The Capitol Hill Restorations Society’s Mother’s Day House and Garden Tour has been a community tradition for 65 years, and after two years of outdoor or virtual-only observances, it will be back, in an updated version of its original format, on May 7 and 8! An exciting prospect – but it’s coming quickly. Here’s what you need to know.
In a break with tradition, there will be some activities offered prior to the customary event start times (4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday). Will-call at Hill Center will be open from 2:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tour-goers are invited to enjoy the new art exhibit on view in the Hill Center. Many of the artists will be available to discuss their work. Guided tours of the historic building will be offered at 3 p.m. both days.
Five private residences will be open, plus the rectory at St. Peter’s Church. St. Peter’s Church, Christ Church and Hill Center will offer tours and rest facilities. A few highlights:
- You will visit two homes in the Churchill Condos, a very clever re-purposing of a former church. The units are “stacked,” one right above the other, each with its own distinctive and light-filled character. Both apartments feature built-ins crafted by master cabinet-maker, Peter Hackett.
- At the Lenox Condominium, you’ll see another conversion, in this case, from a school into a delightful, homey living space. The quirky floor plan, enormous windows, and eclectic furnishings make it truly memorable.
- An Eighth Street home, a 19th century gem, is brand-new to the current owners; at press time, they are still unpacking. The house is beautifully redone and features a collection of art and fascinating space program memorabilia. Not to be missed: a 17th Century prison door, sporting an early example of graffiti – a passion of the home owners.
- One of the Sixth Street homes has an unusual floor-plan, and a second-story corner porch with fantastic views. The garden is large and truly lovely, hidden from the street by a privacy wall, with plenty of seating.
- St. Peter’s rectory is home to pastor Rev. Gary Studniewski and other clergy, and is also home to historic furnishings including religious iconography and Waterford crystal chandeliers. If you’ve walked past it, you’ve no doubt wondered what’s inside—this is a rare opportunity to see for yourself.
Docent-led walks on Tour weekend are a tradition —but this year, they’ve been expanded. CHRS President Beth Purcell has developed a brand new tour, “High Life and Low Points” featuring the alleys north of East Capitol Street and west of 7th Street. Note that the first of these is scheduled for 3:30 pm on Saturday. The catalog will also include instructions for a self-guided tour of the neighborhood immediately surrounding St. Peter’s, courtesy of Nancy Metzger. Learn about the Lincoln School and Carroll Street, which was razed to accommodate construction of the Library of Congress Annex.
The private homes will also be available as 3-D scans—along with a “bonus” house (not included on the in-person tour) that features cleverly updated family heirlooms and a walk-in vault in place of a bedroom closet. The virtual tour is only for ticket-holders and will not be made available to the general public.
Tickets, $30 in advance, will be sold primarily through Eventbrite, ending May 5 at 2:30 pm. If tickets are still available at Tour time, they can be purchased for $40 at will-call in Hill Center, using cash, check, and the PayPal phone app.
Each tour-goer will present proof of vaccination and an ID at will-call to pick up a ticket, catalog, and wristband. The wristband, like the ticket, is good for both days and must be shown to enter any of the tour stops. Masks are required at all indoor locations and will be available at will-call.
Visit chrs.org/more-house-tour-2022 to purchase, tickets, see more photos and find the most current information.
Elizabeth Nelson is Chair of the CHRS House and Garden Tour Committee.