Architectural Styles in Cambridge: The Greek Revival

Greek Revival in Winter Hill Somerville

Greek Revival in Winter Hill Somerville

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 Revival in Central Square Cambridge

Greek Revival in Central Square Cambridge

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:


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Movies Filmed In New England – Free Movies in Somerville

Film SeriesThe main branch of the Somerville library on Highland Avenue is having a film festival this spring featuring movies set in New England.  What a great idea for a series!

Here’s the movie schedule:

Thursday, April 9, 2009: Mystic Pizza (1988), a romantic comedy about three teenage girls working in a pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut. Starring Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor and Annabeth Gish. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009: The Verdict (1982) stars Paul Newman as a down at his luck Boston attorney.

Thursday, May 14, 2009: Fever Pitch (2005). Native New Englanders, the Farrelly brothers, paean to Fenway Fever stars Drew Barrymore as the girlfriend of a rabid Red Sox fan played by Jimmy Fallon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2009: Mystic River (2003). Directed by Clint Eastwood and with a cast filled with big names including Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney, Mystic River was nominated for six Oscars and won for Best Actor (Penn) and Best Supporting Actor (Robbins). This dark tale about a childhood tragedy that shadowed three friends into adulthood was set in South Boston and adapted from the book of the same name by local author, Dennis Lehane.

Thursday, June 11, 2009: Next Stop Wonderland (1998) stars Hope Davis and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Set in Boston (the Wonderland stop is the Blue Line MBTA stop in Revere by the dog track), this quirky, sweet movie tells the story of two people whose paths cross repeatedly until a chance meeting finally brings them together.

Wednesday, June 24th: The Cider House Rules (1999), an adaptation of the John Irving novel of the same name, was set in Maine and filmed in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. Toby Maguire stars as an orphan who follows in the footsteps of the doctor, played by Michael Caine, who runs the orphanage where he grew up. Also starring Charlize Theron, Paul Rudd and Jane Alexander.

Movie showtime is 6:30 pm.  Admission is free. Somerville Library, 79 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA.

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Carr Schoolhouse Condos in Somerville MA – Atherton Street Condominiums

The condominiums in the Carr School at 25 Atherton Street in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Somerville are my favorite schoolhouse condos.  The interior hallways and stairwells are the best preserved I’ve seen with golden oak wainscoting and wide oak stairwells.  The huge windows, high ceilings (maybe 12 feet), transom windows over the doors, and blackboards nad cubbies in many units add to the schoolhouse vibe.  I went to elementary school in a similar building – the Dale Street School in Medfield, MA – and when I walk through the Carr Schoolhouse I can just imagine the schoolkids filling the halls between classes.

Carr School Condos in Somerville Massachusetts The History of the Carr School

The Martin S. Carr School was built in 1898 as an elementary school with fourteen classrooms. The school was named in honor of Martin S. Carr, a successful Somerville manufacturer who was active in City government serving over the years as Alderman, City Councilor, and member of the School Committee. Carr’s factory, in buildings now converted to lofts in Davis Square, manufactured jewelry, novelties, and metal ware.  The handsome school building was built of red brick in the Renaissance Revival style.  The Carr School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

The Carr School sits across the street from one of Somerville’s historic landmarks – Robinson’s Round House.

Condominiums at the Carr Schoolhouse

Interior at the Carr Schoolhouse Condos in Somerville MAThe City of Somerville closed the Carr School in 1980.  The building was sold to a developer who converted it to residential use.  It was initially a rental building and subsequently converted to condos.

Today there are 20 condominiums in the Carr School.  There are studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedroom condos on three floors plus a lower level.  Condos on the top floor have the attic space above the units deeded to their units and at least one owner has expanded into that space. Residents enjoy off street parking in the lot to the side of the building.

Real Estate Sales at the Carr School

There have only been a couple of sales at the Carr School in the last five years.  Most recently, a beautiful unit on the first floor with two bedrooms and one bath (and an original blackboard!) sold for $521,000 in 2014.

The Carr Schoolhouse Condos are located at 25 Atherton Street, Somerville MA 02143 

If there is a condo available at 25 Atherton Street it will show below.  Or you can search for Somerville condos for sale to see what’s on the market right now.  Want to live in a schoolhouse condo? Call me – I can help! Liz Bolton 617-504-1737. 


Vintage View of the Carr School in Spring Hill

Vintage View of the Carr School in Spring Hill









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New To The Market – Condos in Cambridge and Somerville

It’s that time of year – lots of new inventory and a loooong tour on Wednesday when we see the new listings that the Cambridge Coldwell Banker offices are bringing on the market.

I try to post this on Wednesday but since two of the 15 properties we saw on tour were my own listings I’ve been busy writing ads, designing feature sheets, taking photographs, and, happily – booking appointments.  There’s a lot of activity in the market right now – spring is here!

Harvard Square Two-Bedroom Condo

15 Trowbridge Street Cambridge

15 Trowbridge Street Cambridge

This condo is a charmer!  It’s in a handsome turn-of-the-century building just a hop, skip and a jump from Mass Ave and Harvard Square, and Central Square just down the street.  The condo is on the back side of the building and there’s a good sized backyard. Walk out the front door and you’re in the middle of everything that makes Cambridge such a fun place to live – cafes, pubs, restaurants, libraries, bookstores, and more.  While you’ve got all your public transportation needs covered – take your pick  and walk to the T stop in Harvard Square or Central Square or hop on the bus that runs down Mass Ave – you’ve also got a parking space – a coveted amenity in mid-Cambridge. 

The condo is a wonderful combination of original details like hardwood floors and high ceilings and modern updates.  The bath has undergone a stylish renovation and the stainless steel fridge and gas range in the kitchen are new. The master bedroom is generously sized and holds a king-sized bed – a real bonus in a city condo – and has a walk-in closet.  The second bedroom has two closets, there’s a coat closet in the hall, and additional storage in the basement.

I’m delighted that the weather forecast sounds promising for Sunday.  There’s an open house scheduled for 11:30 to 1 pm on the 15th and I plan to open the kitchen door to the deck and let the breezes in.  Hope to see you there.

15 Trowbridge Street Unit 7, Cambridge, MA 02138 is priced at $419,000. 

Somerville Two-Bedroom Two-Bath Condo

14 Arlington Street Somerville

14 Arlington Street Somerville

This spacious Somerville two-bedroom condo has all the amenities on your wish list – central air conditioning, two baths, two car parking, in-unit laundry and an updated kitchen.  On the top floor of a six-unit mansard on a street lined with historic homes, the building has been thoroughly upgraded and has a contemporary feel inside.  And with the T station just a five minute walk  away and easy access to major highways and to Boston, the location is ideal for commuting.

You can spread out in this condo – the entertaining spaces are open and the master bedroom is large with its own bath  and sliders to a small deck. There’s a second bedroom and a separate office.   The kitchen has new counters, updated cabinets, and stainless steel appliances, and a pantry closet.  Your guests can sit at the counter bar while you’re preparing dinner.  There’s also extra storage in the basement.

Set on a side street just one block from the bustle of Broadway, you can stroll to neighborhood restaurants and stores.  The new Stop and Shop and a variety of award winning restaurants are nearby.  The new development at Assembly Square, set to include an Ikea, is  also close by.

14 Arlington Street Unit 3, Somerville, MA is priced at $299,000 and will be open on Sunday, March 15 from 2 to 3:30.  I look forward to seeing you there!

If you would like more information please email me or call me at 617-504-1737.

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Weekly Cambridge Real Estate Tour – New Listings in Cambridge and Somerville

The piles of snow made our weekly tour of new listings a bit of a challenge today.  Boots on, boots off, repeat.  But it was worth the hassle because we saw a lot of great properties – a dozen in all.  Here are some of the best new properties for sale :

Cambridge Concierge Buildings

View from the Esplanade Condo

View from the Esplanade Condo

Today we toured units in two of Cambridge’s premiere luxury buildings.  By coincidence both properties were actually two units combined to make one large condo or co-op.  At 1010 Memorial Drive we saw a three bedroom, three bath co-op with the amazing Charles River views that the building is known for.  At the Esplanade we saw a three bedroom three bath condo with a huge master suite on the 11th floor. The owners of the unit had bought pre-construction so the layout and features were unique in the building. This was our second property of the day with amazing river views.

Condo Buildings With Pools

If you’d like to take a dip after work, two of the condos we saw today fit the bill. The Esplanade has an indoor three-lane pool adjacent to the exercise room. We also saw a condo at 19 Chauncy Street in Harvard Square. That condo building has an outdoor pool.

Elevator Buildings

Many of the condos in Cambridge don’t have elevators but several of the properties we saw today were in elevator buildings. Since each is a modern building it’s not surprising that 19 Chauncy Street, 1010 Memorial Drive and the Esplanade all have elevators.  The Porter Square condo building that we toured was a surprise however.  This turn-of-the-century nine-unit building is not the type of property where you expect to find an elevator.  But the building was completely renovated several years ago and now you have the best of both worlds. This light-filled third floor two-bedroom has a deck, parking, central air, in-unit laundry and the convenience of an elevator.  If you like the architectural character of an older building, albeit one that has been thoroughly renovated, you won’t have to live without all the modern conveniences in this condo.

Large Cambridge Condos

It was a day for house-sized condominiums.  We saw two very attractive condos in older two-unit buildings. A Kirkland Village 3-4 bedroom condo near Harvard Square was beautiful.  Built-in bookcases everywhere, a fireplace, mudroom, back deck, and a super sunny third floor master bedroom suite. Another charming condo in mid-Cambridge was a townhouse-style six bedroom.  It was a lovely space – not mucked up but very liveable.  The kitchen was great – exposed brick, warm wood counters and cabinets, and large windows on two sides overlooking the backyard. At over 3500 sq. ft. the condo was larger than many houses.

Somerville Single Family in Ball Square

We saw a super single family house smack dab in the middle of Ball Square.  The house has nice original detail, four bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and a fenced yard. Walk out your door for breakfast at Kelly’s Diner or Soundbites.  At $595,000 the house is in the same price range as many condos.

If you want more information about any new listing remember – I’m only a phone call or email away!

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Somerville By the Numbers – February 2009 Somerville Real Estate Market

The Somerville Real Estate Numbers for February 2009

Somerville Massachusetts Real EstateIn Massachusetts it takes about six to eight weeks for a home sale from offer to closing.  So February real estate sales data reflects market activity from December and January.  Here’s the Somerville, MA sales info for February 2009:

183 residential properties were on the market in Somerville on February 28, 2009. The lowest priced property was listed for $149,900, the most expensive for $2,875,000. Average days on market was 183.

24 properties sold (closed) in Somerville during February with an average sales price of $487,181.  The median sales price was $414,000. Average days on market was 66.

Three single family sales closed in February – for $225,000, for $514,000, and $690,000.

Nine condominium sales closed in February. The least expensive condominium sold for $145,000.  The most expensive condo sold in February closed for $733,750.  The median condo sales price was $375,000.  The average days on market was 97.  Somerville condos sold for an average of 97% of list price.

Twelve multi-family property sales closed in February. The lowest sale price for a multi-family was $202,000.  The highest price paid was $595,000. The median sales price was $455,500. Multi-families sold for an average of 98% of list price.
Total Somerville closed residential real estate sales volume in February was $9,934,250.

Also see:  

Information based on residential sales data in MLSpin

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Cambridge Real Estate – New Listings Tour – Cambridge and Somerville

Every Wednesday the Cambridge Coldwell Banker Real Estate agents tour the new listings coming on the market.  Today was a great tour.  There were 15 properties on the tour and among them some real gems.  Here are my favorites:

Avon Hill Mansard Townhouse

avon-hill-condoWe started the tour at a very special property – a townhouse condominium in a largely unspoiled Victorian mansard duplex on an Avon Hill side street.  Beautiful period detail, high ceilings, and wonderful views of the surrounding Avon Hill Victorians and backyards from every window.  Most will opt to update this three-bedroom townhouse but the price of $799,000 in this desirable neighborhood struck everyone as a very good buy.

Cambridge Single Family Homes

One of the highlights of our tour was a single family home on Avon Hill.  Essentially new after a complete transformation in 2006, this house is exquisite. New houses or gut renovations are not usually my personal favorites but this house is exceptional.  As I walked through it, accompanied by a chorus of ooohs and aahs from my fellow real estate agents, the Not So Big House books by Sarah Susanka came to mind. Not that the house is small – with four bedrooms, four levels of living space, and over 3500 square feet it’s generously sized – but the fine finishes and exquisite detail remind me of Susanka’s emphasis on quality.  From the beamed ceiling in the living room, the unusually wide staircase, to the perfection of the kitchen and baths – this house is a delight.  Priced at $2,325,000 and one of the nicest Cambridge single family houses I’ve seen in a long time.

Most days the Avon Hill house would be hard to beat but we weren’t done yet.  I’m an old house enthusiast and a huge fan of unspoiled antique houses.  As we walked into the next house on tour, a 13 room, 6 bedroom Victorian, my colleague exclaimed “Now this  is what it’s all about.”  This absolutely lovely quintessential Cambridge home sits on a quarter acre lot on a side street near Brattle Street and the Charles River in West Cambridge.  A grand old home, it has wonderful period detail, elegant formal rooms and sweet and cheery bedrooms. Gracious and inviting, this is the house you think of when you visualize an old Cambridge manse.  Well loved for decades, the next owners will be fortunate to call this house home.

Somerville Condominiums

Somerville CondoWe saw a variety of condominiums in Somerville, Watertown, Cambridge and Arlington on tour. The standout for me was a spacious six-room, two-bedroom condo on Winter Hill in Somerville.  Somerville  has several streets with really beautiful Victorians and Adams Street in Winter Hill is one of them.  This condo, one of five condominiums spread out in the house and adjacent carriage house, is the crown jewel of the association at 60 Adams.  Walk across the wide front porch through the main door of the house – now the private entry to the condo – into an enormous foyer.  Inside, the Victorian golden oak detail is jaw dropping – a built-in bench next to the fireplace in the living room, thickly framed stained glass panels in the formal dining room, columns, pocket doors, and a massive built-in china cabinet with leaded glass doors.  The kitchen is scrumptious – a bit updated, a bit vintage – very usable and completely charming.  60 Adams Street, Somerville is a dazzler and is coming on the market for $424,900. 

Arlington and Watertown Condominiums

We also saw two condos today that are great options for first-time buyers.  One is a newly renovated condo in a brick four-unit condo building in Watertown.  Filled with light, open and bright, this two-bedroom condo with study has a gorgeous kitchen and new bath.  The developer did some very nice detail work and this condo seems exceptionally well priced at $314,000.  If you’re looking for a Cambridge condominium you might want to include this Watertown condo in your search since it’s just off Mount Auburn Street near the Cambridge line.

Another excellent first-time buyer option was a three-room one-bedroom condo in a classic brick building in Arlington near the Capitol Theatre.  Charm and character, hardwood floors and parking for $229,900 and you can hop on the 77 bus to Harvard Square.

I tour new listings all week long. Check back often for the latest and greatest.  See a property you like?  Need more information?  I’m just a phone call or email away!

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Somerville Tightens Recycling Regulations

Recycling in SomervilleThe City of Somerville has cracked down on recycling requirements.  Get it right or you’ll be bringing a full bin back into the house!

Prices paid for recyclables have plunged and recycling materials contaminated  by banned items can cause entire loads to be rejected by the recycling facilities.  Read the rest of this entry »

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