Julia Child Lived Here – 103 Irving Street Cambridge

As I watched yet another ad for the new movie Julie and Julia  I figured it was time to write a quick post about Julia Child, or more specifically about Julia Child’s house at 103 Irving Street in Cambridge.

Julia Child and her husband Paul moved into this large Cambridge Victorian in 1961.  Irving Street is lined with substantial turn-of-the-century houses and is just blocks from Harvard Square.  It is a neighborhood long popular with Harvard professors among them Child’s friend and neighbor, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who lived one block over on Francis Avenue, Cambridge’s “Professor’s Row”. 

Julia Child's House in Cambridge Massachusetts

Julia Child's House in Cambridge Massachusetts

If people knew anything about Julia Child’s house it was the kitchen that was most familiar.  That well used kitchen, known to so many from the cooking shows that were taped there, was described by Julia as “the most loved and most used room in the house.”  Child retired to California for the last few years of her life and the house was sold.  First however, the kitchen in its entirety was removed from the house and sent to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2001.

The Childs’ home was like many wonderful old houses we see in Cambridge – little changed in decades.  And like so many others it was purchased by a developer and transformed.  A sleek and stylish kitchen was designed, six new bathrooms installed, central air conditioning, central vac – all the bells and whistles that are popular with buyers today in the price range.  The newly renovated house was sold in 2004 for $3,755,000.  It has since changed hands again for $3,700,000. 

But as a woman commented, riding by on her bike as I snapped a photo of 103 Irving Street, “It will always be Julia Child’s house”.

For more about Julia’s neighborhood, take a virtual walk down the street with a slide show and info about the history, architecture and real estate on Irving Street in Cambridge.

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Franklin Street Cambridge – Real Estate Rambles

House on Franklin Street in Cambridge MA

House on Franklin Street in Cambridge MA

Franklin Street, with its interesting variety of house styles and location between Harvard Square and Central Square, is popular with Cambridge real estate buyers.  Franklin Street is a one-way street running from Putnam Avenue to one block past Sidney Street, ending at Landsdowne Street near MIT.  A walkable a location as you can find, Franklin Street parallels Mass Ave, just two blocks in towards the Charles River, and crosses through two popular Cambridge neighborhoods, Cambridgeport and Riverside.

History of Franklin Street Cambridge

Franklin Street was one of the first streets laid out in the Cambridgeport neighborhood.  Between 1800 and 1801 Judge Francis Dana, who owned a large portion of what is now Cambridgeport, laid out Franklin, Brookline, and Pearl Streets and began to sell lots of land.  Originally named Second Parallel Street it was renamed in 1838 in honor of Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin Street Houses

There’s a funky charm to the houses on Franklin Street which are varied in style and more modest in scale than some Cambridge neighborhoods.  Most homes sit close to the brick sidewalks and there are a good number of trees lining the street.  Homes on the street range from small single family houses to multi-families to mid-sized condominium buildings. 

Most houses on Franklin Street were built from the 1830s to the 1890s, with triple deckers filling some lots in the early 1900s.  More recent buildings include the round building at 348 Franklin Street, built in 1965 and now condos, a modern apartment building at 345 Franklin, a seven-story condo building at 332 Franklin Street built in the late ’80s, and an 18-unit condominium building at 369 Franklin built in 2003.

Franklin Street, Cambridge Real Estate Sales

Single family home sales in the last five years ranged from $426,550 to $1,125,000.  The average sale price was $713,694.

18 condos sold in the last two years for prices that ranged from $300,000 to $547,000.   The median sales price was $452,000.  The average price per square foot was $441

There have been just two sales of multi-family properties in the last few years on Franklin Street.  A triple-decker sold in 2007 for $1,065,000.  In 2008 a triple decker and two two-families sold as a package for $1,450,000 which strikes me as a good deal.

Click on the triangle below to see some more photographs:





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Calling all Cambridge Photographers – Your Photo Could be Next Year’s Parking Sticker

Submit your Cambridge photos now

Submit your Cambridge photos now

Would you like your photograph to appear on cars all over Cambridge?  Here’s your chance!

There are just a few more weeks to submit photographs of Cambridge to the City for next year’s Cambridge Resident Parking Permit photo.

Each year the City of Cambridge invites people to submit photos of Cambridge scenery.  The winning photograph will be the image on the next year’s resident parking sticker.

To enter the photo contest, JPEGs of Cambridge scenery can be submitted via email to [email protected]

Deadline for entries is July 31, 2009.  Check the City of Cambridge website for contest rules.

More than 100 photos were entered in the contest in 2008.  You can see the beautiful photographs of Cambridge that were submitted to last year’s Cambridge Resident Parking Permit photo contest here.

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Architect Royal Barry Wills in Cambridge


Houses for Good Living by Royal Barry Wills

Houses for Good Living by Royal Barry Wills

Royal Barry Wills has been one of my favorite architects since I was a child.  His historically accurate reproduction Capes, Saltboxes and Colonials warm my heart.

Growing up, my parents had a couple of his books – Houses for Good Living and More Houses for Good Living.  I would pore over these books – the classic New England houses pictured inside were my favorite house styles.

One day when I was about 10 or 11 we went for a family drive.  I’m not sure where we were – maybe Weston, or Wellesley or some nearby town – when I yelled “Stop the car!”  Down a long driveway I had spotted a Royal Barry Wills house I recognized from one of the books. Sure enough – when we arrived back home I leafed through the book and there it was.

Royal Barry Wills Architecture

Royal Barry Wills understood that it was the details that made the difference – that made a newly built Cape look like it was built in 1760, not 1960.  Some of those details he got right included:

  • Large central chimney
  • Correct pitch of the roof
  • Graduated clapboards
  • Windows with 24 to 36 individual lights (panes)
  • Clapboards set close to the ground

We are fortunate in Massachusetts that Royal Barry Wills is a native son.  Wills grew up in Melrose, attended MIT in Cambridge, and established his practice in Boston where he worked until his death in 1962.  There are houses designed by Royal Barry Wills in many Massachusetts towns.

Royal Barry Wills in Cambridge

There are two Royal Barry Wills houses in Cambridge that I know of but I was disappointed when I set out in search of them.

20 Coolidge Avenue is undoubtedly a beautiful house but it’s almost impossible to see from the street with a high fence and a garage blocking the view.  There are lovely interior photographs and a floor plan of the house in More Houses for Good Living.

Royal Barry Wills House in Cambridge MA

Royal Barry Wills House in Cambridge MA

I was really sad when I walked by 19 Old Dee Road, a handsome Garrison Colonial that Wills designed in 1940. It’s a classic house with its massive corbeled chimney and large decorative pendants at the overhang ends.  The house is undergoing renovation however- the windows have been replaced (ugh!) and French doors installed to the right of the front door (double ugh!).  While I’m sure the refurbished interior will make somebody very happy for a traditionalist the house’s current state was a disappointment.

In Search of Royal Barry Wills

It’s not easy to locate Royal Barry Wills houses from his books (despite my luck as a ten year old!) since houses are often identified only by owners’ names.  Houses by Wills are regularly noted in real estate listings though sometimes I think agents use his name almost as a generic term when describing a classic New England style house.

I’m always interested in seeing more of these picture perfect houses.  Do you have any Royal Barry Wills favorites in your town?  Let me know!



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Pemberton Street In North Cambridge – Cambridge Real Estate and Architecture

Pemberton Street in North Cambridge – Cambridge Real Estate and Architecture   Pemberton Street is one of my favorite streets in Cambridge.  For a not-so-long street there’s a lot going on.

Spring on Pemberton Street Cambridge MA 02140

Spring on Pemberton Street Cambridge MA 02140

Pemberton Street is an L-shaped street that begins at the intersection of  Rindge Avenue and Mass Ave and runs to Sherman Street.  Pemberton Street is in the Cambridge MA 02140 zipcode.  It’s a very pleasant, walkable street with a wonderful variety of house styles and an assortment of public amenities. 

At the Mass Ave end of the street Pemberton Market anchored the street from the 1930s but moved across Mass Ave to the former White Hen Panty at the corner of Day Street last year.  The corner storefronts were remodeled and new tenants are starting to move in.

Architectural Styles on Pemberton Street

Pemberton Street has a mix of house styles – single family homes, two-families, triple-deckers, a vintage brick multi-unit condo building, and a townhouse development of more recent vintage. 

Most of the houses were built from about 1870 to 1910 with a  few earlier examples at the Sherman Street end that date from the 1850s.

Architectural styles found on Pemberton Street include Queen Anne Victorians, mansard Victorians, and Colonial Revival houses.

Public Amenities on Pemberton Street

  • Bergin Park has a playground with a water feature
  • Public tennis courts
  • Rindge Field behind the Peabody School has a baseball diamond
  • Basketball courts
  • Yerxa Street underpass to Richdale Avenue with artwork by Randal Thurston
  • Cambridge mural along the edge of Rindge Field
  • McMath Park  and Community Garden

Pemberton Street, Cambridge Real Estate

The MLS shows only three single family home sales on Pemberton Street in the last ten years.  Single family houses sold for prices from $645,000 to $1,080,000.

Many more condominiums have sold recently on Pemberton Street.  A dozen condos have sold over the last five years. 

  • Condos at the vintage brick building at 35 Pemberton Street have sold since 2005 for prices between $427,000 and $440,000. 
  •  Townhouses in the development at 177 Pemberton Street that was built in 1999 have sold most recently for $640,000 to $650,000.
  • Two to three-bedroom condos in triple-deckers on Pemberton Street have sold recently for prices between $485,000 and $531,000

Four two-families have sold on Pemberton Street in North Cambridge in the last five years for prices ranging from $550,000 to $1,025,000.

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Cambridge One-Bedroom Condos – Cambridge Condominiums

Cambridge real estate buyers looking for one-bedroom condos in Cambridge MA have a variety of options in terms of size and style and a broad range of prices.  Let’s take a look at what you get for the money when you’re looking for a one-bedroom condo in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Cambridge One-Bedroom Condo Styles

One bedroom condos in Cambridge can be found in buildings like this.

One bedroom condos in Cambridge can be found in buildings like this one.

Only eight of the 95 one-bedroom condos currently on the market are in two to three-unit buildings – the oddly named style “2/3 family” that often puzzles buyers.  Most two-families or triple-deckers have apartments or condominiums with at least two bedrooms.   Because of those floorplans more often than not Cambridge one-bedroom condos are found in larger buildings. 

While some Cambridge one-bedroom condos are in buildings with two to six units, most one-bedrooms will be in larger associations.  Many will be in the classic brick buildings built around Cambridge from about 1900 to 1940.  These buildings have hardwood floors, some have fireplaces, and are often – though not always – walk-ups without elevators.  Some will be renovated, others will have retained most of the original charming details.

Other one-bedroom condos are available in modern buildings in Cambridge built in the 1980s or in the last few years.  These are often luxury condos – many have concierges, pools, exercise facilities and garage parking.

Prices for One-Bedroom Condos in Cambridge

The 95 condos that are currently on the market in Cambridge range in price from

  • $215,500 for a 412 sq.ft. three-room condo in a 25 unit 1920s building in North Cambridge
  • to a 960 sq.ft three-room condo in a recently built luxury building in East Cambridge for $629,500

The average asking price for one-bedroom condos listed for sale is $369,877.  The median price is $349,900.

The average price per square foot for one-bedroom condominiums on the market in Cambridge is $495.  Price per square foot ranged from $271 to $752.

Recent Sales of One-Bedroom Cambridge Condos

62 one-bedroom condos sold in Cambridge in the last six months.

  • Lowest price paid: $187,000 for a lower level 525 sf.ft condo in Mid-Cambridge 
  • Highest price paid: $660,ooo for a 1330 sq. ft. condo at the Esplanade, a luxury building on the Charles River
  • Average sale price: $328,402
  • Average price per square foot: $477
  • Average days on market: 99 

Click on the button below to search for one bedroom condominiums in Cambridge. Don’t find what you want? You’ll be able to fine tune or change your search criteria or select other towns to search.  You’ve got access to all the properties currently for sale on a long list of Massachusetts towns and cities.


And here’s the rundown on Two-Bedroom Condos in Cambridge


Information about Cambridge one-bedroom condos is from MLSpin.

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Follen Street – Cambridge Real Estate, History and Architecture

Follen Street – Cambridge Real Estate, History and Architecture. Follen Street is one of the most charming streets in Cambridge Massachusetts. Tucked behind the Cambridge Common, close to Harvard Square, this one-block street is lined with trees and interesting and attractive homes.  Follen Street is anchored at one end by the Longy School of Music in the former Edwin Abbot mansion built in 1889 and at the other end by the Christian Science Church and the condominiums at 50 Follen Street, the former Puritan Arms Apartments. Follen Street is otherwise a street of single family houses.

Follen Street was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Bainbridge Bunting and Robert Nylander in their volume Old Cambridge in the Survey of Architectural History in Cambridge series describe Follen Street this way:

“… no quieter, more peaceful corner of Cambridge exists; it enjoys a splendid isolation, unity, and sense of neighborhood recalling the 19th century” and point out that  Follen Street was the last Cambridge street to give up its gas streetlamps just before World War II.

History of Follen Street, Cambridge

Part of Follen Street was laid out by Charles Follen in 1836.  Follen was dividing a parcel of land that he owned that had once been part of the Lower Common. The Lower Common encompassed some 63 acres that stretched from Mass Ave to Garden Street and from the Cambridge Common to what is now Linneaen Street.  Follen Street was extended to its present day end at Garden Street in 1848.

Architectural Styles on Follen Street in Cambridge

The houses that line Follen Street encompass an array of architectural styles and construction dates ranging from the 1830s to the 1950s.

  • Greek Revival houses from the 1830s – 29 Follen Street built in 1837, and from the 1840s – 9 Follen Street built in 1844. 
  • Mansard Victorians including an 1862 Mansard built on Waterhouse Street in 1862 and moved to 44 Follen Street in 1923 to accomodate the building of the Christian Science Church. 44 Follen is home to Harvard Law’s Lincoln’s Inn Society
  • Stick Style Victorian at 10 Follen Street 
  • Modernist houses including 22 Follen Street designed by Carleton Richmond in 1951
  • The former Edwin Abbot house at 1 Follen Street, was the first all stone house built in Cambridge, constucted of granite in the Richardson Romanesque style in 1889 and designed by the firm of Longfellow, Alden and Harlow

Follen Street Cambridge Real Estate Sales

 Recent real estate sales on Follen Street:

  • A townhouse built in 1986 sold in 2008 for $1,600,000
  • A 12 room single family built in 1853 sold in 2007 for $2,060,000
  • One-bedroom condos at 50 Follen Street sold in 2006 and 2007 for $369,000 and $330,000

Here are photographs of Follen Street Cambridge:

Follen Street slideshow


Use the following link to search the MLS for real estate for sale on Follen Street and then use the New Search link to expand or change your search criteria:




Check out these great Cambridge streets for more Cambridge real estate and architecture:

Orchard Street Cambridge
Garfield Street Cambridge


Follen Street – Cambridge Real Estate, History and Architecture was written by Elizabeth Bolton, a Cambridge real estate agent at Coldwell Banker on Huron Avenue, Cambridge.

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Fresh Pond Place Condos – Cambridge Condominiums

Fresh Pond Place Condos

Fresh Pond Place Condos – Cambridge MA

The Fresh Pond Place condos offer many amenities for Cambridge MA real estate buyers.  Located in  the Strawberry Hill neighborhood, just across Huron Ave from the Fresh Pond Reservation, Fresh Pond Place residents will have no shortage of recreational opportunities.

Fresh Pond Place Condominiums

Fresh Pond Place, built in the early 1980s, was Cambridge’s first planned community of townhouses in condominium ownership.  Fifty-seven townhouses were built in three phases.  Landscaped courtyards, walkways and bridges connect the townhouses in the association.  Lower level driveways lead to condo residents’ garage parking and to guest parking.

There are several townhouse floor plans at Fresh Pond Place.  Townhouses range in size from 1325 sq. ft. to over 1800 sq. ft. laid out on two to four levels.  Condos have skylights, decks, central air conditioning, central vac and garage parking for one or two cars. Other features in some units include greenhouse dining areas, balconies, and patios.

Fresh Pond Place has an indoor recreation center with a 16′ by 45′ swimming pool, changing rooms, sauna and a whirlpool.  Across the street at Fresh Pond Reservation there is a public golf course, tennis courts, playground and a two mile path for walking or jogging around Fresh Pond Reservoir.  The area is popular with dog owners and Fresh Pond Place is pet friendly.

Buses to Harvard Square run by Fresh Pond Place and the Alewife Red Line T stop is nearby.  Commuting to Boston or to Route 2, 93 and 128 is easy from this convenient location. The shops and restaurants in Huron Village are a pleasant walk and Star Market is close by. 

Recent Sales of Fresh Pond Place Townhouse Condos:

There have been only a couple of sales in the last two years in the MLS for Fresh Pond Place.

  • A 1456 sq.ft townhouse at 676 Huron Ave – 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1 garage space sold for $525,000 in 2013
  • A townhouse at 676 Huron Ave – 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, 1721 sq. ft, 2 garage spaces sold for $635,500 in 2013 

If any condos are available at Fresh Pond Place they will appear below. Click on the photo for more information and additional photographs.

There’s been a lot of new construction near Fresh Pond. Interested in living in the neighborhood? I can help with that! Just give me a call at 617-504-1737 or email me at [email protected]

Liz Bolton, ReMax Destiny Cambridge. Sales data about Fresh Pond Place condos from MLSpin

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