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.
CAMBRIDGEPORT is a popular neighborhood for Cambridge real estate buyers. Cambridgeport runs from Mass Ave in Central Square to the Charles River between River and Sidney Streets. Tree lined streets, parks, Victorians, lofts in converted industrial buildings, and turn-of-the-century multi-unit buildings make for an appealing neighborhood. There are a variety of transportation options in Cambridgeport including buses that run through the neighborhood, the Red Line T stop in Central Square, and the Green Line just over the B.U. Bridge at the far end of Cambridgeport. Three major universities are minutes away – MIT, Harvard and Boston University.
Cambridgeport Condos For Sale
Cambridge real estate buyers have 29 Cambridgeport condominiums to choose from today, with condos currently on the market priced from $319,000 to $1,495,000.
Average list price for Cambridgeport condos currently on the market: $599,566
Median asking price for Cambridgeport condos on the market: $559,000
Average price per square foot: $465. Prices per sq. ft. ranged from $312 to $690. That compares to an average price per square foot of $480 for all condos currently on the market in Cambridge.
Median price per square foot: $499
Average days on market: 121
Median days on market: 53
Cambridge real estate buyers will find condos in Cambridgeport for sale in vintage brick multi-unit buildings, in converted Victorian houses, in recently built townhouses, and in a converted school building. Three one-bedroom condos, fifteen two-bedroom condos, and eleven condos with three or more bedrooms are currently on the market in Cambridgeport.
Recent Cambridgeport Condominium Sales
Seventeen condos sold in the Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge, MA in the last six months. Sale prices ranged from $320,000 to $779,000.
Average sale price: $512,676
Median sale price: $475,000
Average price per square foot: $375
Average days on market: 82
Cambridgeport condos sold included lofts, townhouses, and condos in triple deckers and in multi-unit Victorian houses.
Did you just buy an old house that needs some TLC? Not sure where to start with projects in your older home and want to do things right? If you’re looking for tips on caring for your antique or vintage home, an upcoming lecture at The Arlington Historical Society is just the ticket.
Sally Zimmerman, Preservation Specialist at Historic New England (formerly SPNEA, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities) will speak about:
- Tips on retaining the old house details we love
- Period appropriate paint colors
- Resources for old house maintenance, restoration, and enhancement
Resources from these Arlington organizations will also be available:
- The Arlington Preservation Fund, Inc.
- The Arlington Historical Commission
- The Arlington Historic Districts Commission
When: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Where: Arlington Heights Nursery School, 10 Acton Street, rear entrance
This Wednesday during our weekly tour of new real estate listings we saw a studio condo at 29 Concord Avenue in Cambridge MA, the Continental Terrace Apartments, new to the market at $219,000. If you’ve never been inside this building you’re in for a treat.
Continental Terrace, 29 Concord Ave. Cambridge - Hugh Stubbins Architect
Designed in 1959 by internationally renowned modernist architect Hugh Stubbins Jr. of Cambridge, the Continental Terrace building has a dramatic central atrium that rises eight stories. Fifty years after its construction, the building feels totally modern and entering the soaring lobby still has a dramatic impact. The atrium lobby was recently refurbished by interior designer Sheila Selby who has some great posts about the building on her blog On the Move Interiors.
Hugh Stubbins (1912-2006) graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Early in his career he affiliated with the firm of Royal Barry Wills, one of my favorite local architects, well known for very traditional colonial reproductions. Stubbins introduced Wills to Modernism and they designed several Modernist houses together. Walter Gropius invited Stubbins to teach at Harvard in 1940 where he remained for 15 years while simultaneously working in his own architecture firm. Stubbins left Harvard in 1954 to devote himself to his own practice.
Inside 29 Concord Avenue Cambridge – Condos at Continental Terrace
29 Concord Avenue is an elevator building with just over 100 condominums on eight floors. Condos are accessed from walkways that overlook the dramatic skylit atrium. Floor plans include studios (avg. ~ 400 sq.ft.), one-bedrooms (avg. ~ 500 sq.ft.) and two-bedrooom condominiums (avg. ~ 850 sq.ft.). Originally designed with small kitchens outfitted with enameled metal cabinets and apartment size appliances, many of the condo owners have renovated their units. Well designed, the condos pack a lot of storage space into a compact layout. Sliders lead to outside balconies which were recently refurbished in the course of a major buildings improvements project. Heat is included in the condo fee.
Some of the condos have parking spaces, covered or uncovered, behind the bulding. The Red Line subway in Harvard Square is an easy walk and the bus and electric trolley run in front of the building on Concord Avenue.
Recent Real Estate Sales at 29 Concord Avenue Cambridge
Here are some recent sales for studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom condos at 29 Concord Ave:
Other Buildings Designed by Architect Hugh Stubbins Jr.
Over the course of his career Stubbins and his firm designed more than 800 buildings in eight countries. Many of the firm’s projects were done for schools and colleges. Among their projects were the:
- Lantern Hill subdivision in East Lansing Michigan (early 1950s)
- Congress Hall in Berlin, Germany (1957)
- Citicorp Center in New York City (1976-78)
- Federal Reserve Bank in Boston (1978)
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (1991)
- Landmark Tower in Yokohama Japan – Japan’s tallest building (1993) and Stubbins’ last major project
Other Cambridge Buildings by Hugh Stubbins
- Pusey Library at Harvard
- Loeb Drama Center, home to the American Repertory Theatre
- Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard
- 1105 Massachusetts Ave.
Your real estate search is over. You’ve found your new home in Cambridge or nearby and now you’re wondering how to furnish it. Company’s coming and Mom and Dad aren’t going to be keen about sleeping on the couch – if you have a couch. Buying a house or condo is expensive so you’re probably on a budget (who isn’t nowadays?) and looking for bargains.
Furniture Stores in Cambridge MA
For new furniture in Cambridge you can head to Furniture Corner on Mass Ave at Putnam where you’ll find a number of furniture stores or to Circle Furniture near Fresh Pond. Reside on Concord Ave near Huron Village is great for the modernist end of vintage furniture. But if you’re searching for bargains you may need to look further afield. Ikea has yet to come to Assembly Square in Somerville and a long time favorite haunt for vintage furniture lovers in Cambridge, the Organic Furniture Cellar in Cambridgeport, has closed its doors. I took the photo above since I’m not sure how long the mural at the corner of Putnam Ave. and Pearl Street will last.
Brimfield Antique Show is Close to Cambridge
Do you want that special antique piece to grace your new living room? The first Brimfield Antique Market of the season is coming up - and it’s not much more than an hour away out the Pike. If you’ve never been to the Brimfield flea market it’s not to be missed. The main street through this small town (it’s actually Route 20) becomes one enormous antique show. People come from around the country and fill up their trucks with finds from the fields. Brimfield is held three times a year – in May, July and September. I’ve always thought that the May show is the one to go to since dealers have stockpiled great finds over the winter. New England spring weather can be problematic but it’s nothing compared to the blazing heat in the fields during July. 2009 dates for Brimfield are May 12-17, July 14-19, and September 8-13. New fields open each day. I’ll be hitting the postcard barn ( a whole barn filled with postcards!) in May for new old images like the one you see at the top of the page.
Craigslist for Furniture
Another great source for vintage or barely used new furniture is Craigslist. It pays to peruse the categories regularly throughout the day since the great stuff or great bargains will go quickly. One of my favorite acquisitions is the antique secretary at right. I think I paid $200 after finding it on craigslist.
Garage and Estate Sales Near Cambridge
Garage sales are another excellent source for newer and vintage items. Just last weekend I came across a sign advertising a house sale in North Cambridge. I picked up a couple of vintage bamboo tables or plant stands for $3 and $5 and a wonderful brass reading lamp for $5. Watch for garage sale ads in Thursday’s Cambridge Chronicle and in the Boston Globe. Craigslist has garage sale ads too but unfortunately has a high percentage of ads from over ambitious slackers who fail to get out of bed in time to start the sale at the advertised hour. You also might want to try some suburban towns for garage sales since the quality of the merchandise can be significantly better. I grew up in Concord and my old garage sale haunts of Concord, Acton, Lexington and Lincoln yielded many a great buy. The Thursday Concord Journal is the newspaper to pick up for the sales in this area. And remember – the early bird does get the worm at garage sales.
Estate sales are a secret source for the best in vintage and antique furniture at wholesale prices. If you’re at the front of the line at an estate sale your competition will be local dealers or scouts who supply area antique shops. Typically, a local company has been hired by the sellers to price the merchandise, advertise, and staff a two-day sale that often includes most of the furniture, collectibles, and household items. Two of my favorite estate sale companies are the Pink Ladies and Diana Sherman – both have been in the business a long time. When you attend one of their sales you’ll be able to get on their mailing lists for notifications of upcoming sales. Estate sales in the towns around Cambridge are typically held on Fridays and Saturdays. Plan to go on Friday for the best selection and Saturdays for some bargains if any remain. Sales are advertised in the classified section of the Boston Globe – usually on Sundays and on Wednesday or Thursday for Friday’s sales. Estate sales can be a super way to outfit your new home with quality pieces and bargain household items.
Hope to see you on the trail!
Russell Place is a condo development built in 2002-2003 (several units were completed in 2004) in Arlington, Massachusetts. Conveniently located in downtown Arlington on a side street that has some wonderful antique houses, Russell Place consists of forty condos in wood clad townhouse-style buildings. The popular Minuteman Bike Path runs alongside the complex.
There are a variety of floorplans available in units at Russell Place. Large three-level townhouses have garage bays underneath with additional driveway spaces, some units are primarily on one level with loft-style rooms above, other flats have finished lower level space. Features available in some units include fireplaces, skylights, cathedral ceilings, and decks or porches. The units have central air conditioning and varying levels of finishes in the kitchens. Some have hardwood floors throughout, others have a combination of wood floors and carpet.
Recent Sales at Russell Place Condominiums
There have been a number of resales at Russell Place since the majority of the condos were first sold in 2003. Condominium sales since 2005 have ranged from $350,000 to over $600,000.
Information about recent sales at Russell Place follows. Data includes asking price, sale price, original price when the unit was first sold, and date of sale. Garage parking is noted by a “G” and a plus sign indicates that there is additional driveway parking.
Sales data for Russell Place, Arlington MA is gathered from MLSpin.
It looks like things are improving for one of Somerville’s most unusual – and most neglected – houses. The Round House on Atherton Street in Somerville, Massachusetts has a new owner who’s working on its restoration.
I hadn’t realized the Round House had sold until I went to a brokers’ open house on the corner of Harvard Street. That house, also suffering from years of neglect, had been owned by the woman who owned the Round House for some forty years, prompting me to take a closer look at the landmark around the corner at 36 Atherton Street across the street from the Carr Schoolhouse condos. Sure enough there were signs that someone was working on the house and a quick call to the city of Somerville confirmed that the house had changed hands. The new owner is a contractor and previous recipient of preservation awards from the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission. The Harvard Street house renovation is now well under way but things seem to be proceeding more slowly at the Round House – which may be a good thing considering the scope of the needed restoration.
The Round House was built in 1856 by inventor and manufacturer, Enoch Robinson. Robinson’s company manufactured high quality hardware still in use in many significant buildings including the Old State House and Old City Hall in Boston, and the United States Treasury Building in Washington, DC. A showpiece at the time it was built, the 40 foot diameter Round House had rooms on three floors including an oval parlor and round library on the first floor. A glass dome at the center of the building’s roof added light to the interior and the many windows took advantage of the views from Spring Hill. Before opening his own business, Robinson worked with pressed glass at his family’s company, the New England Glass Company and not surprisingly his house was well equipped with beautiful hardware including decorative glass knobs on all the doors. The French scenic wallpaper in the house can be seen in the vintage lantern slide image at right.
At the time the Round House was built, octagon houses were all the rage. Octagon houses were popularized by amateur architect, Orson Fowler, author of the 1848 book A Home For All: The Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building. Fowler believed that the round form was ideal but the octagon style the most practical to construct. Many octagon houses were built in the United States between 1850 and 1860, a number in Massachusetts, but round buildings were relatively rare.
The Round House was offered for purchase to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities in 1920. The Society chose not to purchase the house and reported in its April 1921 Bulletin, Old-Time New England, that “In many ways this would make an ideal period house for the display of mid-Victorian black walnut, but the present is probably fifty years too early for anything of the kind, since to most people that period represents the very quintessence of the ugly.” During its consideration of a purchase, the Society had the floor plans of the Round House drawn that are shown at right and below.
The Round House lay vacant for years and its owner was deaf to the pleas of the City and of preservationists who were alarmed at its deteriorating condition. In 1997 Historic Massachusetts included it on that year’s Ten Most Endangered Historic Resources List. Sadly, another architectural favorite of mine included on that year’s list, the largely unchanged buildings built to house prison workers at the Concord Reformatory, were subsequently demolished. It is heartening that the Round House seems destined to meet a better fate. I wish the new owner all the best. His is a daunting, but very important, endeavor. We’re all looking forward to a tour!
The month of April is zipping by, but I wanted to pause and look back at residential real estate sales activity in Somerville, MA during the month of March.
Keep in mind that in Massachusetts the real estate sales process takes on average six to eight weeks from the time an offer is accepted to the closing. March real estate sales reflect properties that, for the most part, went under agreement in January and February.
217 residential properties were on the market in Somerville on March 31, 2009. The lowest priced property was listed for $125,000, the most expensive for $2,875,000. Average days on market was 120.
22 properties sold (closed) in Somerville during March with an average sales price of $458,144. The median sales price was $426,088. Average days on market was 162.
One single family sale closed in March for $465,000.
Thirteen condominium sales closed in March. The least expensive condominium sold for $315,500. The most expensive condo sold in March closed for $880,000. The median condo sales price was $393,000. The average days on market was 237. Somerville condos sold for an average of 98% of list price.
Eight multi-family property sales closed in March. The lowest sale price for a multi-family was $285,000. The highest price paid was $650,800. The median sales price was $483,000. Multi-families sold for an average of 96% of list price.
Total Somerville closed residential sales volume in March was $10,079,175.
Real estate sales information from MLSpin
The Greek Revival is one of my favorite house styles. My first house and my current house have Greek Revival elements and there’s something very appealing about houses from this period, inside and out. The Greek Revival was the most popular architectural style in the United States from about 1825 to 1860. Asher Benjamin, a New England architect and carpenter, and author of popular pattern books, helped popularize the style when he included the Greek orders in his 1826 edition of The American Builder’s Companion.
Features of the Greek Revival Style
The most easily recognized Greek Revivals are those modeled on a Greek temple, with a front gable with one or two-story columns supporting an overhanging pedimented gable. Other examples have a less dramatic facade with a columned front entry.
The entry door style of early American houses is often indicative of the period in which the house was built. The Greek Revival doors typically were flanked by side lights often with a transom window above.
Greek Revivals often have large windows, typically with six panes over six panes (six over six) . It is not uncommon for windows to run from floor to ceiling or close to, as can be seen in the photograph at right of a Greek Revival in the Central Square neighborhood of Cambridge Massachusetts. Some have a row of small windows running across the wide trim below the cornice.
Inside, one of my favorite features that you see in local Greek Revivals is the triangular trim that is sometimes found over the door and window openings, echoing the pediment outside.
Greek Revival Houses In and Near Cambridge
Since many houses were built in Cambridge and nearby towns during the early 1800s, a number of Greek Revivals can be found in these communities. Many handsome houses of the period still stand in East Cambridge, in Cambridgeport, and in Central Square. Distinctive examples can be found in Somerville, Arlington, Belmont. Medford and Watertown as well.
Here’s a slideshow of Greek Revivals in Cambridge, Arlington and Somerville. Click on the arrow to start the slide show and then on the box with four corner arrows in the bottom right corner of the border to get a larger image.
Read more about architectural styles found in Cambridge MA and nearby: