West Elm Goes Gami

Origami that is.  West Elm is a company that I admire on so many levels.  As a lover of Mid-century Modern furnishings, West Elm’s clean lines and sixties aesthetic appeal.  So too does the price point, the on trend colors and their in-house designers that work to put it altogether for you, if you need a nod indicating you’re doing it right – or a whole hand in crafting your next home look.

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Ori on display at West Elm’s Fenway location. 160 Brookline Ave. Boston.

There business model, appears to this outsider, to be pretty pliable.  Not something I necessarily associate with a big corporation. They team.  Teaming is good for business.  It puts the community back into the places these stores are located, and small businesses are very important to our economy, not to mention fighting the good fight against homogeneity.  It feels pretty special when you walk into the store, meet with local Etsy purveyors, select a painting from an artist to go above the sofa you saved your hard earned doe to get, so you could stop watching tv on the floor atop a pillow.  Add to that a signed copy of Erin Gates book, Elements of Style, and you not only have a story to tell friends when you entertain, you’ve personalized it.  That’s the magic of West Elm.

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Ori Interface.

Don’t worry, they seem to produce that dust out back somewhere because they have done it again, albeit, in a very different way.  This collaboration will be short lived like their Esty pop-ups, so you’ll want to forgo one or two of your fav fall activities to visit the Fenway West Elm store, because Ori – short of Origami – Robotic Furniture has arrived, for a limited time (October 30 . 2018) in store.  160 Brookline Avenue . Boston.

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A whole existence in a box.

I’ve written about this MIT Media Lab launched company before – wow that’s a lot of alliteration.  Their tag line:  “One room . One Hundred Ways” is pretty brilliant, but the fact that you can transform your living room into a bedroom, your bedroom into a study, your study into a walk-in closet, by hollering at Amazon’s Alexa, or if you’re old school, by pushing a button, is AMAZING.

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At West Elm . Fenway . Try it for yourself.

Originally only for sale to developers, this limited time offering allows the public – that’s you and me – to get our hands on one.  The price point is a bit higher than the developer deal, but in fairness, they are buying in bulk.  Full size option at $15,500., Queen at $16,000. Not exactly walking around change, but if you haven’t been tracking, waiting, saving, and hoping (harassing the people at Ori to let you buy one) then you can rent one for $300. a month.  Now isn’t that convenient?  Designed to snuggle into a 300 – 600SF space, CEO Hasier Larrea (and team) have created something truly brilliant.

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345 Harrison . Ori would snuggle in there nicely.

Always willing to try something new, I am considering making my way on down to West Elm and ordering one up to be delivered, right under the gun, to 345 Harrison Ave.  a place I am considering for my next home.

Rental Round-up: Assessing the city’s offerings

I’ve been working on a project – well for work.  Each year we embark on an exhaustive adventure, the purpose of which is to conceive of the most wonderful holiday gifts our clients and partners have ever received.  They have to be magical…no pressure.  We often use a single word to drive the process.  This year the word is “cozy”.  Try putting that in a box and shipping it UPS.  Not your problem.  I’ll figure it out, and when I do, it will evoke feelings of home, and family, serenity and celebration, security and childlike wonder – cozy.

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South End Brownstones

That’s what I like about Brownstones.  They are cozy.  They are old, sometimes their four stories tilt a little with age, but they stand proud.  There is community within, but not so large a community that one can get lost in the crowd. That can be hard for some city dwellers – they want the anonymity.  As a single gal, I like knowing that I am sandwiched between neighbors that I can rely on for help, and that offer a level of comfort in my solo existence.  These Brownstones don’t exist in every city, or even every neighborhood in my city, which makes them pretty special.

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The Troy . Rental Units . South End . Boston 

Boston has a huge housing shortage problem.  The reasons for which are vast – college town with students from all over the world coming and buying up properties, or renting at exorbitant sums of money, our strong economy with varied market sectors – Life Sciences, Academia, Finance, and TAMI.  That stands for Technology, Advertising, Marketing and Innovation – it’s a thing.  At any rate the Mayor said he was going to solve the problem and developers have shown up left, right and center with their bids for property, and their pleas for zoning lenience – it’s hard to make a buck on these buildings without turning them into luxury condos, or rental properties.  Not exactly what the average joe had in mind when the Mayor said he was going to solve the housing shortage issue.

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The Girard . Harrison Avenue . South End . Boston 

Any hoo, as a lover of design, and a gal on a mission, I decided it was time to get to visiting some of these places.  A few readers might remember that between my last home and where I am living now, I rested my head at the Ink Block.  I’ll probably be struck down for this, but of all the places I have thrown down a doormat, the Ink Block is the only one I miss regularly, and pine for like a teenage girl after an unrequited crush – how embarrassing.  It was just so darn easy to live there, and I’m not exactly accustomed to easy, and I am certainly not accustomed to having help, and while I didn’t want to get used to accepting it, I didn’t want to offend either, and there you have it…they got me and before I knew it….I had fallen in love.

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345 Harrison Ave . Rental Complex . South End . Boston 

Two new buildings have popped up in the last 22 months.  These are big buildings too, so those of you not so familiar with construction should know – that’s a fast track schedule.  I visited a third that had just opened around the time I went into the Ink, but that couldn’t accommodate my short term rental needs so I never visited.  The Troy is the oldest of these buildings (just sold to Related Beal), The Girard, and 345 Harrison Avenue.  I’d feel sorry for 345 Harrison, not having a name and all, and for the fact that they have the dumbest tagline:  Designed for Living…I shudder to think how much they spent on that, but the fact of the matter is, the CBT designed building is spectacular.  You heard me say it, it’s awesome, and set back from the highway, it’s a bit quieter.

Stats, facts, photos, and feelings will be shared on the properties in my next post.