Homes and gardens featured in Westgate

By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

This year’s Westgate Home and Garden Tour will feature a variety of unique homes, from an Air BnB residence to the area’s first and only registered Little Free Library.

Now in its sixth year, the tour has become a staple of the neighborhood, which is increasingly seeing more attractions and activities like regular food truck visits and the creation of the Westgate Farmers Market.

This year’s event will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. June 11 beginning at the West Gate Masonic Lodge, 2925 W. Broad St., where registrants will receive their ticket and tour book that includes a map and bios about each of the nine stops. Attendees are invited to either walk or drive the tour.

Co-chair Becca Rohner says one of the most unique additions to this year’s event is the showcase of the area’s first registered Little Free Library, which the homeowner installed after being inspired by so many registered libraries in her hometown of Seattle.

“Guests will have an opportunity to learn how they can build a literacy-friendly exchange in their own neighborhood,” Rohner said.

The Little Free Library movement started in 2009 in Wisconsin when Todd Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to this mother who was a teacher, she said. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.

His neighbors and friends loved it so much that he built several more and gave them away, Rohner said. Anyone can build and open a little library without registering it, though doing so is a way to support the organization and put it on the official Little Free Library map.

Other homes on the tour feature their own creative aspects, including space-saving ideas and upcycle projects.

“Our guests will see many affordable ways they can transform their own homes by converting or repurposing things they already own,” Rohner said.

One home recently underwent its first complete renovation since 1925, when it was constructed. The renovation included turning the original sleeping porch into a two-room master bedroom.

“I think our guests will marvel at how another homeowner took a rather bland home and transformed it into an open, airy and creatively eclectic home – perfect for entertaining,” Rohner said.

This year’s tour features eight houses with gardens, as well as one garden-only stop.

“Other features you will see include an Air BnB residence, a bath with industrial-style lighting and a creatively eclectic contemporary kitchen,” she said.

Rohner also encourages guests to stop by Westgate’s new boutique candy store, Firefly Sweet Shoppe, 523 Binns Blvd. The shop is owned by one of this year’s tour homeowners, she said, and in addition to offering several sweets, offers community integration for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Advance tickets for the Westgate Home and Garden Tour are $12 and are available online at, at Haldeman Cleaners, 3115 W. Broad St., or at the first Westgate
Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 4 at the West Gate Masonic Lodge.

On the day of the tour, tickets are $15 and only may be purchased at the registration tent. During the first week of June, the Westgate Neighbors Association will begin previewing the tour’s stops on its Facebook page.

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