Hol­i­day Tour takes a peek in­side five pri­vate homes

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Werner

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).

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