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Friday, September 21, 2007

boston design guide!

i've wanted to put together a boston design guide for some time. it's one of the cities readers request guides for most often but sadly i always end up forgetting to take my camera around with me when we visit ac's family outside of the city. thankfully, while chatting with the lovely elisabeth of black pearl press she offered to help me out, as she's an actual local. her finds (with a few of my personal favorites added in) are now in guide form (arranged by neighborhood) and perfect for anyone heading up to boston on weekend vacations or over the holiday. elisabeth also included some great places to eat while you're shopping so click here to read the full guide. happy boston shopping!


  • Bliss: Jonathan Adler’s ceramics are mixed with Bernardaud china, Chilewich placemats, and other modern accessories for home and table. `Gift registry available.
  • Comptoir de Famille: French country tableware, linens, accessories and simple furniture styled after antiques.
  • Waterworks: Simple bath furnishings, towels and shower curtains, sinks and hardware.
  • Lavender Home: A beautiful little shop that carries European country antiques, soft linens, French soaps, and lavender honeys and jams. Gift registry available.
  • Kitchen Arts: This little shop is filled to the brim with everything a home cook could possibly need – a huge selection of quality knives, cookware, glass canisters and pepper mills, to name a few.
  • Paper Source: Fantastic source for all things paper. Cards, crafting, you name it.
  • Winston Flowers: Boston’s favorite florist for lush, modern arrangements of exceptional quality.
  • Mitchell Gold: The place for well-made, tailored upholstered furniture and other basics, plus lamps and pillows. Great deals can be found during their sample sales.
  • PLACES TO EAT: Parish Café (361 Boylston Street); Bar Lola (160 Commonwealth Avenue)
  • IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware

  • Period Furniture Hardware: The place to find brass drawer pulls, door knockers, and lighting, as well as whimsical weathervanes.
  • E.R. Butler: Exquisite porcelain from Hella Jongerius and Ted Muehling takes the stage alongside period hinges and door pulls, lanterns, votives and pitchers.
  • Good: Exquisitely curated selection of gifts for home, including John Derian decoupage, delicate jewelry and mint condition vintage finds. Gift registry available.
  • Linens on the Hill: Bed, bath and table linens from Sferra, Matouk and Yves Delorme, as well as gifts for baby.
  • Koo de Kir: A sophisticated collection of furniture, gifts and home accessories, often in neutral, earthy tones, mixed with Sarah Cihat and Tord Boontje dishware, screenprints and other whimsical gifts. Gift registry available.
  • Rouvalis Flowers: Tucked just a block away from Charles Street, Rouvalis sells potted orchids, hydrangeas and the like, in beautiful moss, terracotta and ceramic planters.
  • Rugg Road Paper Company: locally-owned paper and craft supply store.
  • Baranzelli Silk Surplus: A huge selection of velvet, cotton, crewel and silk fabrics can be purchased by the yard in this showroom below street level. Custom upholstery service as well.
  • PLACES TO EAT: Café Vanille (70 Charles Street); Paramount (44 Charles Street); Upper Crust (20 Charles Street)

  • Hudson: A sense of laid back sophistication is found in this boutique that mixes classic New England with California casual. Oly furniture, re-upholstered vintage armchairs and ceramic gourd lamps are mixed with feedsack pillows, Dash and Albert rugs and John Robshaw bedding collections. Gift registry available.
  • Urban Living: Taking over where Fresh Eggs left off, this space at the edge of the South End acts as both gallery and boutique, with an eclectic mix of tableware, furniture and textiles.
  • Urban Living Studio: 58 Clarendon Street
  • Lekker Home: Simplicity reigns here, with tableware from Heath Ceramics, white porcelain vases and simple wood furniture. Splashes of whimsy can be found in a lasercut patio umbrella, printed drum pendants and an antler coat rack. Gift registry available.
  • Turtle: emerging urban design- mostly accessories and jewelry but fun if you love local artists.
  • Diseno: interesting selection of home goods from South America
  • Red River Trading Co.: Fine, reasonably priced selection of Asian antiques and reclaimed teak furnishings, some ornate, others brightly colored, some simple. Planters, containers, glass lanterns and the occasional abacus can also be found here.
  • Vellum Fine Paper and Gifts: local one-stop shop for beautiful cards and paper gifts
  • Michelle Willey: This airy space stocks everything from Tivoli radios to the Binth baby book, with a nice mix of table linens, teapots, garden planters and French bath products.
  • On the Side: This showroom and shop space showcases Boxx Furniture designs alongside pure, beautifully simple textiles, home objects and lighting from Simplemente Blanco
  • Voila: European antiques galore!
  • Twig: This small florist is practically overflowing onto the street with lush cut flowers for chic and colorful arrangements, as well as some potted plants.
  • Tadpole: Clothes, games and toys for kids, with a selection of Oeuf furniture and Dwell baby bedding. Gift registry available.
  • Aunt Sadies: great for gifts, can run a little candle-heavy though
  • PLACES TO EAT: South End Buttery (314 Shawmut Avenue); Picco (513 Tremont Street); Francesca’s Café (564 Tremont Street)
  • In the Neighborhood: DWR

  • Shake the Tree: An eclectic little shop where Dwell linens, Thomas Paul pillows and Orla Kiely totes share space with jewelry, candles and small home accessories.
  • Cadia Vintage: Small vintage accessories and clothing are packed from floor to ceiling in this even smaller storefront.
  • PLACES TO EAT: Antico Forno (93 Salem Street)

  • Greenward: one of my favorite spots for eco-friendly home goods. A must visit if you're into green design.
  • Nomad: Exuberant, colorful suzanis, embroidered pillows, and pierced lanterns are sourced from around the world, as are folk art and jewelry.
  • Cross: The well known pen shop also stocks a great selection of reasonably priced desk accessories, notepads, binders, books and other gifts.
  • Black Ink: Grace's favorite shop for design-based accessories for the kitchen and table. Great selection of Japanese tableware and gadgets, too.
  • Marimekko Cambridge: Marimekko's Boston outpost- it's a great way to see their bold fabrics and accessories in person.
  • Harvard Bookstore: The best book shop in town, with a friendly staff and a selection that goes far beyond the best-seller list. And it’s one of the few bookstores that can claim to carry a wide selection of art and design books.
  • Reside: Mint-condition mid-century furniture can be found here, alongside interesting glass and ceramic vessels and textiles.
  • Buckaroo's Mercantile: a modern "variety" store carrying all sorts of vintage/retro home and fashion accessories. This is a great place to shop for the person who has everything and might want something different- like vintage bookends, pillows or vases.
  • Museum of Useful Things: The name says it all: this shop is filled with all sorts of practical things you may not have realized were missing in your life.
  • Abodeon: Mid-century furniture, lighting, and vintage dishware and containers, along with games and unusual objects.
  • Brattle Square Florist: Cut flowers and potted plants can be found here, in the heart of Harvard Square. Reasonable prices and a huge selection.
  • Woolcott and Company: This shop sells everything you could possibly need to knit sweaters for the whole family.

  • Bromfield Pen Shop: Pens galore, calligraphy nibs and beautiful inks from J. Herbin – this is the only shop of its kind in Boston.
  • Windsor Button: Hidden on an otherwise drab street, this shop sells yarn, ribbon, craft supplies, and, of course, has a huge selection of buttons new and old.

  • Birch and Willow: Hand-crafted pendant, table and floor lighting woven from grapevine, seagrass and willow, to name a few.
  • Machine Age: Mid-century central: Vintage Wormley, Eames, Dunbar, Knoll and Nelson, in exquisite condition.
  • PLACES TO EAT: Flour Bakery and Cafe (15 Farnsworth Street)

  • Fire Opal: This shop can skew a little "art teacher" sometimes but I love their collection of paper goods and ceramics. Their jewelry is great, too.
  • On Centre: A new shop with housewares and gifts (Thanks guys!)
  • Axiom Gallery: experimental fine art work and installations
  • Honeyspot: gifts, stationery, jewelry and more (thanks, Dawn!)

  • Persona: Grace loves this shop for accessories from designers like Alexis Bittar (her favorite) and Alberian & Aulde
  • Grettaluxe: Grace loves this store for up-and-coming clothing designers. Pricey but pretty dresses
  • Stil: Grace loves Jovovitch-Hawk so she loves Stil. They have a great selection of clothing from indie designers (the store alone is beautiful to walk through)
  • Magpie: This store is out in Somerville but is super cute and full of home accessories. Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.
  • Modhaus: Grace has bought several pieces of furniture from tihs great warehouse store. Perfect for mid-century style dressers, table and chairs. Great ceramics, too!
  • Pod: a well edited collection of products for the home and body. Thanks, Meg!



Blogger Dawn said...

Hurrah! Thank you so very much for this! I would like to suggest one addition, as a recommendation for people visiting Boston - Honeyspot in Jamaica Plain is full of handmade cards, vintage housewares and clothing, great baby gifts, and little curiosities. It's my favorite place to look for gifts for just about anyone.

12:32 PM  
Blogger court. said...

Another Extra: This displaced Bostonian misses Mint Julep in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. They've got the most lady-like dresses from Milly, Tibi, and the like.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Pluto is gone (no longer in JP).

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Pod in Brookline Village on Washington Street. Well chosen stuff for the home and body. The space is lovely, and there is an adorable dog too! http://shop-pod.com

1:49 PM  
Blogger Erika Sievert said...

Yay!! Thanks for the Boston guide!! I agree about Mint Julep... it's one of my favorites! Also, if anyone is interested in photography of Boston, please check out my photoblog where I post a picture a day I take in the city: http://boston-uncommon.blogspot.com

Take care d*sponge!!


3:22 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

This is awesome. Also in Jamaica Plain is a relatively new store called On Centre, which has a really small but fantastic selection of housewares and gifts.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Shelley Barandes said...

Don't miss Boutique Fabulous in Inman Square, Cambridge! Owner Mara Kustra carries an amazing and eclectic but oh-so-stylish collection of gifts, cards, antique furniture (including chandeliers), clothes, home goods - basically anything "fabulous".

5:07 PM  
Blogger Chic and Charming said...

I'm a total foodie! So I have to add the following restaurants:
La Morra in Brookline Village
Flour Bakery is in the South End too
Oleana in Cambridge

5:24 PM  
Blogger Libby said...

good lord! i was combing the net for something like this before i visited boston from minneapolis at the beginning of august...some of these places i happened upon after they had closed for the day - so sad! hopefully there's a next time in boston for me soon. i would have loved to put this list to use.

5:36 PM  
Blogger eshu said...

thank you thank you!

bookmarked for later

so sad about Pluto, i loved that store

7:09 PM  
Blogger Linda Merrill said...

Great list! Let me add:

Simplemente Blanco at 46 Waltham Street in the South End. www.simplementeblanco.com

Paper Source, 1810 Mass Ave, Cambridge - paper-source.com

Spark Crafts Studio - 1963 Mass Ave, Cambridge sparkcrafts.com

Didricks - 190 Concord Ave, Cambridge - didriks.com

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More food related recommendations:
Formmagio Kitchen in Cambridge (a small store front is in the South End) and Hi-Rise Bread in Cambridge (Harvard Sq. & on Concord Ave.)

12:37 AM  
Blogger Carrie S. said...

One of the former owners of Pluto recently opened a new shop in Davis Square called (ahem) Davis Squared. Haven't been in yet, but it looks promising.

Oh, and don't forget Motley Home in the South End!

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Didriks on Concord Ave in Cambridge!

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, there's plenty I missed, in Cambridge especially!

One quick note to Linda: Fernanda has opened a retail shop to showcase her Simplemente Blanco line alongside the work from the guys at Boxx Furniture. They're at 40 Waltham, just up from Washington Street (and both in my studio building). Her showroom upstairs is still open but I think you'll find her at the shop most days.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for including Magpie! We are honored! One quick thing though is that you have the wrong URL. It should be http://www.magpie-store.com

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Grace,
Yay for the Boston design guide! Next time you visit us we'll definitely have to go shopping. Just wanted to add that there are many great places to eat in Jamaica Plain if you are headed that way to visit those shops (and I second how great On Centre is!). Here a few of my favorite:
Bella Luna/Milky Way (restaurant upstairs, bar/bowling/pool/live music downstairs)
Wonder Spice Cafe (Cambodian/Thai)
JP Seafood (Japanese/Korean)

7:09 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

thanks les! i was going to call you to consult on JP yesterday but i got totally bogged down with the website redesign. thanks!


7:10 AM  
Blogger Keyse said...

Wooo, so glad you covered some of my favorite stores! Of course, they sell my jewelry...but I picked them bc they are some of the most beautiful stores around :)
-Keyse, Flauxy jewelry

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

displaced bostonian remembers gadgets in JP as well, and for food don't leave out sorella's!!! also appleton bakery cafe in the south end. and don't forget to hit up the art schools any time there is a show or sale, which is pretty much always. smfa especially has a fantastic sidewalk sale at the end of every year (may/june ish) for a weekend--the students set up tables and most of the work is awesome and affordable.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next you have to do a a boston designer guide

1:45 PM  
Blogger flutterbyblue said...

also in Cambridge:

Boutique Fabulous
"Where fabulous people get their style"
1309 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

LOVE this place -- it's one fabulous shop! :)

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! I love Motley Home in the South End too - just the other day I found the funniest woodland animal-print apron there (you can see a picture of it here).

Two suggestions:
1154 Lill Studio, on Newbury Street - you can design a custom bag here. You choose one of 30 or so bag styles and select from hundreds of beautiful fabrics. They'll make the bag with the patterns you chose, and send you your custom order in 3 weeks. Really fun place to go with a girlfriend.

Orinoco Kitchen, on Shawmut Ave. in the South End - a tiny and delicious little South American restaurant with a menu and decor inspired by Venezuelan roadside eateries.

3:09 PM  
Blogger karabee said...

The owners of Pluto have recently opened up a new shop called Davis Squared on Highland in Somerville.

Check it out. The old sign from Pluto is even in the back.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bostonian wondering...whats the best fabric store!? I've only ever frequented Winmill Fabrics in Chinatown...and i'm not that into it! Thoughts anyone?

10:46 AM  
Blogger carta,inc. said...

This is great! I have moved to the Boston area just a year ago, and I still need to know all the places around. I would like to add Clear Flour as the best bakery in Brookline and Boston, for real European bread and pastry.
Thank you Elisabeth, keep in touch.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just responding to Anonymous who wondered about fabric stores... I think 1154 Lill (the custom bag shop that I mentioned, www.1154lill.com) just recently started offering their fabrics for sale, and they do have a really gorgeous selection. Not sure if there are better places that specialize in fabric specifically, but just a suggestion.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

delicious pastries & other foods:

bread & chocolate bakery
108 madison avenue

2:37 PM  
Blogger Carrie S. said...

Adding to the fabric store comments...
There aren't many in the immediate Boston area, but in addition to Winmill I frequent:
Van's Fabrics in Chinatown for silks or Asian brocades
Sew-Low Discount Fabrics in Cambridge for basics or weird vintage remnants (you NEVER know what you'll find)
Zimman's in Lynn for any big or specialized projects. They have everything. Seriously.
Freddie Farkel's in Watertown for upholstery fabrics
Marimekko store in Cambridge for pretty, pretty Marimekko cottons.

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome! thanks for all the recommendations, guys!

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A heads up for October: the Boston Design Center has their "Red Tag Sale" the weekend of October 13 and 14. Open to the public with 20+ showrooms offering floor samples at significant savings.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction to Flour street address (Fort Point Channel): Flour Bakery + Cafe, 12 Farnsworth Street

10:41 AM  
Blogger Traci said...

you missed vessel which is one of the best modern design stores in boston. owned by two industrial designers its on kingston street near chinatown. see vessel.com for directions. its my favorite store in boston!

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More in JP -

Don't forget Hatched at 5 Green St. for the most stylish (and organic)baby clothes around.

And for treats - Canto 6 Bakery at the other end of Green St. is simply divine!

12:07 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A couple of other favorites, not to be missed:

Looc Boutique in the South End

Boxx Furniture (also in South End)

A good weekly site profiling design-oriented profiles in Boston:

And, Vessel, home of Candela:

4:48 PM  

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