Sale-ing Away to a new location

 

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Sun filled living room.  tall ceilings . low floors.  painted in Benjamin Moore’s Sand Dollar.

You might have guessed with all this talk of rental properties that I had something beside a post up my sleeve.  Well I do, this is the first time that I have written about – in the moment that is – a property that I have on the market.  It went on Wednesday night.  This is a particularly stressful time for me.  I question everything – even the things, that to an outsider – are so clearly good things.  For the next two months I’ll be on pins and needles, right up until the moment my Lawyer Sarah tells me the sale has been recorded in Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.  Then I can breath again.  Two months is a long time to hold your breath, trust me, I don’t recommend it.

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Custom Kitchen cabinets with brass hardware and carera countertops and backsplash.

It started out as a one bed, but has been converted to two.  Apartment living is all about proportion.  Large can feel small and small can feel expansive.  As the French say- ca depend.  Layout, ceiling heights, even the angle and the swing of the door can make a huge difference in the livability of a space.  Of course some things are entirely out of your control (like the sale of this condo and the ceiling heights you are given to work with) other things like the geometry class of a door layout which allows the bedroom doors to swing in and miss the queen size beds that lie within, are entirely within your control.  It’s this bit of genius that make the pint size unit (708SF) worth every penny of the asking price.  It’s two real bedrooms, not a bed and a half, not a bedroom for a baby with a crib, not a “bonus space” it’s a bedroom.  It’s also quite a nice feature that I refer to as the “bow of the boat”.  The doors form a point at the end of the hall, from the ceiling at that point hangs a perfect little pendant lighting the way to your state room.  Charmont, if I do say so myself.

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Dining nook with custom table in grasscloth and Farrow and Ball Lotus Wallpaper.

It’s in the Eight Streets, a prized neighborhood within the South End neighborhood for it’s proximity to some of the best restaurants the SE has to offer.  Snuggled between Tremont and Shawmut Avenues, there is only one street within the eight that extends beyond these two streets and acts as a thoroughfare – that’s Waltham – lived there in case you are wondering.  Why would anyone care about this you ask?  Quiet.  It’s a quiet street, across from the park, a street that might make you think your in the suburbs, and that my friends is worth gold.  Some of which I am asking you to part with for the privilege of living here.

Other selling points include the design – why trouble yourself over it when you can just move right in and start entertaining.  Everything is for sale and no one said you couldn’t, or shouldn’t buy a refined living environment, most certainly not me.  Then there is the fact that it’s parlor level, just three steps up into the building.  It’s across the street from the Ringold Park where the sounds of children’s laughter and the gentle splash of water from the fountain make their way with the breeze into your living room.  There’s the shared garden oasis tucked away in the back for bbq’ing, sipping coffee and reading the paper, or a glass of wine by the fire after a long day at work.  City living…this could be you.

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Tucked away behind the building you wouldn’t even know you were in a city.

Come for a visit:  3 Hanson Street, Apt. 1, Boston – Buy and stay for as long as you like.

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.

 

 

 

South End Report

The Stephen Cohen Team, South End Market Specialists put out a pretty great report in the Spring and Fall -the busiest buying markets.  They let you know what to expect, if you’re expecting to buy or sell.  The South End of Boston, while not the most expensive neighborhood in the city, is pricey and it’s good to know what you can get for your money.

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Under Construction in the Eight Street District . South End

JACKIE FALLA . Meet a Southender

Jackie Falla might not have professional experience as a designer, builder, or architect, but she has been in the construction industry for over 20 years. Growing up on the Cape, her serial renovator of a father renovated every home they lived in, so a certain level of disruption in her living environment became comfortable and familiar. She bought her rst home in 2008. After four years and three renovations, Falla sold it and used the money to secure another property. It’s been rinse- and-repeat since then.

Falla documents her progress on a blog, Quest for the Nest, and the culmination of her journey will be a book she’s tentatively calling “My Life in Sawdust: How to Make a Million Dollars in Ten Flips.” To achieve this goal, she relies on her innate sense of design, as well as architect friends and sub-contractors she meets through her work as Director of Client Services at Elaine Construction, a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated, woman-certified construction management company in Newton.

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In search of glamour . South End.

Falla has made her home in almost every Boston neighborhood except
for Beacon Hill, but the South End has always held a special place in her heart. She’s lived in over a dozen different properties along Waltham Street, West Concord Street, Worcester Square, Worcester Street, Pembroke Street, Milford Street, and Hanson Street. “I know there are these beautiful amenity buildings, and I actually lived in Ink Block,” Falla said. “I absolutely loved it, they make living so easy. But in terms of architecture, the South End brownstones are spe- cial. The details, the moldings, the doors, it’s all phenomenally designed. I’m in love with it.”

Her love for the South End’s historic architecture also ties in with her Cape Cod upbringing. Coming from a family of avid sailors, she respects the cleverness of boat design. Every multi- purpose square inch of space is utilized to its full extent, and she nds that city apartments require the same kind of ingenuity. Falla describes her sense of style as “modern glamor.” She fondly recalls an Italian chandelier she bought at a Paris ea market and had rewired and in- stalled at one of the condominiums she ipped. “It was a very dramatic light fixture,” she said.

Falla is currently at the halfway point of her renovation journey, and she’s loving every second of it. “What I’m doing is an important story for me to tell,” Falla said. “It’s hard for single women to build wealth, and part of why I’m ipping houses and working on the book is to make sure young women know they can ensure their own nancial independence and stability.” This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have fun with her work. From the fact that she lives through the process every time, to the sheer number of details she infuses into her renovations, Falla’s passion for remodeling comes through in every project she takes on.

Is there a South Ender you think should be featured next? Contact our Communications Specialist, Anastasia Yefremova, at anastasia@stevencohenteam.com.

 

As a South Ender, my good friend Nicole Spencer who is a Buyers Agent for the Stephen Cohen Team, asked if I would be interested in being profiled in their market report.  I first moved to the South End in 1993.  It was a different South End then it is today.  Let’s just say I didn’t exactly fall in love with it.

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Pulling it all together . South End.

After that I trotted all over the city.  I lived in the North End, Back Bay, and Charlestown, before making my way back to the South End.  Since then, I have lived in 9 different South End locations, making me a bit of an expert – also known as someone that is insanely driven to achieve their goal of flipping 10 properties to make a million.

Freeze Frame: heART stopping collections

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Just the way I style . single pieces that match the decor.

For the longest time I owned very little art that could be considered worthy of collection.  Some of my very first pieces, a pair of black and white photos I took on a barge trip down the Canal du Midi in France, a small original abstract painted in oil by a friend, I took care in framing.  I made these disparate pieces come together by using the same thick mat, its bevel at a sharp angle to draw the eye in, and the use of matching black frames.  I still love these pieces, but they often end up stowed in the back of a closet in their moving boxes.  Why?  My own inability to combine them with newer works of art I have collected along the way.

Living in the South End allows my voyeuristic tendencies to be satisfied without the police getting involved.  As I wonder the streets at night, homes are lit and visual access abounds.  There is one home on the corner of Union Park and Tremont that has a wall of artwork that leaves bare only small pockets of space between pieces.  When I dine at Aquitaine I can see it’s not a single wall, it’s a least two, I suspect the whole room is littered with artwork.  This displays a fearlessness that I do not possess, but admire.

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OKL . The use of architectural moldings to frame pictures within frames.

I dated a guy recently that subscribed to the same aesthetic philosophy – every square inch was spoken for with his photographs and rock band posters.  While the remainder of his place could have used a redesign, he got the art work right, well at least that which he hung on his wall.  I was the most precious piece of art he was likely to come across, and his curatorial instincts passed right over this little gem.  A story for another time.

OKL . left: artwork hung on walls  and rested on furniture.  Right:  black frames pull together different media.

As a flipper I often draw inspiration from a new single piece of artwork.  I want this piece to take center stage, but I don’t want to make all my other artwork feel unloved.  It got me thinking about what the experts would do.  I offer up this advice to you all, but respectfully ask you to forgive me for not deploying all the techniques.   I need to protect my investment and spare myself a hole filling expedition prior to handing over the keys.

OKL . Left the use of gold frames and similar color ways tie these pieces together. Right:  Keeping it simple, matching hues.

Grouping Art:  thematic art (nature, seascapes, portraits, etc. can be the theme that ties a display together)  similar colors, the same or similar media – oil, watercolor, black and white photography, magazine covers, etc.) can help pull together pieces that otherwise don’t have a direct relationship.

Framing:  in matching or complimentary frames, pieces that otherwise have no apparent relationship look like two peas in a pod, likewise, bringing a color palette together through the use of matting works nicely, using wall moldings to act as a frame for several pieces can bring them together in a non-traditional way, and bring organization within those borders.

Scale:  While everything need not be the same size, if that is your visual preference, mat and frame smaller pieces to match larger, hanging a smaller piece of artwork directly next to a larger one, and at eye level can invite the viewer in for a closer look.

Layering and Stacking:  hang it on the wall or not.  Desks, bureaus, mantels, counters and other surfaces offer opportunities to display art, playing with scale and size, largest pieces in the back, smallest toward the front, ensures all will be seen.

House Beautiful . Left:  Boldly using wall space – black and gold frames tie pieces together, but it looks professionally hung.  Right:  Birds and butterflies tie this rooms art together, while the black painted wall acts as one large mat.

I am not at that stage in my life where I would consider hiring an Art Consultant.  Maybe when my quest is complete.  Having said that, I call on my artist friend, John Vinton from whom I have purchased a number of abstract seascape of my native Cape Cod.  John is a wonderful talent, and a generous man.  He comes and helps me hang my most sacred pieces at the completion of each renovation.  He makes me smile.  If you don’t know John, and live in the Boston area, you could try these folks:

Jacquline Becker . Fine Arts Consulting Services . www.beckerfinearts.com . 617.527.6169 or Haley & Steel . www.haleyandsteel.com . 617.536.6339.

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OKL . Layered for interest . keeping it eye level.

While I am not the type of person that has the patience to nudge and mark and measure and remeasure, if you are attempting to do this on your own, I recommend laying it out on the floor, or creating templates.  This is particularly important if you are selecting a pattern that is complex, or asymmetrical.  Better safe than sorry.  Happy Hanging.