Finders, fixers.

diy tile coasters with maps

One-hour wonders: DIY tile coasters

Homemade coasters are really simple to make. And when customized with a thoughtful choice of maps, photos, sheet music, artwork, or pages from a favorite book, these DIY tile coasters can make a perfectly elegant gift, too. While you’ll want to give a bit of thought to the media you’re putting on the coasters and…

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casas de colores in the south end

Diverse communities in Massachusetts

Unlike its northern New England neighbors, Massachusetts is at least somewhat racially diverse: 68% White, 7% Black, 7% Asian, and 12% Latino, according to the 2020 Census. (The U.S. as a whole is 62%, 12%, 6%, and 19%, respectively.) But a lot of our minority residents are clustered in Boston (which is actually a lot more…

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DIY rock climbing wall for children

DIY rock climbing wall: Stay-at-home summer, part 2

Our daughter’s always been a climber. She scales fences, trees, door frames —anything— and she loves going to the climbing gym. Since that probably won’t be happening during the stay-at-home summer of 2020, I decided it was finally time to build a DIY rock climbing wall for her in the backyard. As with our backyard…

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backyard monkey bars installed under deck

Backyard monkey bars: Stay-at-home summer, part 1

Greetings from quarantine! Hoo boy. Crazy times, eh? I hope you and yours are keeping safe and keeping your distance (although it’s still nice to holler hellos at your neighbors from the porch). When the weather turns nice like this after being cooped up all winter, we’re usually at the playground every day after school,…

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paint cans - VOCs and other chemicals and toxins in the home

Are you in a toxic relationship with your home?

I recently wrote an article about sourcing healthier home materials — and I learned a whole bunch of scary stuff in the process. Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary, but a lot of the materials, finishes, and furniture in our living spaces contain some pretty bad stuff. The Globe article focused largely on building products and finishes —…

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blue recycling bin - how to recycle in massachusetts

How to recycle (without screwing up the whole works)

Recycling is the least we can do to to help our ailing planet. It’s not hard. Single-stream (all-in-one bin) recycling has made the process easier than ever for homeowners. And yet, it’s clear a lot of people just don’t know how to recycle properly. In our neighborhood, I see pesky plastic bags stuffed in blue bins all…

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halibut point state park in rockport, mass

Looking for a cooler place to live (literally)

I love our city of Quincy — I think it’s one of the best places to live around Boston, in fact — but when you scour real estate listings for a living, you’re bound to get some wanderlust once in awhile. And that gets especially acute during a heat wave. Here by the ocean, our…

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Austin skyline

You’re reading an award-winning blog!

We’re just back from an amazing 9-day trip to Morocco, which I’ll be sure to write about at some point (and whose traditional salons, with their custom and comfortable built-in bench seats lining every wall, will surely inspire a post of their own and maybe even a complete overhaul of our dining room). But, mere hours before that trip began,…

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home in reading, mass. - the best places to live around Boston, Massachusetts

The best places to live in and around Boston

Updated on April 26, 2022 On Sunday, the Boston Globe Magazine published its annual “Top Spots to Live in Greater Boston” feature, which I’ve been fortunate enough to write for the past five years. For want of a better metric, the list is based on the spots with the biggest jumps in median home prices…

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blown in insulation cost

Here’s how much blown-in insulation cost us, and how much it’s saved us so far

Over the summer, we finally got around to doing something that had been on our (lengthy) house to-do list ever since we moved in: We got insulation blown into our walls, at a steep 90% discount courtesy of MassSave. At 90% off, you’d wonder what the hell were we waiting for all these years. Well, we had…

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house for sale in quincy

Three reasons right now might be your best chance to buy a home in Boston

The past few years have seen home prices — all over the country and state, but particularly in and around Boston — race upward. To say it’s been a seller’s market would be a vast understatement. With too few homes on the market, fierce competition has forced buyers into costly bidding wars, waiving important contingencies, and rushing what should be…

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two prong light bulb adapter GU24 to E27 light bulb adapter

Need to replace a two prong light bulb? This gadget is a life saver.

We have a ceiling fan and light fixture that’s slowly grown dimmer as each of its three light bulbs burned out. The first time, I grabbed a new LED bulb out of the closet, unscrewed the lamp, and removed the burned-out bulb — only to find a light bulb with two prongs at the bottom, instead…

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