Best of Boston Home 2018

Cover photograph by Eric Roth

It’s true of raising children, and it’s true of home renovation: It takes a village. From the North Shore to the Cape, we’ve searched high and low to find 75 of the very best design professionals and resources this area has to offer. Organized by specialty and region, here are the people and places you need to know. Your next project begins right now.

Architects & Designers

Builders & Craftspeople

Shops & Showrooms

Olson Lewis + Architects / Photograph by Eric Roth

Architects & Designers

Bastions of creativity, these exceptional firms—ranging in style from traditional to contemporary—wield the vision to transform your home in ways you never thought possible.

I-Kanda Architects

The design gurus at this Charlestown-based architecture practice, helmed by married principals Isamu and Marley Kanda, see spaces not as what they are, but as what they can be. Take, for example, the 1915 Brookline abode—featured on a recent Boston Home cover—where the firm’s strategic removal of walls transformed a series of stunted layouts into one airy volume for cooking, eating, and socializing.

50 Terminal St., Bldg. 2, Unit 429, Charlestown, 646-228-1040,

J.Roc Design

A rising star among city architects, J.Roc Design founder Jeremy Jih approaches each and every project with a unique blend of modernity and practicality. Case in point: a modular South End roof deck, made from rot-resistant Sapele wood, that can be disassembled and rebuilt if the homeowner relocates—no screws or nails required.


Kimberly Mercurio Landscape Architecture

If designing outdoor spaces is both an art and a science, it follows that the varied portfolio of urban, rural, and coastal projects by Kimberly Mercurio—a trained landscape architect and ecologist—is the one to beat. With practices in Cambridge and Woods Hole, Mercurio counts a spruce-filled Falmouth yard with an infinity-edge pool and stone walls among her successes.

2 Mason St., Cambridge, 508-495-1075,

Divine Design + Build

When it comes to kitchen design, conceiving the proper layout is half the battle. We’d trust the Divine Design team to lead the charge any day: The Wellesley firm—which also boasts a stunning 8,000-square-foot showroom on the Boston waterfront—once revamped a dated MetroWest space by swapping a restrictive peninsula for a granite-topped island with storage and seating.

180 Linden St., Wellesley, 781-235-5650,; 2 Battery Wharf, Boston, 617-443-0700,

Stern McCafferty Architecture + Interiors

Boasting expertise in architecture and interiors, Stern McCafferty delivers a powerful design punch to every home it touches, breathing new life into old spaces and building from the ground up with equal aplomb. For proof, consider the 1905 Cambridge abode the firm remodeled with a new two-story atrium, wrapped in oversize windows and Cor-Ten steel.

46 Waltham St., Ste. 302A, Boston, 617-338-1125,

Botticelli & Pohl

If you ask us, principals Lisa Botticelli and Ray Pohl must be channeling the ocean blue when designing homes. Like the sea itself, their inspired creations encapsulate a simple serenity, combining classic shiplap paneling and vaulted ceilings with paned windows and kid-friendly built-ins.

31 State St., Boston, 508-228-5455,

Jan Gleysteen Architects / Photograph by Richard Mandelkorn

Jan Gleysteen Architects

Perusing Jan Gleysteen’s portfolio, one word repeatedly comes to mind: timeless. With nearly four decades of experience under his belt, the Wellesley architect knows his way around traditionalism, dreaming up classic abodes—such as a grand suburban homestead with coffered ceilings and dramatic archways—that are built to last.

888 Worcester St., Wellesley, 781-431-0080,

A3 Architects

When it first opened its doors in 2011, A3 Architects pledged itself to sustainable design. Seven years later, the firm remains true to that commitment, masterminding projects including a net-zero Brewster home with solar panels and a strikingly modern glass staircase.

831 Main St., Dennis, 508-694-7887,

Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects

Call us biased, but when it comes to regional design traditions, New England has a lot to be proud of. The architects at Albert, Righter & Tittmann embrace that history wholeheartedly, executing new builds and renovations bursting with finely crafted millwork, grand stone fireplaces, and other nods to the past.

262 Washington St., Boston, 617-451-5740,

Olson Lewis + Architects

Effortlessly straddling the line between traditional and contemporary, the elegant homes that spring to life on the drafting tables of this Manchester-by-the-Sea firm (think: a waterfront cottage with a double-height living area and sliding French doors) never fail to inspire.

17 Elm St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, 978-526-4386,

Platemark Design

Picture a Cambridge living room, bathed in light from a swath of windows. A handsome wood buffet rests along one wall. Bold modern artwork hangs above it, adding bursts of color to an otherwise neutral palette, bolstered by plush sofas in creamy beige. It’s the type of tableau we’ve come to expect from creator Craig Tevolitz, of Platemark Design. Balanced. Refined. Exceptional.

45 Newbury St., Ste. 503, Boston, 617-487-4475,

Hudson Interior Designs / Photograph by Michael J. Lee

Hudson Interior Designs

Fun fact: Before embarking on a career in interior design, Jill Goldberg trained to be an actress. These days, the New Englander stars on a different stage, offering elevated yet approachable family-friendly designs replete with printed textiles, hand-picked furnishings, and distinctive accessories (a trio of bronze elephants for the bar area? Yes, please).

12 Union Park St., Boston, 617-292-0303,

Evolve Residential

If innovation is the name of the local interior-design game, then the Evolve Residential team has certainly mastered the rules. Flaunting sumptuous fabrics, a mix of classic and modern furniture, and an unrivaled use of color (see: a funky Marion beach house done in electric greens and blues), the spaces designed by this Boston firm are in a league of their own.

89 West Concord St., Boston, 617-424-0003,

Evolve Residential / Photograph by Sean Litchfield

F.D. Hodge Interiors

There’s a certain lightness to a Frank Hodge–designed space. His rooms are polished, but not stuffy. Artful, but not overdone. A self-professed traditionalist, Hodge has impressed us with projects ranging from a serene study with Venetian plaster walls and framed Claude Lorrain landscapes to his own South End brownstone, brimming with antique and custom pieces.

748 Tremont St., Boston, 617-267-8103,

FBN Construction / Photograph by Eric Roth

Builders & Craftspeople

What’s vision without execution? Armed with passion and experience, these local teams boast the know-how to bring ideas to life, ensuring unparalleled precision and quality every step of the way.

Furniture Design Services

Furniture Design Services’s straightforward business name speaks to its manufacturing and installation work but says nothing of the team’s unique eye. They’re equally capable of creating furniture that seamlessly blends into the décor—their beautiful custom cabinetry, for example—as they are at creating a room’s standout piece, like the sculptural birch kitchen island they recently created for a Brookline home.

13 Washington St., Peabody, 978-531-3250,

Walpole Outdoors

Make your ideal backyard oasis a reality with Walpole Outdoors, where staffers help choose the perfect materials and colors for any fence, pergola, gazebo, or lantern you can dream up. They’ll even come walk your grounds, providing insight and taking measurements. And did we mention the vast selection of premade furniture? From rustic to modern, Walpole’s offerings can enhance both sprawling lawns and modest urban patios.

83 Washington St., Norwell, 781-681-9099,

Upholstery on Broadway

Is Grandma’s chesterfield in need of a little love? Swing by this Arlington shop. With years of experience upholstering both vintage and contemporary furniture (and a cache of fabrics from such industry favorites as Lee Jofa and Kravet), you can entrust even your most treasured antiques to Upholstery on Broadway’s experts.

205A Broadway, Arlington, 978-460-5184,

Designer Draperies of Boston

No detail is too minute for these drapery pros. Whether your windows beg for low-maintenance valances, luxe drapes, or motorized shades (or all of the above), Designer Draperies will design, create, and install the perfect treatment for your home—on time and within budget.

516 E. 2nd St., #34 Ste. B23, South Boston, 617-268-2391,

Kochman Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers

The team at Kochman Reidt + Haigh knows better than anybody that successful cabinetry design relies on so much more than just good looks. Equal parts beautiful and functional, the custom pieces created and installed by this decades-old firm run the gamut from elevated Shaker-style numbers with ergonomic hardware to innovative floor-to-ceiling models boasting pull-out drawers and frosted glass.

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

Saltsman Brenzel / Photograph by Greg Premru

Saltsman Brenzel

This small-but-mighty design/build team knows its stuff, with principals Thomas Saltsman and Jason Brenzel bringing decades of experience to each job the firm takes. From a renovated Belmont barn with gleaming hardwood and vaulted ceilings to a new build in Marblehead with a wraparound porch and enviable harbor views, Saltsman Brenzel projects define excellence at every turn.

535 Albany St., Boston, 617-350-7883,

FBN Construction

Transparency tops FBN Construction’s list of priorities, and that’s a good thing. The firm’s commitment to communication—to say nothing of its proven planning and building skills—practically guarantees satisfaction, whether you’re overhauling the kitchen in your high-rise condo or creating the ultimate master suite in your suburban Colonial.

17 Wolcott Ct., Boston, 617-333-6800,

Carpenter & MacNeille

Carpenter & MacNeille puts a fresh spin on traditional New England aesthetics, whether incorporating geothermal power into a shingle-style home or combining Asian, Arts & Crafts, and Shaker details in a new house that fits perfectly into its historical neighborhood. Clients can count on this power team of architects, builders, and designers to handle the construction process from start to finish.

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

Carpenter & MacNeille / Photograph by Michael J. Lee

Howell Custom Building Group

Howell’s focus on each client’s lifestyle is evident in the personalized touches you’ll find in its remodeling projects, such as a slide-out coat closet seamlessly hidden behind a hallway wall. Also look to Howell for specialized work in areas including green building and timber framing, proof that the team’s knowledge and expertise run deep.

360 Merrimack St. #5, Lawrence, 978-989-9440,

Andover Landscape

With a dedication to local materials and sustainable plantings, Andover Landscape’s designs seem to emerge naturally from their surroundings. In one project, a plunge pool is transformed into a secluded swimming hole bordered by natural stone and flowers. In another, a stone stairway winds up a grassy hill toward a serene lakeside patio.


Cape Associates

When you’ve been building homes on the Cape for nearly half a century—as this Eastham firm has—you understand the inherent quirks of seaside construction, from topography to permitting to the effects of high winds and ocean spray. Rather than aligning with a specific style, the company’s expertise lends itself to a variety of homes, including such past projects as a compact oceanfront haven built into the dunes and a shingle-style manse set high atop a bluff.

345 Massasoit Rd., Eastham, 508-255-1770,

Encore Construction

All projects are created equal when Dale Nikula’s firm handles them, whether it’s embarking on a significant addition or merely making a minor update. The firm’s impressive portfolio boasts rebuilt Cape cottages chock-full of custom details (think: coffered ceilings and shiplap walls) and a modest 18th-century home transformed into a modern-day retreat.

103 Main St., Dennis Port, 508-760-6900,

Joyce Landscaping

What began in 1994 with a single lawnmower in the back of Chris Joyce’s pickup truck has morphed into a bustling operation with a fleet of more than 60 vehicles. Capable of executing elaborate outdoor kitchens, charming backyard ponds, al fresco fireplaces, and pool decking made of natural stone, the company excels at both design and installation.

68 Flint St., Marstons Mills, 508-428-4772,

Fallon Custom Homes & Renovations

Fallon specializes not just in custom homes but in historically accurate ones, thanks to the firm’s cabinetry and millworking shop that painstakingly replicates period details. To wit: a Victorian-style, wood-paneled library with the requisite fireplace, moldings, and built-ins. Of course, they can go modern, too—like a flashy home theater with a built-in bar area.

171 Reservoir St., Needham, 781-237-0505,


A green-building pioneer since the 1970s (and a close partner of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative), Thoughtforms doesn’t skimp on style, whether working on a geothermally heated Greek Revival farmhouse or a 19th-century urban townhouse with authentic Doric columns.

525 Massachusetts Ave. Ste. 204, Acton, 978-263-6019,

The MacDowell Company

Looking for an outdoor fireplace with a stone chimney for crisp fall evenings? How about a custom natural-stone grill island that looks more like a garden wall than a cooking apparatus? Maybe a waterfall beside a hot tub and a firepit? From kidney-shaped pools to inviting playgrounds, the offerings from this decades-old family-run company prove it has both vision and longevity.

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

Roche Bobois / Photograph by Sarah Storrer

Shops & Showrooms

Empty walls and rooms simply won’t do. Inspiration awaits inside these well-curated stores, where luxe furniture, must-have lighting, and the chicest accessories delight at every turn.



After 25 years in the business, Cumar still wins our vote for the best selection of full-slab stone in town. Trust owner Angelo Cubi and his team to find you the cream of the crop (Italian marble, Brazilian granite, French limestone—you name it), and then cut and install it perfectly. Your countertops won’t know what hit them.

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

Tile Showcase

Softly lit like paintings in a museum, the inviting tile displays at this Design Center showroom beg to be explored. Come for myriad ceramic, glass, and stone options from the likes of Pratt & Larson, Island Stone, and Walker Zanger, and leave with dozens of ideas for your next reno.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 639, Boston, 617-426-6515,

Steven King Decorative Carpets

Only the finest manufacturers have the privilege of working with this Design Center standout. Known for its discerning eye, Steven King deals in both the classic and the contemporary: The store is just as likely to hawk stunning period pieces as it is plush, handtufted rugs in a variety of modern patterns.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 405, Boston, 617-426-3302,


With past clients including Edith Wharton and collaborators ranging from Saul Steinberg to Frank Lloyd Wright, Schumacher’s reach travels far beyond simple home design. Whether you’re searching for a sleek geometric pattern or classic herringbone to cover your walls, you can shop easy knowing you’re alongside the arbiters of taste.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 529, Boston, 617-482-9165,

The Romo Group

We challenge you to find a textile that the Romo Group, a longtime industry staple, doesn’t carry. Looking for linen blends? Shop the Plains collection and drape your windows in luxury. Need crushed velvet? Pick from 54 vivid shades. Want braided trim? You get the idea.

Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Ste. 528, Boston, 617-737-0599,

Frank Webb Home

With working displays, experienced showroom consultants, and a selection sourced from the largest plumbing distributor in the Northeast, trust Frank Webb to guide you through everything from going green (dual-flush toilets, anyone?) to finally upgrading your shower head.

307 Dorchester Ave., Boston, 617-933-0666,

Yale Appliance + Lighting / Photograph by Sarah Storrer

Yale Appliance + Lighting

Any appliance store will sell you an oven; only the best ones will show you how it works before and after you buy it. With Yale’s locations in Dorchester and Framingham providing a combined 50,000 square feet of recently remodeled, well-stocked showroom space, the only limit to your home-reno imagination is how far you’re willing to walk.

296 Freeport St., Dorchester; 215 Worcester Rd., Framingham; 617-825-9253,

Neena’s Lighting

The illuminated storefront at Neena’s flagship store on Boylston Street lures patrons to a covetable selection of Tech Lighting chandeliers, Louis Poulsen pendants, and Artemide lamps. The highly trained staff not only will help you choose among contemporary, transitional, and classic styles, they’ll also advise on which fixtures will look the best in your home.

380 Boylston St., Boston, 617-859-1700,

Lekker Home

The shop’s name says it all: “Lekker” means alluring and enticing in Dutch. The family-owned company curates a selection of tempting goods (lush pillows and blankets made from natural yarn, French colored-glass vases, and mirrors with walnut pegs that hold keys, hats, and scarves) that strike the perfect balance between contemporary and traditional.

1313 Washington St., Boston, 617-737-7307,

Thos. Moser

There’s hardly a bolt or screw in sight on a Thos. Moser original: The Maine-based company’s sleek wooden creations, ranging from masterfully sculpted side chairs to one-of-a-kind bed frames, nix metal fasteners in favor of visible joinery. The result is a timeless form that revels in simplicity, allowing the craftsmanship to shine through.

19 Arlington St., Boston, 617-224-1245,

Roche Bobois

With locations in Downtown Crossing and Natick, the vividly colored Roche Bobois showrooms deliver innovative, boundary-pushing pieces (including Jean Paul Gaultier’s playful chariot-inspired “Ben Hur” armchair with wheels) and patterns from designers such as Cécile Maia Pujol and Kenzo Takada without sacrificing comfort.

2 Avery St., Boston, 617-742-9611; 395 Worcester St., Natick, 508-650-5844;

Casa Design Outdoor

You’d be hard-pressed to find a larger selection of ultramodern patio furniture than the one at Casa Design Outdoor. Sourced from Europe, the shop’s cutting-edge inventory features stylish offerings such as metal armchairs and barstools from Kettal and extendable dining tables with teak slats by Roda.

450 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-955-9377,


Classic Rock Marble & Granite

Don’t be fooled by the name: In addition to marble and granite, this Salem company stocks soapstone, quartz, onyx, and other natural stone varieties for everything from countertops to fireplace surrounds to vanities. And when it comes to installation, the Classic team’s craftsmanship is as rock-solid as their materials.

98 North St., Salem, 978-304-7777,

The Flooring Source

The skilled team at the Flooring Source not only installs tile from a broad selection of ceramic, porcelain, and stone options, they follow up with clients afterward to make sure the job was done right. Every customer gets a call from owner Steve Fotopoulos, who personally asks about satisfaction. How’s that for service?

232-K South Main St., Middleton, 978-762-7644,

Gordon Rug Company

Fancy a monogrammed, custom-cut area rug? Or perhaps a soft organic carpet for the baby’s room? You’ll find it at Gordon Rug, which boasts an extensive selection of broadloom carpeting, area rugs, and stair runners, along with design-consultation services and expert installation from an in-house team. Look for an always-updated selection from brands such as Kaleen, Couristan, and Prestige Mills, as well as custom products. Your feet will thank you.

149 State St., Newburyport, 978-463-4200,

Interiors by White Street

Gone are the days when wallpaper was just for walls. The designers at Interiors by White Street can show you how to apply it to the backs of library shelves, staircase risers, the top of a desk, or even the ceiling. Supported by almost 70 years of experience, this shop knows wallcoverings, be they silk, grasscloth, or vinyl; solid-colored, patterned, or textured.

1013 Osgood St., North Andover, 978-688-4442,

Zimman’s / Photograph by Joseph Ferraro


With more than 50,000 fabrics in stock, Zimman’s offers something that the Internet never will: the hands-on experience of pleating, draping, smelling, and feeling everything in the store. Design experts guide shoppers through bold Turkish fabrics, rich leathers, delicate silks, and thousands more options organized by weight and color.

80 Market St., Lynn, 781-598-9432,

Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply

While it’s tempting to sink into one of the deep and luxurious soaking tubs on display at this gleaming 4,500-square-foot showroom, don’t lose sight of your goal. Whether you’re after a sculpted stone sink, a steam shower, a lighted mirror TV, or fixtures and faucets in a wide array of finishes, Designer Bath carries it all.

97 River St., Beverly, 800-649-2284,

Douglass Appliance

Celebrating its 50th year in the business, Douglass Appliance lives up to its promise of “hometown service with superstore prices.” That means you’re always greeted warmly by a staffer who’ll help you find the right-size refrigerator, wall oven, or dishwasher for your space, should it be a cozy seaside cottage or roomy chef’s kitchen. Don’t forget to ask about the company’s new models with smudge-proof stainless steel, a must-have for those with kiddos.

74 High St., Danvers, 978-777-0166,

Lucía Lighting & Design

Housed in an 8,000-square-foot mansion turned showroom, Lucía’s selection of indoor and outdoor lighting caters to all tastes, from classic to modern. Expect to find leather and Swarovski crystal chandeliers, sleek LED pendant orbs, handwrought iron sconces, and an infectious enthusiasm from owner Lucy Dearborn and her team.

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

Savoir Faire Home / Photograph by Joseph Ferraro

Savoir Faire Home

Owner Lisa Duffy’s carefully selected wares from around the world are at once cozy and chic (imagine: European linens, French glassware, handthrown Vermont pottery, and rustic wood serving trays from Italy, perfect for loaves of crusty bread). Every visit to Duffy’s posh Andover boutique reveals something new or unexpected.

23 Barnard St., Andover, 978-409-6188,

Circle Furniture

Guided by the belief that finding the highest-quality furniture requires looking no further than our own backyards, Circle Furniture sources many of its finely crafted pieces—including reclaimed-barn-wood tables, tufted headboards, and couches and chairs in a rainbow of fabrics—from artisans in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

237 S. Main St., Middleton, 978-777-2690,


This Lawrence company is so confident in the durability of its teak furniture—built from sustainably harvested Indonesian wood—that they offer a five-year warranty on each piece. Shop here, and you’ll enjoy Goldenteak’s elegant dining sets, benches, and bar tables for years to come.

15 Union St., Lawrence, 978-689-4041,


Plymouth Quarries

Incorporated more than a century ago, this quarry counts such lauded institutions as Boston College and Yale University among its past clientele. Today, savvy homeowners head to its home in Hingham for granite slabs, pavers, concrete products, and more, for creating everything from brick backsplashes and kitchen islands with natural stone bases to fireplace surrounds fitted with multiple rock varieties.

410 Whiting St., Rte. 53, Hingham, 781-335-3686,

Cape Cod Tileworks

Co-owned by a seasoned Rhode Island School of Design grad and a tile installer who’s been in the biz for more than 30 years, this Lower Cape shop feels more like an art gallery than a tile store. The duo specializes in custom designs inspired by nature, so you’re likely to find handcrafted models with beach, ocean, lake, and mountain themes, along with natural stone, glass, ceramic, and porcelain in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

705 Main St., Harwich, 508-432-7346,

Colony Rug Company

This expansive family-owned showroom features a robust selection of high-end rugs, including plush, handmade wool carpeting, colorful flat-weaves, and intricately patterned Orientals, plus a throng of items created exclusively for the shop. Bonus: The staff here is on top of their game, armed with intimate product knowledge, as well as all the details you’ll need for installation.

195 Columbia Rd., Hanover, 781-826-5166,

Factory Paint & Decorating

Wallpaper is back—and not what you remember from Grandma’s parlor. The interior decorators at this family-owned business sort through a selection of more than 700 patterns (culled from brands including Thibaut, Schumacher, and Brewster Home Fashions) to find the right one for that accent wall in your nursery or the interior of your coat closet. The options, it seems, are limitless.

505 Pond St., South Weymouth, 781-331-1200,

Robin’s Nest

Owner Robin Pelissier, who began her career in New York City’s fashion and textile industries, possesses a real flair for layering. Step into her hybrid shop/design-studio space, and she’ll help you navigate silk, velvet, and cotton from lines such as Duralee, Cowtan & Tout, and Osborne & Little in an array of colors and patterns.

28 North St., Hingham, 781-740-4843,

Snow and Jones / Photograph by Joe St. Pierre

Snow and Jones

With faucets, fixtures, sinks, and tubs by leading manufacturers—Kohler, Moen, Rohl, Grohe—the selection in this robust showroom can be dizzying at times. If the sheer number of towel rack options and vanity styles makes your head spin, rest assured that a staff member is waiting in the wings to give you a hand.

85 Accord Park Dr., Norwell, 781-878-3312,

KAM Appliances

The product specialists at KAM clearly delight in all things kitchen, eager to share useful tips such as how to organize a refrigerator or select a wine fridge. But rather than try to oversell, staffers cater to each customer’s specific needs—and budget: Along with luxury brands such as Bosch, Miele, and Thermador, there are mid-range options by GE Appliances and Frigidaire.

1176 Washington St., Hanover, 781-829-0810,

Fleming’s Lighting

This South Shore mainstay has shined since 1931, hawking brands including Currey & Company, Visual Comfort, Hubbardton Forge, and Jamie Young from its antique storefront. Fleming’s stocks every type of fixture imaginable—ceiling lights, wall sconces, table lamps, exterior lights, you name it—and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, staffers at the store’s consultation counter can work with you to design a completely custom piece.

24 Elm St., Cohasset, 781-383-0684;

Fleming’s Lighting / Photograph by Joe St. Pierre

The Chatham Home

Despite its beachy name, this shop—housed in a shingle-clad building on Chatham’s main thoroughfare—offers a wide selection of treasures for any home. You’ll find Matouk bedding, vibrantly painted ceramic vessels, and furniture by Bungalow 5, as well as such nautically themed décor as mirrors framed with shells, rope lamps, and woven rugs in a variety of colors.

443 Main St., Chatham, 508-945-5562,

Surroundings Home

The eclectic furniture selection is the real draw at this well-curated shop, where shiny metal Oly Studio tables in various shapes mingle with zebra-print dining chairs and velvet Hickory Chair ottomans. Surroundings accommodates custom orders, too. See: the Lee Industries chair, upholstered in a vivid Manuel Canovas fabric, that we spotted on a recent visit.

81 1/2 Fairhaven Rd., Mattapoisett, 508-758-9933,

Cape Leisure

Since 1988, Cape Leisure owner Jay McArdle has helped local homeowners make the most of the fleeting summer months by providing an extensive selection of high-quality pieces—brightly colored Adirondack chairs, adjustable chaise lounges, outdoor sectionals—ranging in material from wrought iron to wood to wicker. Now if only they served gin and tonics.

30 Bates Rd., Mashpee, 508-428-1175,


Onyx Marble & Granite

Onyx staffers patiently counsel the uninitiated on their 50-plus shades of granite and marble, and numerous types of quartz, inviting clients to bring photos of their kitchens for personalized recommendations. Should you need fabrication and installation services, they offer that, too. In the Onyx team’s reassuring hands, it’s about one week to a clean slate—literally.

93 Beaver St., Framingham, 508-620-0775,

Terrene of New England

While Terrene can sell you hot-pink tile for your bathroom renovation, the savvy staffers at this boutique shop are more likely to guide you toward their handmade, recycled ceramic; shimmering glass; and more-subdued porcelain tile selections. Made by environmentally conscious U.S. manufacturers and installed by sister company Boston Green Renovations, Terrene’s tiles leave an eco footprint you can feel good about.

275D Centre St., Newton, 617-244-6200,

K. Powers & Company

Wedged down an alley in Needham Heights is a carpet wonderland: a spacious, alluring showroom lined with nylon, wool, and handwoven Nepalese rugs—all overseen by a friendly staff happy to send you home with samples so you can test them against your abode’s natural light. “We’re the best-kept secret in town,” a chatty staffer whispered as we headed for the door. Believe it.

16 Charles St., Needham, 781-455-0505,

The Four Walls

A consult with owner Robin Abber is like a meeting with a therapist: Poring over thousands of domestic and imported wallpaper options with humor and down-to-earth advice on color and scale, Abber transforms empty spaces into sparkling jewels. She can speak to trends—bold fuchsia prints are back—but also intuits when a room calls for classics.

1001 Boylston St., Newton, 617-964-4440,

Debsan the Decorating Store

For fabric shopping with a little bit of coddling, head to Debsan, where on-site decorators offer suggestions on just the right material and look. Silk or cotton? Kravet or Robert Allen? Sorted by manufacturer, style, and color, the collection is chaperoned by three designers, including one who’s been there for more than 25 years. “We’re not going to let you wander alone,” a reassuring staffer promises.

25 Main St., Natick, 508-653-1360,

WaterSpot Ardente Supply

This Natick showroom—larger than its Boston counterpart—specializes in luxe European brands such as Dornbracht and Graff. Don’t be shy about asking for assistance. The staff will help you navigate the many showpieces to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

575 Worcester St., Natick, 508-651-2200,


Appliance shopping isn’t always fun, but the folks at Poirier make it pleasant with their approachable, no-pressure vibe (and members-only service for seamless repairs). Visit the Newton showroom for a more intimate experience, or browse a bigger selection at their Norwood branch. The company carries all the big names—Bosch, Miele, Viking—and workers remarkably remember your name, too.

244 Needham St., Newton, 617-558-5500,

Patti Bros

Blown-glass kitchen pendants. Dazzling recycled-glass chandeliers. Homey table lamps in eye-popping hues. Whether you want a sophisticated statement piece for a grand dining room or need soft luminescence in a summer house, Patti Bros shines. And when the lights start to dim, you can turn to the team for restoration and repairs.

215 Boston Post Rd., Sudbury, 978-443-9412; 15 Central St., Wellesley, 781-239-3322,

Modern Relik / Photograph by Sarah Storrer

Modern Relik

Tucked away in an industrial corner of Waltham, this modern-meets-vintage showroom is a bit Alice in Wonderland: Art deco mirrored trays, gourd-shaped vases, brass-and-marble side tables—where to begin? But owner and longtime interior designer Meg Kimball presides over it all with calm enthusiasm, steering wide-eyed patrons to just the right dose of avant-garde.

96 Clematis Ave., Waltham, 617-513-3336,

Pompanoosuc Mills

This 44-year-old Vermont retailer now boasts branches from Natick and Boston to Philadelphia but retains a woodsy, ski-retreat aesthetic. Shop Shaker-inspired solid-cherry armoires and long walnut storage benches, or let craftspeople bring your own ideas to life using exotic hardwoods. Not sure where to begin? A designer will visit your home for a free consultation.

583 Worcester St., Natick, 508-720-0100,


In a landscape of big-box retailers, indie-owned Didriks stands out with funkier al fresco finds, focusing on design, quality, and functionality. The company specializes in teak furniture by beloved British manufacturer Barlow Tyrie, whose English-garden-inspired pieces look just as at home in a Beacon Hill courtyard as they do on a backyard patio in the ’burbs.

2284 Washington St., Newton, 617-467-4847,

Didriks / Photograph by Sarah Storrer

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