A table decorated by Cobblestones at last year's House Tour.

by Paula M. Riley

This Saturday, Dec. 4, people from around the region will come to Chestnut Hill for the annual Chestnut Hill Holiday House Tour. The tour is a chance to take part in a full day of holiday activities and to visit some of its historic homes. The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organized by the Chestnut Hill Community Association and sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Hospital and Bowman Properties, Ltd, the tour will take guests through five neighborhood houses that have been professionally decorated by area florists and designers.  These homes represent the wonderful variety of architectural styles that make Chestnut Hill so attractive.

This year’s tour features an 1880s Colonial Revival, a Civil War farmhouse, a 1931 Anglo-Norman style Cotswold cottage, an 1820s Federal townhouse and a brand-new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified home.

Visitors will get lot of good ideas about getting their own homes into the holiday spirit. They’ll find banisters wrapped with ribbons and garlands, dining tables set fancifully for holiday feasts, gardens and patios brimming with Christmas trees and seasonal arrangements, both classic and whimsical. If that’s not enough holiday cheer, there will be freshly roasted chestnuts available to all on the outside hearth at one of the homes.

The five tour homes are not the only attraction on Dec. 4, though. Many of the area’s restaurants are offering a 10 percent discount for tour guests, a great benefit to anyone planning lunch in between home visits or dinner at the end of the day.

Also, the Avenue will be decked out in holiday colors, and the many shops featuring home décor will be awaiting your visit.  After seeing what the professionals do to create a holiday feeling, you too can purchase accents to your home’s designs at Laurel Hill Gardens, Lavender Hill, Lemons & Limes, Bredenbeck’s Bakery, Oxford Circus Toys and other unique and interesting shops located in close proximity to the homes on tour.

New to the tour this year is a wine and cheese reception at Woodmere Art Museum from 2 to 6 p.m. Woodmere invites all House Tour guests to visit The Founders Gallery, which will be decorated for the holidays. Tour participants are also welcome to view museum exhibitions that are open that day.

All tour guests will receive a keepsake guidebook with map and details of the homes and work of the designers and decorators.  Tickets for the House Tour are $30 for CHCA members and $35 for non-members and can be reserved in advance by calling Noreen Spota 215-248-8810, or via the web at  www.chestnuthillorg.

On the day of the tour, wristbands, programs and tour maps can be picked up at the former Magarity Ford at 8200 Germantown Avenue.  Groups of 10 or more will receive a 10% ticket discount with advanced reservation

The House Tour is the culmination of hundreds of volunteer hours and in-kind donations from talented designers and florists below:

Botanical Expressions
Bredenbeck’s Bakery
Burke Brothers Landscape Design
Charlie Heisler
Cotillion Antiques – Julie Roland
First Impressions – Sandra Ongaro
The Garden Girls
Greene Countrie Garden Club
Haven – Pam Waters and Sandy Selke
Hill Company
Housedressing by Kate – Kathleen Meadows
Jane M. Piotrowski
Laurel Hill Gardens
Lavender Hill
ML Willcox
Night Kitchen Bakery
Patricia Marian Cove – Architectural Interiors and Design
Pottery Barn – Amy Ludwig
Private Gardens – Michael J. Darcy
Scarlet Begonias