Funds raised from the tours support the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.
WESTFIELD, NJ — The public can visit some of Westfield’s most noteworthy private residences during the upcoming annual Tour of Notable Homes, produced by the Friends of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.
The tour will take place on Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the local professional orchestra.
“The four homes on this year’s tour — the 39th annual — are a nod to the dichotomy between our traditional town and a modern influence,” said Michelle Pierce, co-chair of the tour and member of the Friends. “There are three homes that appear traditional from the exterior but have modern influences on the interior. The fourth is a beautiful modern home immersed in Wychwood, one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Westfield.”
Funds raised from the Tour of Notable Homes are an integral part of the budget for the NJFO.
“How wonderful that I can take my kids to a Carnegie Hall quality symphony in our own backyard,” said Pierce, who grew up in Westfield attending the orchestra’s concerts herself. “This is the orchestra’s biggest fundraiser.”
“We depend on the supplemental funding that comes from events done by the Friends,” said Elizabeth Ryan, director of marketing for the NJFO “Our ticket revenue covers about a third of the cost of staging our eight fully professional concerts each year.” Funds from the tour also cover the orchestra’s educational and music therapy outreach programs.
One home on the tour belongs to architect/designer Anastasia Harrison, who lives with her husband and daughters in the home that she designed 10 years ago. Harrison refers to the residence as a “new old” home, which is a classic Dutch Colonial with a floor plan that works for modern living.
In addition, the home was created using techniques and materials that earned it LEED certification, meaning the construction and operation are to the highest levels of sustainability. The house uses a 14-zone radiant heating system that keeps energy costs low.
Even the house’s exterior is dedicated to environmental friendliness. “We’ve used indigenous plantings so they don’t need additional water or pesticides,” said Harrison. “The shingles are made from post-consumer recycled content and don’t require maintenance.”
“Every room has a story,” Harrison said. “Much of the design was done with ‘green demolition’ materials.”
The sink in one bathroom is repurposed from an old dresser, and a mosaic Harrison created herself for a shower wall was created from found tiles. Tour participants will also be able to see an old barn wood door that opens to the home theater, the “Jack and Jill” garages and the checkerboard kitchen floor made with old-growth black walnut.
Tickets for the 2019 Tour of Notable Homes are $40 in advance, $45 on tour day, available online at www.njfestivalorchestra.org. Tickets are also available at Baron’s Pharmacy and The Town Bookstore in Westfield and Christoffers in Mountainside.