Welcome to Centers and Squares

As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.

Historic Homeowners – This Group’s For You

Do you live in an old house?  Chances are good that you do since so much of our local real estate was built before 1900.  Old house owners should consider a Historic Homeowner membership with Historic New England.  It’s one of several special interest membership categories and comes with a  long list of member benefits.  One that was invaluable for me was a historic paint color consultation done for my house by Historic New England’s Sally Zimmerman.  Never would I have been able to choose those colors myself. 

One of my favorite Historic Homeowner member benefits is the opportunity to tour vintage houses with fellow members and Historic New England staff.  It’s a super opportunity to see very interesting privately owned houses and to get a close-up look at architectural details and restoration work – completed or in progress.  There’s nothing like seeing the houses first-hand in the company of  fellow old house enthusiasts and old house experts.


Historic Homeowner Members visited the Alanson Tucker House in Derry NH

The Alanson Tucker House in Derry NH

Last Fall, as a Historic Homeowner member, I had the opportunity to visit the Alanson Tucker House  in Derry, NH, pictured above.   It was an unforgettable experience. The house was built for Tucker, a successful merchant, in 1816 and the setting and the house retain an amazing amount of original detail. The owner, a Historic Homeowner member, is in the midst of a years-long painstaking restoration. It’s truly a case of a perfect match between house and homeowner. The owner’s deep knowledge of historic architecture means that he can read the telling details in the house that others might miss and can peel back layers added over the decades to reveal the house as it was almost 200 years ago.

The last two weekends I’ve toured two more properties with fellow Historic Homeowner members – one in Boston and one in Cambridge.  Both of the houses are protected by preservation easements held by Historic New England.

Across from the Boston Common we visited the headquarters of the American Meteorological Society on Beacon Street, pictured below.  45 Beacon Street is the third house in Boston that architect Charles Bulfinch designed for Harrison Gray Otis.  Built in 1806 it is here that the Otis family lived the longest.  The first Harrison Gray Otis house on Cambridge Street is the headquarters for Historic New England.  The second, on Mount Vernon Street is a private home and Beacon Hill’s only freestanding single family.  Our tour was fascinating on many levels – the house is extraordinary, we learned much about Otis, one of Boston’s early developers, and as the daughter of a lifelong weather buff I appreciated all of the weather-related tidbits too.

3rd Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston

The Third Harrison Gray Otis House in Boston

Last weekend Historic Homeowner members were invited to tour a house built in North Cambridge in 1853 and restored by its long-time owner.  The house is a blend of Greek Revival and Italianate styles and we toured it from top to bottom.  It was a wonderful opportunity to see the architectural details up close with all sorts of insights shared by the homeowner and by Sally Zimmerman from Historic New England.  My notes from our visit are filled with the names of companies and artisans who do quality restoration work of all sorts. 

This coming weekend we’re off to see another house in the stewardship easement program.  It’s a very early house in Brookline, built in 1683.  

Don’t think that your house isn’t old enough for you to benefit from a Historic Homeowner membership.  The program welcomes homeowners with more recently built vintage homes and previous member tours have featured mid-century modern houses.

If you want to do right by your old house the Historic Homeowner program is an invaluable resource – and great fun too for old house enthusiasts.

Categories: Everything Else

  1. Lois

    Why Isn’t East Cambridge listed in the Cambridge neighborhoods? Most of our houses were built in 1873 and are highly valued and cherished, not to mention what a great neighborhood, with wonderful people!!

  2. Liz

    Lois – I completely agree! I love East Cambridge and have always been an admirer of the wonderful housing and streetscapes there. I’m a fan of Greek Revivals in particular and there are some beautiful examples in the neighborhood. This blog is a work in progress to put it mildly (I sometimes refer to it as the “blog that must be fed”) and the neighborhood pages are a good example of where there’s much work to be done. I’ve got some major reorganization plans for the site this spring – with five years of writing it’s a big project – and neighborhood pages will be a big part of that. I’ll put East Cambridge at the top of the to-do list!

  3. Jennifer Fivelsdal

    What a lovely house. Getting the chance to visit these historic homes and learn about the history first hand is a real treat.

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