Archive for the 'Everything Else' Category

Closets Too Shallow?

Children's Hangers Will Fit In a Shallow Closet

The Answer to Shallow Closets

Are your closets too shallow?   Can't fit hangers in the closet? Shallow closets are  a common problem in older houses and apartments.  At one time closets were designed to have a row of hooks inside - not a closet rod.   I'm not sure through what time period closets were built this way - I've owned two houses built in the 1800s and in each some of the closets weren't deep enough for closet rods. Sometimes short closet rods can be installed from front to back to the left or right of the door - that's how the closets were adapted in my house.  It's not perfect - those are pretty short closet rods - but it works. The problem with a shallow closet is that when a closet rod is installed from end to end - as closet rods typically are - you can't fit clothes hangers on the rod and still close the closet door.  Some homeowners remove the closet doors altogether but that's not ideal. Here's an innovative fix to the problem of shallow closets - children's clothes hangers.  Yup - that's right - children's clothes hangers typically will fit in the closet and allow for the door to close. I picked up these kids' hangers at the Container Store - a bargain at just 29 cents a piece. Thanks to Tara for this innovative solution - all of us with shallow closets thank you!

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Vintage Wallpaper

I love old wallpaper.  In fact, I've bought three houses because of - at least in part - their vintage wallpaper.  It's one of those features that rings bells for me. When houses that haven't been updated for years change hands it's only a matter of time before the vintage wallpaper is no more. 20 Vincent Street in Cambridge is a beautiful multi-family that was on the market for a few days recently before receiving multiple offers.  The house had fabulous vintage wallpaper in almost every room. Chances are that wallpaper is not long for this world.  So let's memorialize it here with this slideshow.
Vintage wallpaper in Cambridge multi-family

Vintage wallpaper in Cambridge multi-family

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Look Who’s Coming To Dinner

President Obama at Thanksgiving Dinner

President Obama at Thanksgiving Dinner

  The table is set.  The turkey's in the oven.  Thanksgiving dinner will soon be served. The first guest has arrived.   Actually he's been the backdrop to our celebrations for close to four years - and he'll be here for four more! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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The Last Cupcake

The Last Hostess Cupcake

The Last Hostess Cupcake

No more Hostess Cupcakes?  Say it's not so!  Word that Hostess was shutting down and halting production caused runs on local groceries and convenience stores this weekend.  Sentimental shoppers, stunned by the thought of never again getting their favorite snack foods, cleared store shelves of all things Hostess.  And don't think because the box says "Drake's" that your favorite lunchbox treat is safe - Hostess owns Drake's too. What does a life without Hostess mean?

No more Hostess Cupcakes No more Donettes No more Twinkies No more Devil Dogs No more Ding Dongs No more Yodels No more Wonder Bread Aach!! What are we gonna eat for dessert?  What's going to go in the lunchbox?  Heck - forget the lunchbox - what about our special plastic Hostess Cupcake and Twinkie-shaped containers - never to be filled again. Hostess Cupcakes with a glass of cold milk were the dessert in my imaginary "last meal."  A package of powdered Donettes and a Diet Coke was the snack I'd pick up when I was on the road.  In high school, attacks of the munchies were sated with Twinkies.  I can still remember the field trip we took to the Hostess Factory when I was in elementary school.  And any trip to the Natick Mall was enhanced by the amazing smell of Wonder Bread baking in the nearby factory. I hope you managed to find your favorites before the shelves were bare - and if not, there's always Craigslist or ebay for a few more weeks.  Courtesy of my brother Andy I scored five Hostess Cupcakes and two packages of Donettes - or Donette Gems as I've always called them.  I'll savor each sugary bite.

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We Met At an Open House

Open House Cat

Open House Cat

    He's just so amazing I had to share.   We met at an open house a couple of weeks ago.    I'm a bit of a cat whisperer and he was shy at first, hiding under the bed.   
We Met In Cambridge

We Met In Cambridge

I got him to come out and when I complimented him and told him how handsome he was  he just preened. He loved to be patted but when you pat him his skin wrinkles.  Eeek!  Who knew this is what cats look like under all that luscious fur?  There's something beautiful about him though in all his bare skinned skinnyness.

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What is Question Four in Somerville?

What's Question Four in Somerville?

What's Question Four in Somerville?

What is Question Four in Somerville?   Inquiring minds want to know after seeing signs in favor of question 4 all over Somerville. Turns out that Question 4 on Somerville ballots for Tuesday's election asks if Somerville residents want to adopt the Community Preservation Act.  If the Community Preservation Act is adopted, a 1.5% surcharge would be added to Somerville property tax bills for funding to acquire, create, preserve and restore:
  • Open space for parks, recreation and conservation
  • Historic resources such as historic community buildings and artifacts
  • Land for recreational use including parks, playgrounds and athletic fields
  • Community housing to help meet local families' housing needs
You can read more about Question Four in Somerville in this brochure on the City of Somerville website.

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Time to Turn Back the Clocks

Turn Back the Clocks Tonight

Turn Back the Clocks Tonight

Tonight's the night - time to turn back the clocks one hour.  Every year when we turn back the clocks there's bound to be confusion on Sunday.  Agents and buyers alike turn up at open houses at the wrong time.  Shorter nights are a challenge for the real estate business every day - or at least every evening.  If you're looking at properties after work you're looking in the dark.  Long days, light well into the evening, are optimal for real estate viewing.  I once read about night life in some city close to the equator where it stayed light until 11:30 pm.  All that I could think was - wow!  You sure could sell a lot of real estate if you had all those extra hours of daylight.   Somehow we manage to move plenty of real estate despite the short days  of winter. While I really don't like the early darkness  I am delighted to get that extra hour to sleep. I need every spare hour I can get.  I won't turn back my clocks until morning because I love that little jolt of happiness when it dawns on me that I have that precious extra hour. So - sleep in tomorrow - but don't forget to turn back the clocks before you head out!

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Shirley Shaker Village

Shakers were buried in the Shirley Shaker Village cemetery from the 1700s to the 1920s.  See more images in the slideshow below.

Shakers were buried in the Shirley Shaker Village cemetery from the 1700s to the 1920s. See more images in the slideshow below.

Recently I had the opportunity to tour the Shirley Shaker Village.  The tour is only offered once or twice a year and I'd missed it more than once. The Shaker Village in Shirley is on the grounds of the MCI-Shirley  - the prison.  It's a somwhat surreal experience - the pastoral landscape, the historic buildings, and the minimum, medium and maximum facilities that surround you make for an odd juxtaposition and a rather unsettling feeling.  The Shaker community in Shirley had sixty residents by 1790.  At its height in the mid-1800s there were 150 residents of Shirley Shaker Village.  Their buildings were wood frame or brick and included a laundry, a meetinghouse, an infirmary, barns and shop buildings.  In 1850 the Shakers built a cotton mill nearby on the Catacunemaug River.  Many of the buildings are extant, others are no longer standing.  The Meetinghouse was moved to Hancock Shaker Village in 1962 after its meetinghouse burned. On the site you can still see the walkways that led to the separate entrances for men and women. By the early 1900s only three Sisters remained in the Village.  They relocated to Harvard and the 900 acre property was sold to the state of Massachusetts. The State opened the Shirley Industrial School for Boys - a reform school - that operated on the site until it was closed in the early 1970s.  Some of the Shaker buildings still have Colonial  Revival details that were added during the early days of the Industrial School. One benefit of the buildings being on the prison grounds is that the State doesn't have the money to upgrade the buildings so they remain remarkably intact.  That was true in Concord where I grew up - a variety of buildings around MCI-Concord were untouched by time - never having been subjected to unfortunate renovations.  But, like Concord, which lost a number of its older buildings near the prison, several of the Shirley buildings are crumbling and are past the possibility of restoration.  Other buildings have been restored or at least buttoned down with money from a grant that the Shirley Historical Society received. Check the Shirley Historical Society website for announcements about touring Shirley Shaker Village.  It's a fascinating tour and not to be missed. The slideshow from our tour is below.  For some reason I seem to have photos of the brick buildings but not so many of the wood framed buildings.  We had to be careful not to take any photos that included inmates, or border fences, or prison buildings so I wasn't able to capture every view that I would have liked. The last couple of images are of the mill buildings that remain down the street and are currently used as commercial space.

Shirley Shaker Village

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