Our Guide to the Region’s Top Home Experts

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Whether you’re pining for a whole-house makeover or a sprightly new look for a tired room, you’ll find all the inspiration you need in our annual guide to the region’s top design pros, craftspeople, and shops.


A Boston kitchen by Bloom Architecture. / Photo by Nat Rea

A home on Martha’s Vineyard by Hutker Architects and Dan Gordon Landscape Architecture. / Photo by Michael J. Lee

Architects + Designers + Builders

Coastal Architect
Hutker Architects

The difference between a beach house and a stunning coastal home? Careful, deliberate design—and Hutker Architects employs it in spades. The team has repeatedly demonstrated a knack for maximizing ocean views with contemporary flair. Their most recent example involves a masterful illusion: A South Shore home reads like a single-story construction from the street, but opens to a two-story wall with glass panels that frames the salt marshes beyond it. Smart. hutkerarchitects.com.

Coastal Interior Designer
Angela Raciti Interior Design

Just as the sandy shores of New England are punctuated by color—imagine magenta beach roses and soft-green dune grass—Angela Raciti’s inviting seaside homes strategically showcase bright hues in traditional settings. Take a recent powder room overhaul in Duxbury where the designer installed classic shiplap, papering the remaining wall space in vibrant maps of the Massachusetts coast. angelaraciti.com.

A Duxbury bathroom by Angela Raciti Interior Design. / Photo by Tamara Flanagan

Contemporary Architect
Bloom Architecture

We’d wager a guess that even if you haven’t been fortunate enough to collaborate with the brilliant folks behind Bloom Architecture, you’re probably already a fan of their work—and not just because we wrote about the group’s spectacular geothermal lake-house project in 2021. Lucky for all of us, the Boston firm’s contemporary designs grace a number of local landmarks, including the inarguably gorgeous dining room at Pammy’s and the light and airy public spaces at St. Cecilia’s. bloomarchitecture.com.

Contemporary Interior Designer
Planeta Design Group

There’s lots to love about a Patrick Planeta project, but what strikes us the most is the interior designer’s unwavering ability to infuse warmth into his sophisticated schemes. Consider his work in glassy high-rises. While the sleek settings could easily wade into standoffish territory in the hands of a less thoughtful pro, Planeta ensures coziness with inviting touches including expertly curated artwork (one of his firm’s specialties), plush upholstered pieces, and—in the case of one Seaport condo—a leathered-marble floor boasting a strip of bronze inscribed with song lyrics. planetadesigngroup.com.

A Seaport office by Planeta Design. / Photo by Joshua McHugh

Mixed-Use Architect
Dream Collaborative

While mixed-use projects combining commercial and residential space—including affordable-housing units—continue to have their moment in the sun, we can’t take our eyes off the work of Dream Collaborative. As a minority-owned architecture firm, Dream champions diversity and inclusivity while bringing contextual design to the city’s underserved neighborhoods. Right now, for example, the firm is working on a project to fill vacant land in Roxbury’s Nubian Square, where a grand cultural hall, an art lab, and artist live-work housing will display nods to North African architecture. dreamcollaborative.com.

Multi-Residential Architect
Embarc

If you haven’t yet explored the work of these talented folks, get thee to the Internet immediately. Whether you start with the luxe waterfront condos they dreamed up for the Mark in Eastie or the more low-key, sun-filled spaces they crafted on Chestnut Avenue in J.P., one thing will be crystal clear: Embarc’s architects and designers really know their stuff. How else could they nail scale, layout, and material choices in every space they touch. embarcdesign.com.

A Chatham home by Patrick Ahearn Architect. / Photo by Greg Premru

Restoration Architect
Patrick Ahearn Architect

Patrick Ahearn and his team of experts are architects by trade, but they also consider themselves to be storytellers, all deeply committed to honoring their projects’ historical roots. So should that mean reimagining an original 1960s-era barn with weathered board-and-batten siding (and creating pine-and-iron stalls for the family’s horses) or re-creating the original entrance to a 19th-century cottage in Chatham, the results are sure to be timeless. patrickahearn.com.

Sustainable Architect
Paul Lukez Architecture

In April 2021, this Somerville standout launched a new addition to the firm: PLASES, or Paul Lukez Architecture Sustainable Environment Studio. Its goal? To address climate change through inspired design. While the ompany has long been a pioneer in sustainable commercial projects, its new division also serves residential clients by creating net-zero-energy homes with seamless rooftop solar panels, triple-glazed windows, and chargeable carports. lukez.com.

A net-zero Harvard home by Paul Lukez Architecture. / Photo by Greg Premru

Traditional Architect
ART Architects

This Boston-based firm may be a quarter-century old—an accomplishment in itself—but its impressive knowledge of classical design conventions stretches back much farther. The team’s artful application of time-honored features (grand entry porticos, graceful transom windows, floor-to-ceiling wainscoting) shines in all environments, from freshly built suburban farmhouses to stately apartments on Beacon Hill. artarchitects.com.

Traditional Interior Designer
LeBlanc Design

Tiffany LeBlanc firmly believes that great design is meant to be experienced—not simply admired from afar. And it shows in her work. Never too precious for a family movie night or a boisterous dinner party with friends, the interior designer’s polished but welcoming living spaces encourage interaction. Case in point: a family room in a new build in Wellesley where a textured carpet and delicate veining on the stone fireplace surround beg to be touched. leblancdesign.com.

Transitional Architect
Sam Kachmar Architects

Sam Kachmar’s catalog of renovations and new builds is objectively beautiful, but we’re particularly taken with its depth and range. Since founding his eponymous firm in 2008, the Syracuse University alum has tackled all kinds of residential projects—each (like his clever transformation of a historical loft-style townhouse in Cambridge) a ringing endorsement of his unique ability to create spaces that strike the perfect balance between fresh and classic no matter the setting or scope. kachmardesign.com.

Transitional Interior Designer
Ana Donohue Interiors

Brilliant color choices may be the first things you notice about an Ana Donohue–designed space, but they certainly won’t be the last. Having mastered the arts of mixing styles and selecting just the right accessories for her reinvented interiors (like the hand-shaped chair she picked out for a Steinway piano–equipped music room), the Melrose-based design maven has quite a few tricks up her sleeve. And we’re here for all of them. anadonohueinteriors.com.

A Needham residence by ART Architects and Hawthorn Builders. / Photo by Greg Premru


An Ipswich kitchen by Curran & Sons Construction. / Photo by Jared Kuzia

High-End Remodeling

When it comes to top-of-the-line renovations, there’s nothing these ace firms can’t handle.

High-End Remodeling, Boston
S+H Construction

“Thoughtful” and “responsive” are two of many accolades homeowners bestow upon this top-notch firm, which recently relocated to Belmont. With 40-plus years of experience, the tried-and-true group has perfected the remodeling process, whether it calls for accommodating a complicated lighting-design plan in a sleek Millennium Tower condo or rebuilding a 1925 Colonial with reclaimed-wood flooring and a picture-perfect primary suite. shconstruction.com.

High-End Remodeling, North
Curran & Sons Construction

Camera-ready interiors are within reach when you hire this North Shore firm, which brought rustic renovation goals to life on HGTV’s new series Farmhouse Fixer last year. Costar (and former Best of Boston Home winner) Kristina Crestin says the network tapped Curran for swift, high-quality work that would last long after the crew stopped filming—a safe bet, as numerous client reviews and the team’s remarkable remodeling repertoire will attest. curranconstruction.net.

High-End Remodeling, South
Cape Associates

It takes a lot of skill to execute the visions of the area’s most ambitious architects. This 50-year-old Eastham firm has proved time and again that it’s more than up to the task, calling on its star team of builders and craftspeople to give life to converted pool houses, double-height living areas, Insta-worthy roof decks, and just about everything in between. capeassociates.com.

High-End Remodeling, West
Brookes + Hill Custom Builders

Never built new or renovated before? This seasoned Waltham firm offers as much (or as little) handholding as you need, even providing pre-construction services to help you assess whether that property you’re thinking of snagging can support your design goals. And the team’s craftsmanship speaks for itself. For proof, consider the three-story modern masterpiece they built alongside Flavin Architects with glass walls and galvanized-steel detailing. brookesandhill.com.


A Brookline kitchen by New England Design + Construction. / Photo by Sarah Winchester

Design/Build

These teams won’t just dream up plans for your new home; they’ll flawlessly execute them from start to finish.

Design/Build, Boston
New England Design + Construction

After 16-plus years in the biz, this Boston firm is still growing in all the right ways. In the past year alone, the team challenged itself with a passive-house retrofit in Somerville, plus a historically sensitive remodel of a Brookline Victorian, complete with a 19th-century bar top for the kitchen island and on-trend green cabinetry. Consider us impressed. nedesignbuild.com.

Design/Build, North
Treehouse Design

The sky’s the limit when Treehouse Design takes the reins. Reviews consistently tout the Rockport firm’s creativity, scrupulous work, and ability to bring nuanced plans to fruition, whether updating a 19th-century home (and restoring its six original fireplaces) or erecting a magically modern new build. Plus, the group’s commitment to sustainability guarantees that your home will be as gentle on the environment as it is on the eyes—a win-win, if you ask us. treehousedesigninc.com.

Design/Build, South
Longfellow Design Build

Erosion, flooding, high winds—we all know that building by the sea is not for the faint of heart. And yet it’s a challenge these Cape-based pros take on quite willingly. Drawing on the collective experiences of in-house architects, designers, and project managers, the team navigates the complexities of coastal construction to create some of the most covetable homes south of Boston, in one case employing a raised pier-and-beam foundation and water-resistant, double-coated shingles to help protect a shorefront Falmouth home. longfellowdb.com.

Design/Build, West
Hawthorn Builders

Picture a snow-white kitchen, bathed in light. You fill a glass with water at a farmhouse sink, set within an island where painted drawers and cabinets echo the leafy views outside. Cup in hand, you walk through a grand archway into your living room, greeted by the pleasant sight of wooden beams overhead before you relax into a plush sofa. Sounds nice, right? All credit goes to Hawthorn Builders, which counts this covetable custom home among its many success stories. hawthorn-builders.com.



Indoor Living

KitchenVisions

A stunning kitchen by KitchenVisions. / Michael Lefebvre

Appliances
Warrendale Appliance

Warrendale combines locally owned charm with national inventory. You’ll find all of the big names here, from Bosch to Viking to Miele, but the showroom’s robust rebate program—not to mention deep clearance discounts on top-of-the-line items keeps costs within budget. Worried about keeping your new LG wall oven or WiFi-connected Samsung dryer up and running? Don’t be. Warrendale also staffs a team of personable repair technicians should your appliances need a tune-up. warrendaleappliances.com.

Closets
Boston Closet Company

After calling many top closet companies throughout the area without a response, it was a relief to get immediate help from the Boston Closet Company, where staffers sympathized with the space issues plaguing our teensy Colonial and set up a design consultation for the next day. Also reassuring: The Somerville firm works with all sorts of rooms—whether they be man caves, laundry nooks, or nurseries—offering custom shelving and storage crafted by a team of carpenters. bostoncloset.com.

Expert organization by Boston Closet Company. / Photo by George Gray

Contemporary Furniture
Casa Design Group

True connoisseurs of contemporary design, the eagle-eyed team behind this SoWa staple has a real gift for curation, outfitting its Harrison Street showrooms with only the most deserving furnishings and accessories. Trust them to steer you toward just the right Giorgetti coffee table, Molteni&C bed, or sectional from Linteloo—one of the newest additions to their long list of powerhouse brands. casadesigngroup.com.

Custom Window Treatments
Innuwindow

Sure, you could walk into this Natick showroom and sift through the extensive samples and displays yourself—or, you could let the Innuwindow team come to you. Their highly praised in-home design service brings an expert decorator, who’ll take precise measurements and help you choose from practical motorized shades, elegant pinch-pleat drapes, or ripple-fold curtains, right to your doorstep. innuwindow.com.

A handpainted ceiling mural by Patina. / Photo by Michael J. Lee

Decorative Painter
Patina

Once again proving her commitment to elevating the art form, painter Pauline Curtiss continues to inspire design lovers seeking one-of-a-kind masterpieces in every room of the house. The artist and her talented team showcase creativity and originality in each project, using unique textures, patterns, and vibrant colors to enhance bedroom ceilings, bathroom walls, towering fireplaces, and so much more. patina-designs.com.

Fabrics
The Martin Group

A true oasis for admirers of the finer things, this family-owned company deals in fabrics from top design houses such as Thibaut, Samuel & Sons, and the Vale London. Find retro-patterned velvets, tassel-fringe trims, refined leathers, satin jacquards, and other must-haves in the Martin Group’s new, reimagined showroom, which opened to customers (and their four-legged friends, should they choose to tag along) in fall 2021. martingroupinc.com.

Eco-Friendly Home Goods
Uvida Shop

After winning UMass Boston’s Entrepreneurship Scholarship her junior year, Maria Vasco finally had the resources she needed to open Boston’s first zero-waste store. The Colombia native launched Uvida Shop online in 2019 with a mission to reduce environmentally destructive single-use plastics. Now, with outposts in the North End and Eastie, patrons have even more ways to shop smart items such as biodegradable dish sponges, wool dryer balls, and cotton-mesh produce bags. uvidashop.com.

Lisa Tharp Collection’s “Museum” console. / Photo by Max Kim-Bee

Furniture Collection
Lisa Tharp Collection

Lisa Tharp’s new furniture collection is a lot like her portfolio of interiors: brimming with character and elegance. Launched amid the pandemic, the designer’s handsome line features handcrafted upholstery, case goods, and accessories. One standout? The “Museum” console. With drop-down drawer fronts and brass pulls, the items you choose to fill its velvet-lined boxes won’t be the only pieces on display. lisatharp.com/collection.

Hardware
Needham Decorative Hardware

Brass shutter dogs, pulls shaped like starfish, monogrammed doorknobs—no detail is too small at this longstanding Needham boutique, which stocks all manner of hardware from brands including Emtek, Valli&Valli, and Buster + Punch, among others. Ring the store to set up a time to begin your treasure hunt: The shop’s appointment-only policy affords plenty of personal attention for designers and DIYers alike. decorativelocks.com.

Hardwood Floors
Taozen Floors Services

Hardwood floors regularly endure wear and tear, but even more so after almost two years spent in the house. Luckily, Taozen has more than a decade of expertise in sanding, refinishing, and installing new hardwood. Specifically, owner Tao Hoang and his team’s unparalleled skills in restoration—from mending scuffs and gaps to flawlessly matching new wood with old—make choosing the Waltham-based company a no-brainer. taozenflooring.com.

Home Technology
Systems Design & Integration

You ever come across a new gadget so handy, you wonder how you ever made do without it? That’s how we feel each time we dig into the work of these Needham-based pros, who specialize in all the things that make life at home just a little bit easier: smartphone-controlled lighting and heating, audio distribution systems to fill your space with music, security cameras to make sure you always feel safe, and other essentials. sdiboston.com.

Lighting
Wolfers Lighting/System 7

A bright spot among local lighting businesses, Wolfers dazzled us yet again last year when it announced it was opening a brand-new showroom in Wellesley. For now, having merged with home-technology firm System 7, the company is offering a sampling of Wolfers’ streamlined selection of decorative fixtures from brands such as Visual Comfort and Hudson Valley Lighting at the Design Center’s System 7 Experience Center. Bonus: The interactive Seaport space also features automated-shade displays and cool demos of surprisingly simple-to-use lighting controls. wolfers.com.

Millwork by Modern Heritage. / Photo by Erin Little

Millwork
Modern Heritage

To us, incorporating fine millwork in a luxury home is like adding rainbow sprinkles to two scoops of our favorite ice cream: It just makes everything so much better. And there’s no firm we’d trust more with this special task than Modern Heritage. Whether it’s a reeded vanity for a modern primary suite or a stately cherry-paneled library complete with a built-in desk, the team’s exceptional craftsmanship never fails to amaze. modernheritage.com.

New Rugs
Landry & Arcari

When we rang Landry & Arcari to ask about a gorgeous salmon Oriental we spotted on the company’s website, a staffer patiently tracked it down, offered to ship it to the closest showroom (there are several), and secured a private appointment for us to peep the weave in-person. It’s this personal attention that floors us, to say nothing of the company’s extra perks such as rug rentals for parties, custom designs, and even restoration services for well-trod pieces. landryandarcari.com.

Minotti Boston’s gleaming new showroom. / Courtesy photo

New Showroom
Minotti Boston

In what proved to be a banner year for local showroom openings, the debut of this luxury Italian brand’s first-ever Boston store has us truly buzzing. Located on Stuart Street, the space stuns with towering floor-to-ceiling windows and a sleek, double-sided fireplace designed just for this location. Of course, the inventory itself is just as eye-catching; gorgeous vignettes featuring contemporary furniture by designers like Nendo and Marcio Kogan make the shopping experience truly memorable. minottibyddc.com.

Paint
Drive-In Paint Mart

Looking to add a splash of color to your surroundings? Drive-In Paint Mart can steer you toward success. With shops in Southie and Dorchester among other locales, the 65-year-old, family-owned business appeals to customers with an array of hues from the likes of Benjamin Moore, C2 Paint, and Fine Paints of Europe. The personalized service staffers happily provide certainly doesn’t hurt either. driveinpaint.com.

A medley of throw pillows featuring prints by Ellisha Alexina. / Photo courtesy of Ellisha Alexina

Textile Designer
Ellisha Alexina

Experimentation is at the heart of every fabric Ellisha Alexina brings to life—and boy, has it paid off. Created through a unique combination of silk-screen printing and hand-painting, the native New Englander’s delicate designs feel at once fresh and familiar, inviting attention with soft colorways and artful motifs. One favorite? Alexina’s “Dotted Stripe” fabric, an abstract interpretation of pebbles by the sea. ellishaalexina.com.

Traditional Furniture
Thos. Moser

For handmade furniture with a timeless vibe, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more elegant selection than the compendium of wooden beauties at this local stalwart, which proudly celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Calling on sustainably harvested North American species such as walnut and black cherry, the company continues to win us over with Japanese-inspired trestle tables, curvy platform beds, and scalloped armchairs, among other heirloom-worthy treasures. thosmoser.com.

A vintage runner from New England Loom. / Photo by Autumn Aguiar

Vintage Rugs
New England Loom

Run by Wayfair alum Lindsey Graziano and her partner Josh, this adorable Wenham shop oozes charm. Make an appointment to browse aged Persian runners, tribal Qashqai rugs, Mahals, and even colorful ottomans handmade from Turkish rug fragments. Bonus: Weekly Instagram stories about newly acquired rugs—complete with cameos from the couple’s pup, Mowgli—add to the company’s down-to-earth vibe. newenglandloom.com.

Wallcoverings
Charles Spada

No matter if you’re dressing up an accent wall in your primary bedroom or papering your living room in full, heading to Charles Spada’s inspiring showroom is an easy decision. Choosing from the expertly curated selection of boutique brands (like Kathryn M Ireland and Jennifer Shorto) will, of course, be a bit harder; the company’s new SoWa Art + Design District space, opened in May 2021, is filled to the gills with designer samples in a range of styles. charlesspada.com.


A bathroom in Melrose by McGuire + Co. Kitchen & Bath. / Photo by Joyelle West

Kitchen + Bath

Bespoke cabinetry, gleaming fixtures, spa-level stonework, and fearless designers who can tie everything together: You’ll find it all here.

Bathroom Designer
McGuire + Co. Kitchen & Bath

With past successes including powder rooms with bold wallcoverings and sleek showers boasting marble niches, McGuire + Co. Kitchen & Bath’s exquisite designs run the gamut. The common denominator? Luminous spaces that maximize storage and cut down on clutter. A recent fave: the chicly revamped primary bathroom in Saugus, where a swath of blue cabinetry offsets bronze fixtures and hardware perfectly. mcguirekitchenbath.com.

Cabinetry
Metropolitan Cabinets & Countertops

From virtual schoolhouses to makeshift boardrooms, entertaining hubs to culinary fun zones, our kitchens have become the most vital—and versatile—spaces in homes. This design-savvy Norwood institution understands what we need from these hardworking rooms—and responds with locally crafted, customized-to-the-nines cabinetry that supports our every demand. Islands with hidden outlets to charge laptops? Check. Bar areas with built-in wine storage? Check. The innovative team even takes our furry friends into consideration, ginning up hiding spots with specially sized drawers for Fido’s kibble bin. metcabinet.com.

Fixtures
Monique’s Bath Showroom

When we called Monique’s for help with our ancient bathroom, the sales associate chuckled soothingly as we described our chipped fixtures and tiles—and immediately set aside time for a one-on-one appointment to browse the company’s showroom, where modern MTI Baths sinks mingle with the latest line of Gatsby-esque Jaclo decorative faucets in gold. The consultation felt so comfortable, it was like sinking into a warm bubble bath. moniquesbathshowroom.com.

Kitchen Designer
KitchenVisions

If your design dreams are lacking inspiration, one peek at this Natick firm’s sophisticated kitchen projects should do the trick. You’ll find cocktail hour–ready bar areas with built-in cabinetry, oversize islands for prepping and entertaining, mahogany pantries with storage galore, and majestic marble backsplashes—all of which, combined with the team’s thoughtful layout decisions, come together to make the heart of your home anything but cookie-cutter. kitchenvisions.com.

Stone Fabricator
Cumar

Dramatic granite fireplaces. Soothing white-quartz vanities. Calacatta marble countertops befitting a modern manse. Whatever stone statement piece you envision for your home, you can rest assured that this Everett firm—which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year—not only carries the unique slab you need, but staffs the skilled craftspeople crucial to cutting and installing it correctly the first time. cumar.com.

Tile
Tiles Plus More

This below-the-radar, no-frills showroom is a staple for designers, but it’s also a haven for indecisive civilian shoppers who want new tile and need it fast. The sheer number of options—which include marble, geometric glass, and arabesque ceramics—might seem overwhelming, but it’s easy to book an appointment with a design consultant who knows exactly where to find that mystery mosaic. tilesplusmore.com.


A shapely basket from Abode Shoppe. / Courtesy photos

Décor and More

Treat your revamped space to finishing touches from these chic shops.

Antiques
Ramble Market

Instead of a stuffy store overflowing with tarnished cast-offs, this Waltham wonder combines a spacious shopping experience with true statement vintage: Danish teak tables, cherry-red “Orbit” chairs by Bernhardt straight out of The Jetsons, and a cozy tufted-leather Chesterfield sofa. You’ll also find gems (barware for your next bash, perhaps?) from local estates, with which the company works directly. ramblemarket.com.

Art
Lanoue Gallery

Looking for a COVID-era art refresh after staring at your walls for too long? Turn to Lanoue, where remote curators and digital decorating tools will help you visualize an updated collection from afar. Their inventory is edgy, too, from Warhol-meets-Arbus images by Hungarian digital photographer Flora Borsi to ethereal, abstract sculptures by Jeremy Holmes. lanouegallery.com.

Frames
Stanhope Framers

There’s a reason Stanhope has been the framer of choice for local artists since 1972. The team’s gorgeous frames—many of which are hand-crafted in Union Square—are works of art in their own right, deftly suiting anything from paintings to lithographs to maps with options including art nouveau gold leaf and welded aluminum. Need someone to hang your new treasures? Stanhope does installations, too. stanhopeframers.com.

Home Accents
Abode Shoppe

Re-create the looks from interior designer Gina Baran’s most coveted projects with curated items from her Newbury boutique, Abode Shoppe. The brand’s recent refresh is all about delivering the firm’s aesthetic without having to pay the design fee that comes with it, Baran says. Shopping Abode’s offerings, such as organic cotton blankets from Turkey and handmade terra cotta bowls, just might be the easiest way to decorate. abodeshoppe.com.

A plant from Niche. / Courtesy photos

Indoor Plants
Niche

For a boost in serotonin, head on over to Niche, where verdant monsteras, pink-striped calathea ornatas, and blossoming cacti are bound to bring you instant happiness. After you peruse their selection of thriving indoor dwellers (and adorable hand-painted pots), a friendly staffer will help you decide which bloom best fits your lifestyle and send you home with a handy care card. Now that’s plant parenting made easy. nicheplantshop.com.

Tableware
Weston Table

This haven for discerning hosts and hostesses specializes in so-called “new nostalgia.” Translation? Tableware (plus cookware and kitchen tools) at once classic and surprising, from hand-carved, asymmetric olive-wood fruit bowls straight out of the Tuscan countryside to tortoise-shell Sabre Paris flatware channeling the 1950s. Of note: a full line of oyster plates, plus forks, knives, and baskets for the ultimate seafood soiree. westontable.com.

Dinner party goods from Weston Table. / Courtesy photos


A Wellesley pool deck by Dan Gordon Landscape Architects. / Photo by Chris Rucinsk/Dan Gordon Landscape Architects


Outdoor Living

Garden Supplies
Russell’s Garden Center

Ask any savvy home gardener where they go for plants and supplies, and chances are it’s Russell’s. While the inventory is deep, the staff knowledgable, and the prices fair, what really sets the Wayland shop apart is approachability: Hardcore plantsmen will find first-rate home irrigation systems for purchase, but wide-eyed novices will be led to just the right trowel. russellsgardencenter.com.

Hardscaping
Sculptured Earth

If hardscaping is an art form, think of these Charlestown-based experts as the Monets of local landscape masonry. In business since the early aughts, the maestros have lent their talents to all types of outdoor oases, collaborating with leading landscape designers on towering, plein-air fireplaces, postcard-worthy stone walls, gorgeous granite benches with built-in water features, and—the ultimate luxury for any snow-fatigued New Englander—radiant-heat driveways. sculpturedearthcorp.com.

Landscape Architect
Dan Gordon Landscape Architects

Dan Gordon doesn’t just consider how you’ll interact with your transformed yard while you’re ambling along new bluestone-stepper walkways, bordered by hydrangeas, or lounging poolside under the shade of freshly transplanted cherry trees; the landscape architect ponders how you’ll experience and engage with your revamped terrain from inside your home, too, ensuring a seamless transition from interior to exterior space. dangordon.com.

Outdoor Fabrics
Schumacher

You’ve worked hard to make your indoor chairs and sofas picture-
perfect; shouldn’t your al fresco furniture receive the same love? Upholster your patio perches with high-performance fabrics from this lauded brand, which has been stealing the hearts of design enthusiasts since its founding in 1889. Reinvented chevrons like “Tambora” work perfectly on loungers, while playful Josef Frank prints such as “Citrus Garden” and “Exotic Butterfly” do wonders for throw pillows. fschumacher.com.

Outdoor Stones and Pavers
Stone Gallery Landscape & Masonry Supply

When picking materials for hardscapes, it’s best to see them in context rather than relying on your imagination. That’s why Stone Gallery built an outdoor showroom featuring every kind of stone imaginable—from natural sandstone tiles to extra-durable concrete pavers—installed in one space. Combined with its on-site custom fabrication services, the Newton supply store makes easy work of building the ultimate backyard escape. outdoorstonegallery.com.

Patio Essentials
Seasons Four

From wicker to wrought iron, teak to traditional wood, this Lexington showroom lives up to its name with a selection of year-round, outdoor goodies that goes far beyond furniture (think: bird feeders, hammocks, and wind chimes among other finds). Best of all, their décor switches with the season. In winter, warm your outdoor hearth with wreathes and candles, and don’t miss the tiki torches and lemonade dispensers come summertime. seasonsfour.com.

A tempting swimming hole by Environmental Pools. / Photo by Jimi Smith

Pool Builder
Environmental Pools

Want to take the plunge into pool ownership? Enlist the experts at this Chelmsford-based firm. The company has showed off its meticulous building skills on some of the splashiest custom swimming holes around, incorporating luxe adds-on such as waterfalls and built-in spas with equal aplomb. Plus, with a handy roster of maintenance services covering equipment upgrades, safety-cover installation, and more, the team makes sure the hardest part of managing your new summertime retreat is convincing the kids to climb out of it at the end of the day. environmentalpools.com.

Solar Panels
SunBug Solar

You’re in good hands with these solar specialists, widely considered the go-tos by homeowners in the biz. Their estimates and proposals are free; they handle all permitting; and they’re quick, with most installations completed in three months. Of course, their service skills shine, too: When we called for help, they immediately pulled up a radar image of our home and chatted patiently about an unwieldy tree and the pros and cons of a new roof. sunbugsolar.com.


A backyard hangout by Zen Associates. / Photo by Nat Rea

Landscape Design/Build

Step one: Hire these green thumbs. Step two: Watch your yard transform before your very eyes.

Landscape Design/Build, Boston
Offshoots

With an eye toward design and sustainable landscaping practices, this city-based crew strives to create outdoor retreats that require less water, fertilizer, and—ultimately—work without skimping on aesthetics. (See: the small-but-impactful Charlestown yard anchored by a leafy canopy screen and shade-friendly AstroTurf.) One trick? Adding features such as veggie gardens instead of high-maintenance plants like bluegrass. We’ll pick fresh produce over an afternoon of mowing any day. offshootsinc.com.

Landscape Design/Build, North
Zen Associates

If your idea of heaven on Earth calls for, say, a flower-filled rooftop terrace boasting separate lounging and dining areas, or an ambiance-heavy plunge pool with a gently trickling waterfall, you’d be wise to give this Woburn team a call. Helmed by principals Peter White and Shin Abe, who specializes in Japanese garden design, the group’s four decades of experience and deep botanical knowledge means they’ve got know-how to not only build your personal nirvana, but make sure it thrives, too. zenassociates.com.

Landscape Design/Build, South
The Gardeners

The green-space gurus at this decades-old South Shore firm do so much more than design and build inviting landscapes; they create outdoor experiences filled with all the floral and hardscaping elements needed to make a property truly stand out. Take, for instance, a stunning home in Kingston where an outdoor kitchen and dining area are just the tip of the iceberg in a tree-laden yard that also includes a raised-beam swimming hole and a custom arbor. thegardenerslandscape.com.

Landscape Design/Build, West
Sudbury Design Group

Scrolling through Sudbury Design Group’s extensive portfolio, it’s hard to pick just one lush property to gush about. From a modest bluestone terrace with a wood-burning fireplace in Needham to a splashy Andover hangout with bamboo plantings and stainless steel fountains, each of the formidable firm’s projects is special in its own way. And the team’s thorough estate care program offering maintenance, seasonal plantings, carpentry services, and more? That’s pretty remarkable, too. landscapearchitectureboston.com.

Landscaping in Wellesley by Zen Associates. / Photo by Nat Rea

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