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.

Woodstock Handmade Houses in Cambridge

9 Montague Street Cambridge MA

9 Montague Street Cambridge MA

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!

Woodstock Handmade Houses

Woodstock Handmade Houses

Categories: Everything Else

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Are You Hoarding Light Bulbs?

I'm Hoarding Light Bulbs

I'm Hoarding Light Bulbs

Are you hoarding light bulbs?

I am.

And maybe you should too if you’re thinking of selling your house or condo in the future.

Those new fangled lightbulbs – the squiggly ones – are a bummer if you’re trying to sell your place.  They’re dim and they take too long to light up.

When you’re selling your place you want it to read as bright and cheery.  Dim bulbs just won’t do.  And seconds count – if a light has to be turned on and it takes too long to brighten up you’ve already lost your chance with those buyers.  “Bright and sunny” is towards the top of  most buyers’ wish lists.

Supposedly some of these energy efficient bulbs will match the light of the “regular” bulbs.  It’s not true in my experience and I’m not about to do a lot of research before I buy lightbulbs.

So before the traditional light bulbs are phased out I’ll keep buying lots of them every time I’m at the store.  Even if you’ve switched over to the new lightbulbs it’s a really good idea to stash away enough to replace them all when it’s time to sell.  You’ll be the brightest house on the block!

Categories: Seller Info

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Arlington Lecture on Servants in New England

Arlington Lecture on Servants in New England

Arlington Lecture on Servants in New England

Seventy-five years ago or more it was common for households to have a full-time maid or other servants.  Domestic manuals from the early 1900s or earlier are filled with advice for housewives on how to manage the household help.  Often we visit houses with floor plans that suggest that a bedroom or two was intended for the help.

On Tuesday the Arlington Historical Society will present a lecture on domestic servants in New England in the 19th and 20th century.  The Arlington lecture and slideshow will be presented by Jennifer Pustz, a historian at Historic New England.

Pustz is the author of Voices from the Back Stairs: Interpreting Servants’ Lives at Historic House Museums.

The meeting and lecture is open to the public and is free to members or $5 for non-members.  You’ll have the opportunity to join the Arlington Historical Society at the meeting if you would like.

The Arlington lecture on servants in New England will be held at the Arlington Heights Nursery School, 10 Acton Street, Arlington, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm.  Please use the rear entrance.

Categories: Area Events
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44 Langdon St Cambridge MA 02138

44 Langdon St Cambridge MA 02138

44 Langdon St Cambridge MA 02138

Cambridge condo buyers hoping to find a classic Cambridge condo close to Harvard Square will want to consider any available condos at 44 Langdon Street.

44 Langdon St in Cambridge MA is a lovely side street, tucked away off Mass Avenue, very close to Harvard Square and to Harvard Law School.

44 Langdon St Cambridge MA History

The 12-unit building was designed by architect Hamilton Harlow and built in 1915.  Harlow designed a number of Cambridge buildings in this period including 7 Linnaean, 46 Shepard Street, 77-79 Martin Street and 11 Story Street.  Harlow buildings are well loved by Cantabridgians who appreciate their classic charm, many windows, and ample storage spaces.  The building was converted to condominiums in 1977.

44 Langdon Street Features

  • One and two-bedroom condos
  • 635 – 1272 sq. ft.
  • Beamed ceilings
  • Leaded glass windows
  • Fireplaces
  • Maple floors
  • Storage and laundry in the basement
  • Heat and hot water included in the condo fee
  • Pet friendly

Condo Sales at 44 Langdon St Cambridge MA

There has not been a lot of turnover in the building.  The most recent sales were for larger units – each was 1272 sq. ft. with two bedrooms and two baths.  A 4th floor condo sold in 2007 for $530,000.  A first floor unit sold in 2011 for $600,000.

If there are condos available at 44 Langdon they will appear below.  Click on the small photograph for additional photos and more information.


Info about sales at 44 Langdon St Cambridge MA 02138 from mlspin.

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Over the River

Grandfather's House in Medford MA

Grandfather's House in Medford MA

Wherever you’re celebrating today – at your house, at your grandparents’, at a restaurant – have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Lydia Maria Child, born in Medford in 1802, was an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, writer and Unitarian.  

On Thanksgiving we remember her for her well-known poem: Over the River and Through the Wood, originally published as “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day” in 1844.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
For this is Thanksgiving day…

The house of Lydia’s childhood was a modest house that is now the rear portion of this handsome Greek Revival on South Street in Medford.  The addition, with its two-story columns, was constructed about 1839 by ship builder Paul Curtis.  The house faces the Mystic River.

The back portion of the house was grandfather's house

The back portion of the house was the original grandfather's house

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In Line for Pies

Petsi Pies in Cambridge

Petsi Pies in Cambridge

Does anybody make homemade pies any more?  Even for Thanksgiving?

Judging from pie sales at local shops you might think not.

The folks at Verrill Farm told my parents that they had sold more than 2,000 pies as of yesterday.  I thought that was pretty impressive until I went by Petsi Pies in Somerville this afternoon to pick up my order.

The line was out the door.  Granted, it’s a small shop but it was still a surprise – a chilly surprise. 

Someone in line mentioned that he’d heard they had sold more than 3,000 pies this Thanksgiving. Yowza!

We’ve got mixed berry pie from Petsi Pies, pumpkin and pecan from Verrill Farm, and rumor has it, homemade apple pie from my aunt on our table tomorrow.

Hope you enjoy your dinner – and save room for pie!

Categories: Everything Else

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FHA Loan Limits Restored

FHA Loan Limits Restored

FHA Loan Limits Restored

Congress has just restored the higher loan limits for FHA loans.  The loan limits had rolled back as of October 1st but are now back to the higher levels that had been in place since January 2009.

This means the FHA loan limit for Middlesex and Suffolk counties is back up to $523,750, rather than $465,750, for single-family houses.  In these counties, the limit for a two-family house is $670,500 and for a three-unit property is $810,450.

The bill did not increase the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages.

Questions about mortgages?  Contact Kevin Greeley of NEMoves Mortgage.

Categories: Buyer Info
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Better Get Raking – Yard Waste Pickup

Yard Waste Pickup Ends Soon

Yard Waste Pickup Ends Soon

It was a beautiful day to be out in the yard today and plenty of people were out raking leaves.  You’d better get raking – particularly if you live in Medford.  For reasons hard to fathom, Medford’s final yard waste collection is this week. Yes – Thanksgiving week – when plenty of people travel and others are busy with holiday preparations.

Not to mention that there are still leaves on some trees.

Medford will have its final yard waste pickup on your trash day this week, November 21 – 25, 2011.

In the rest of Centers and Squares territory you’ve got a bit more time to rake those leaves.

Arlington will have its last yard waste pickup on your regular trash day through December 2, 2011

Belmont picks up yard waste on your trash pick up day through December 8, 2011.  You get a couple more days to drop off yard waste at the Transfer Station at 1130 Concord Ave through Saturday, December 10, 2011.

Watertown picks up yard waste for the last time this year on December 2, 2011.  You can also bring yard waste in paper bags to the Watertown Recycling Center on Grove Street year round.

Somerville will pick up yard waste on your regular trash day through December 9, 2011.  Yard waste can be dropped off year round at the DPW yard.

Cambridge gets the prize – yard waste will be picked up on your regular trash day through the second full week in December – by my calendar that’s December 12 – 16, 2011.

Categories: Living Here

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