by Susan Hemphil

The Chestnut Hill Holiday House Tour is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. For many residents, the Holiday House Tour has become an annual tradition.

This year’s Holiday House Tour will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. This year’s tour features five Chestnut Hill Homes.

Two of the homes on the tour feature a charming Cotswold-style design by architects Gilchrist, McGoodwin, and Duhring. Legend has it that in the early 1900’s Chestnut Hill developer George Woodward sent the architects to England and France to study the local country architecture for inspiration.

The third home is a dramatic Queen Anne by G.W. & W. D. Hewitt, primary architects for Henry Houston and George Woodward in their carefully planned development of Chestnut Hill.

Also on the tour is a handsome Colonial Revival home built in 1906; attendees may remember the property as the longtime home and office of a well-known Chestnut Hill physician.

Finally, a beautifully constructed modern property will round out the tour; although respectful of its Chestnut Hill surroundings, the house will be an interesting departure from the more traditional homes.

Architecture styles aside, the real stars of the show are the holiday decorations. From the creatively decorated Fraser Firs and Scotch Pines to sparkling tables set for a New Year’s Eve dinner, decorating ideas abound. The Chestnut Hill House Tour attracts the region’s finest designers, florists and merchants and they pull out all the stops in making sure that the tour is Philadelphia’s finest.

In the spirit of the holidays, attendees can expect to see styles that include Victorian ornate, classic country, and festive fancy, and vibrant international as well modern interpretations for a contemporary home. There will be something for everyone.

As part of your tour, attendees will receive a program book, which provides descriptions of all the houses, and highlights the designers in each home.

Reservations are $30 for Chestnut Hill Community Association members and $35 for non-members. Groups of 10 or more enjoy a 10 percent discount. Wristbands, booklets and maps of the tour will be available Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. (although the Tour itself ends at 4 p.m.) Registration in advance is encouraged. Attendees will also receive a list of participating restaurants that are offering a special “House Tour” discount for that day only. And to top off the day, Woodmere Art Museum invites tour attendees to a wine and cheese reception from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

All proceeds benefit the Chestnut Hill Community Association.

For information or to make reservations, call Noreen Spota at 215-248-8810 or visit

This year’s designers, florists, and nurseries will include: Bone Appetite, Bredenbeck’s Bakery , Cafette, Cottage Designs, Elite Florals, El Quetzal, Falls Flowers, LLC, First Impressions, From Bali to Bala, Greene Countrie Garden Club, Green Design , Hannah Dee Interiors , Haven, Interior Design, The Hill Company, Jeffrey Dean, Ltd., Kim McCarthy, Interiors, M & M Interiors, Maple Acres Farm, ML Willcox Home and Personal Accessories, Night Kitchen Bakery, Oxford Circus Toys, The Paperia, Private Gardens, Robertson’s Flowers, Roeder Design Group, Rothe Florists, Scarlet Begonias, Seasonal Sisters, A Taste of Olive, Ten Thousand Villages, Zahra’s Floral Studio

A version of this appeared in last week’s special section.