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Colonial Williamsburg inspired Hempfield couple in house makeover

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 7:22 p.m.
Westmoreland County Historical Society
The Dzurkos’ home on George’s Station Road is one of five on the Westmoreland County Historical Society Historic House Tour on Sept. 21.

A visit to Colonial Williamsburg inspired Susan and Andrew Dzurko to purchase a historic farmhouse in Hempfield and renovate it in Early American style. Their home is one of five slated for the Westmoreland County Historical Society Historic House Tour on Sept. 21. The self-driving tour includes homes in a range of building styles and time periods dating from the 1770s to the 1930s.

The Dzurkos' home on George's Station Road is a red-brick Italianate farmhouse dating from about 1840. The home once belonged to Henry George, a descendant of the man who built the fortified blockhouse for which the road was named. The Dzurkos bought the house in 2007 after driving by it many times on trips from Indiana County.

Compared to other houses they had considered buying, this one was in good condition and needed mostly cosmetic work. The couple painted rooms, removed shag carpeting and updated the bathroom. “We slowly did a room at a time while we lived here,” Susan Dzurko says.

The highlight of the interior is the tavern room. “Everyone who comes into it really seems to enjoy it,” Susan says.

Her husband added traditional wood paneling to the room, and her father-in-law helped to build the tables that flank the fireplace.

During the tour, guests can gather in the room to sample skillet cornbread and cider.

Outside the house, features of note include “the facade that you don't really see when you're driving by at 40 miles an hour,” Susan says, and a Williamsburg-style fenced garden in back. “You don't really appreciate the house itself until you walk the grounds.”

Other homes on the tour include the circa-1900 Baughman House near Jeannette, the 1933 Howard Zeller House in Greensburg, the 1910 Buterbaugh-Stein House in Latrobe and the re-created Hanna's Tavern in Historic Hanna's Town.

On Sept. 20, the Historical Society will host a “Toast the Tour” cocktail party at the Semler house in Latrobe. Now owned by Drs. Howard and Susan Bursch, the house is a 1926 red-brick Tudor Revival. The party will be catered by Rizzo's Malabar Inn and includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a tour of the house. Tickets for the cocktail party are $50 in advance.

Cynthia Bombach Helzel is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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