Best of Boston Home 2009

The premier designers, contractors, shops, and more, in Boston and beyond.



Pixnit’s paint and vinyl installation Phosphorescence, at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery. (Image Provided)

Contemporary Gallery

In some contemporary art circles, deeming a work “beautiful” can be disparaging, as if beauty and intellectual heft are mutually exclusive entities. Yet the friendly young galleristas at Judi Rotenberg have the uncanny knack of finding artists whose work satisfies the eyes and the mind. They will talk to you at length about the sly feminism at play in the sculpture of Cal Lane, and they won’t roll their eyes if you ask what gouache is. The gallery has helped catapult artists into the international arena (sculptor Dave Cole is a case in point). Much of the credit goes to director Kristen Dodge, who has discovered talents like Lorna Williams by trolling local art schools.

130 Newbury St., Boston, 617-437-1518,

Faux Finishes & Murals

Looking for a trompe l’oeil ceiling mural that makes your living room feel like Rome’s Pantheon? Need a faux finish that transforms a pair of wooden columns into stately marble affairs? Muralist Julia Purinton has more than 25 years of experience with custom finishes, decorative plasters, and wall glazing. She’s also a painter represented by several East Coast galleries—her murals are objets d’art in their own right. Whether you want dripping wisteria blossoms, sylvan glades, or Tiepolo-style cupids on your walls, Purinton is happy to oblige. Alternately, she can go more streetwise: She recently festooned a client’s bathroom with Japanese graffiti.

Medusa Studio, Ipswich, 978-356-8753,


We reckon if collectors and museums trust A Street with their priceless pieces, we can, too. Its artisans will quickly win your confidence by helping you select the ideal frame, which will be custom-made on-site. Choose from 150 styles and 60 finishes; mats are archival and acid-free and come in a kaleidoscope of hues. The particularly inquisitive can ask for a behind-the-scenes tour of the selection of rough wood stock, the intricate milling process, and sanding and joining.

755 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-2259; 4 Clarendon St., Boston, 617-437-7761;

Traditional Gallery

Considering how many Boston-area galleries don’t last longer than five years (a half-dozen have closed within the past year alone), the fact that Vose has been around since 1841 is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, if more than 150 museums, including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, have shopped here over the decades, Vose must know a thing or two about art. The gallery specializes in 18th-, 19th-, and early-20th-century American realist paintings, especially landscapes. Small works on paper may go for as low as $450, but if you’re looking for an oil painting by Childe Hassam or Winslow Homer, expect to shell out more than $1 million. Throughout the gallery’s five-story brownstone, amid elegant antique furniture, you’ll find lovely wistful portraits by Lilla Cabot Perry and landscapes by Hudson River School painter Asher B. Durand.

238 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-6176,

The Boston Home team has curated a list of the best home design and home remodeling professionals in Boston, including home builders and contractors, interior designers, home accent décor, and more. Get the help you need with FindIt/Boston's guide to home renovation pros.