Best of Boston Home 2016

The region’s top architects, designers, builders, and showrooms.

best of boston home 2016 sea-dar construction

Sea-Dar Construction, Woods Hole. / Photograph by Brian Vanden Brink/Hutker Architects

Builders and Craftspeople

Constructing a vision is a team sport, which is why it’s critical to engage people who not only value superior craftsmanship, but also enjoy collaborating. These are the firms that have proven their mettle.

Best custom drapery

For an elegant finish, Karen Gilman’s bespoke drapes, shades, and curtains bring an unparalleled sophistication to stately New England homes: Long, streamlined shades that break just above the floor—like a ball gown—add height and scale to South End penthouses and Newport manses; wide curtains of heavy silk or French linen enhance petite windows or add warmth to heavily glassed rooms.

77 Walnut St., Unit 8, Peabody, 978-977-7357,

Best custom furnishings
Kochman Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers

While known for their custom kitchens, cabinetry, and millwork, Kochman Reidt + Haigh’s artisans’ ability to create unique custom furniture has become a powerful weapon in local designers’ arsenals. Recent orders include re-creating a set of club chairs from a sketch in a 100-year-old French catalog.

471 Page St., Stoughton, 781-573-1500,

best of boston home 2016 adams beasley associates

Adams & Beasley Associates, Needham. / Photograph by Eric Roth/Adams & Beasley Associates/Dan Hisel Architects

Best custom home builder, north
Adams & Beasley Associates

Eric Adams and Angus Beasley’s first project together was constructing a latrine in the woods when they were high school freshmen. These days the pair is still building bathrooms—but on a much grander scale. Adams and Beasley, who graduated from Colby College and Yale, respectively, rely on their collective brain trust to deliver elegant, creative solutions on projects as varied as urban roof decks, Back Bay penthouses, and 1920s Arts and Crafts–style bungalows. Since launching their business more than a decade ago, Adams and Beasley have chosen projects based not on size or location but rather on “congruent visions and good relational chemistry” with their clients.

250 Acton St., Carlisle, 978-254-5641,

best of boston home 2016 woodmeister master builders

Woodmeister Master Builders. / Photograph by Gary Sloan

Best custom home builder, south
Woodmeister Master Builders

What started 35 years ago as a two-man millwork shop has become a much-lauded 100-craftsperson business that’s still not too big for founder Ted Goodnow to be in the field doing what he loves the most: building urban oases, mountain getaways, and coastal retreats with exquisite craftsmanship and finely detailed finishes. Skillfully navigating the complex environmental and regulatory challenges of building on the water, Goodnow’s team creates solid homes that can accommodate both extreme weather conditions and sunset G&Ts on the veranda.

One Woodmeister Way, Holden, 800-221-0075,

Best custom home builder, west
Kenneth Vona Construction

The phrase “cookie-cutter” isn’t in Ken Vona’s vocabulary. In keeping with his philosophy that building 100 fine homes is more rewarding than producing 500 templated McMansions, Vona’s team takes on only six projects at a time. That translates to breathtaking farmhouses, country estates, classic Georgians, and shingle-style cottages with extreme attention to detail (even his mechanical rooms are well lit, clean, and meticulously labeled). A master carpenter with 35 years of experience, Vona offers an unprecedented five-year warranty on every project.

11 Fox Rd., Waltham, 781-890-5599,

best of boston home 2016 venegas

Venegas, Back Bay. / Photograph by Michael J. Lee

Best custom kitchen design
Venegas and Company

For contemporary and traditional kitchens with a distinctive touch, we turn to the gifted designers at Venegas, who clearly savor the details and aren’t bound to trends. Eschewing the classic bleached beach-cottage look, for example, the team is overhauling an oceanfront Rockport kitchen in a butternut veneer, bronze metallic finishes, and integrated mirror-polished nickel, anchored by rich, dark wood countertops. Superior craftsmanship is, of course, a Venegas hallmark: While all design is done in Boston, the pieces are built to exacting standards in Pennsylvania by Premier Custom-Built.

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

Best custom outdoor furnishings
Walpole Outdoors

Those seeking to add structure to their outdoor patios should look no further than Walpole’s customized pergola kits, complete with stately fiberglass columns and a retractable canopy to add dimension to any open-air environment. Elegant spindle-top arbor entryways handcrafted from cellular PVC, Victorian-style gazebos, and a variety of fencing options will encourage you to think of the outside as an extension of your home.

767 East St., Walpole, 508-668-2800,

best of boston home 2016 carpenter macneille

Carpenter & MacNeille, Hamilton. / Photograph by Richard Mandelkorn

Best design and build, north
Carpenter & MacNeille

This team of carpenters, architects, builders, and designers has a deep appreciation for the New England vernacular—many of its custom homes look like they were built in another time. Take their Manchester-by-the-Sea stick-style masterpiece: Informed by the site’s 1873 home, the much grander new additions are appropriately detailed and scaled for the era. Inside, dovetailed cabinetry and impeccable stonework reveal an obsession for craftsmanship.

106 Western Ave., Essex, 978-768-7900,

best of boston home 2016 polhemus savery dasilva architects builders

Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders, Chatham. / Photograph by Brian Vanden Brink

Best design and build, south
Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders

It’s no wonder this firm’s grand manses appear all over the Cape: Their architectural tool kit is fully geared toward capitalizing on seaside vistas. To wit: A recent Nantucket Sound project features copious bay windows and a projected screen porch, plus cathedral ceilings that evoke the sense of being on the bridge of an ocean liner.

157 Brewster-Chatham Rd., East Harwich, 508-945-4500,

best of boston home 2016 feinmann

Feinmann, Belmont. / Photograph by John Horner/Feinmann

Best design and build, west

Peter Feinmann knows what to restore (that grand entryway and staircase, perhaps?) and what to vanquish, starting with that 1970s kitchen addition. His resulting renovations are bright and on-trend—glass-and-cherry cabinets, mirrored tile backsplashes, quartz countertops—all carefully considered for the needs of busy suburban families.

27 Muzzey St., Lexington, 781-860-9800,

Best high-end remodeling, boston
The Holland Companies

Peer into any remodeled brownstone on Beacon Hill or in the Back Bay, and the Holland stamp is likely apparent. That’s because few companies are as adept at dealing with the extreme challenges that older homes in urban settings present. Case in point: a glass-and-steel bridge Holland recently built to connect two bedrooms in a Beacon Street brownstone—complete with flush finishes and impeccably smooth walls that allow artwork and furnishings to take center stage. No small feat when existing conditions are anything but square.

519 Albany St., Boston, 617-556-2900,

best of boston home 2016 s+h construction

S+H Construction, South End. / Photograph by Bob O’Connor

Best high-end remodeling, north
S+H Construction

This 37-year-old Cambridge company specializes in projects that balance the history of a home with the demands of a modern family. Under S+H’s guidance, a heavily partitioned two-family Brookline Victorian became a spacious single residence for an accomplished cook, including a walk-in pantry, a built-in banquette framed by bookshelves, and restored stained glass accents.

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

Best high-end remodeling, south
Sea-Dar Construction

Trusted by the region’s best architects, Sea-Dar excels at constructing complex residences that require extensive excavation, gutting, or new foundations—as their meticulous, extensive work on the South Shore, Cape Cod, and the islands attests. They’re particularly adept at imbuing coastal estates with modern niceties, as in an 11,000-square-foot harbor-front home on the Cape with five roof decks, an infinity pool with uninterrupted water views, and an al fresco stone fireplace.

46 Waltham St., 4A, Boston, 617-423-0870,

Best high-end remodeling, west
F.H. Perry Builder

A discriminating clientele relies on F.H. Perry’s supreme craftsmanship and discretion; its high-end team of builders and woodworkers will not only produce flawless work, but will also gallantly appease concerned neighbors who fret about noise or intrusion. One recent example: a new Weston build that links a wide-open kitchen with marble islands to a sunken family room to a screen porch in a series of steps—a cascading effect important to the home’s well-traveled owners.

90 Elm St., Hopkinton, 508-435-3062,

Best landscape design and build, north
Gregory Lombardi Design/Parterre Garden Services

Landscape architect Gregory Lombardi has been the aesthetic auteur of this Cambridge firm since its founding. Lombardi thinks of his projects as living canvases, and when fully realized, his sumptuous creations rival the greatest landscape designs of yore, with rustic stone walkways, grids of greenery, and a painterly sense of composition that taps into all the senses. Once the landscape installation is complete, sister company Parterre Garden Services can ensure your work of art remains pristine.

2235 Mass Ave., Cambridge, 617-492-2808,; 2235 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-492-2230,

best of boston home 2016 rp marzilli company

R. P. Marzilli & Company, Martha’s Vineyard. / Photograph by Brian Vanden Brink/Horiuchi & Solien Landscape Architects

Best landscape design and build, south
R.P. Marzilli & Company

The Swiss Army knife of landscape contractors, Marzilli & Company delivers an upscale swimming hole right to your backyard with tree planting and pruning, irrigation systems, excavation, and custom masonry. R.P. Marzilli can restore a 20th-century botanical garden to its former glory while preserving the garden’s cultural roots with lush blue flowering plants, updated pergolas to streamline the rocky terrain, and two glimmering reflection pools.

21A Trotter Dr., Medway, 508-533-8700,

best of boston home 2016 sudbury design group

Sudbury Design Group. / Photograph by Richard Mandelkorn

Best landscape design and build, west
Sudbury Design Group

Sudbury Design Group may have started out as a 10-person construction company, but this landscape design firm doesn’t dream small. Principal Michael Coutu and his team specialize in classic contemporary designs that harmonize architectural details with the natural beauty of lush gardens and grottos. Sudbury has transformed a secluded, hilly Weston backdrop into a peaceful forest sanctuary replete with waterfalls, a colorful hilltop garden, and a built-in grill station on the patio.

740 Boston Post Rd., Sudbury, 978-443-3638.

best of boston home 2016 payne bouchier

Payne/Bouchier, Back Bay. / Photograph by Michael Fein

Best staircase design and build

Polish meets precision at Payne/Bouchier, the firm responsible for many of the region’s grandest stairwells. Well versed in period details, modern engineering, and the vagaries of the ancient house, these craftspeople can build what others simply can’t. Take, for instance, their recent Cape Cod commission to produce a Celtic-inspired staircase of golden oak wood, with balusters stylized like oars from a Viking ship. An on-site millwork shop and an in-house finishing room, plus the ability to source fine and exotic woods from tiger maple to Honduran mahogany, ensure that no request is too precise.

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

Best stone countertops
Cumar Marble and Granite

This massive temple to stone has one of the area’s largest selections of marbles, granites, onyxes, and travertines, helmed by Angelo “Ivo” Cubi, who descends from seven generations of Italian marble fabricators. Cubi spends half of the year scouring the world for unusual finds, while his on-site fabrication and installation teams ensure that his sumptuous stones will travel from exotic quarries in far-flung climes—Madagascar, Italy, or India—to your home expertly honed, finished, and cut for the perfect fit.

69 Norman St., Ste. 4, Everett, 617-389-7818,

Best upholsterer
Crimson Upholstering Co.

Crimson Upholstering Co., whose custom furniture and reupholstered midcentury pieces adorn the rooms in the Ritz-Carlton Condominiums and Rowes Wharf, was launched nearly 40 years ago by Carmen D’Aurora and brother Frank Cucchiara. Show them a picture of a designer sofa worth $10,000, and leave with a custom-built piece of comparable worth crafted from high-quality fabrics, cotton padding, and dense wood frames (such as maple, ash, and poplar) in just eight to 12 weeks, for a fraction of the cost.

175 North St., Newton, 617-224-1750.

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.