Five Quick Steps to Help Get Your Design Project Started


Are you ready to refresh your home? Starting a new project can be intimidating so here are a few quick steps to get you started.

Step One: Know your personal style. Are there colors you gravitate towards? Are you a minimalist or do you find that the right amount of accessories bring your space together? Have you seen a photo that inspires you?

Step Two: Determine what stays. Bring a photo or a sample of these important items to your design consultant.  New things do not have to match but they do need to work together. A designer can help you navigate what will work.

Step Three: Know how you want to use the space. Is this a quiet reading room? Or a high traffic area with kids, dogs, and guests?

Step Four: Find one thing you love that can be a focal point for the design. Whether it is a family heirloom or a new rug, having a jumping off point for colors and layouts will help get the ball rolling.

Step Five: Complete the look. Don’t forget wall art and accessories. It is the little things that really tie the room together.

As you start the design process, remember that designers are here to bring your vision for your home to life. They can make the process of transforming your space enjoyable.

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Make Room for Guests!

We all want to make overnight guests feel welcome and comfortable, and there are many ways to do that. However, an extra bedroom in your house dedicated for the occasional guest may not be the best use of your space depending on the size of your house and number of bedrooms. Here are a few quick tips to make sure your guests feel welcome without sacrificing a spare room in your house the remaining 300+ days a year.

The Basics

  • A Comfortable Bed: Having a comfortable bed for your guests is a must. The good news is that today there are a number of very comfortable sleeping options available in sleek new designs as day beds or sofas. This way your space is more open while the beds are not in use allowing for a home office or playroom. The Comfort Sleeper is the most comfortable option on the market and by day it shines as a tasteful contemporary or transitional couch. The Austin Sleeper is another great option for a smaller space because the pullout feature takes up a smaller footprint, and there are no cushions to store when the bed is in use.
  • A Nightstand: A small drink table or multipurpose table such as the Bink would be perfect. This way your guests have a place to put their personal effects at night but your room does not have an out of place traditional one drawer night stand while the guest room is being used for other activities. (Bonus – the Bink can be used outdoors as well!)
  • A Mirror: If your space allows for a full length mirror, free standing or hung on the wall, that is ideal. If not, a mirror of any size on the wall will add light and depth while providing a place to touch up makeup prior to a night out.

Guests Amenities

Find a designated small storage area to keep a guest “kit” handy. Whether on the top shelf of your closet or tucked neatly in a storage ottoman you should have the following ready:

  1. Toiletries – think about the little things you may forget when traveling such as shampoo and toothpaste.
  2. Guest linens & fresh towels
  3. Books, magazines and wifi passwords for relaxation time
  4. Extra blankets or throws

Add Life, Not Clutter

If you do use the space as a home office or playroom outside of hosting guests, be sure to de-clutter prior to their arrival. With your work papers out of the way, add some fresh flowers to make the space warm and welcoming. If you have frequent guests or want to enjoy fresh flowers regularly without adding another shopping item to your to do list – check out this great local subscription service: Alice’s Table.

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What’s the Buzz: Trend Report from Spring Furniture Market

Having just returned from this year’s furniture market in High Point, North Carolina, I thought I would share my thoughts on trends and forecasts.

First let me just say there was a lot of discussion  and controversy over the most recent legislation passed in North Carolina – the HB2 law; and I will say that we have the support of our North Carolina partners to publicly stand against it.

Modern was definitely the theme of this year’s market and styles tended to be smaller scale and transitional. Neutrals were definitely the theme along with a lot of blues; and grey is still the dominant finish on wood products .


Live edge or raw edge was still very popular along with varying degrees of metal bases, and all size cocktail and dining tables.


Metal was making its way into not only dining chairs, but occasional upholstered chairs with a more organic texture. This made for some nice accent chairs. There is a lot of variance in the quality of metal so these come in all price ranges.


Look for a lot more options on these metal finishes with many paired with reclaimed or repurposed materials in exciting ways.

Furniture pieces were shown with dual purposes for small spaces, office/dining, media consoles for storage and buffet, bar carts for accent and serving. Overall design tends to be more minimalist.  Sectionals are strong and shown in a lot more configurations for the open and airy rooms.


Lighting options displayed, especially overhead, were really beautiful statement pieces and also incorporated reclaimed and industrial elements.


Looking for more inspiration? Shop our room settings or sign up for our Inner Circle to be the first to know when new pieces arrive – the next one might be perfect for your home!

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Characteristics of Natural Wood

As a provider of beautifully crafted solid wood furniture we often get asked, “what type of wood is used to make your tables, chairs, dressers, etc.?” We have carefully selected wood shops to partner with that not only build beautiful long lasting wood furniture but also source it locally from sustainable forests. Here are some of the wood species we use and their characteristics:




  • Maple sapwood is creamy white with a slight reddish brown tinge.
  • Maple heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown.
  • Wood has a close, fine texture and is generally straight grained but it can also feature fiddle-back, tiger, burl and birds-eye figuring.
  • Maple is a heavy wood.




  • Sapwood is creamy white.
  • Heartwood is red to reddish brown.
  • When first delivered cherry will appear quite light, almost like birch or maple, but will oxidize and darken with exposure to light and over time.
  • It has a straight grain and smooth texture.
  • Accepts stains beautifully.




  • Sapwood is creamy white.
  • Heartwood varies from light brown to dark chocolate brown with subtle golden undertones. It can have a gray-ish or driftwood-like color.
  • Grain can be either uniform or highly figured.




  • Sapwood can be very wide and can be beige to nearly white.
  • Heartwood varies from grayish brown to light brown to pale yellow streaked with brown.
  • Ash is a member of the olive family.
  • Typically has a straight grain and a coarse uniform texture. The grain is pronounced with open pores.
  • Accepts stain well.

Inspired? Shop our selection of wood beds, dressers, tables and chairs!

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Furniture Care Q&A: Pilling

Question: My cushions are pilling – should I be worried about the look and longevity of my sofa?

Short Answer: Have no fear – this is not a sign your fabric is defective and it is easily treatable!

Long Answer: First of all – what are pills?? A pill or bobble is a small ball of fibers that form on the surface of fabric. So let’s talk about what causes it and how to best manage them should they appear on your cushions.

  • What causes these little balls of fiber to form? In the normal course of use upholstery, rugs, clothing, etc. surfaces will rub together and that friction allows loose fibers to pill. Natural fibers shed these loose fibers more easily and less noticeably. Man-made fibers are notoriously stronger (note: more common in upholstery) and they may need a bit more assistance in shedding these pills.
  • Does this mean my fabric is defective? Of course not! This is a normal course of action for fabrics and can be compared to the shedding experienced with a new carpet. Pilling is completely normal and, most importantly, will reduce as the excess fibers are shed. Pilling in no way suggests that the fabric is disintegrating or wearing away. Pills are easily removable.
  • How do I get rid of the pills? There are a few options. We recommend a sweater brick or a pill shaver. Both are small and cheap – one is manual and the other electric. If pilling recurs repeat the process and remember that pilling will diminish and eventually cease once the excess fibers have shed.
  • Are there any fabrics out there that don’t pill? All fabrics will pill to some extent therefore this should not be the primary focus while shopping for upholstery. There are some options that are a tighter weave, or fabrics such as Ultrasuede, that are less likely to pill because of their structure.

Key Takeaway: Pilling is not a cause for alarm or sign of poor quality, it is a natural cycle of fibers and is easily remedied!


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New in Cambridge: Axis Dining

The Axis Dining collection is modern but not overly simple. The creative curvature of the solid top’s edge creates a subtle wow factor that is visually stunning in this soaped ash finish. The Axis chairs are slim and comfortable – perfect for any small space!

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View the beauty in person at our Cambridge location.

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a day late but “what’s the buzz” about leap year…?

Leap Year!!!! February 29, only comes every four years and enjoy it before it is gone.  We have all whined that we need more time and if we only had a few extra hours.   Well today is the day you are getting 24 extra hours. So what are you going to do with it?

Probably not even notice will be my guess, because we are all scurrying around trying to catch up.  What we should be setting aside this extra day is time for ourselves.  And we should  splurge on something totally out of the ordinary and your daily routine. Go to the movies in the middle of the afternoon, take a bubble bath, got to a high tea at a nice hotel,  and just watch everyone scurrying around while you munch on cucumber sandwiches or whatever they serve.  Today it is so warm you could take a bike ride or a drive to the beach.  If you are on the North Shore , swing by Woodman’s and get some fried clams.  They are open year- round.

First warm days of almost spring are often a hoot in the North End of Boston and I am sure the line is forming outside of Mike’s Pastry– but hey we are not in a hurry.    I guess it looks like I can  always find myself centering a fun activity around eating.  So I will take the day to reflect on why I just joined Weight Watchers and how I will add up all these points.

Enjoy the day and don’t even pay any attention to all the political brouhaha going on around you because you will just want to crawl back in a hole for four more years……………

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what’s the buzz?

I am buzzing my way back into the blog after a rather long hiatus. I know I talked a lot about the wedding and getting into the mother of the bride shape but that is all ancient history now and so is the “shape.”

Fast forward a few years and now I am the happiest grandma in the universe! I have always heard that there is nothing like grandchildren but just thought that was a bunch of new Grandmothers bragging to the moms with grown children and no grandchildren. I am here to say that all the hype is true and I have the most incredible and delightful grandson named “Charlie”.

First it all starts with the name – what is he going to call you? Apparently this is a very big deal in today’s world because no one goes by just Grandma, oh no a lot of time and effort goes into just the right moniker.  Naturally I thought he should just call me Queen Bee or Peggy but I finally settled on “Darling”. I have to report that so far I am not getting much buy in from my family on the whole Darling thing, but a work in progress. Thus far it has been a little difficult to say and Peggy naturally comes out as “Piggy”. I will table that for now and wait till Charlie decides what to call me on his own time, as long as he wants to hang out with me I am fine with whatever he calls me.

The biggest difference in being the “spoiler” parent is you don’t have to follow any rules. Sure the new parents might give you a list of what to do when they spend a night or weekend, but who reads those lists?  Times have changed, that is for sure. Do you know you can’t even give kids juice? Apparently there is just too much sugar, so there can be only milk or water (unless of course at “Darling’s” house). There are scheduled nap times and bedtimes which we always knew couldn’t come fast enough, but now we want to just be with him all the time so best to keep him on my schedule. This past weekend we took Charlie to the Children’s Museum and we got to just enjoy being with him and watching him explore whatever he wanted. As I looked around at a lot of the young parents, (actually a higher median age than when we had kids) they were too keen on making sure the kid was getting the right learning experience at the bubble machine or the lazy river. One Dad was actually trying to explain the physics of how the water speeded up around the pail but the kid just wanted to keep tipping it over and making a big splash and to hell with how it does it. Charlie just had a ball splash splashing and getting soaking wet and we were happy to let his creative juices flow. We also don’t have the impulse to video or shoot his every milestone, first time he throws the ski ball, first time he pushes the buttons in the simulator, plays with Arthur, we just got to sit back and enjoy.

My husband and I will just continue to play hard and relive some adventures that we had with our kids but we will be much more relaxed. When we send him home at the end of the weekend we have eaten from all the banned food groups and watched the unapproved shows (another thing no screen time EVER, excuse me but we do have certain shows that both Charlie and I enjoy). I will keep you all posted on the latest that this corrupting Grandma, Babci, Bubbie, Yaya, Meme or Darling will get into in the coming year………………Adventures with Charlie!


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Introducing Rupert!

Speaking of versatility – we are pleased to welcome Rupert to our collection of stylish and functional pieces for small spaces. Is it a desk? Is it a kitchen island? Is it a craft station? The answer is – yes, it can be all those things! This stunning industrial shelving and table unit comes in a variety of configurations and distressed finishes. Here is Circle Furniture Pembroke’s Cheryl Harrington with the details:

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White & Wood: Say Hello to Vertica

The trend of wood furniture with white accents is booming and we are on board! This classic mid-century look is timeless yet current with its minimalist appeal.

Meet the Vertica. It is a versatile little number that embraces all of this style trend and more. True technophiles will love this top of the line media cabinet with all the bells and whistles including wire management, ventilation and adjustable shelving for all your speakers and components.  Vertica also functions as a low console that blends into any room decor.


More options and dimensions here.



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