Ligonier Township home features streams, ponds, full-size gym
Jed Hughes knows it is going to be difficult to sell his 52 acres in the Laurel Highlands.
His property — priced at $2.9 million — includes a five-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot home, streams, ponds and wooded trails. It also has a full-size gym in a separate building, and Hughes' own separate workout building.
Hughes is eager to get the sale moving along, but knows he will miss the place, too. The one-time linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers now is global head of sports practice for Korn/Ferry International, a talent-management firm based in Los Angeles, and works out of New York City most of the time.
But the Ligonier Township house provides a great retreat for him, his wife, Terri, and their son, John-Michael. It also is the site of frequent visits by adult daughter Nikole Farrell, who has a health career in Pittsburgh.
“The house has become a bit of the family,” Hughes says, standing in the breakfast nook beneath tall windows overlooking a pond.
Standing up to an idea
Hughes and his family were living in Ligonier when they bought the property in 1995. The original house on it had burned years earlier, but suggested the placement for their home. It sits at the base of a hilly cup, next to a pond and small waterfall.
When they were designing the house, Hughes and Terri decided to apply some of the thinking of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Just as Wright designed Fallingwater to spill out of its terrain, they wanted their house to “go vertical.” They thought the house should suggest the same lines of the trees that surround it.
As a result, it stands upright, and the exterior boards are erected in a vertical manner.
The interior look of the building suggests tallness. The foyer spins up around a circular staircase. The ceiling of the living-dining area is two stories tall with windows at the top that draw the eye up. The family room, too, is under a cathedral-like ceiling.
Even the bedroom of son John-Michael, 13, is two stories tall. A basketball hoop is mounted on the front of a loft over his bed. That allows for shooting drills any time, and Terri laughs when she talks about hearing the thumping well into the evening.
Hughes, 65, who was an assistant coach for the Steelers, Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns, as well as at Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of California at Los Angeles, says he and Terri designed the house.
The house plays off the land with sunrooms on each side of the family room and tall, arched widows lining the south side to catch the sun's rays.
“It just seemed right to open things up to the outside,” Terri says of the design.
While their two offices and the five bedrooms are walled off, the kitchen, breakfast nook, family room and living-dining area flow together in a style that is popular now, but was fairly forward-looking for the mid-'90s.
Terri claims no architectural inspiration, saying it simply “seemed like a good thing to do.”
A place to play the game
The gym seemed like another good thing to Hughes.
He admits he and Terri were not in agreement on it, but he saw a need. As John-Michael began showing some aptitude in basketball and baseball, Hughes decided the boy could use a space where he could practice year-round.
After the gym was built in 2007, Hughes realized one person can use a gym only so much, so he opened it up to church and amateur groups in the area.
Coaches are closely watching the marketing of the property.
“When it's gone, it's gone,” says Mark Zimmerman, coach of Ligonier Valley Little League and Ligonier Valley Girls Softball. He and others are worried they'll lose use of the gym with a new owner.
Jeff Keyes, the pastor of a Latrobe church called the Underground, says the use of the gym “a godsend.” He is also coach of high-school-age, junior-varsity and junior-high baseball and softball teams. He has been using the gym, which has a machine for batting practice, for three years.
“It is really hard to find a gym in Latrobe, even if you have the money to rent it,” he says.
Hughes admits he would regret the loss of the gym's use by local teams.
“But who knows,” he says. “Maybe the next owner wouldn't even want it. Maybe we can separate it from the rest of the sale.”
Hughes admits he does not know where he and the family are heading. But he says John-Michael's educational future is the driving force in the decision.
“He just has to figure out where he wants to go to school,” Hughes says. “High school and college.”
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7852.
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.
- Munhall officials miffed at ex-manager for leaving town
- McKeesport lawmaker’s bill would fund more police by upping fines
- Clairton residents share concerns over sewage bills
- 2 stores robbed in Alle-Kiski Valley
- Ross brothers ordered to pay fine, remove debris from Christmas display
- Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
- W. Mifflin backs drilling at airport
- Springdale to stick with chief
- Police seize phones of some Norwin High School students
- Testing legs, giving backup goalie a chance are Penguins’ priorities
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out