Holiday Tour takes a peek inside five private homes
NEWTOWN – You won’t find any fancy collections or antiques inside the *reene Street home of Kim and Michael Cosack.
“But it’s lived in and it’s loved. And it’s enjoyed,” says Kim, of the post-Civil War building which dates to the mid-1800s and was once part of Archambault Square.
“I wouldn’t swap this house for any of the houses I show,” continues Kim, who has worked as a realtor in the area for more than two decades. “I always tell everyone they’ll take me out of here in a pine box. I ain’t moving,” she says.
The house is one of five private homes and six public buildings that will open their doors to the public for the 50th Holiday House Tour hosted by the Newtown Historic Association on Saturday.
This will be the first time the *reene Street house has been on the tour since 1977.
The Cosacks purchased the house in 1989 after a trip to Newtown led them down *reene Street and past their future home. They immediately fell in love with the location, less than a half a block from Newtown’s historic State Street.
“It reminded me a lot of home because you could walk to everything,” said Kim, who grew up in Chester, England.
When they purchased the house, it was in “rough shape” after years of being a rental property, said Kim.
Over the years, the couple has slowly restored the house to its present condition. “It’s been like the show, ‘This Old House,’” says Michael.
“It is an old house and we love living here for that reason,” adds Kim. “There are no straight lines or even floors, big closets or sumptuous bathrooms, just quirky spaces that have evolved over the 180 years since it was built,” she said.
The couple has made those quirky spaces “our own” through color and decor and updating the most important room in the house - the kitchen.
It is a relatively small home so every room gets used, said Kim.
The porch, which Kim’s father built in 1990, “comes alive in the summer when we spend endless evenings watching the world go by,” said Kim.
“The living room is a great spot to sit and chat with no distractions but the fireplace. The dining room with its gold and sienna color scheme and large round table offers a warm and inviting background for dinner conversations,” continued Kim.
The heart of the house is literally and figuratively the kitchen, with its hand crafted pine cabinets and views of the garden and the family room. Here the fireplace is surrounded by built in shelves crammed with cookbooks and gardening books, both passions of the Cosacks.
Almost every room overlooks a portion of their “secret garden,” which the Cosacks hope visitors will stop to enjoy.
In addition to the Cosack house, four other private homes are on the tour - the former Worstall Stables at 98 Penn Street owned by Lorraine Pentz, the Dinneen house at 200 South State Street, the David and Andrea Page home at 14 South Chancellor Street and the Robert and Betsey King house at 242 South Chancellor Street.
An added treat this year will be the Szwajkos outdoor garden railroad at 107 Penn Street. Featuring a stream, waterfalls, ponds, tunnels and two loops of track, the *-Scale railroad is a reminder of the time when the railroad served Newtown’s freight service and passenger railroad needs.
The tour also includes stops at several public buildings, including the beautifully restored 18th-century Half-Moon Inn where tour goers will enjoy period musical entertainment, hearthside colonial cooking demonstrations, mulled cider and cheese.
Also open will be St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Newtown Fire Association Museum, the Newtown Borough Hall, the Stocking Works and the Newtown Library Company.
*** The tour will take place Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $25. *uests are encouraged to wear walking shoes since each location is reached easily by foot.
Advance tickets can be purchased at the Newtown Book & Record Exchange, 102 S. State Street, and on-line at the association’s website, www.newtownhistoric.org.
On the day of the tour, tickets can be purchased at the Half-Moon Inn, Court Street and Centre Avenue, and at the Stocking Works, 301 South State Street, Newtown.
In the event of significant inclement weather, the tour will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2. No picture taking or high-heeled shoes will be permitted inside the houses. For information, call 215968-4004 or visit the website.
Proceeds from the tour benefit the Newtown Historic Association and its programs dedicated to the preservation of Newtown’s heritage.
Kim and Michael Cosack inside their 21 Greene Street home.
The Page House (1873) at 14 South Chancellor Street.
The King House (1962) at 242 South Chancellor Street
The Dinneen House at 200 South State Street (circa 1800).