Best of Boston Home 2010
A bit contemporary, a bit traditional, completely timeless. That’s the classic style, and one ideally suited to New England’s historical bent. Yet the best classic designers don’t simply shop showrooms; they’re students of the decorative arts who use their knowledge of details and fabrics to nimbly combine various eras. The result: Décor that’s richly textured, worldly, and absolutely up to date.
ALBERT, RIGHTER & TITTMANN ARCHITECTS
AR & T has established itself on the national scene as a residential architecture firm of the highest caliber, collecting glowing praise from such heavyweights as Yale dean of architecture Robert A. M. Stern (who recently noted that “while [the principals] love the past, they infuse its traditions with a new sensibility”). But the firm’s work is more than capable of speaking for itself: AR & T’s sumptuously detailed, meticulously scaled homes are built for the ages, with all the grace notes of a time when architecture was as much about craftsmanship as it was design.
8 Winter St., Boston, 617-451-5740, alriti.com
S + H CONSTRUCTION
S + H’s reputation as the finest classic builder in Greater Boston is exemplified by its impeccable renovations lining Cambridge’s stately Brattle Street. Still, quality alone does not a great contractor make: It requires rigorous estimates, a roster of A-list subcontractors, and, in this case, a decades-long immersion in the building arts. S + H has all these, plus a staff of uniquely thoughtful individuals who are so responsive they can put even the most fretful homeowner at ease.
26 New St., Cambridge, 617-876-8286, shconstruction.com
It’s not easy to find an interior designer who can achieve just the right balance of gorgeous, textured, retro, ancient, and brand-new. How fortunate for Boston, then, that Jeffrey Delvy opened his own firm in 2007. Trained as an architect, Delvy decided to focus his design skills on the decorative arts rather than on construction. His style melds modern opulence with a solid classical backbone. Indeed, few designers can mix a 1970s velour sofa with ancient Chinese silk panels and a zebra-print art deco chair as deftly.
341 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-504-6627, jeffreydelvy.com
THE MARTIN GROUP
Boston’s highest-end designers call the Martin Group their one-stop shop for upholstery, drapery, and accent fabrics; it boasts room after room of beautiful prints, wovens, silks, and sheers from venerable yet fashion-forward lines like Manuel Canovas, Harlequin, and Sanderson. Plan to spend a full day browsing, and bring a big bag for samples—the outrageous selection is sure to overwhelm any first-time shopper.
One Design Center Place, Ste. 111, Boston, 617-951-2526, martingroupinc.com
C & R FLOORING
With almost 20 years’ experience installing and refinishing top-quality wood floors, C & R is the favorite among the professionals on our panel. Its small showroom carries samples of the finest brands—Bruce, HomerWood, Swedish Kährs—and the staff offers no-pressure advice for novices.
65 Crawford St., Needham, 781-444-1553, candrflooring.com
WEBSTER & COMPANY
One visit to Webster & Company, and you’ll pull together your timeless look in no time flat. The two-story showroom brims with the finest classically wrought furniture, from Charles Pollock Venetian chests and solid-walnut canopy beds to gilded mirrors and custom-glazed pottery centerpieces—beautifully made items you won’t find anywhere else in New England. Although it’s open to the trade only, Webster & Company’s incomparable stock is well worth hiring a designer to come along and help sort through it all.
One Design Center Place, Ste. 242, Boston, 617-261-9660, webstercompany.com
LANDRY & ARCARI
Designers and connoisseurs alike flock to Landry & Arcari to plunder its unrivaled treasure trove of rugs: walls filled with brilliant handknotted Persian Orientals, floors piled high with vibrant Turkish Oushaks, and manicured rows of wool and silk swatches that beckon customers to design their own custom pieces. Ruling over this polished emporium is owner Jerry Arcari, whose passion for the art and history of handmade carpets has been cultivated through 40-plus years in the industry.
333 Stuart St., Boston, 617-399-6500; 63 Flint St., Salem, 978-744-5909; landryandarcari.com
For those who intend their walls to be more than mere backdrops, a visit to the Schumacher showroom is practically required. This family-owned New York company has been providing beautifully crafted wall coverings since 1889, delighting even the most demanding clients with its historical reproductions and classically modern prints. In keeping with today’s eco-friendly sensibilities, it also features a variety of sustainable wall coverings—handwoven grasscloth, paper-backed natural linen—that utilize wheat-based glue and environmentally safe dyes. (Note: The showroom is for trade professionals only, so you’ll need to hire one to make a purchase.)
One Design Center Place, Ste. 529, Boston, 617-482-9165, fschumacher.com
Wolfers is like a classic-lighting supermarket: Given the thousands of well-chosen fixtures on display here, you’re virtually guaranteed to find that perfect chandelier or bedside sconce. And while the vast selection is heavy on traditionally styled fixtures, the showroom is as modern as it gets. Even seasoned interior designers rave about Wolfers’s innovative system of color-coded switches, which allows you to illuminate any product you’re considering. Shoppers can peruse an impressive library of lighting catalogs and get tutorials on topics such as bulb quality and green lighting by Wolfers’s lighting experts, who also offer professional design services.
103 N. Beacon St., Allston, 617-254-0700; 1339 Main St., Waltham, 781-890-5995; wolfers.com