Best of Boston Home 2012


A Frank Roop design, built by Best of Boston winner McLaughlin Upholstery. (Photograph by Eric Roth)

Here in New England, we’re more likely to tackle one room at a time than plunge into a whole-house makeover. It’s the Yankee way, and incidentally, very 2012. That’s why we organized our research around every room on your list. From millworkers to muslin, decorative painters to doorknobs, Boston’s best can be found right here. —Marni Elyse Katz, Christine Liu, Christine Cipriani, Kara Butterfield, Anne Vickman, and Rachel Slade

Kitchen | Bathroom | Bedroom | Family Room

Living & Dining | Specialty | Outdoors


best of boston home 2012

An inviting Cambridge kitchen designed by Maryann Thompson. (Photograph © Damianos Photography)


Where does the home end and nature begin? The lines are beautifully blurred in Maryann Thompson’s organic designs. Built with energy-efficient materials, her kitchens flow seamlessly into the other living spaces, and invite the world outside in.

14 Hillside Ave., Cambridge, 617-491-4144,


Designers and homeowners alike are drawn to this Everett showroom for its smoothly honed slabs of granite and marble—not to mention limestone and quartz—in unexpected colors and soothing neutrals. Sourced worldwide by owner Angelo Cubi, Cumar’s stock graces the reception desks of luxury hotels as well as countless Boston kitchens and baths.

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


Owner Panamai Manadee believes that setting a perfectly dressed table is akin to styling a killer outfit. And indeed, here fine china in chic patterns—e.g., Bernardaud’s Japanese-inspired birds perched on gold branches—mingles with urbane accessories like highly polished steel citrus baskets from Alessi and Kartell’s whimsical gnome side tables. The resulting aesthetic is eclectic yet sophisticated, and suitable for both dinner parties and everyday dining.

152 Washington St., Marblehead, 781-631-2474,


A classic country kitchen by S + H Construction. (Photograph by Eric Roth)


S + H’s work can be found at such institutions as Harvard and Boston’s Christian Science Church, but the firm also has a knack for smaller-scale projects—basement remodels, one-day repairs. The company’s restoration work on a 120-year-old residence on Brattle Street (which included matching the original puddingstone foundation) earned it the 2011 Cambridge Historical Commission Award—and our collective confidence.

26 New St., Cambridge, 617-876-8286,

Major Appliances

Whether you’re shopping for a sparkling chef’s kitchen or an economy-minded retrofit, the savvy team at Yale Appliance will be happy to expound on new technologies and product quirks, and quick to offer insight for every price point. On many weekends, local chefs offer cooking demonstrations and tasty treats in the store’s working kitchens, turning a boring shopping expedition into family-friendly fun.

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

Custom Cabinetry

Those who gravitate toward the warmth and conviviality of the kitchen will appreciate principal Donna Venegas’s mantra: “Kitchens are not business; they are personal.” In Venegas and Company’s studio and 4,000-square-foot showroom, staffers work with a carefully curated list of cabinetmakers to design and build exquisitely customized culinary havens.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Stes. 620 and 624, 617-439-8800,


Photograph by Chelsea Kyle


Boston foodies know this is the place to stock up on high-quality culinary accoutrements, from Calaisio to Le Creuset. Owners Jennifer and James Hill have made KitchenWares a social destination, too, offering local chef and author appearances and demonstrations like heirloom tomato tasting and cupcake decorating. Bonus: Knife sharpening is lickety-split.

215 Newbury St., Boston, 857-366-4237,



Photograph by Michael Stavaridis


The choose-a-vanity/tub/toilet approach is anathema to David Hacin. When he and his team approach a problem—be it a bathroom, a gut rehab, or a brand-new building—they always come in with fresh, utterly original solutions, rendering those catalogs obsolete.

112 Shawmut Ave., Studio 5A, Boston, 617-426-0077,

Bath Fixtures

Your dream bathroom should start at a dream showroom—and that would be WaterSpot, where Victoria + Albert tubs and an array of faucets and vanities sparkle beneath gorgeous chandeliers and drum pendants. This is a shopper’s showroom, and it’s supported by professionals who really know their stuff.

Hometown Shopping Center, 575 Worcester St. (Rte. 9), Natick, 508-651-2200; and other locations;


Want to see yourself in a new light? Ditch the fluorescent bulbs for one of the many fixtures on offer at Lucía’s Lynn showroom. Staffers draw on countless resources to create custom solutions, including made-to-order shades and fixtures.

311 Western Ave., Lynn, 781-595-0026,


Matouk offers some of the world’s softest terries and wovens, much of it made from Egyptian cotton and manufactured in Fall River. Though the company’s fashionable lines are available in posh boutiques, it’s worth taking a trip to the outlet store, housed in the main production facility, for first-runs, overruns, and stock with microscopic defects.

925 Airport Rd., Fall River, 508-997-3444,


Mahogany counters, custom walk-in closets, marble mosaic showers, and six-inch-deep crown molding—these are the reasons you call Boston-based Payne Bouchier builders. In their extensive woodshop, they can mill details or reproduce period profiles to match any historical interior, making them the go-to choice for discerning homeowners.

173 Norfolk Ave., Boston, 617-445-4323,

Bath Accessories

Bathrooms can be so, er, serious these days. Sure, it’s an investment and you need to keep the overall design in check (no bright yellow toilets!), but at the very least you should have fun with the parts you can easily change out—which is why Adler’s gorgeous lacquered accessories win our affections. His textural white pieces coordinate with everything, while the boldly hued accents add a little spice to an otherwise purely functional room.

129 Newbury St., Boston, 617-437-0018,


Glass, water-jet-cut stone, ceramic, and colors galore! Tile Showcase’s retail stores are a treat for the eyes. You may go in with your heart set on basic white, but be prepared to fall in love with the hand-embossed relief tiles in rich cobalt glazes—the perfect finish to a crisp layout. Just be sure to book an appointment in advance so you’ll have a guide to escort you through the land of temptations.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 639, Boston, 617-426-6515; 291 Arsenal St., Watertown, 617-926-1100;



Murals and Faux Finishes

Decorative and landscape painter Julia Purinton conquers surfaces with gusto—or an exacting touch—depending on the job. She recently transformed a simple wall into a Mexican tequila bar complete with faux cracked concrete. Purinton also creates animal wonderlands complete with Beatrix Potter–esque bunnies and symphonies of birds in flight.



This understated Beacon Hill shop features neat shelves of fine linens in enviable thread counts, as well as delicately embroidered designs from Yves Delorme, Sferra, and Matouk. Finish your boudoir’s sophisticated ensemble by splurging on a set of pristine Parisian pajamas by Laurence Tavernier for yourself.

52 Charles St., Boston, 617-227-1255,


Lavish closets have become a national obsession, and while this company’s 4,500-square-foot showroom offers enough bells and whistles to satisfy a Kardashian, staffers are also adept at conquering tight confines. But before you start salivating over the sleek wood finishes, steel wire baskets, and slanted shoe racks, set up an in-home consultation—it’s free.

1660 Soldiers Field Rd., Brighton, 617-254-0499,

Drapery and Upholstery Fabrics

This family-owned company runs three showrooms, two of which showcase the most recognizable names in the textile trade. One visit is all it takes to make you want to re-cover your home’s every surface, so it’s best to come in with an aesthetic and mission in mind. Then, allow yourself to luxuriate in fantasies of Tibetan tigers rendered in textured velvet, lusty, jewel-toned ikats, and dreamy tie-dyed silks.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 111, Boston, 617-951-2526,

Kids’ Furniture

Combining her eye for good design with her desire for healthy living, owner Karina Meleger has assembled a mix of cutting-edge children’s furniture with an eco-friendly bent. Our favorites include DucDuc’s Connecticut-made color-block bunk bed; Leander’s toxin-free molded-beech changing table; and Spot on Square’s convertible crib, constructed with recycled material and formaldehyde-free adhesives.

188 Needham St., Newton, 617-467-5860,


Run by David Webster and his son Peter, this 21,000-square-foot showroom represents highly coveted lines like de Gournay (handpainted chinoiserie), Phillip Jeffries (lush grasscloth and vinyls) and Lulu DK (color-drenched contemporary patterns). You’ll also find designs from up-and-coming indies with more freeform sensibilities.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 242, Boston, 617-261-9660,


Originally an upholstery company based in Brighton, third-generation Furnature has become the go-to chair, love-seat, and sofa manufacturer for people with chemical sensitivities. Building on those items, the company’s exclusive, made-to-order organic mattresses come in natural rubber or with an inner spring featuring a quilted, wool-wrapped core.

86 Coolidge Ave., Watertown, 617-926-2888,

Family Room


Photograph by Chelsea Kyle

Decorative Accessories

Proprietors Roisin Giese and Miggy Mason, who met as design majors at Cornell, have created a charming shop that’s a study in good design. Twelve Chairs’ beautiful inventory, which includes herringbone throws woven in Maine on antique looms and Mason-jar planters handcast in Oregon, lives up to the duo’s ultra-sustainable principles.

319 A St., Boston, 617-701-3496,

Custom Cabinetry

The architectural woodworkers at Charlestown-based Pomeroy & Co. have been quietly churning out meticulous custom pieces for more than 25 years. The company specializes in historical renovation and restoration (hello, Beacon Hill), but turns out modern cabinetry with equal aplomb. It also takes commissions for entire rooms and bespoke furniture.

18 Spice st., Charlestown,


Thanks to its comprehensive engineering approach, Audio Concepts has been the top choice of home-theater designers since 1975. Two showrooms—the original outpost in North Attleboro and one near Boston University—are the stuff of A/V fantasies, showcasing vivid televisions; GoldenEar speaker technology; and Norwegian Stressless Seating, which proves that “beautiful recliner” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron.

870 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-734-1800; 90 Commonwealth Ave., North Attleboro, 508-699-8819;

Cleaning Service

If you believe it’s counterintuitive to clean your house using products laced with carcinogens, toxins, and volatile components, EcoClean will give you a reason to breathe easy. Whether you live in a 500-square-foot studio or a six-bedroom manse, the team will swing by on schedule and armed with HEPA-certified vacuums, environmentally friendly microfiber towels, and all-natural cleaning solutions.

Cambridge, 617-981-9294,


What’s even more soothing than warming your frosty feet by a fire? Putting your trust in Black Magic’s technical expertise for all things ablaze. Looking for an old-school (and energy-efficient) biomass wood stove, a minimalist electric fireplace, or simply a chimney sweep? Black Magic will keep the flame burning.

21 New St., Cambridge, 617-876-4456,

Furniture, New

It takes tremendous self control to pass by this Back Bay shop’s gleaming windows without staring lustfully at the sleek displays. The third-generation family business and design stalwart is the exclusive Boston dealer of au courant European collections like B & B Italia and Poltrona Frau, as well as American Antoine Proulx.

75 Arlington St., Boston, 617-451-9400,


Yes, its green flooring options include bamboo and cork, but EcoModern also impresses us with luxurious options like all-natural Eco-Terr slabs in mesmerizing mosaics and FSC-certified wood gilded in 23-karat gold. And by hosting green seminars for industry professionals and facilitating Mayor Menino’s Green Building Task Force, owner David Sanborn practices what he preaches.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Stes. 543 and 551, Boston, 617-261-0300,

Living & Dining


Photograph by Eric Roth


In 1889, Hugh McLaughlin ran a one-man show. Today, his grandson Kevin is devoted to preserving the art of handmade upholstering. In accordance with the labor-intensive practices developed more than a century ago, every piece is upholstered twice—first with cotton muslin, then with the final fabric. Kevin and his artisans specialize in custom jobs, creating pieces that fit perfectly into your life.

1813 Revere Beach Pkwy., Everett, 617-389-0761,

Interior Designer

With a style that’s both sophisticated and eclectic, Liz Caan goes further than most local designers dare, layering bright colors and bold patterns for ultra-dramatic results. Vintage and heirloom furniture, animal prints, and contemporary pieces blend beautifully in her artful, energetic rooms.

1066 Centre St., Newton, 617-244-0424,

Fine Rugs and Carpeting

Exquisite hand-woven Persian, Turkish, and Tibetan rugs abound at this showroom, favored by connoisseurs on the hunt for Orientals. The selection of contemporary carpets—patterned wools, natural sisal—also makes Landry & Arcari a great place for broadloom. And if you can’t find the rug of your dreams, the team here will design it for you.

333 Stuart St., Boston, 617-399-6500,

Window Treatments

Window coverings have evolved considerably since the days of the vinyl roller, and this company has all the latest, greatest options. There are Roman shades crafted of woven woods, honeycomb blinds that double as insulation, and custom fabric pirouettes with UV blocking, but its specialty is a motorized shade operated by an infrared remote. The best part? All the drapery is made by hand in a South Boston workshop.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 627, Boston, 617-268-7460,

Vintage Furniture

Peter Levis’s 6,500-square-foot showroom is a dream for lovers of all things mod. Levis is particularly enamored with 1950s Italian design, so you’re likely to encounter futuristic sconces by Stilnovo and refined Ico Parisi tables. For traditionalists, there are 18th- and 19th-century English and continental furnishings as well.

15 Shipyard Dr., Hingham, 617-901-4333,

Lighting Showroom

The well-edited selection at this hip SoWa showroom features innovative and artistic interior lighting from lines like Foscarini and Fontana Arte, along with a growing collection of stylish, energy-efficient fixtures. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the attentive staffers will work with you on a custom solution.

460 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-654-2974,

Fine-Art Framing

For more than 30 years, the folks at A Street have offered expert advice and quality craftsmanship without exorbitant pricing, always selecting frames that best complement the artwork, be it a master oil or avant-garde collage. Framing materials range from smooth bird’s-eye maple and rich 23-karat gold leaf to etched steel. The shop also offers conservation and transportation services.

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



Photograph by Warren Patteron

Wine Cellar

You’ve spent a lifetime collecting wine. Why not give it the thoughtful storage space it deserves? Charles River Wine Cellars will create a beautifully designed custom habitat for your finest vintages and everyday quaffs. No detail is missed, from barrel ceilings to humidification control, while add-ons (a tasting room, library, humidor) can turn a simplestorage area into a destination.

402 Washington St., Ste. 3, Wellesley Hills, 781-235-2501,

Gym Equipment

Whether you have a tiny corner or an entire floor to fill, Gym Source has the equipment you need—from free weights to a full cage ensemble—at prices that won’t put a chokehold on your budget. Consultants offer free home-gym design services, and once your new gear is installed, the company guarantees a 48-hour response time for requested service.

106 Needham St., Newton, 617-332-1967,

House Automation Design and Installation

If you want to listen to an audio recording of the latest Wall Street Journal in your bathroom; turn up the thermostat 20 minutes before you get home; or control your fireplace, television, music system, spa, and security system with one touch of an iPad, this Wellesley company—in business since 1986—can make it happen.

9 Forest St., Wellesley Hills, 781-237-2929,

Professional Organizer

Getting organized is one thing—staying that way sometimes requires the help of a pro. Certified professional organizer Heidi Solomon has been turning both residential and commercial clients into models of efficiency for nearly 15 years. Whether you need to archive your slide collection or rearrange an entire office building, Solomon delivers the plan after just one consultation.

Brookline, 857-204-6240,

Color Consultants

Sometimes all your room needs is a hue adjustment to make it new again. That’s where Brad Dufton and Kendra Amin of ColorTheory come in. Trained in interior design, Dufton will use his uncanny ability to envision how those tiny paint swatches will translate to your walls to gently steer you to the right shade. Best of all, once you’ve made your choices, he and his team will sand, prime, and paint the place in a jiffy.

Boston, 617-304-6335,

Pet Supplies

Though the store’s name is slightly misleading (no supplies for finned friends here), Newbury Street’s Fish & Bone offers a great selection of products for the canines and felines in your life. Here are things you won’t find in the big-box stores: hand-thrown food bowls, organic treats, and locally made apparel. What’s more, owner Kathy Palmer maintains an impressive database of dog walkers, trainers, and pet-friendly hotels and restaurants, and can even connect clients with brokers who can find pet-friendly apartments. Now that’s service.

217 Newbury St., Boston, 857-753-4176,



A beautifully integrated landscape by SiteCreative.

Landscape Designer

From a South End brownstone’s enclosed courtyard to a cottage addition to a Nantucket estate, no project lies outside the scope of SiteCreative. The firm’s dedication to sustainability translates effortlessly to residential designs.

535 Albany St., Suite 402b, Boston, 617-390-5663,

Lawn and Garden Service

Led by landscape designer Jim Douthit and archaeologist Heather Lashbrook Jones, this small company has earned a loyal customer base for its mastery of plant cultivation and lawn maintenance, not to mention its organic solutions to lawn care. In addition to formal and perennial gardens, A Blade of Grass specializes in container gardening—and festive holiday décor forthe yard.

129 Boston Post Rd., Wayland, 508-358-4500,

Pool Design and Installation

This top-notch company entered the industry 35 years ago, when in-ground pools were mostly uniform. Today, it encourages customers to think beyond the standard rectangle, resulting in pools and spas that always make a splash.

7 Progress Ave., Chelmsford, 800-649-8080,

Fence Design and Installation

The fences created by the meticulous craftsmen at New England Woodworkers may have old-fashioned appeal, but this company is decidedly forward-thinking. The wood used in its picket fences, arbors, pergolas, and gates is FSC-certified, and custom patterns are available, too.

3 Royson Dr., Kingston, 781-936-8804,

Garage Doors

The staffers at Marathon Door & Glass are well versed in the best garage doors—each fitted with the appropriate hardware—for every style of home. The company handles all aspects of installation, as well as routine maintenance and repair.

5 Charlesview Rd., Hopedale, 508-482-9558,

Hardscape Design and Installation

Roy MacDowell and his crew offer skill in both construction and design. From graceful bluestone terraces to water features that look as though they’ve been there forever, the understated designs blend with the environment rather than overtake it. And with masonry artisans who are amazingly exacting, the experience is a pleasure from start to finish.

21 Centre St., Weston, 781-899-9393,

Outdoor Furniture

Janus et Cie’s collections marry beauty (contemporary elegance) and beast (defiance against the outdoors); the brand’s signature textile is UV- and weather-resistant. We also have a soft spot for the electrostatic powder-coated aluminum Forest chair in a die-cut silhouette of lush trees.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 114, Boston, 617-737-5001,

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.

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