by Sue Ann Rybak

Attendees of this year’s Holiday House Tour saw some unique ways to transform their own home while getting a sneak peak inside some of Chestnut Hill’s architectural gems.

This year’s tour featured five houses. Two of the houses on the tour were a charming Cotswold-style design by architects Gilchrist, McGoodwin and Duhring. The third home was a dramatic Queen Anne by G.W. and W.D. Hewitt, primary architects for Henry Houston and George Woodward. The fourth home on the tour was a handsome Colonial Revival home built in 1906. This year’s tour also featured a beautifully designed modern home.

Shirley Hanson, a member of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, described the first house on the tour as the perfect example of the Wissahickon style.”

“It’s magnificent,said Hanson. It brings the Wissahickon setting into the community by using native plants and, through the integration of the inside with the outside ,one flows into one another.”

For some visitors the Holiday House Tour has become a holiday tradition.

“It’s a great way to start the holiday season,said Wayne resident Nancy DePaul, who is participating in the tour for the fifth year in a row. µÄ am greatly intrigued by the architecture and design of the houses. As a therapist, I enjoy seeing the different ways people celebrate the holidays.”

She added that thanks to the generosity of the homeowners visitors have a chance to see holiday decorations that compliment the unique style and architecture of each house.

Julie Scheier, of North Whales, who was on the tour with 12 friends, said, it was a great way to spend some time with friends.

“It’s just so great that these people are allowing us to come into their homes and see behind the walls, said Betsy Cornish, of Lower Gwyneth.

Bruce Levin, who helped organize the event, said turnout this year was exceptional.

“We have not had a lull all day,said Levin, who owns The Perfect Stitch Upholstery, 8012 Germantown Ave.

Levin said one of the challenges of organizing the Holiday House Tour was getting homes because the home owners are basically giving up their home for five days.

“Designers need two days to set up and break down the decorations,” he said.

He added that every year the organizers try to get new designers. Levin said all the designers did a wonderful job decking the halls.