Westgate Home & Garden Tour to highlight the neighborhood

By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

Although Emilee Johnson and her family have lived in the Westgate neighborhood for only three years, they’ve made countless memories in their 1920s cottage-style Tudor home.

Now she’s welcoming the community to her home to share in the warmth of those memories, preserved alongside many of the home’s original features.

Johnson’s home is one of eight stops on this year’s Westgate Home and Garden Tour. The annual event will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. June 8 and will include the Third Way Coffee House, 3059 W. Broad St., one home on South Brinker Avenue, two homes on South Southampton Avenue, three homes on South Roys Avenue and one home on South Algonquin Avenue.

“This year we are celebrating the centennial of the Westgate neighborhood,” said Kate Futty, who is a Westgate Neighbors Association (WNA) board member and a member of the Home and Garden Tour committee. “The first homes were built in the neighborhood in 1923, but it was not given the name ‘Westgate’ until 1924.”

The three homes on South Roys Avenue are the oldest structures on this year’s tour, all built in the 1920s.

“About half of the homeowners on this year’s tour also have children, so I think this year is especially unique as tour-goers will get an idea of how these families make it work in homes that are smaller and have far fewer bedrooms and bathrooms than what you typically see on HGTV. We are thrilled that in the year of Westgate’s Centennial celebration, we can highlight the neighborhood’s next generation.”

When Johnson first saw her South Roys Avenue home, she says she fell in love with the front door. Once she opened it, Johnson discovered there was so much more to love.

“I love the brick patio in our backyard, I love all of the built-in cabinetry that we have in the bedrooms upstairs, and we have a wonderful cedar closet in our children’s bedroom that when I first saw it, I envisioned they could make into their little fort as they get older,” she said. “I love the open space in our living and dining areas, and just the overall design of the home that allows me and my husband to collaborate our styles with the home instead of having the desire to change it.”

Johnson’s outdoor garden is among one of her favorite spaces in the home since it allows her to connect with nature while sharing its bounty with the community.

“We’ve been adding more to it with each season that comes, and it makes me excited to have a surplus of homegrown food that I can give to neighbors and friends,” she said.

A few blocks away is another stop on the tour at Third Way Coffee House, which recently called the Westgate neighborhood home.

“Third Way was previously located on the north side of West Broad Street, but moved across the street to the south side of West Broad last year, which now officially puts them in the Westgate neighborhood,” Futty said.

Third Way will provide its full-service coffee bar for the duration of the tour, and AJ’s Tacos food truck will be on site as well, she said.

“There is also one stop on this year’s tour that is garden-only and excludes the interior of the home, but the garden at this stop is incredibly impressive and spans both the front, side and back of the property,” Futty said.

Other highlights of the tour include A Cape Cod-style home built in 1941 that is full of mid-century modern charm and boasts many characteristic quirks of the neighborhood, a mid-century modern ranch built in 1953 that features solar panels and a garden that grows peppers for homemade hot sauces, and a Craftsman built in 1923 that experienced a fire early last year.

“Since then, it has been fully renovated to not only update the electric, HVAC, plumbing and venting, but the homeowners have meticulously rebuilt as many of the original features of the home as they could to maintain its craftsman essence and charm,” Futty said.

Each home on the tour is assigned one lead volunteer, in addition to other volunteers who help guide visitors through the homes and gardens, she said.

“At least one homeowner is also present on tour day to help answer questions about their property that the volunteers may not be able to answer,” Futty said.

Proceeds from the tour help fund the Westgate Neighbors Association scholarship program, which is awarded to one student every year who is pursuing continued education either through a certificate or degree program. The scholarship is open to students living in the Westgate neighborhood, as well as any West High School students or alumni.

Proceeds from the event also go toward the continued preservation, improvement and enhancement of the neighborhood, as well as the Westside community as a whole, Futty said.

Pre-sale tickets are $15 for WNA members and $17 for the general public. The event will be held rain or shine. Tickets are available online through June 7 at westgateneighbors.org.
On the day of the tour, tickets are $20 and available at the registration tent at West Gate Lodge, 2925 W. Broad St. Cash, check or credit card are accepted only at the registration tent, which opens at 1:30 p.m. Parking for registration is available behind the lodge.


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