The interior designer Michael Carter teamed up with the retail visionary Lynn Dayton to create a Wellesley showroom that doubles as a valuable resource for professionals. Think of Carter Dayton Home as the answer to all your decorating prayers—it even offers a fabulous array of fabrics, wallpapers, and lighting usually available to the trade only. 276 Washington St., Wellesley, MA carterdaytonhome.com.
With more than 20 display kitchens in a 12,500-square-foot showroom, plus several in-house designers, CCL HomeScapes offers plenty of culinary inspiration and expertise for homeowners. Abington, MA capecodlumber.com/homescapes.
Most Nantucket home stores—clean, uncluttered spaces, all—are indistinguishable. Only Coastal stands out. The vibe feels somehow contemporary, even though much of its dinnerware, glassware, vases, and candlesticks are unquestionably vintage. The shop also carries more of-the-moment wares such as subtly scented candles, pillows, and gourmet sea salts and ground pepper from famed Nantucket cookbook author Sarah Leah Chase. 12 Oak St., Nantucket, MA 2554, .
If it's true that any activity is more fun on the beach and that all food tastes better fried, then the Home Port scores big. The restaurant's hidden gem is a tiny takeout window that serves its famous fried shrimp, along with corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and pints of slaw. Bring a bottle of wine, order out, and watch the sun set over the ocean as you picnic on the adjacent beach. 512 North Rd., Menemsha, MA homeportmv.com/.
True, the Cape is an antique-hunting hub, but fun and funky finds abound as well. Provincetown's Roots has a unique, diverse collection of home and garden accessories, from Tibetan rugs and Tiffany-style lamps to bright hand-painted wooden bowls and bubbling slate fountains. If all this shopping leaves you looking to take a seat, choose from among classic wicker, soft leather, and fine wooden chairs. 193 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA shoproots.com/.
Poetry, performance art, and Brazilian food (what else?) upstairs, next-wave music below. When it happens, it happens. 80 Kilmarnock St., Boston, MA .
Owner Alden Webster is a structural engineer by day, but at night and on weekends he provides the best emergency service around, as well as an impressive in-depth analysis of your home's system. 113 North St., Lexington, MA .
Since Larry's in the Hall of fame. No one can stop him under the basket, and this year he was voted one of the top defensive players in the NBA, even though he had one of his weaker years defensively.
When it's world-class cheese you crave, head straight to the River Street branch of this ubiquitous natural-foods chain for the most consistently ripe, reasonably priced fromage around. The store stocks several hundred different kinds of cheese—from imported and esoteric cave-aged Brillat-Savarin and aged asiago to the common but elegant cheddar. What's more, the staff is happy to special-order anything, dole out samples and serving advice, or wax poetic about the unsung glories of raw (versus heated) milk cheeses. 340 River St., Cambridge, MA wholefoodsmarket.com.
Why shop at a chain store? At Lavender, linens, candles, and other tabletop wares are culled from independent European vendors. And while a French country vibe pervades the shop, it's not all rustic; sleek and modern looks abound as well. If you can't outfit your abode with accents from your own adventures, this exotic home store is the next best thing. 173 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Tiger was putting its inspectors through a comprehensive training course even before it was required by state law (legislation the company's cofounders helped craft, by the way). The 60-odd inspectors—overseen by president Carl Pucci—are renowned as the region's most thorough, whether they're probing floor joists for termites or expounding on repointing a chimney. 969 Washington St., Braintree, MA 2184, .
We're pretty sure there's not an insomniac Lavender Home couldn't cure. At the Newbury store, the treatments for sleeplessness take the form of genuine linen by Libeco, organic cotton from SDH's Purists line, and bold modern designs by Matteo and Due by Matteo, embellished with duvet covers, shams, antique linen pillows, baby-soft throws, and other finishing touches. You also can custom-order colors and fabrics, or avail yourself of the shop's own rich inventory. 173 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, .
With working displays, experienced showroom consultants, and a selection sourced from the largest plumbing distributor in the Northeast, Frank Webb can be trusted to guide you through everything from going green to finally upgrading your showerhead. 307 Dorchester Ave., Boston, MA 02127, frankwebb.com.
If you don’t think vegetarian cuisine can be decadent, then you’ve never tried Whole Heart’s falafel dog: two golden-fried chickpea-and-parsley patties “dragged through the garden” with tahini, tomato, and Grillo’s pickles. Resounding proof that meat-free dining doesn’t have to be an exercise in self-flagellation, chef Rebecca Arnold and Roxy’s Grilled Cheese owner James DiSabatino go next-level with their salads and street-food-inspired small bites: One forkful of the Sichuan-dukkah-laced Mission bowl should charm even the most ardent carnivore. 487 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02135, wholeheartprovisions.com.
Since its inception in 1889, this Everett mainstay has remained true to Old World techniques, fashioning new heirloom-quality pieces and reinvigorating antique ones with an appreciation for the craftsmanship of yore. McLaughlin’s master upholsterers hone their practice with every thoughtful cut and well-placed stitch, drawing from an extensive library of fabrics and leathers to give life to bespoke headboards, plump ottomans, high-backed wing chairs, and so much more. 1813 Revere Beach Parkway, Everett, MA mclaughlinupholstering.com.