A Victorian home designed by A. Theophilus Chandler is part of the Great Houses Tour.

A Victorian home designed by A. Theophilus Chandler is part of the Great Houses Tour.

by Alex Bartlett for the Chestnut Hill Historical Society

On Sunday, May 22, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society will be hosting its first annual Great Houses Tour, showcasing architecturally significant older homes adapted for modern living as well as new construction that embraces the community’s history and landscape.

The hosts at each house will include not only the owners, but also the architects, designers, and contractors, so you can ask as many questions as you’d like. The locations of these private homes will not be revealed until the day of the tour, but some of the owners have allowed us to share “sneak peaks” beforehand.

A Theophilus Chandler-designed Victorian was meticulously constructed and finished with fine detailing. Chandler specified that the house’s stonework was to “be local stone from an approved quarry … laid … on its natural bed and not on edge, and to well bedded and bonded.” His wood finishes were executed in oak, redwood brought from northern California, pine, and cherry. Right now, this 1889 house is undergoing a spectacular renovation. Designers and contractors are carefully preserving the original Queen Anne-style decorative features while introducing a great 21st century kitchen and real luxuries throughout. Be among the first to see its new work.

Also included is a much-celebrated modern and “green” house by Studio of Metropolitan Design Architects. SoMA designed the house to maximize sunlight, minimize its footprint, and respect the natural contours of the surrounding landscape through use of cantilevered construction. The architect visited the site countless times while designing in order to view the lot at all times of day and understand how light would travel through the house from sunrise to sunset. The result is an extraordinarily bright and airy home, flooded with natural sunlight.

A third house is a rare example of the work of architect Kenneth Day, the son of architect Frank Miles Day. Only one other Kenneth Day-designed house stands in the Chestnut Hill area, an International-Style house on Millman Street. The house on our tour was built in the 1930s for the Dilks family, which owned the house for many years. It has since been enlarged with an addition that is at once sensitive and dramatic in how it transforms the experience of the house.

Tickets are limited and moving fast! Get your tickets now at www.chhist.org/great-houses, or stop by CHHS this Sunday, May 15, between 3 and 5 p.m,, when we’ll be having an Open House for the Chestnut Hill Home & Garden Festival.

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