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Blog :: 05-2014

Boston Celebrates National Historic Preservation Month


May is a month where our weather really starts to warm up and our thoughts turn toward summer. In the spirit of looking forward, while at the same time looking back, May is also National Historic Preservation Month. In order to celebrate and promote Bostons rich history, architecture and historic neighborhoods, Mayor Walsh recently released a schedule of events taking place in May, across the city. Some of the highlights for the coming month include the following:

14 | WED | 6:00 PM | GALA AND SILENT AUCTION Boston Preservation Alliance Gala and Silent Auction The Alliance's annual Spring Auction is being held at the Liberty Hotel. The hotel is one of Boston's most unique historic spaces previous being the Charles Street Jail. Bid on our silent auction items and support the ongoing work of Boston's leading advocate for historic preservation. The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St. $150 per ticket, $75 for young professionals under 40. Presented by: Boston Preservation Alliance | Contact: Alison Frazee | | (617) 367-2458

15 | THURS | 6:00 PM | FUNDRAISER Taste of West Roxbury Annual fundraiser for West Roxbury Main Streets featuring tasty treats from local businesses. The Irish Social Club, 119 Park Street, West Roxbury. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Presented by: West Roxbury Main Streets | Contact: Michael Iceland | | (617) 325-6400

If you are looking for some exercise, consider a walking tour. Whether you have lived in Boston for all of your life, or you are new to the area, a walking tour is a great way to appreciate some of the great history all around us.

Affordably priced, there many tours offered all over the city. On Thursday, May 15 at 4:00pm the Boston Landmarks Commission presents a walking tour entitled, The Christian Science Church Complex: In and Out of the City. Designated a City of Boston Landmark in 2010, the Christian Science Church campus in Bostons Back Bay features an amazingly sprawling group of plazas and buildings. According to the Commission, this walking tour will look at the development of the campus, its buildings and open spaces as they relate to each other and to the city at large. The tour will be led by Boston Landmarks Commission staff architect, Elizabeth Stifel.

Meeting place confirmed at time of reservation. Free and open to the public. As space is limited, pre-registration is required. Presented by: Boston Landmarks Commission |

Also offering several different walking tours is the non-profit, Boston By Foot. Tour titles include The Heart of the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, The North End: Gateway to Boston, Road to Revolution Walking Tour, and the Victorian Back Bay. One of this weeks tours is of the Flat of Beacon Hill. Offered Thursday, May 15 from 5:00-6:30pm, the description states:

The Flat of Beacon Hill is built on 19th century made-land along the Charles River. This intimate patch of real estate soon acquired carriage houses and horse stables owned by the wealthy families living on Beacon Hill. Today, many of these edifices have been converted into charming residences and seamlessly blend among the notable landmarks such as the Charles Street Meeting House, the Church of the Advent, and the Sunflower Castle. Meet your guide outside the entrance to the Charles/MGH MBTA station on the Red Line. $15 per person, $5 for Boston By Foot members.

For information about this or any of their other walking tours, contact Boston By Foot at, (617) 367-2345 or at

For the full calendar of events celebrating National Historic Preservation Month please see


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5 Outdoor Living Trends that Instantly Turn a Drab Deck into a Beautiful Oasis


The weather is finally warming here in Boston, and warm weather means more time to spend outside enjoying gentle breezes and sunshine-filled days. Is your deck or patio ready for months of outdoor fun? If your outdoor space is a bit drab, there's no need to fret. The year's top trends in outdoor living will transform any deck in an instant and create a space that is truly an extension of the home.

"Homeowners are demanding expanded livable spaces and are looking for fresh ways to update their decks and patios for premium enjoyment," says Madeleine MacRae, exterior market manager for Somfy Systems, maker of motors and controls for shades, screens and awnings. "The good news is that an existing space can easily be transformed into an outdoor oasis with minimal effort and financial investment." MacRae offers top outdoor living trends that will instantly transform your deck into a beautiful, relaxing oasis:

Shade Sunny days define the warm weather months, but outdoor spaces can quickly heat up and drive homeowners indoors to cool off. That's why shade options are a necessity, with automatic awnings leading the trend. Somfy Motorized awnings not only create cooler, more comfortable outdoor spaces, but they can also be set to react to the environment with sensors customized to open and close the awning as wind and sun intensities shift. These modern high-tech awnings do more than enhance outdoor living; they improve indoor living by blocking the sun from coming inside the home, creating real energy savings by keeping AC units from kicking on in peak times.

Lighting The American Society of Landscape Architects recently released the results of its 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, and lighting topped the list of in-demand outdoor living features. As the sun goes down, there's no need to retreat indoors when your patio has the proper lighting. Solar lights are a popular option that again pair well with the sustainability theme - they charge during daylight and glow automatically at dusk. Strings of garden lights are another popular option, adding a subtle twinkle to outdoor spaces.

Ambiance Potted plants bring rich shades of green and other beautiful colors directly onto the deck or patio area to add unparalleled ambiance. A few strategically placed pots add a touch of serenity while tying together landscape themes. What's hot for 2014? Sustainability and low-maintenance continue to be in high demand, making native plants a natural choice. When deciding which plants to use in your pots, ask your local garden center expert to see what native plants will perform best in the area you intend to put them.

Some local options for advice and great plant selection include:

Mahoneys Garden Center in Brighton, (

Russells Garden Center in Wayland, (

Furniture Stylish outdoor furniture is a necessary element of designing a cozy, usable outdoor space with superb ambiance. Upholstered sofas and oversized accent pillows in a variety of colorful patterns are big this year. When furnishing your deck or patio, keep in mind the flow of traffic and embrace thoughtful arrangement of furniture to encourage conversation and comfort. In addition to couches and chairs, incorporating an eating area makes dining al fresco a joy any time of day. If you're tight on space, seek multifunctional furniture that performs double duty, such as a couch that also serves as a storage space for blankets under the cushion. If you have liberal space, installed furniture is super trendy, such as a hanging swing or sofa. If you are looking for furniture to spruce up the patio, deck or roof deck, there is no debating the quality and style that can be found locally or online. A few of our favorites:

JAUNUS et Cie located at 1 Design Center Place and online at

RocheBobois, located in the Ritz Carlton Towers at 2 Avery Street, Boston and online at

Brown Jordan:


Outdoor Kitchens Naturally aligning with homeowners' desire to create functional space both indoors and out, the demand for outdoor kitchens is growing. Whether it's a corner with a grill or a full kitchen with refrigerator, prep sink and all, incorporating a space on your deck for cooking food is a top trend. Whether you're slow-grilling for an intimate family dinner or flipping burgers for a cookout, outdoor kitchens will serve you well time and time again throughout the warm weather seasons, all while adding value to your overall home investment.


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