you think you need.


    When asked if they would do it again, both said “Absolutely!” — despite the work that is in progress and the renovations that are still pending.

    The Krzmarzicks have embraced Franklin, and they feel the residents of Franklin have reciprocated. Jen is making plans for how she is going to share their home in the future while utilizing her wonderful culinary skills. Mike has joined the Silver Cornet Band and has volunteered his music skills by performing in “Cinderella” and “Cabaret” at the Barrow-Civic Theatre.

    The road to arriving in Franklin was an interesting and exciting path for this warm, friendly couple. They assure us Franklin will be their forever home, and they couldn’t be happier with their decision. We are excited to welcome them to our community and look forward to seeing what great things they have in store for their beautiful historic home!

    (This write-up was originally put together by Franklin Preservation for the group's Facebook page.)

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