Best of Boston Home 2008

Our top picks for architects, designers, furniture stores, kitchen suppliers, and more.

Contractors


best of boston home 2008

A handrail carved from a single block of wood by Payne Bouchier. (Photo Provided)

Millwork
PAYNE BOUCHIER FINE CARPENTRY

“God is in the details,” declared world-famous modernist architect Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe. If so, then the handiwork of Payne Bouchier, including stairway railings, moldings, and storage cabinets, is divinely inspired. The firm’s work is exquisitely rendered with the highest-quality materials, precise attention to detail, and thoughtfulness about clients’ needs and wants.

173 Norfolk Ave., Boston, 617-445-4323, paynebouchier.com

Audio/Video Equipment Installation
CAMBRIDGE SOUNDWORKS

In the 1970s, big speakers always meant the best in high fidelity, but in the age of the iPod, petite is preferred. Invisible is even better. The experts at Soundworks will visit your home (the initial consultation is free) to design a media system to match your space’s acoustics, then neatly conceal it behind the woodwork—or the walls, ceilings, and floors.

120 Water St., North Andover, 978-623-4400, cambridgesoundworks.com

Builder
THOUGHTFORMS

On the other hand, bigger is sometimes better, especially when it comes to Thoughtforms, one of the most established and well-staffed residential construction companies in eastern Massachusetts. Custom is their thing; modern or traditional, they do it with exquisite care. They probably can’t help you get your home equity loan (one of the few things they aren’t set up for), but they’ll definitely put it to good use.

543 Massachusetts Ave., West Acton, 978-263-6019, thoughtforms-corp.com

Cleaning Service
THE MAIDS HOME SERVICE

Dirt is such a downer, but help is at your fingertips. This national cleaning expert’s Jamaica Plain–based operation attacks grime with a 22-point checklist that includes disinfecting, straightening, dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing your home, leaving it sparkling enough for a visit from Mom. Organizing the visit is hassle-free: Not only do you get an e-mail confirmation after scheduling an appointment, but the Maids will also pick up and drop off your keys where you work.

179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, 617-267-0101, boston-maids.com

Electrician
JOHN VESPA ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS

Waiting for days for a subcontractor to show up may make you wonder about the state of capitalism, but Vespa’s team of experienced professionals will allay your fears, offering prompt, expert service at reasonable prices. Vespa himself explains every job with charm and patience, and his guys clean up the mess thoroughly before quitting time.

5 White Ave., Newton, 617-527-2018

Hardwood Floor Refinishing
C & R FLOORING

If you think you’ll have to move into the Holiday Inn while your floors are being refinished, we have good news for you: C & R Flooring does a beautiful job of refinishing floors with the help of some serious dust-busting equipment. (Okay, it looks like life support for a medium-size animal, but it works.) That means you can admire your shiny new surfaces as soon as they’re done—without coughing up a lung.

65 Crawford St., Needham, 781-444-1553, dustlessfloorsanding.com

Locksmith
MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE LOCK CO.

Lost your keys… again? It’s time to add this company’s number to your speed dial. The ultraprofessional, efficient, and discreet—yes, we’re still talking about locksmiths—employees work round the clock, changing locks, copying keys, and fortifying entryways. They excel at letting you in and keeping others out by installing modern safety guards, deadbolts, and, if you’re the distracted type, single-key-for-three-lock systems. Landlords and home-owners all over town rely on their top-latch, er, notch, service.

125 St. Botolph St., Boston, 617-247-9779

Organizer
CLEAR THE CLUTTER

No space is too chaotic, no room too messy, for Denise King and Ellen Potash. The savvy team behind Marblehead-based Clear the Clutter whips closets, kitchens, offices, and even garages into shape by sorting, sifting, and purging any and all types of disorder. Fast and friendly, the no-fuss, no-attitude women can help unearth long-lost mementos and get your harried life on track. They’ll even wade through storage spaces and recommend which items (your fifth-grade science experiment) to throw out and which (your fifth-grade ski sweater) to give to Goodwill.

4 Smith St., Marblehead, 781-631-9447, mycleartheclutterhome.com

Painter, Exterior
COELHO CONTRACTING

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But they also say you have only one chance to make a first impression. Because looks do sometimes matter, perk up your home’s external appearance with a paint job by family-owned Coelho Contracting. The team power-washes, seals joints, and applies your choice of paint, rendering a smooth foundation, even application, and flawless final coat.

14 William St., Medford, 781-391-0989, coelhocontracting.com

Painter, Interior
ORCUTT PAINTING COMPANY

You might not need to be Matisse to paint your interiors, but you do need to know how to deal with damaged wallboard and the anomalies of aging plaster. Rick Orcutt and his 14-member team show up promptly to correct all those little dings, scrapes, and gouges for a smooth, superior finish. (Impressionist landscapes not included.)

114 Greenwood Ave., Wakefield, 781-245-7329

Plumber
BAKER-ELMAN

Plumbing problems can be a big headache, so consider the folks from Baker-Elman a fluid fix. The seasoned pros—they’ve been in the biz for 60 years—can remedy or unclog whatever’s ailing your water heater or pipes and will even install your appliances. They pride themselves on keeping costs reasonable—even in the case of emergency service. In addition to doctoring domestic glitches, Baker-Elman can remodel bathrooms and kitchens from start to finish.

671 Saw Mill Brook Pkwy., Newton Centre, 617-244-6500, bakerelman.com

Small Repairs
HANDYMAN FRAN

Are those minor house projects adding up, challenging your domestic bliss? Hand that list off to Fran Carito. A specialist in small home-repairs, he’ll install a towel rod or change hard-to-reach light bulbs efficiently, without demanding favors or making you feel guilty for asking. And because he charges by the hour, you can knock off that chore list in increments or in one fell swoop.

23 Falmouth Rd., Watertown, 617-924-9159

Storage Service
FETCH

The only thing worse than living in cramped quarters with all your precious junk is having to haul it to a storage center and hope it will still be there when you try to reclaim it. Fetch eliminates the problem by picking up your things and storing everything neatly. The company will keep your stuff safe and organized until you call again, at which point it’ll be returned promptly to your doorstep. There’s nothing Fetch can’t do—except, of course, help you cull your pet rock collection.

888-610-1684, fetchstorage.com