Best of Boston Home 2009

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



Builder Andrew Goldstein’s company, Thoughtforms, is adept at creating seamless spaces. (Photograph by John Edward Linden Photography)


Have you ever hired a builder, handed over the house keys, and then found a bunch of guys in your home who never even met the contractor you so carefully vetted? This would never happen with West Acton–based luxury builder Thoughtforms: The business prides itself on precision tuning and excellent customer service. Indeed, Andrew Goldstein’s company comes with its own cadre of master carpenters and craftspeople, plus an inventive custom millwork shop where they can produce almost any architectural detail to the most exacting specifications.

543 Massachusetts Ave., West Acton, 978-263-6019,

Cleaning Service

Even if you’re supremely tidy, it’s a safe bet you don’t check your fridge’s drip tray, dust away radiator cobwebs, and vacuum your closet floors every time you clean. That Masters Home Services does proves one thing: These folks are thorough. By combining an extensive checklist of regular cleaning duties with a rotating list of detail projects (wipe down door frames, clean the inside of your range hood) and using eco-friendly cleaning products on request, they leave behind nothing but shine.

8 Fletcher Terrace, Ste. 1, Watertown, 800-849-0078,


Used to be, decks were simple constructions—a few posts, beams, and joists here, some decking boards there. And that’s it. Today’s decks, however, are often as grand as the homes they’re attached to: multitiered extravaganzas with hot tubs, flowering planters, conversation areas, upholstered benches, and much more. Mercer Home Solutions delivers both low-maintenance, economical composite materials and high-end fine mahogany and other hardwoods; its designers and builders specialize in sprucing up yards with visual variety for a terraced feel.

Northborough, 508-331-8576,


Those quiet wires hiding behind your walls never give you any trouble… until they do. Or until you want to add central air, or install a ceiling fan, or upgrade your living room lighting, or add dimmers to save a little energy. In other words, electricians need to be very handy; knowing a good one can open up a whole new range of design possibilities. Employee-owned D’s Electric has four field crews, all of which deliver responsive and professional service every time. Since the company went into business 38 years ago, it has worked on projects big, small, modern, historic, and everything in between, building an impressive list of customers who are simply electrified by the quality of its work.

17 Woodworth St., Dorchester, 617-542-2000,


Fences have a big job: Keep unwanted things out (and loved ones in), as well as function as a decorative accessory to your backyard—a frame, if you will, around a green canvas. Forget chain link, vinyl, and hardwood (just imagine all the trees felled to create one fence!); instead, think bamboo, the world’s fastest-growing woody plant. Bamboo Fencer offers solutions for people who want to lend a custom-designed Eastern aspect to a Western lawn. From garden fences to patio screens to privacy gates, the material is always multifunctional, fresh, and modern.

190 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 888-381-3892,

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Sure, wood floors are durable. But that doesn’t mean they should be sanded to shreds and slathered with lacquer when refinished. Continuing a family business founded in 1927, Duffy treats wood with TLC, assessing each floor and tailoring each job accordingly. He specializes in repairing and restoring inlaid designs and parquet flooring. New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall hired Duffy to redo its stage; your living room, then, should be a breeze.

369 Salem St., Medford, 781-395-3418,


Parterre Garden Services makes sure the grass is always greener outside your home. (Photo by Anton Grassi)

 Landscape Maintenance

When über-successful landscape architect Gregory Lombardi’s clients kept coming to him asking for garden care and property management referrals, he saw a need and quickly filled it. With its staff of gardeners and horticulturists, many of whom are certified in organic landscaping, Parterre installs and maintains beds and borders, as well as window boxes and seasonal décor. A single-point-of-contact policy means clients deal with the same employees over time, ensuring that their gardening goals (a.k.a. the “Property Profile Plan”) form a true growth strategy.

2235 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-492-2230; 878 Main St., Chatham, 508-593-3281;


Step into Van Millwork’s Needham showroom and be amazed by the array of architectural possibilities. Each themed room suggests a host of styles, finishes, and details that will transform ho-hum rooms into timeless works of art. For more than 40 years, the craftspeople at this custom shop have outfitted the woodwork in Boston’s stateliest homes, including elaborate turning staircases, 8-inch crown molding, thick custom maple doors, built-in neoclassical bookcases, classic Georgian mantels, and regal walnut wall paneling.

65 Crawford St., Needham, 781-444-8744,

Painter, Exterior

An exterior paint job is like a haircut: You see it every. single. day. So you’d better turn to someone you trust. Like a reliable stylist, Mauro Henrique consults with you extensively to nail down precise project dates and scope, and gives homes a great power wash before going to work. Throughout his 15 years in the business, Henrique’s attention to detail, professionalism, and refusal to use subcontractors have won him the respect of top area builders—and a spot on PBS’s cult classic The New Yankee Workshop.

124 Morrison Ave., Somerville, 617-628-7279,

Painter, Interior

Allowing painters into your home for days at a time can be slightly awkward, if not totally unnerving. Stephen Navarro and his team, however, are dream houseguests. A 25-year veteran, Navarro claims to have never fielded a customer complaint. (And if a problem does surface, he promises to repaint immediately.) Each member of his 10-person crew boasts at least a decade of experience, but Navarro still personally works on every project—and travels as far as the Hamptons and DC to make sure the job is done right.

71 Colburn St., Waltham, 781-893-8908


When his brother, Richard, became a TV star (he’s the resident plumber for This Old House), Robert Trethewey continued to run the plumbing and heating company started by their great-grandfather in 1902. Considering this history, we can only imagine what kind of spare parts the “Tbros” have stockpiled in their warehouse over the past century. And we bet there isn’t a single heating or plumbing system they haven’t seen—or fixed.

4280 Washington St., Roslindale, 617-325-3283,


Okay, okay, the kids are demanding a pool this summer (again). And considering global warming, it may just be a worthwhile investment. But no one in your fancy suburb will tolerate an above-ground, oil drum–like eyesore. No, you’ll need to spend some cash on a natural oasis, with carefully placed stones, a tiled interior, and a waterfall. Ferrari has a portfolio chock-full of just that kind of thing, all custom-designed and constructed by its own crew. So order one up and make your pool-less neighbors sweat with envy.

19 Brigham St., Unit 6, Marlborough, 800-448-6483,

Small Repairs

Whether you inhabit a centuries-old brownstone or a newly built residence, you probably have The List: a catalog of niggling little problems that you never quite get around to fixing, from loosening a sticky window to replacing broken bathroom tiles and recaulking the tub. You could stress about The List for another six months, or you could have Fred Ferris come over and knock off every single item, probably in less time than it took you to accidentally install your air conditioner upside-down. (He’ll fix that, too.)

122 Farrington Ln., Marlborough, 617-733-6316,

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.