Centers And Squares
Archive for the 'Everything Else' Category
Upgrade your smoke alarm batteries the next time you change them.
A beeping smoke alarm has to be one of the more aggravating noises we’re subjected to at home. A responsible, organized homeowner is encouraged to replace the smoke alarm batteries twice a year with the time change in spring and fall often suggested as the best time to change those batteries. But many of us just wait for that obnoxious beeping before dragging out the ladder (after going room by room trying to figure out which dratted alarm is screeching).
If you want a more long term solution there are now long life lithium batteries available. I spotted them at Tags in Porter Square the other day.
The batteries are supposed to last for ten years and cost just $8.50 each. The regular smoke alarm batteries aren’t cheap so $8.50 seemed like a bargain to take this task off the to-do list for a decade. The sign at Tags suggests you’ll save $50 in smoke alarm battery expense over the life of the battery but peace of mind and fewer hassles is worth even more I think.
The next time that blankety-blankin’ beeping starts up I’m heading to Tags to stock up on lithium batteries.
Don’t miss today’s Boston Globe which, in a cover story in G titled “House of Mirth: Quirky by Design”, profiles an amazing house in Arlington, MA. Turns out, owner Rebecca Perlo, whose art car I’ve spotted more than once, has an art house.
The Jason Heights mansard Victorian, known locally as ”the purple house” according to the Globe, is awash in art, color, and quirkiness – it’s awesome. More than a dozen photographs accompany the article and I’ll bet twice as many wouldn’t be enough to document the delights that await inside the purple, red and green house. From the Where the Wild Things Are murals to the fishtank toilet, the house is a wall to wall celebration of creativity.
Nowadays, when almost every house looks like the next, and decorating cliches abound, Perlo’s house is a rare treat. And since I’m firmly in the camp of more is more this is my kind of house. Pick up a copy of the Globe and be prepared to be amazed.
Raised garden beds are popular with backyard farmers and gardeners in Somerville and Cambridge. In a talk at the Somerville Garden Club on Wednesday evening, Jesse Banhazl will talk about raised garden beds as well as other options for growing produce in limited space – on roofs, on porches, or in small urban backyards.
Jesse Banhazl is owner and co-founder of Green City Growers, a Somerville-based business that helps to bring organic produce gardens to homes, schools and businesses.
The Somerville Garden club meeting and lecture is free and open to the public. There is parking available or you can take the T to Davis Square and walk up Holland Street.
What: Raised Garden Beds Talk at the Somerville Garden Club meeting
When: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Where: Tufts Administration Bldg., 167 Holland St, Somerville MA
Home Renovation Books Growing up, my family’s first house was a classic Cape reproduction built in the early 1960s. These postwar houses – the ranches, split-levels and particularly the Capes built in new subdivisions in towns close to Cambridge – have fairly predictable floor plans. Often these floor plans don’t jibe with today’s real estate buyers’ expectations.
That’s one of the reasons I love seeing these now 50+ years old houses. Some have changed little and I can walk in and know just what room to expect at every turn. Others have been transformed by new owners and it’s always fun to see how home renovation projects have updated these mid-century houses.
Are you hoping to buy a single family? Or perhaps you’ve lived in one for some time and are dreaming of renovating. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration four home renovation books from The Taunton Press in their Updating Classic America series are worth picking up:
Capes: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling and Building New by Jane Gitlin
Colonials: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling and Building New by Matthew Schoenherr
Ranches: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling and Building New by Louis Wasserman and M. Caren Connolly
Bungalows: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling and Building New by Louis Wasserman and M. Caren Connolly
I guess you’re on your own when it comes to tweaking a split-level! Each book is lavishly illustrated with photographs and filled with stories about houses that have been thoughtfully updated and reworked. While there are plenty of postwar houses (except of course in the bungalow book) in these pages, earlier houses are included as well. Home owners and home buyers will find loads of ideas in these beautiful books.
I’ve had an account at Cambridge Savings Bank for years but I’ll deposit my winnings into my favorite credit union – Industrial Credit Union in Boston.
I *love* my credit union. It has one branch in the Financial District. A real person answers the phone when you call, solves your problem, and, if need be, hand addresses an envelope to you and pops it in the mail. ICU has low, low fees and no-fee accounts – and good interest. In fact, I get great interest on my no-fee checking account and their online banking is super.
Cambridge Savings Bank – not so much. I got aggravated by the fees and more fees they started charging over the years and then really aggravated when they dropped out of the SUM program. The SUM program is a cooperative effort among smaller banks. You aren’t charged a fee if you use an ATM at a bank that belongs to the program.
But the last straw is the sign at right. CSB closed the ATM across from my office. Aaagh!! Battling the parking lot at the Porter Square shopping center is not an acceptable alternative to popping into the ATM before grabbing lunch at Sarah’s or Armando’s.
So when I get that really big check I’ll head on into Boston to stash my millions in Industrial Credit Union.
The Saint Patrick’s Day revelers were already out in force late this afternoon in Cambridge. St. Patrick’s Day on a Saturday in Massachusetts – it reminds me of New Years Eve – a good night to stay off the roads.
Wherever you go tonight – or tomorrow – may you have a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Here’s a vintage postcard to celebrate the holiday. Someone sent it through the mail more than a century ago in 1909. It’s one of the items I’ve collected that I’ll be adding to my soon-to-debut vintage images website, VintageImagesToGo.com. Ever since I began to blog it’s been a challenge to find quality illustrations for posts. VintageImagesToGo (or VITGO as I’ve been calling it) will help to fill that void. We should be open for business in a month or so with an amazing collection of copyright-free retro illustrations to download. You’ll find plenty to use in craft projects, in e-cards, in blogs, for business cards – you name it!
The Boston Globe had a great article today about a house moving in Belmont on Saturday.
The Thomas Clark House, circa 1760, was built by the Clarks, a prominent family in early Belmont history. Sadly, the house had been bought by a developer who wanted to tear it down. After a public outcry, funds were raised to move the house.
Until yesterday, the Thomas Clark House could be found at 59 Common Street in Belmont, MA. Now it’s sitting – temporarily – near the high school on Concord Avenue until its fate is determined.
Here are more photos of the house on its Facebook page. It’s a good thing when a Colonial-era house gets a Facebook page!
And here’s a time-lapsed photo video of the move:
I was on another antiquing jaunt recently when I came across this wonderful octagon house in Templeton MA on the “scenic tour” leg of my trip (I was lost).
This three-story octagon-plus-cupola is on Patriots Road at the corner of Cottage Lane. It’s a fabulous example of the octagonal style. While it looks like it needs some TLC it appears to have its original siding and decorative quoins.
The Octagon Inventory website page for Massachusetts has more info and photos – including an amazing photograph of the house’s staircase. The house was built in 1855 and is known as the T.T. Greenwood-Orre house.
Turns out there’s another octagon house nearby on Cottage Lane in Templeton that I missed.
Here are a couple more posts about octagon houses in Centers and Squares’ neck of the woods:
Octagon Houses in Stoneham – Read more about the octagonal style of architecture and see photos of Stoneham’s three octagons
Octagonal House in Medford – who knew there was an Octagon in Medford? It’s a little hard to spot but I did one day and snapped this photo.