New England Charm


Rockport, MA

If  you are looking for something fun to do this summer why not head to Rockport, MA!  It’s about a 45 min drive North of Boston and would be the perfect weekend get-away – whether it be a romantic weekend for two, or a whole family affair.  I was recently in Rockport for computer training session and although it was still about a month away from the summer season it was clear why this is a perfect summer destination.  If you are looking for great beaches, amazing seafood and quint galleries & curiosity shops than this is the place for you! It’s quintessential New England charm is sure to be a big hit!

Rockport MA

While you are there don’t miss Motif #1 – the red fishing shack that has iconic status and has come to symbolize Rockport.  I just loved all the bright colors and textures!

Rockport MA

Rockport MA

Rockport MA

Bearskin Neck is art colony filled with wonderful stores!  Most were still closed since it was not quite summer but I did stumble upon the Wicked Peacock where I found some fun, trendy jewelry that I could’t resist! Definitely make a stop here – I guarantee you won’t be able to leave without something special!

Wicked Peacock

Rockport MA

I had a blast window shopping … all the fun trinkets and art!  How much is that doggie in the window??

Rockport MA

Rockport MA

Rockport MA

Just loved the brightly colored doors!  So fun!

Rockport MA

Rockport is a great summer destination – it’s beauty and charm has even entice movie makers.  I learned that The Proposal with Sandra Bullock was filmed here as well as, The Love Letter and Mermaids to name a few!

If you find you want to do even more exploring while you are there then head to nearby Gloucester; who can forget this town put on the map by Mark Wahlberg & George Clooney in Perfect Storm!


Rockport, MA

Rockport is sure to delight!  Take a trip this summer!  You won’t be disappointed!

Posted by Tara L. Callow

Reclaimed Wood: A Lesson in History?

Reclaimed wood is wood which has been previously used (maybe it used to be an old barn, factory, ect.) that has been re-purposed in your home.  This is not a new idea, but it’s been gaining TONS of popularity in the past few years.  It’s an environmentally sound way to add a lot of character to your home.  The fact that it’s aged gives it a different, almost historical, aesthetic.  We’ve used it with recent clients and have been able to create a stunning blend of country chic.


Reclaimed wood has so many uses throughout the home.  You can use it for flooring, decking, islands, cabinets, wall paneling, tables, countertops, shelves, ect. There are also so many different species of reclaimed wood, including some types like American chestnut and longleaf pine, which are no longer available as they aren’t abundant anymore.  It’s a renewable and sustainable resource because conceivably you could just continue to use it. It reduces deforestation and landfill waste.

A good dealer of reclaimed wood can also present you the history of where the wood came from.  This can be an interesting piece of knowledge and can add to the intrigue of the wood.  It means the wood has a story.

Reclaimed wood is also more durable because it often comes from older growth trees.  Much reclaimed wood came from trees that were 200-400 years old and were harvested in the 18th and 19th centuries when there was less pollution.  It has already expanded and contracted with age, and has become harder due to the elements.  This means you’d have a harder time damaging it and wouldn’t need to worry as much about the humidity around it.

Depending on the wood species, reclaimed wood can make your home LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, qualifying your home for special benefits.


There are definitely some factors to consider when purchasing reclaimed wood which may be considered cons.  It’s hard to get the same aesthetic from new wood designs; however, because there is so much labor involved with harvesting reclaimed wood it is often more expensive.  Nails need to be removed, and the wood needs to be checked for pests and toxins.  There’s less involved with new wood.

Reclaimed wood also runs the risk of being treated with certain treatments from years past that may now be considered toxic.  In some cases, it may be difficult to determine whether these were used.  It’s a good idea to do your research on the risks of the wood you’re buying before you purchase it.

Since reclaimed wood is so popular and there aren’t an innumerable amount of old barns, factories, ect.- reclaimed wood is also becoming more scarce. This can make it harder to find for home owners.

You’d also need to make sure that you’re purchasing your wood from a reputable dealer. Some dealers make false claims about the source of their products, or they do a shoddy job preparing the wood. They might leave nails, and other things in the wood which can cause problems later on.

Despite this, we LOVE the idea of this environmentally friendly, beautiful and historical resource for your homes!

Posted by Jennifer Hubbard

Spring time= Garden time!

I love Spring time.  It’s just starting to get warm after months of frost and there’s so much promise in the air.  It’s like you can smell the sunshine.  My first thought upon going outside was, “when can I start my herb garden?”  Using that as my inspiration, I scoured the web and here are some of my favorite quirky garden ideas.


On the website Dump A Day, they had several fun planter ideas, but my favorite was this beautiful bike.  They painted it, attached baskets to the front and back, and planted flowers in the baskets. Not only could this be done inexpensively (most people have old bikes in their basement) it looks amazing.


They also had this clever idea for a DIY outdoor Tic Tac Toe game, using paving stones and painted rocks.  This is perfect for households with children.  If the stones are lost, you can just make more. It’s durable too.


Apartment Therapy and Real Simple posted these great recycled Croc planters.  They do double duty because you’re saving the planet by recycling and the holes in them serve as great irrigation when watering.  They also come in fun colors.



The Mirco Gardener suggests using old buckets, milk crates, and even old wheel barrels as planters.  I love the idea of this, because it’s a cheap way to add a lot of character to your garden and it will have all of your friends lauding your creativity.


Many sites, including HGTV, have instructions on how to make your own mason jar herb gardens or planters.  There’s so many things you can do with mason jars.  You can paint them to look rustic.  You can add chalk board, or labels to display the herb names.  You can hang them, put them in planter boxes, or just strewn them around outside or inside your home.  They are durable and so aesthetically pleasing.  I am probably going to use this method for displaying my herbs this year! Herbs smell like heaven and can be grown even in the smallest of spaces.  They are my favorite thing to plant.


Happy Spring!

Posted by Jennifer Hubbard




Metal Countertops?

Grothouse Lumber, started in 1994, is known for being one of the premiere places to get custom wood countertops.  They have a myriad of wood choices, cuts, edges and styles that are just not available other places.  They just came out with a line of wood countertops that imitate metal and we LOVE them.  They are called Anvil Metal Countertops.


We ordered our own box of samples for the show room so we can start incorporating them into our designs. I can picture these sleek gold and silver countertops incorporated into a classic black and white kitchen- adding a gorgeous touch of elegance and character to the space.

These countertops are great because the edges can be formed into complex shapes, which were not previously available due to the limitations of sheet metal. If you look at pictures of metal countertops online, the only edge shape is the straight slightly rounded or perfectly square ones.  They also just look sooooo luxurious.


These countertops come in any edge treatment that they offer for their wood countertops and they are also available in their Durata finish.  The Durata finish is food safe, water proof, very durable (scratch resistant) and impervious to household chemicals.

The metal look comes from real metal particles which are coated onto the wood.  Just like real metal countertops these will have a rich aged patina (a sheen produced by age, wear and polishing).  The natural grain and imperfections of the wood will also show through giving these tops a lot of character.



These countertops have a 6-8 week lead time if you decide to order one.  They come with a one year warranty from Grothouse and are super easy to clean.  We can’t wait to start featuring them!

Posted by Jennifer Hubbard

What is Thermofoil?

Thermofoil cabinets are MDF or engineered wood covered with a thin sheet of vinyl or laminate- which give it the appearance of hardwood or veneer.

© Bearwalk

Generally, thermofoil cabinets have gotten a bad rep for being the cheap step brother of wooden painted cabinets.  While thermofoil cabinets do tend to be cheaper in price than their wooden counterparts (a plus for those on a budget!) they also have many benefits.


Thermofoil cabinets are very durable.  They are incredibly resistant to moisture- which can seep into your wooden cabinets and cause warping due to expansion and contraction.  This is especially great for places in high humidity areas where warpage can become a real problem.

These cabinets are also more resistant to stains and are generally easier to clean. They only need to be wiped down once in awhile with a damp cloth and a non-abrasive cleaner. They also resist the chipping that can be common on a lot of painted cabinets (and we all know that the most popular type of cabinet is the white painted one).

Thermofoil used to be very limited in style, but now most companies carry it and  it’s available in a variety of styles which can be made to look very high end.

Marlene Ketchen

One thing to keep in mind when ordering Thermofoil cabinets is that they are not resistant to heat.  If you are going to be putting them near any ovens or stoves, you will need to make sure a heat shield is installed.  If this shield is not installed, then the vinyl will start to peel.  The heat shield is just a small piece of metal which gets installed between the appliance and the cabinet to protect it.

Thermofoil is resistant to moisture but not completely waterproof.  In the unlikely event that water penetrates the vinyl, and seeps onto the MDF, the cabinet door could be destroyed and a new one would need to be ordered.

They are very durable- but if a dent or a scratch does occur on the surface of the vinyl than this can not be fixed by a refinisher like a wooden painted cabinet can.  This can also leave them exposed to damaging elements.

Thermofoil cabinets tend to be heavier than their wood counterparts and can be harder to install.  You would need to work with your contractor on this to make sure they are installed correctly. These should be installed by a professional to ensure this happens.


Posted by Jennifer Hubbard