Bethlehem Garden Club’s Artful House Tour
In many ways, the magic of the Christmas season is about making the seemingly impossible possible and that’s the premise of a holiday house tour hosted by the Bethlehem Garden Club Dec. 9.
Called “An Artful Christmas House Tour,” the event will feature the homes of six club members who will offer their vision of an artful Christmas.
The homes on the tour are as varied as the nearly 200 members of the garden club, and their diversity is meant to inspire the average elves among us for the artful potential in every home, says Nancy Caldwell, garden club publicity chairwoman.
“These are not all big fancy mansions,” she says. “Ordinary people can do a lot with decorations without over-the-top expenses.”
This is the first time the club has hosted a house tour in about 24 years, Caldwell says. The time seemed right to bring it back, including the fact that there aren’t any competing house tours happening in Bethlehem this holiday season.
The club tends to run one large fundraising event a year such as a garden tour
and a flower show at the Hotel Bethlehem.
“The members were pretty gung-ho about [doing this],” Caldwell says of the house tour. “We did it years and years ago and it was a big success.”
The Bethlehem Garden Club, founded in 1931, is about much more than prize-winning roses and perfectly manicured lawns.
The house tour will showcase the diverse talents of the club’s members. Tour-goers will see the art of architecture, fine art, culinary arts, artful needlework and engaging photography with stunning table settings, beautifully wrapped packages and fabulous Christmas trees.
The homes range from a single-family ranch house, built in 1983, to a three-story Arts and Crafts townhome built in 1917.
The ranch features a newly renovated contemporary kitchen that will be decorated with playful snowman-themed table settings and coordinated floral arrangements. A white tree with silver and gray ornaments is the focal point of the large contemporary family area and echoes its decor. The space will be adorned with handdecorated gift packages, showcasing garden club members’ artistic crafts expertise.
The townhome, in the beautiful tree-lined neighborhood known as Edgeboro, features expansive front porch and an arched chestnut wood door. Designed by an architect for his own residence, it has unique craftsmanship with deep crown molding and original hardware throughout the home. The holiday decor accentuates the home’s natural wood, stucco, stone and slate.
Garden Club member Anne Chiadis is a home-tour veteran and offered her home as a stop on the last tour. “I was on it back then, so I kind of knew the ropes,” Chiadis says.
Chiadis’ home, at 4416 Tracey Lane, is a large traditional home that has as its center a Morris Black designed kitchen. The two-story foyer staircase stunningly sets the Christmas spirit throughout the home, decorated with garland and turquoise Christmas ornaments. The sunroom features a Victorian tree decorated with ribbons and fresh flowers — the table settings and floral arrangements in the room reflect the colors of the tree.
Chiadis is passionate about the artistry being featured on the tour, with her personal specialties being table setting design and cooking.Baked goods showcasing the culinary skills of club members will be for sale in her home. There also will be some sweet treats made from recipes from her self-published coffee table book, “Inspired at Home with Anne,” including three kinds of cupcakes and pumpkin rolls.
Chiadis’ book will be for sale during the tour and she will donate portion of the $60 cover price to the garden club. Chiadis says it is her first book, and that she has been working on it for about eight years.
“Twenty-five years ago, I was going to write a cookbook,” Chiadis says. “I have a degree in interior design. I went to cooking school. I decided to combine all of my passions together in one book. It’s not just a cookbook.”
Book lovers with an interest in the types of artistry the tour highlights can also purchase at Chiadis’ tour stop gently used home and garden books donated by garden club members. There are about 30 and they will sell for $3 each.
The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, a museum housed in three 19th century homes and operated by Historic Bethlehem, is part of the Smithsonian, is also a tour stop. There, tour-goers can see Christmas trees decorated by garden club members.
In 2013, Bethlehem Garden Club began decorating for Christmas at the Kemerer Museum and other Historic Bethlehem sites, including the 1810 Goundie House, Moravian Museum and Single Sisters House. The annual “Trees of Historic Bethlehem” exhibit this year features tree decorations inspired by a piece of art from the Historic Bethlehem collection.
Bethlehem GardenClub member Anne Chiadis with a display of hand-blown glass in her home, one of six on the club's ‘Artful Christmas' house tour Dec. 9.
A mantel with white flocked trees below a Polish portrait by Albert Burns of homeowner Kathryn Klein in 1956 is among the decorating details you will see in the home in the Old Edgeboro section of Bethlehem.
Anne Chiadis’ home has artful decorations everywhere. The table settings and floral arrangements reflect the colors in the tree.