From Town to Country

Nestled within the foothills of the Laurel Highlands is John Goodish’s estate and working cattle farm. The former U.S. Steel executive shares the story of the property he and his wife now own and maintain after years of yearning.

Photos by Terry Wyllie, AIA

Over four decades, John H. Goodish rose through the ranks of U.S. Steel to become executive vice president and chief operating officer of the steelmaking corporation he joined in 1970. Yet through much of a life devoted to manufacturing, he nurtured a dream of a different, agrarian pursuit — one that, with his wife, he’s now living in the Laurel Highlands.

Six years prior to his retirement from U.S. Steel in 2010, Goodish and his wife Katherine, known as Kitty, purchased Tubmill Creek Farms in New Florence, Westmoreland County. Buying the property, making a home and creating an elite breeding program on the farm fulfills an ambition of more than 40 years that began when the couple raised cattle together on his grandfather’s farm in Greene County.

In anticipation of starting a second career, the couple purchased the 700-acre farm in 2004 from Gerald and Helen Hood Swatsworth, who for 22 years bred Limousin cattle on the property that had been owned by Helen Swatsworth’s family since 1885. The Goodishes have expanded and upgraded the farm, which houses approximately 250 purebred Limousin and registered Lim-Flex cattle and is recognized as one of the nation’s top 20 Limousin cattle breeders.

When they purchased Tubmill Creek Farms, the Goodishes planned to build an adjacent home using only materials sourced and/or manufactured in the United States. They also wanted to include space for visitors and gatherings.

In fall 2008, they began working with Robert A. Steele, AIA, architect for Beyond Ordinary Boundaries in Richmond, Va., to design a country home that would complement a site chosen for proximity to a lake and views of mountains, slopes and farmland.

In spring 2009, they selected builder Fritz Gorzelsky of Johnstown, Pa., to construct and consult on final plans for the home. When construction began in July 2009, builders graded and landscaped the property, installed drainage and added a new access road for the hillside location.

Containing about 10,000 square feet of living space, the three-story home is built atop concrete foundations and foundation walls, and its structure is a combination of wood, steel and masonry. A standing-seam metal roof by U.S. Steel — with snow guards and full metal flashings — along with high-efficiency Marvin windows and doors, and architectural-grade wood trim and detailing create an energy-efficient exterior. Inside are seven bedrooms, seven full baths and three half baths, as well as a three-car garage and front, rear and side porches and terraces.

Design priorities throughout the home included high ceilings, wood detailing, use of handcrafted materials and careful organization of rooms and circulation spaces. The front porch leads to the formal wood-paneled entry hall that contains one of the home’s eight fireplaces and a wood stair leading to the second floor. The entry hall opens to the heart of the home, a space housing the great room, dining room and kitchen, while a rear stone terrace provides ample space for large get-togethers. The first-floor master suite and library are the bookends for this main living area. Family and guest bedrooms spread out from there, as do ground-level entertainment areas and two floors of outdoor decks and terraces.

There are five guest rooms on the second floor and attic levels, and each feels separate, with the exception of two rooms for grandchildren at the end of a hall. Ground-floor highlights include a large bar with billiards, a family room and a den — all of which open to stone terraces in the garden. A second rear stairway permits easy flow between levels. At the end of the first floor are an attached three-car garage and generator shed.

The Goodishes also have a home in Peters Township, but they say they generally live on the farm. There, they share with their three children and five young grandkids a traditional estate that John Goodish describes as “picturesque, comfortable and serene.”

“It [gives] our grandchildren a place to come and play, and it provides a learning experience for life on the farm.” 

Get the look of the Goodish home by using some of the same supplies used to construct and outfit it. Robbin B. Steele of Beyond Ordinary Boundaries, who supervised interior design for the project, suggests keeping a “focus on quiet elegance throughout” the space. Project architect Terry Wyllie, AIA, Steele and the project team — including Emily Brown, Andrew Smolak, James Kobus and Kristin Fox — offer this list of products:

• Benjamin Moore paints
• Baldwin Hardware
• Restoration Hardware accessories
• Visual Comfort Lighting
• Stickley rugs
• American-made products and furniture
• Custom-crafted furniture, such as the dining room table, bed step, chairs and barstools
• Custom carpet and window treatments, decorative pillows, table and bed linens, and fabrics with depth
• Private-collection art, as well as custom-made pieces (special attention to commissioned painting of “Laurel Highlands” in the entry hall)
• Lutron mechanized shading system for main-floor living and dining room windows
• Quality appliances, including Wolf, Sub-Zero and Fisher-Paykel
• Custom-glazed and custom-finished cabinetry
• Custom fireplace screens
• Quality materials, including stone, tile, woods, metals and fabrics

• Allegheny Millwork & Lumber (Pittsburgh), Tom Gillen
• Best Tile Distributers (Richmond, Va.), Mary Thurman
• Charles Luck Stone Center (Manakin, Va.), Bobby Mizelle
• Circa Lighting (Atlanta, Ga.), Terri Edler
• Fairfield Landscaping (Pittsburgh), Eli Brenlove
• Ferguson Enterprises (Cranberry Township), Melissa Dugger
• The Kitchen Gallery Inc. (Greensburg), Larry Flock
• U.S. Steel Metal Sales, Metal Rolled Roofing (Pittsburgh)
• Virginia Wayside Furniture (Richmond, Va.), Jackie Miller

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Categories: HOME + Design