Centers And Squares
Archive for the 'Everything Else' Category
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.
I’ve heard pessimistic rumblings about the Green Line extension recently so I think the public meeting scheduled for this Wednesday would be good to attend.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, a Green Line extension meeting on Phase I: Early Bridge and Demolition Package will be held at the Somerville High School.
On the docket are discussion of:
- Reconstruction and widening of the Medford Street bridge in Somerville
- Reconstruction and widening of the Harvard Street bridge in Medford
- Demolition and site preparation at 21 Water Street in Cambridge
- and more.
The Green Line Extension meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 at the Somerville High School, 81 Highland Avenue, Somerville MA.
Green Line photo courtesy of Pylon757
Recently we toured one of the most unusual houses I’ve seen in Cambridge – 9 Montague Street. The house reminded me of one of my all time favorite books – Woodstock Handmade Houses.
Woodstock Handmade Houses, published in 1974, is filled with photos of the funkiest of funky houses – domes, cabins, refurbished churches, etc. – houses for hippies I guess. It’s a celebration of the creative, the unorthodox, the fun of houses that feel much warmer and more interesting than so much of what we see nowadays.
9 Montague Street was all that and more. It was a re-purposed building and perhaps a better example of a house from another fun 1970s house book – Converted Into Houses: 33 Uniquely Imaginative Homes Created from Unconventional Structures. It was built in 1901 as a meeting space for the Riverside Alliance Church. More recently, its architect owners have used it as live-work space. Far from polished, it was funky and cool and all too unusual for Cambridge nowadays.
9 Montague will be transformed I imagine. At 7500 sq. ft. with yard space and parking it has all sorts of possibilities for development. While I look forward to seeing what it will become I can’t help but wince at the loss of the imaginative and interesting.
Perhaps in other parts of the country – or world – where land is less expensive, there are more unusual and creative houses to be found. I’ve got my books to remind me – in fact a small collection of these 1970s books. Here are some of my favorites:
Converted Into Houses: 33 Uniquely Imaginative Homes Created from Unconventional Structures by Charles A. Fracchia and Jeremiah O. Bragstad. Penguin Books. 1977.
Good Lives by Jeffrey Weiss and Herbert H. Wise. Perigree Books. 1977.
Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art by Art Boericke and Barry Shapiro. A & W Visual Library. 1973.
Living Places by Herbert H. Wise and Jeffrey Friedman-Weiss. Quick Fox. 1976.
Woodstock Handmade Houses by Robert Haney and David Ballantine. Jonathan Elliott, photographer. Random House. 1974.
Working Places by Jeffrey Weiss. Photographs by David Leach. St. Martin’s Press. 1980.
If you know of other books like these I can add to my collection let me know!