Moving? Here’s some tips to make your trip easier

Whether you want to hire a moving company or handle the move yourself, Coldwell Banker can help.

When hiring a moving company, it is well worth the time and energy to make sure the company is reputable. The level of professionalism and integrity among movers can vary significantly. Ask your Coldwell Banker-affiliated sales associate, friends and co-workers for recommendations, then get estimates from several companies. Coldwell Banker can also coordinate a free moving estimate.

Coldwell Banker can help you if you choose to move yourself – from truck rental, purchasing boxes or simply being a good source for the “how-to” of moving – we are here to assist you before, during and after the purchase of your new home. Most agents are more than willing to offer advice and assistance to new homeowners; all you have to do is ask.

Planning Your Move

Moving requires extensive planning, particularly if you are relocating, but the experience does not have to be overly stressful. Here are some suggestions to help you organize:

  • If travel is involved, make your transportation and lodging reservations in advance.
  • Service the car for the trip, if driving.
  • File a Change of Address with the post office to have your first-class mail forwarded.
  • Give your new address to your bank (all accounts, credit cards), subscription services, friends and family, etc.
  • Contact utility companies in your new location to arrange for immediate service, and cancel your existing services.
  • Arrange insurance on the new home prior to the transfer of property.
  • Arrange for your present bank to establish credit references for new bank accounts.
  • Service appliances before moving.
  • Clean rugs and have them wrapped.
  • Discontinue deliveries, utilities, newspapers, garbage collection, etc.
  • Obtain copies or transfer your children’s school records.
  • Obtain records from doctors and dentists, including eyeglass prescriptions, dental X-rays and vaccinations.
  • Cancel club memberships.
  • Transfer car title registration, if necessary, as well as driver’s license, city windshield sticker and motor club membership.
  • Pay existing bills and cancel local accounts.
  • Check on personal items that may in a bank safe deposit box, at a neighbor’s house or in the repair shop (e.g. shoes, jewelry, small appliances and dry cleaning).
  • Arrange for transporting pets and obtain immunization records from the vet.
  • Return library books and anything borrowed from friends.
  • Notify the religious leader of your church, synagogue or mosque.
  • Plan for special care and needs of infants.
  • Arrange for transporting plants.
  • Review moving plans with your moving company representative including insurance for packing and unpacking, arrival date, payment agreement, shipping papers, etc.

One Week Before Moving

  • Clean and air out your stove.
  • Empty refrigerator and freezer 24 hours before leaving.
  • Place charcoal or baking soda inside refrigerator and freezer to dispel odors.
  • Dispose of all open cans and jars which cannot be tightly sealed.

On Your Moving Day

  • Leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a friend or relative.
  • Carry all currency, jewelry, personal papers (birth certificates, deeds and documents) and prescription medications.
  • Double-check closets, drawers and shelves to be sure they are empty.
  • Confirm hotel reservations.
  • Leave all old keys needed by the tenant or owner with your sales associate.

In Your New Home

Here are items you may need immediately upon arriving at your new home.


  • Soap
  • Kitchen cleanser
  • Dish towels
  • Paper towels
  • Dish cloth
  • Steel wool pads
  • Sponge
  • Window cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Mop
  • Broom


  • Paper plates, cups, napkins
  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons
  • Plastic pitcher for drinks
  • Small saucepan
  • Serving spoons


  • Facial tissue
  • Toilet tissue

Buying and Selling in this Market

Buying and Selling a Home
Housing Market Forecasts

Last month it was reported that the 2018 National Housing Forecast indicated promising news for both buyers and sellers in the year ahead. When looking to purchase or sell a home in this current market, there are various timely facts to consider:

1. Low interest rates
The standard 30-year mortgage currently hovers at just above 4%, which is still historically low.® reports that rates are projected to steadily climb by the end of 2018.

2. Demand remains high with tight inventory
It’s still a seller’s market in many parts of the country with reporting that unsold inventory is at a 3.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) began tracking in 1999. It’s not surprising then that anxious home buyers are driving-up prices in demand for housing.

3. Steadily increasing home prices states that median existing-home prices for all housing types in December was up 5.8 percent from December 2016. The price increase marks the 70th straight month of year-over-year gains. For home buyers sitting on the fence, perhaps it’s time to jump-in before prices and interest rates possibly make entering the market more challenging. Home buyers should come prepared with pre-approved financing and the ability to make a quick purchase decision.

4. Consumer confidence is high
Consumer confidence hit its highest in 17 years this past November, according to the Conference Board’s index released last month. This is a result of low unemployment and stock market spikes that are anticipated to continue strengthening the economic foundation in 2018.

Market Action Reports – Boston and surrounding suburbs

Middlesex County

• Bristol
• Essex
• Franklin
• Hampden
• Hampshire
• Norfolk
• Plymouth
• Suffolk
• Worcester

• Boston
02113-North End
02116-Back Back
02118-South End
02130-Jamaica Plain
02114-Beacon Hill



If you are interested in selling your current property or purchasing your dream home, please let me know, I’m always here to help……..and look to helping you with your next steps!

Choosing the Right Agent for You

Buying a home is one of the most rewarding experiences any of us will ever have. It can also be one of the most challenging. Professional expertise and services can be a big help throughout the buying process.

If you’re buying a home for the first time, the process may seem overwhelming. And even if you’ve been through it several times, every move is different, and presents new challenges. This is why we recommend finding an agent affiliated with Coldwell Banker who’s an expert in your area.

Cpldwell Banker
Coldwell Banker is the largest Real Estate Company in the Word

One clear advantage is that you don’t have to go it alone. A good agent has the training, knowledge and experience to help you through each step of the process. This makes the process of finding, buying and moving into your new home as smooth, quick and enjoyable as possible.

Another advantage is that an agent is a valuable source of information about market trends, communities and neighborhoods, particularly regarding homes for sale in the area. Remember, not every home seller runs an ad in the local paper or puts a sign up in the yard. In fact, many homes actually sell before there is ever a need to advertise them.

In addition to market insight, your agent can provide access to complete, regularly updated information about every home listed by area agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Finding the right agent

The key word here is “right.” While there’s certainly no shortage of qualified agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker to choose from, it’s important that you find one who can fully understand your wants, needs and individual tastes, and whose personal and professional judgment you respect.

Today’s buyers have more options when it comes to choosing the agent who can best represent them in a real estate transaction. Until recent years, virtually all real estate agents worked for the seller. Now, a growing number of buyers work are represented by a “buyer’s agent.” Most real estate companies throughout the U.S. have both a buyer and seller agency.

Before establishing a working relationship, the agent should present you with a disclosure statement. This explains what a buyer’s agent is and does, what a seller’s agent is and does, and what “dual agency” means. It is very important to remember that real estate firms are governed by state laws. These can vary, so disclosure laws may also vary.

We suggest talking to several different agents before choosing one. Below are some guidelines on what to look for.

Choose an agent who:

  1. Makes you feel comfortable.
  2. Knows the community and can point out schools, parks, playgrounds, shops and more.
  3. Can show you more of the homes available throughout the area.
  4. Subscribes to at least one Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This will give you access to information on approximately 90% of all homes for sale in the community.
  5. Has the products, services, and know-how to find the home right for you and market your present home for a faster, more profitable sale.
  6. Can offer you protection against unexpected repair bills in your new home.
  7. Can offer you warranty protection on your new home.
  8. Listens to your needs and responds as a friend, showing as much interest in your satisfaction as in making the transaction.

Once you’ve chosen an agent and started looking at homes, tell the agent everything you liked and didn’t like about each home. Point out the home’s shortcomings: Is it too small for your needs? Was the home perfect except for the carpeting? Details like this will help your agent narrow down the search.

Bear in mind, however, that real estate agents are frequently paid by the seller. The seller’s agent is obligated to help secure the best price for them. In addition, agents working for the seller may report any information you share with them to the seller, such as a willingness to pay a higher price. This is why you may want to be represented by a buyer’s agent, who will keep your input confidential. A buyer’s agent puts the interests of the buyer first, not the seller’s.

Sterling Silver

For centuries, we’ve been attracted to silver and gold. These metals connote affluence; wealth and prestige.  We continually see metallic influences in ready-to-wear, interior design, even our cars and phones!  Sterling silver with its soft, buttery patina epitomizes this draw.

Sterling Silver flatware is highly collectable.  The pattern variety is endless, over 1,000 patterns have been designed and manufactured in the US alone!

It’s fun to collect a series of pieces or place settings of different patterns to create table interest.   I like to mix a variety of styles to add uniqueness to my table.  Serving pieces are where sterling silver REALLY gets interesting! Most of the most unusual pieces were developed in the Victorian era, with their affinity towards excess. (More on this later) A cracker spoon, almond scoop, lettuce fork!?  My favorite?  The food pusher! This is one interesting piece of silverware. In Victorian society it was rude for anyone, even children, to touch food with their hands. Children were given food pushers to help them push their dinner onto their forks!

Sterling Silver flatware
Sterling Silver Food Pusher

I buy most of my sterling in antique shops, loving the thrill of the hunt. I actually prefer monogrammed pieces imagining the story behind each, who owned it.  How did this piece come to be sold? What happened to the rest of the set?  Honestly, the odder and more fascinating the piece, the more I want it on my table!

Sterling Silver Serving Pieces
Sterling Silver

You can also purchase pieces on several reputable sites. These sites are also a great way to educate yourself, researching the patterns you’ve found.

There are also multiple great books on Sterling Silver patterns –

Sterling Silver reference books
Sterling Silver reference books



Patterns often reflect the economic and social situations when they were made –

Edwardian – Styles were soft and elegant.

Mid 18th Century Rococo Silver – flamboyant, inspired by England’s court of George II and France’s Louis XV.

Federal Style – Popular during the founding years of the United States, classical and symmetrical.  Think Paul Revere, one of the most famous silversmiths, and how utilitarian his designs were.

Victorian Era – (1840 – 1900) THIS IS WHERE STERLING SILVER REALLY GETS INTERESTING!   Patterns indulged in grand excess showing a mixing of historic styles, with strong Asian and Middle East influence.  Victorian homes had a clear separation between public and private rooms.  The Dining Room was the second most important room in the home, after the Parlor.  Both rooms allowed homeowners to “showcase” their home.  By the 1830’s the factories of the Industrial Revolution were mass producing sterling silver patterns and the individual silversmith artisan slowly faded. Sterling silver could be “stamped” from sheets of sterling with stunning perfection on both front and back. Due to this mass production, Victorian patterns are the majority found today. This time of affluence and excess found sterling flatware with very specific functions.  Most of us are familiar with ladles however, silversmiths made ladles for specific purposes; bullion, cream, gravy, oysters, punch, etc.  There were different spoons for nuts, berries, bon bons, claret, mustard, and chocolate, pointed spoons to eat grapefruit, small demi-tasse spoons.  Imagine just how complicated setting the dining room table was?

Art Nouveau – Most popular between 1890 and 1910, rebelling against the Industrial Revolution with natural motifs and flowing asymmetrical curves inspired by the curved lines of plants and flowers.

Arts and Crafts continued this trend with toned down ornamentation.  Pulling from Medieval, Romantic, and Folk influenced, the Arts and Crafts movement is essentially anti-industrial.  Beginning in Britain, it was strongest from 1880 to the 1920’s.

Art Deco –  Rose to prominence in the first half of the 20th century influenced by Cubism and more modern styling. Think NYC’s Chrysler Building, THE monument to Art Deco.


American silverware has been made since our beginning, first starting out as “Coin” Silver. Sterling silver was rare in colonial America.  From around 1830 to 1850, silver was often marked CD, Coin or Pure Coin.  It doesn’t necessarily mean coins were melted down, (although they often were) but that the silver was the same purity as coins then circulated.  These silver items were hand made.

However, the Victorian era with its affinity towards excess, layered with the Industrial revolution, launched Sterling Silver onto the map.  “Sterling” silver was born around 1860, and more widely after the Civil War. A piece marked “sterling” means it is 925 parts pure silver out of 1000 parts metal.  This is a U.S. Government mandate.  The “sterling” mark was required on sterling silver produced after 1907.

Silver of other countries is controlled as well, although English and American silver has to have a higher % of pure silver. English Sterling, like American is 92.5% Silver, 925 out of 1000 parts. In Europe, this formula varies by country.  German silver is 80% pure, Russian, 84%, etc.   The attached link is a great resource for researching your American or foreign silver……….


The discovery of a very rich silver deposit, The Comstock Lode in 1859, made Sterling Silver affordable for the middle class.  Sterling Silver flatware was one way the middle class could show they had “arrived”.

Sterling vs Silver Plate

In 1847, Rogers Bros. Silversmiths developed silver-plate, an electroplating process of binding sterling silver to a base metal.  This brought silver to most of the classes.  However, as Sterling Silver flatware will last a lifetime, silver-plate will usually last only 20 years, until the finish has worn off.  I have a few silver-plate pieces and you can definitely tell the difference.


Unfortunately for sterling flatware collectors, Silver hit $50.00/ounce in 1980 and many antique pieces were lost to smelting.  (As comparison, today finds silver at $18.04/oz.)  Many unique and handmade pieces were lost.  This fact has increased the antique value of sterling which has remained.


Entertaining at Home

A dinner party is a gift we give to others.  Good food and Great company culminates in a fabulous evening!  Whether it’s hosting the Super Bowl, celebrating a birthday, entertaining for business, or a casual get-together nothing is more wonderful than experiencing an evening at someone’s home.

Many get nervous on entertaining….RELAX!   Remember, most likely all your guests are friends.  No-one wants you to fail and you WILL NOT!  Surrounded by friends, all wanting a pleasant evening…that’s exactly what will happen.

If this is a business dinner, please add another layer of organization to ensure to you cross “t’s” and dot your social “I’s”.  Remember, you are “THE most organized the family on the planet”! Organized, yet so incredibly warm and affable.

When entertaining, you need a theme.  Setting your table and your home is the opportunity to surround yourself with things that inspire and reflect your point of view. I feel entertaining is a great incentive to get my home in order.  I fill every room with flowers, everything looks “just so”. Entertaining
Clean White Tablescape ready for entertaining!!

Personally, I like white dinnerware.  White is bright, clean, and presents a meal in a much better light. Less color competition. The meal you’ve prepared for your guests looks presented and more appealing against a crisp white background. White also provides a blank slate to add your personal accents. I layer in more colorful salad/ dessert plates and use these plate colors to reinforce my floral accents. I add color with salad and serving plates layered with tons of flowers. To mix up patterns, you can easily layer your current dinnerware with pieces from flea markets, antique shops or even HomeGoods!

Colorful additoinal serving plates
Colorful Accent Serving pieces

Flowers bring the outside beauty into your home.  There are guidelines to flowers and foliage. Depending on the season, you can potentially cut flowers from your garden. My thumb is not so green, so I usually use a florist, (I recommend Bedford Florist or Winston Flowers) accented with greens from my yard. In winter, I use Holly berries and Pines. In the Spring/Summer I love the way variegated Hosta or Ferns looks in an arrangement.  Keep centerpieces low so it’s easy to talk across the table.  Flowers on a buffet can be a touch higher.  Powder room flowers should looser, scaled to their surroundings and reinforce the color / floral scheme of the evening.

Powder room or bar  floral arrangement
A beautiful springtime arrangement of flowers in a swirled glass vase. The bouquet contains peonies, clematis, and sweet peas. Perfect powder room arrangement

Lifestyle changes have almost made the formal dining room obsolete.   Changing lifestyles have brought new ways of using the space in our homes. In my home, our dining table has turned into a buffet table, from which to serve.  Our get-togethers tend to have too many for a sit-down.

If you set out plates of hors d’ oeuvres on the dining room table remember to remove the chairs for guest access.  Place chairs against the wall for additional seating

I recommend organizing most of the party ahead of time. As guests arrive I’m usually putting finishing touches on dinner.  Having appetizers on the table or a self-serve bar will allow your guests to make themselves at home. Hors d’oeuvres such as olives in colorful bowls, nuts, or a layered cheese plate (cheese needs to be served at room temperature, so early set up is preferred!) are basically effortless.

Some suggestions:

Unless you’re a REALLY good cook, don’t practice on your guests.  Do a test run, tweak as needed. This also gives you an idea on how much a recipe will make and you can adjust accordingly.   I’ve made sides based on a recipe guidance that would feed an army!

Obviously modify any of the above to suit your style, guests, strengths.

Entertain Often, Relax. And most importantly, HAVE FUN!


  • Keep the family educated!  Thank goodness, in my teens  my mother constantly drilled me on table manners; Though at the time. I couldn’t see how I could possibly use them.   Layer on step 2: I had to walk with a pile of books on my head across our living room. I personally feel it is critical to teach our kids these skills. (not the book thing)!  In my first “real” job as a department store buyer, my sales reps often took me out to dinner in top NYC restaurants, more often than not 5 Star. As a naïve, yet budding sophisticate from Pittsburgh, I was over my head on the “formality” of the restaurant, BUT I knew the basics.  This is a critical social / employment skill – you NEVER know where your kids will end up.  Take them out to restaurants, get them comfortable with ordering, confidence at the served table!

Keep it up!


Have you ever Fallen In Love?

Have you even fallen in love?
I LOVE antiquing. From an early age I antiqued with my mom and sister in western Pennsylvania where I grew up. My California grandmother collected. Our home was filled with beautiful hand carved one-of-a-kind pieces. When they say “They don’t make them like this anymore” they are absolutely correct! The quality and styling are unmatched. Artisanally hand-made, not massed produced.

Each antique shop is like its own mini museum. Usually every item has a small tag with a bit about the piece, approximate date, the manufacturer. Antique cases are rented space with the seller usually having a specialty;
Carnival Glass, Antique Sterling (one of my favs), Cameos, Old Coins, Biedermeier, etc.
So you come away with a little sliver of how life must have been then. Who used this piece? It’s survived so many years in such great condition. You surmise it was a family treasure or lay somehow forgotten in an attic.
So this summer on our annual Maine vacation, I found THE most interesting, creative antique store I’ve EVER had the pleasure to meander through (that’s what you do in antique stores; meander, stroll, no running or going. It just doesn’t work that way).


The Art of Antiquing
Round Pond Maine

It was love at  first sight.   The Art of Antiquing is one of the most interesting antique shops I’ve seen in my 40+ years of antiquing. Perfectly merchandised. Being an ex-high end retailer, I totally appreciate eye catching vignettes, each with its’ own story, point of view. They have to be clean and uncluttered

This store is special.
Curated by (once again, back to museums) Margaret Brown, the antiques are very high quality and stunning! She merchandises the space incredibly well, placing pieces that work with each other for a lifestyle story.
She sources from Europe and the United Kingdom-Hand-picking items spanning the centuries.
Additionally, she does a bit of research on each piece and provides it with your purchase

For example, I brought home a piece of Castle Hedingham Pottery from England. Edward Bingham produced the pottery from 1864 until 1901, reminiscent of medieval and Tudor styled pieces.

Diana Jarvis
Pottery – the Art of Antiquing
Round Pond, Maine

The Art of Antiquing is located in the center of Round Pond, in a restored old building.
Living in London in the winter months, Margaret ships containers of her finds over as soon as the weather breaks.
As she quotes on her website: “We specialize in unique, sometimes dramatic, one-off pieces. As a result, things are always changing here, which makes each visit to our store a shopping experience unto itself—no two trips will be the same.”
The Art of Antiquing is open from June until the
Middle of October. You can sign up on their website for a preview of arriving containers.
4 Back Shore Road
Round Pond, Maine 04564
+1 (207) 529-5300

The Art of Antiquing, Round Pond MAINE
The Art of Antiquing
Round Pond, Maine

You’re moving! What to do with all that STUFF!

So you’re moving!  Onto the next chapter in your life.  It’s exciting until you start to get a handle on what exactly it is you need to move.  How did you acquire all this STUFF! Fortunately, there are several options for your accumulations.

Option #1 – DONATE

There are many fantastic places for the furniture, clothing, household items you no longer need.  Here are some of my favorites!

Household Goods  530 Main Street, Acton       (978) 635-1710

Household Goods provides a full range of donated furniture and household items, free of charge, to help people in need make a home. Most of their clients are moving out of motels or shelters into very small apartments.  They can pick furniture and household goods at no charge, to help set up an apartment and get themselves back on their feet. A large percentage of their clients have children so for safety reasons they do not accept glass topped tables,etc.
Drop off donations on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9-12. Click here for a list of items they accept.

More than Words
More than Words – BEST place for book donations


You’re moving, downsizing and need to trim that library back a bit? There is a fabulous organization that takes gently loved books.  I can’t say enough about them.

More than Words helps at risk youth who are in the foster system, court-involved, homeless, or have dropped out of high school.  (781) 788-0035

With two bookstore locations, they employ these youths empowering them to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business They challenge the youth with two jobs: the Business Job and the “You” Job.

• Work 20+ hours/week
• Manage an online & retail bookstore in Boston and a bookstore/café in Waltham
• Train in all aspects of business
• Facilitate peer-led trainings and team meetings
• Plan and host store events
• Track performance and earn promotions

• Learn essential life skills (opening a bank account, finding housing, getting an ID)
• Participate in workshops, mock interviews, resume building
• Craft individualized action plans
• Be accountable for their progress
• Commit to getting GED or diploma
• Receive assistance to pursue higher education

More than Words has 2 Store locations:

Bookstore and Cafe
376 Moody Street
Waltham, MA  02453

Boston Warehouse Bookstore

242 East Berkeley Street, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Also:  Book Donation drop off location:   56 Felton Street, Waltham           (781) 314-9330

More traditional donation outlets:

Habitat for Humanity – ReStore   Donations are sold, with monies going towards Habitat housing projects in our area.

Both Epilepsy Foundation and Big Brothers / Big Sisters have monthly pick-ups in your area.   You can call or schedule on-line.

Option #2 – CONSIGNMENT  

Moving service and delivery company illustration. Two loader mover man holding and carrying sofa with big carton cardboard box. 3d color vector creative concept with characters.
Moving service and delivery company illustration. Two loader mover man holding and carrying sofa with big carton cardboard box. 3d color vector creative concept with characters.

Consigning gives you the option of getting a few shekels for your pieces.   I like Buy and Consign in Waltham.  Hand pick estate cleanouts.  Their cut is 50%.  Prices are reduced every 2 months until they’re gone.  Eventually, however, the items are donated.

Option #3 – ON-LINE SITES

EBAY – enough said!

REPLACEMENTS – they deal with china, crystal, flatware and dinnerware.  When I inherited my mother’s china, we replaced the missing pieces here!


GotJunk   or  (800) 468-JUNK  (5865)

Type in your zip code, select the pick up date / time (it’s a 2 hour window). They donate or recycle 61.3% of what they pick up!  Picking up appliances, furniture, TV’s, mattresses, and bags / boxes of who knows what.  Prices seem very reasonable. A client of mine used them.  He left a huge pile of lawn furniture, old mattresses, boxes of misc items.  Got Junk showed up in a 20’ branded truck, loaded everything.  Took a Charge card over the phone.  About $750.00.  DONE!


Clean out your House
Clean out your House

Clean Out Your House

(781) 826-3120) is the sister company of Buy and Consign.  They take everything from any part of your home including the garage, attic and basement – furniture, clothing, rubbish, hazardous wastes, old bikes, or anything that is cluttering up your home. They take everything, do all the labor, and are responsible for disposing of it in a green and environmentally safe way.  They also work in partnership with Household Goods!

 Option #5 – ESTATE SALE

Most estate sale companies will sort, price and catalog items.  However, you want one that goes that extra step.

  • Place drop cloths over all carpet
  • Clean and wipe all items
  • Have a cashier
  • Have several security people, ideally 1-2 per floor
  • Advertise in local paper and online
  • Inform local antique dealers
  • Post the sales on their website
  • Clean house when finished
  • Donate all items left
  • Give donation paperwork to Seller

There is a charge of between 25 – 30% of the total sales. Some companies charge a flat fee.

In your search, for an estate sale company, also ask for referrals. Call different clients that have used them.

Trilogy Estate Sales is very good.  (617) 969-1093

They will liquidate the entire contents of a home and provide free consultations!

There are lots of options depending on your time and the complexity of the job.  The biggest help of all is TIME!  Give yourself alot of it. If you know you’re going to be down-sizing in a few years, start NOW.








Boston’s Best Public School Districts / Bedford – the best value!

Bedford, MA – the most BANG for your buck!

Boston Magazine publishes their “Best Public School Districts: every September, ranking the 125 public school districts located within the 495 belt.

With a lower average class sizes  (14.8) along with top SAT and MCAS scores and a healthy expenditure/pupil (8th of the top 50), Bedford ranks #5, outperforming most of it’s neighbors.

Interestingly, Bedford is also the most AFFORDABLE of the towns in the top 6!  With an average single family sales price of only $797,189 it makes the cost of a good education much more palatable.  Bedford median family income is $119,200


  • Dover/Sherborn
    • Dover – $1,340, 458
    • Sherborn – $826,362 (2015 residential tax rate of $20.32 – ouch!)
  • Weston – $1,859,016
  • Lexington – $1,137,449
  • Wayland – $ 818,464 (2015 residential tax rate of $18.39 – ouch again!)
  • Bedford – $797,169
  • Concord /Carlisle
    • Concord – $1,118,162
    • Carlisle   – $912,358

Additionally, Bedford is one of only 2 schools in this elite group to offer foreign language prior to Middle School.  Beginning in 3rd grade, Bedford students take French or Spanish and can continue until they graduate.  That’s NINE solid years of learning the language and culture of another country before going off to college. ( Weston offers Spanish from 1st grade, but if you’re interested in Latin, French, or Mandarin, you’ll need to wait until 7th grade).  Our mobile globalized world increasingly demands  flexibility and appreciation of differences.  Learning another language reinforces this, the earlier the better!  Please review the link below –

10 benefits to learning another language

Boston Best Schools
Boston Best Schools – Dover MA 2015
Boston Best Schools
Boston Best Schools – Weston 2015


Boston Best Schools
Boston Best Schoole – Lexington MA 2015

Dover/Sherborn public schools were ranked #1 by Boston Magaizne, #16 in the nation by Newsweek and #9 by US News & World report.  Foreign languages start in the 6th grade, Latin, French, and Spanish.

Dover, with a median family income of $168,443 is one of the most affluent towns in the state.


Weston boasts a a median household income of $155,400.

The housing market in Weston will end the year up nicely with a 7% increase in average sales price.  Units should end around 138, down 6% from last year.


Lexington offers French, Spanish, and Mandarin beginning in 6th grade.

The Lexington housing market was basically flat for the spring.  Year end should show a very slight uptick over the $1,137,499 shown here, with 380 Lexington homes sold by year end, a unit increase of 5%. Median family income of approximately $140,000.

Wayland kids can take French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish beginning in 7th grade.

Wayland boasts a medium family income of $131,000./

Wayland MA - 10 Yr ASP
Wayland MA – 10 Yr Avg Single Family Sold Price

Natural Fences & Stone Walls of New England

Wattle fencing

Wattle Fences
Wattle fences are made from branches or twigs

Woven wood fencing – SO many versions!  This is probably my favorite type of fencing.  Made from branches, thick or thin they are perfect for a garden fence or trellis.  There are so many creative versions, all blending into nature’s landscapes.

Historically, wattle fences were made in movable sections from branches, thick or thin, to contain pastures and livestock.  These sections could be transported with the herds and reinstalled.  This technique goes back to Neolithic times.

Today, there are many artistic version on this basic idea! See some of my favorites below –

wattle & wrought iron
Wattle & Wrought Iron fence allow a peek into this private Carmel CA courtyard
Wattle Fencing
Modern Wattle Fencing.
Seen in Concord MA and Damariscotta ME


I loved this combination of Wattle & Wrought Iron found in a recent trip to Carmel, CA.   This creative “barrier” allows a blissful peak into a private courtyard a block from the beach.  (OK, so it’s not New England, but amazing nonetheless!)



Stone Walls

Most of our New England rock walls were built in 1775-1825, the Revolutionary period.  After the  continued deforestation of the new America to build colonial homes and to heat them,  our New England stones eventually began to make their way to the surface.  Our rocky  soil wasn’t conducive to farming, so aided by their oxen, farmers hauled the stones to the outer edges of their pastures and dumped them.  We’ve all seen them,

“Dump walls”.   My yard is framed by them….these piles of rocks came as a result of priorities; Survival was foremost.  There was no time for niceties!

Beautification came later.   With the Post-Revolutionary War baby boom, there were many young hands to help on the farms…fueled by a swelling pride of “being American”.  Rock walls were built and improved. Still most were only thigh high due to lifting ergonomics.

Beach rock wall
Pemaquid Maine – Stone wall from beach rocks, weathered and pointed

Mortar wasn’t prevalent until after the Civil War. Mortared walls are called “wet rock walls”.   If you’re undertaking a retention wall, please ensure your contractor has drains in these walls.  The mortar holds them together, but they are prone to cracking and shifting as they don’t drain well.

There are many unique and creative versions of Rock walls.


Creative Stone wall
You can create interesting walls with combinations of wrought iron, stone, and wattle

Wrought Iron

Wrought Iron is actually an archaic term.  Wrought iron, meaning “worked by hand”  is no longer available on a large scale.  Wrought iron, has a very low carbon content and is tough, malleable and corrosion resistant.  Its cousin Cast iron, is brittle and can be broken with a hammer.  In its purest form, wrought iron has a grain to it resembling wood.  The Eiffel Tower is actually constructed from a form of wrought iron!

Fence beautiful


There are many more fencing options than a perimeter of shiny vinyl!!

Go Natural and Made in USA!!

My Top 5 Interior Design Books

Interior Design Book
Suzanne Kasler , Timeless Style

Suzanne Kasler: Timeless Style

Her second book.  I LOVE her!! She has such a high spirited, classic style.  Her homes would be so fun to live in, tons of bright energy, extremely liveable. Rooms are uncluttered yet impactful with well-chosen pieces. Just the right amount of Patina, Sparkle, & Texture.  Excellent focal points in her rooms.  Another high point:  Kasler does an incredible, creative job with artwork placement. On colors:  Page 76,,,,”Champagne, blue-gray, and a touch of raspberry”. Stunning!

Simply SereneThomas Pheasant: Simply Serene

“There is nothing more luxurious than space to breathe”.  When you get his book, actually READ it.  His homes are beautiful, uncluttered.That about says it… Love the black & white photos, complimented with the Silver pages.


He starts by defining the space than layers in

  • A truly beautiful room is beautiful before it’s ever decorated.



Jennifer Boles, In With the OldJennifer Boles: In with the New

Jennifer is creator of one of the top interior design/lifestyle blogs, the Peak of Chic.

She takes us alphabetically through vintage objects, maybe you’ve seen these in old movies, at your grandmother’s home, or on a trip to a museum.  Incredible design, but dated?  Jennifer shows us – absolutely not!  Think “modern transitions.”  Next time you’re strolling your favorite antique store, or inherit a piece that reminds you “when”, grab this book and recreate it.  You’ll look at everything with a fresh eye.  This is an amazing book, she writes so well.  You can see why her blog has been around since 2006!


Rhonda Rice Carmen, Designers at HomeRhonda Rice Carmen, Designers at Home

Popular lifestyle blog “All the Best

Tour designers homes and provide insights on they design their personal spaces.

New look at interior design books.


Interior Design Book
The Art of Classic Details, Theory, Design, and Craftsmanship

Phillip James DoddThe Art of Classic Details: Theory, Design, and Craftsmanship

OMG – This book made me cry, it’s so beautiful. Every… single… page.  The Forward, by David Easton is perfect:  “Journey through the Art of Classical Detail with a nod to our past and a keen eye to our future.”  Dodd, with a Masters for Architecture from Notre Dame and accolades decades long, does a magnificent job putting this tomb together.

This work is divided into two sections:

The Essays: Written by top architects, scholars and craftsman, it illustrates classical design detailing and artisanship. Lots of references to the Villas of Renaissance architect and builder Andrea Palladio.

The Projects: Presents an intimate look at 25 classically-designed homes in Great Britian and the United States. It details the interior design and detailing as well as the impressive classically influenced home exteriors and gardens.

For any remodeling project, this book is a fabulous reference.

My FAVE PAGE here is #106.  Chesney’s Georgian Marble mantle with charcoal walls and a crystal chandelier.  WOW.