Best of Boston Home 2011

In our quest to compile the ultimate guide to design and construction, we did our research just the way you would—by polling trusted industry pros, checking and cross-checking references, and pounding the pavement.

Kitchen & Bath

The most expensive rooms are also the most difficult to design. But in the right hands, kitchens and baths can look effortless.


A Bulthaup kitchen is the perfect marriage of form and function. (Photograph by Rudolf Schmutz)


Unless you happen to make a constant study of the appliance industry, replacing a dishwasher, oven, or refrigerator can easily turn into an intensive project. That’s why Yale makes our “Best of” list year after year—because they educate, they take the time to listen, and they do their homework. Schedule an appointment with one of the enlightened associates, or just come in to see what’s new. You’ll discover a wide range of products to suit every buyer, from $600 Frigidaires to $15,000 Sub-Zeros.

296 Freeport St., Dorchester, 617-825-9253,

Bathroom Fixtures

Billie Brenner is the premier bathroom resource for Boston architects and designers for one simple reason: It carries everything extraordinary. The showroom overflows with cloisonné basins from Linkasink, Swiss vanities by Laufen, and lavish gold-plated faucets imported from France—exotics balanced with a host of solid standbys such as American Standard and Kohler. The shop is now operated by Robin Brenner, daughter of the late, great Billie Brenner—a pioneer who believed in bringing real beauty to our most functional of rooms.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 429, Boston, 617-348-2858,


Dalia Kitchen Design offers top-notch cabinetry, such as this Christopher Peacock design. (Photograph by Robert Knight)

Cabinetry, Classic

Not everyone goes to Dalia Tamari for kitchen design. Then again, not everyone can afford her exquisite custom cabinetry. For the select few who can, however, this 5,000-square-foot Design Center showroom provides relief from shoddy workmanship and questionable taste. Tamari only carries lines built to last—heirloom-quality, in other words—and her own designs are just as timeless.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 635, Boston, 617-482-2566,

Cabinetry, Modern

Do contemporary kitchens belong in Boston’s historical homes? If they’ve been fashioned by Germany-based Bulthaup, the answer is a resounding Yes. All of Bulthaup’s models are engineered to be installed in older European manses, so they’re quiet, streamlined, and ergonomically designed to minimize cooking clutter while maximizing space. The result? A thoroughly innovative kitchen that steals zero thunder from your home’s architecture.

200 Boylston St., Boston, 617-830-2345,


Designers and builders rely on one rock-solid resource for stone, and Cumar is it. They love this Everett-based supplier for its dizzying array of marble, granite, and onyx, hand-selected by Italian-born owner Angelo “Ivo” Cubi. But it’s the company’s dedication to craftsmanship that makes Cumar our top choice. With advanced cutting machines and its own installation team, it offers the most streamlined way to get the stone you want, when you want it.

69 Norman St., Everett, 617-389-7818,

Kitchen Fixtures

With its well-stocked showroom of fine kitchen fixtures, bathroom furnishings, hardware, and—bonus—lighting options, Natick’s WaterSpot marks the Rhode Island–based Ardente family’s most comprehensive move into the design trade thus far. The Natick location is the newest of the company’s five outlets (and the only one that doesn’t sell wholesale plumbing supplies, WaterSpot’s original trade). Kitchen offerings run the gamut, from hammered-copper farmhouse sinks by Native Trails to elegant French Herbeau faucets. Meanwhile, the 60-year-old business’s experienced staffers provide the kind of expert design consultation you’d expect from such a well-established plumbing operation.

575 Worcester St. (Rte. 9), Natick, 508-651-2200,


Illuminating task-oriented spaces like bathrooms and kitchens requires serious know-how: You need to avoid glare, get the light where you need it most, and stay within your budget. Luckily, Wolfers’s employees are to lighting design what MIT grads are to calculus. Whether the company is designing lighting for residential or commercial projects, its in-store demo labs, large inventory, and at-home consultation service guarantee that you’ll be able to look (and cook) your best.

103 N. Beacon St., Allston, 617-254-0700; 1339 Main St., Waltham, 781-890-5995;

Jill Adler of Discovery Tile

“I look forward to customers’ eyes widening, their look of surprise and amazement as they realize tile’s expressive possibilities.” —Jill Adler, owner, DiscoverTile (Photograph by Jarrod McCabe)


There’s more to DiscoverTile than meets the eye. After scanning the walls (they’re literally covered with samples), open the drawers—dozens of them—and find still more styles in glass, stone, metal, and ceramic. Owner Jill Adler, driven by a longtime passion for tile as functional art, takes understandable pride in her offerings, which include handmade bronzes, custom stones, glass mosaics, recycled glass (some made from vandalized bus stops), and a dozen types of genuine Spanish terra cotta. Use Adler’s incredible knowledge to help guide you through your renovation.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 647, Boston, 617-330-7900,

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.