House tours show historic places, current design
By Cynthia Bombach Helzel
Published: Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
From a carefully preserved historic farmstead to a modern house with an award-winning kitchen, some of Westmoreland County's most interesting homes are featured in two upcoming house tours hosted by the Westmoreland County Historical Society and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
The Westmoreland County Historical Society's annual Historic House Tour takes place Saturday and features five houses and one historic bank building. “There's a lot that will be of interest to people,” says tour committee chairman Clinton Piper. “History matters, and we're trying to highlight that.” A large part of the county's history is rooted in its agricultural tradition, and few farms in the county are as well preserved as the Pollins family homestead in Unity Township. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Sewickley Manor is a working farm that has been in the family for seven generations.
The red-brick Greek Revival farmhouse remains nearly unchanged from its original 1852 design except for a sunroom added in 1999 by current residents Calvin and Mary Pollins. The sunroom's floor-to-ceiling windows allow a panoramic view of the farm and the Chestnut Ridge.
“You can sit and look out and see the whole view and the whole farm from this one room,” Mary Pollins says. “There's nowhere else in the house where you can do that.”
The rest of the house maintains the original pine floors, understated dentil moldings and original windows, all carefully restored to preserve the home's original appearance. “Nothing much ever changed in this house,” Pollins says. “That's the beauty of it.”
Family heirlooms abound, including numerous vintage photographs, a walnut corner cupboard and a set of china that was originally brought to the farm in a covered wagon. The entire property, which includes the house, barn and 18 outbuildings, will be open for the tour.
Special attractions at the other five tour sites will include samples of bread baked in a beehive oven, a scavenger hunt with prizes, hors d'oeuvres and a peek into the original vault at the Citizens Bank building in Latrobe.
Kitchens and food are the focus of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art's annual “Art in the Kitchen” Tasting Tour to be held Oct. 6. At each house, only the kitchen will be open to visitors, who will be treated to samples of food prepared from recipes in the museum's “Art in the Kitchen” cookbook.
Sue and Ken White's kitchen was remodeled in 2011 with a step-saving floor plan, granite countertops and a cheery color scheme featuring white cabinets, a muted yellow-and-beige tile backsplash and vibrant persimmon walls.
“I really like country French,” Sue White says, “and I wanted to get that feeling incorporated into the kitchen.”
The kitchen, designed by Amy Speranza of Interior Advisors, was featured recently in Housetrends magazine as the winner of the 2012 Pittsburgh Kitchen Design Contest.
One of the room's unique features is the pair of tall glass-fronted curio cabinets flanking the paneled refrigerator. The glass shelves hold Sue White's colorful ceramics collection. The room is further personalized with her original artwork and several ceramic chickens.
The “Art in the Kitchen” tour includes three other houses plus Apple Hill Playhouse in Delmont, which will re-create a 1950s kitchen set onstage. At the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, chef Sergio Maragni will give two cooking demonstrations on the day of the tour.
Cynthia Bombach Helzel is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Job cuts at AGH part of ‘strategic’ process
- Marcellus shale driller Noble Energy Inc. sinks roots into Pittsburgh
- Stage volunteer dies following collapse at Pine-Richland High School
- Penguins notebook: Heralded Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov debuts with Capitals
- Missing hikers found in McConnells Mill State Park
- Hunt for missing jet widens to distant waters
- Hempfield couple charged in thefts
- Profit falls at American Eagle Outfitters on sales decline, charges