Warwick House was built in 1910 for Howard Heinz, son of the ketchup king H. J. Heinz. The architects were Vrydaugh and Wolfe, and the construction budget was $75,000.(1) After the Heinzes it passed through the Hillmans, and now it belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, from which it is rented by Opus Dei, the Catholic organization famed for its albino assassins.(2) But the organization seldom sends the assassins out against anyone but renowned curators; the rest of us are quite safe. At an open house this summer, old Pa Pitt was graciously allowed to take a few pictures of the beautifully maintained Jacobean interior. Above, the window in the grand staircase.
This picture of the front is not the best; the light was from the wrong direction. It means we will have to return soon at a different time of day.
The front door.
The front hall; the door to the library is on the right, the grand staircase on the left.
A little bit of the decorative woodwork in the front hall.
The grand staircase.
Modern American houses forget about the ceiling, as if people never looked up. Warwick House does not make that mistake. This is the decorated ceiling in a side hall.
The former ballroom was converted into a chapel by the late Henry Menzies, an ecclesiastical architect whose specialty was refurbishing modernist churches of the 1960s and 1970s to make them suitable for liturgical worship. He liked to use a baldacchino to give proper emphasis to the altar. (The ballroom was added to the house later, probably in 1929 according to the current residents.)
The ceiling of the ballroom.
- According to the American Architect for April 20, 1910. (↩)
- Update: An earlier version of this article identified the current owners of the house as Opus Dei. One of the albino assassins was kind enough to explain that the house belongs to the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which rents it to Opus Dei on the condition that Opus Dei pay for the maintenance, which is tremendously expensive. (↩)