Best of Boston Home 2008
Our top picks for architects, designers, furniture stores, kitchen suppliers, and more.
HACIN & ASSOCIATES
The list of local architects who do interior work is growing fast. Perusing through it can be daunting. Stop your search and just hire David Hacin. Widely recognized as one of Boston’s foremost designers, the double-Ivy grad has made his mark with both commercial (Newbury Street’s Fresh) and residential (South End lofts aplenty) projects. His flair for unpretentious modernism is unparalleled, as is his gift for transforming historical spaces into old-meets-new oases.
112 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-426-0077, hacin.com
Born-and-bred Bostonian Fotene Demoulas (her father cofounded the Market Basket grocery stores) knows how to inject contemporary design into traditional architecture. In business since the mid-’80s, she relies on Holly Hunt furniture and Pollack textiles to create a sleek-yet-luxurious aesthetic that appeals to brownstone dwellers and loft denizens alike.
73 Newbury St., Boston, 617-437-0029, fotenedesign.com
HOLISTIC DESIGN & SPACE PLANNING
Choosing the right paint colors and furniture is hard enough. If you want the paint to be nontoxic and the furniture to be formaldehyde-free (and the flooring to be low impact, and so on), Laura Catanzaro can help. The MIT-and-RISD-trained designer collaborates with a network of green experts who can address specific needs to help you create a space that looks good, feels good, and is good to the planet. That should make you breathe easier.
238 Columbia St., Cambridge, 617-553-0612, holisticdesign.net
Interiors, General Excellence
DUFFY DESIGN GROUP
Yes, he’s designed some of the snazziest sites around the city, from the restaurant Dante to the Charlesmark Hotel, but Dennis Duffy’s true forte is residential interiors. His astute eye makes for elegant, unpretentious spaces; many of the city’s celebrities have enlisted Duffy’s unerring taste. For a sample of his clean-lined look, check out his new studio, D Scale, which offers the same customized furnishings he uses for VIPs.
530 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-542-2074, duffydesigngroup.com
NANCY STRACKA INTERIORS
Leave it to a former fabric designer to conjure up interiors that are consistently color-conscious, luxurious, and filled with rich textures. A member of the Designer on Call program at the Boston Design Center, Stracka has spruced up residences all over Boston and its northern and western suburbs, sourcing pieces both locally and globally and tending toward a modern-classic blend.
50 Londonderry Rd., Marblehead, 781-639-0792, strackainteriors.com
The glamorous Susan Orpin continually remains in the spotlight for her residential work as well as her commercial projects, which include the restaurants Sorellina and Teatro, and the residences at the InterContinental hotel. Orpin’s interiors are rich and unique, always employing creative and strategic lighting concepts. Her service doesn’t come cheap, but she’s one designer who always follows through on her philosophy: While interiors should mix the traditional and the contemporary, they should always be timeless.
152 Lincoln St., North Easton, 508-230-0328, theorpingroup.com
HEIDI PRIBELL INTERIORS
With a background as a respected antiques dealer, Cambridge-based Heidi Pribell appreciates the historical significance of classic genres. But her unique juxtaposition of antique pieces with a modern sensibility sets her apart from common traditionalists. Each of Pribell’s projects is a signature work, mixing rich textures and eclectic Asian, European, and American influences from decades and centuries past. She will give you an exhaustive history lesson on everything she brings into your home, so grab a pencil and paper and be prepared to take copious notes.
299 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-1445, heidipribell.com
STEPHEN STIMSON ASSOCIATES
Before he puts a shovel to it, or even decides on the products or plans he’ll use, minimalist land-man Stephen Stimson visits a site. From sweeping farms to modern oceanfront bungalows, he takes the time to understand a place’s context and embrace its personality. Stimson also has his eye on sustainability, using roof gardens, bug-resistant local plants, and carefully directed storm drains to ensure that your garden grows and grows.
15 Depot Ave., Falmouth, 508-548-8119, stephenstimson.com
Intensely thoughtful, Reed Hilderbrand transforms hills, dales, and lawns into enchanting destinations. Each project showcases a sensitivity to the outdoor environment and its effect on our mental well-being. The firm’s approach to hardscape mirrors this commitment to correct ecology: Materials are chosen to encourage the best drainage, blend seamlessly with your home, and protect your land.
741 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown, 617-923-2422, reedhilderbrand.com
GREGORY LOMBARDI DESIGN
Lombardi’s philosophy is based on “timeless principles” and embraces everything from the classically ornate to the decidedly minimalist. What you once called a backyard will be transformed by Lombardi and his team into a luscious, rolling dreamscape fit for a Victorian novel. Lombardi finds the perfect stones, bricks, and grasses to refine the grounds of your castle so that even the pizza guy will feel like royalty approaching your distinguished front door.
2235 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-492-2808, lombardidesign.com
HOME ENTERTAINMENT EXPO
This ginormous showroom sports the latest in plasma and projection screens that will make your home theater the envy of all your neighbors. Better yet, staff designers will work with you to create custom cabinets to fit all of the components into your space. And rest assured that if, after your multi-media shopping spree, you have a little trouble paying off the credit card, your neighbors will gladly pay a nominal admission to watch the Super Bowl on your fabulous new 70-inch LCD screen.
490 Boston Post Rd., Sudbury, 978-579-0003, homeentertainmentexpo.com
Pool & Spa
KATHERINE FIELD AND ASSOCIATES
Some people (toddlers, frat guys) take pleasure in inflatable backyard tubs. More-mature bathers prefer the cool, crisp water of a beautifully designed swimming pool. The latter crowd relies on Newport-based landscape architect Kate Field. Her award-winning designs are known for their upscale, understated vanishing-edge basins, slate-sided lap pools, and unobtrusive hot tubs. She’s adept at creating modern outdoor showers—perfect for kids and grownups alike. And she will even help you elegantly solve those pesky fencing rules, so you won’t feel like a prisoner in your pool area.
29 Mary St., Newport, RI, 401-848-2750, katherinefield.com
BOSTON HOME STAGING
Whether you use a Realtor or hang a for-sale shingle yourself, the house you’re trying to sell needs to look enticing. You could spend weeks sprucing the place up yourself, or get Lisa Kauffman Tharp to do it for you. A Boston College grad and former HBO producer, she’s the area’s premier home-staging consultant. She rethinks and rearranges rooms, renting updated furniture, hiring house painters, and minimizing accumulated tchotchkes. Studies show staged houses spend half the time on the market that their as-is brethren do—suggesting that sometimes you have to spend a little to make a lot.
MARY MCKENNA & ASSOCIATES
The concept seems simple enough: Take a basic four-season room, add sunlight. Sunroom design, however, is not easy—it takes skill to create a bright, airy sanctuary (rather than an overheated sauna). Mary McKenna’s Zenlike rooms are bathed in natural light, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and reflective blond wood. The MIT alum’s work is spiritual—past projects include two New England church interiors.
123 Washington St., Winchester, 781-729-5318, mmaarchitects.com
Still hanging your Givenchy gowns or Armani tux on wire hangers from a metal bar? Doug Gates, owner of the contemporary furniture store Showroom, offers gorgeous Italian closet systems to properly coddle your designer duds. Next to Poliform’s oak shelves, steel tie racks, descending hanging bars, and bureau drawers engineered to gracefully glide closed, your old rack and hangers will look positively medieval.
240 Stuart St., Boston, 617-482-4805, showroomboston.com