Buying Here: Hempfield

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Spanish Colonial homes, known for their warm colors and earthy textures, are often found in the Southwest or Florida. This type of architecture is rare in Pennsylvania, which is why Pittsburgh natives Ann and Ron Phillips were drawn to this 83-year-old home in Hempfield, Westmoreland County, 14 years ago.

"My husband was always interested in antiques and old homes, so he fell in love with the house as soon as he set his eyes on it. He loved the style of it ... the rough Spanish coat on the outside, the hardwood floors, the stained glass, the thick wooden doors -- everything," said Mrs. Phillips, a retired nurse who is president of a preservation company, Phillips Home Improvement Inc.

Mr. Phillips, a retired builder, is an adviser to the company.

At a glance
  • Website:
  • Size: 76.79 square miles
  • Population: 40,721 (2000 census)
  • School district: Hempfield
  • Enrollment: 7,200
  • SAT scores: Verbal 527, math 562, writing 502 (Hempfield Senior High School)
  • Current taxes on 22 Moore Ave.: $3,268. Municipal: 3 mills; School: 70.15 mills; County: 7.66 mills
  • Earned income tax: 1 percent
  • Service tax: $52
  • Claim to fame: As one of six original townships in Bedford County in 1771, Hempfield considers itself the oldest municipality in Western Pennsylvania. Yet its early, mostly German, settlers borrowed its name from Hempfield, Lancaster County, formed in 1729. That Hempfield was named for its production of hemp. This one was known for another mind-altering substance -- whiskey.

The house's mixed style -- Spanish Colonial outside, English Colonial inside -- comes from its construction in the 1920s, Mrs. Phillips says. A man and his Spanish-born wife intended to construct a Spanish-style home, but she died before it was finished. When the man remarried, his second wife chose English Colonial windows and woodwork and French doors.

Now, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have listed the large white stucco house at 22 Moore Ave. for $445,000 through, listing No. 22208485.

With nearly 5,000 square feet of living space and more than 2 acres, the house can accommodate a large family or even a home business.

"We were interested in opening up a bed and breakfast or a tea salon in our home but we never did," said Mrs. Phillips.

Its key Spanish Colonial elements include a new terra-cotta roof, arched doorways and stucco and plaster walls. All of the flooring is hardwood with Brazilian mahogany trim except for the carpeted basement and sitting room. There are four bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths.

The house has an aged aesthetic with crown molding, high ceilings and unique built-in cabinetry with leaded, etched, stained and beveled glass.

In the entry way, you're greeted by a set of wooden steps leading into the dining room, which has a built-in china cupboard.

The living room has a gas-burning fireplace, three sets of French doors and a brass chandelier.

Off the living room is a side porch ideal for warm summer days.

The white kitchen is connected to a breakfast room and has Corian countertops, a marble floor and appliances from Kenmore and Bosch.

Wrought-iron railings line the stairs to the second floor and the large balcony off the landing, reached through a set of French doors.

In addition to the four bedrooms there is a sitting room that was once used as the maid's quarters. The master bedroom has a decorative fireplace.

Each of the 3 1/2 baths have been updated with brass- and nickel-finish faucets, and one bathroom has a jetted tub. The couple added a wine cellar with room for 100-150 bottles in the finished basement, which has a gas-burning fireplace.

Mr. and Mrs. Phillips bought the property 14 years ago for $250,000 and have made many renovations, including central air conditioning, a new furnace, chandeliers and roof, an upgraded 200-amp service with underground wiring, an Omnistone walkway in the front, and new landscaping throughout.

The property's assessed market value is $34,710 ( In the past three years, no properties have sold on Moore Avenue or nearby Silk and Fiscus (

The property is four miles away from downtown Greensburg and local restaurants and shopping, Downtown Pittsburgh is about a 45-minute drive away.

The couple moved here to be closer to their son, who lived in Greensburg at the time. He now lives in Florida.

"My children stayed overnight sometimes and my grandson stayed here a lot, but the kids are gone. They're out of state now," Mrs. Phillips said.

The couple are now looking for a condo in Nevada to be near their daughter.

Mr. and Mrs. Phillips (724-217-0300) will have an open house today from 1 to 4 p.m.


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Sonya Chun: or 412-263-1944. First Published June 5, 2010 4:00 AM


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