There’s a rule of thumb in Greater Boston – if the City or Town title starts with a “W” it’s usually exceptionally beautiful, often landed with genteel tradition, and home to successful homeowners and professionals across an array of creative and professional fields. These power “W” towns have distinct beauty, culture and heritage. In no particular order they are: Wellesley, Weston, Wayland, Winchester and Westwood.
Professors, doctors, leaders in business and finance, creatives, academics, and an array of successful professionals in other fields call these areas home. Families seeking work life balance and the creation of their home as a foundation of beauty and certainty from which to chart the future.
We frequently work in these areas and have many lovely clients in these many beautiful areas west of Boston.
Here are some of the trending design features we are seeing in the W’s and Boston’s Metrowest as we move into Summer 2022:
HOME OFFICES…FOR BOTH:
Prior to Covid, one home office seemed sufficient for many households. Post Covid, it seems many families and couples have decided that a lone home office will strain their marriage or partnership and leave their sanity fractured permanently—thus opting to design and create work from home offices for each adult in the household. I am married with two small kiddos–this approach makes sense to me personally. We’ve all seen the videos of the board conference Zoom presentations with the streaking kids tumbling through or half-dressed spouses walking serenely through in the background. Separate offices eliminate this danger and offer creative sanctuary for all.
EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL LANDSCAPING:
Appreciation for well-designed, beautiful outdoor home space is at an all-time high.
We’ve designed living rooms leading to integrated sunrooms which open to custom decks–combining the home interior seamlessly with artistic outdoor beauty.
Quality landscape architecture is also at an all-time high.
This is a landscape architecture firm we trust and would highly recommend:
A BLADE OF GRASS
Straight out of Sudbury, a Blade of Grass is a top-notch Landscape Architectural creative firm whom we love dearly and have done multiple projects with. They are truly five-star and work throughout Boston Metrowest as well as Wellesley, Weston, Winchester, Wayland, Waltham and Westwood.
Jim Douthit is the owner and has crafted a highly creative and proficient team in his over 25 years in business now. Colin Hand is the Senior Designer holding a Masters in Architecture and is a true joy to work with. A Blade of Grass offers an incredibly creative and aesthetic white-glove service to many of Boston’s finest homes—and they are now going on their 28th year!
A Blade of Grass took the prestigious Best Boston 2021 for Landscape Design as well as Best of Houzz Design 2022 for both Design and Client Satisfaction.
Here are three of their many exceptional projects a Blade of Grass has crafted in the “W” towns.
Wellesley Hills Residence: https://abladeofgrass.com/properties/wellesley-hills-residence/
Wayland Farmhouse: https://abladeofgrass.com/properties/wayland-farmhouse-garden/
Weston Contemporary: https://abladeofgrass.com/properties/weston-contemporary/
Their New England Home Magazine profile is here: https://www.nehomemag.com/vendor/a-blade-of-grass/
“Close behind our families, our homes are the deepest emotional and financial investments we will undertake–understanding this is step one when approaching a new design and build project.
NEDC and a Blade of Grass have developed such a collaborative approach to innovative design, communication/follow through, and craftsmanship because we never take for granted the trust that is given to us to make special places for our clients. If our clients love the process of working with us just as much as the finished built work, only then we can call it a success.
W stands for winners, and we like to work with winners!”
Colin Hand – Senior Designer, A Blade of Grass, Masters Landscape Architecture
At New England Design and Construction we were introduced to a Blade of Grass through Tom Wilhelm, who will always have a special place in our hearts.
Tom Wilhelm – Senior Designer A Blade of Grass
As senior designer Tom brings years of experience and knowledge to the Blade design team. Featured in publications such as Design New England, his garden creations complement location and architecture, providing his clients with a retreat of rich color and texture for every season. Mass Certified Horticulturist, APLD Accredited
OPEN PLAN LIVING SPACE
Natural light, efficient flows and open living plans have become increasingly popular.
Homeowners are attracted to the concept of open spaces with aesthetically pleasing lines and efficient flows. We have developed designs for several clients involving the removal of walls and carefully planned integration of spaces which complement each other—such a kitchen which opens onto a dining room and then living space with lofty ceilings and ample natural light.
Windows and skylights can be designed in to add a sense of space.
THE PERFECT KITCHEN DESIGN
There simply is nothing like a perfectly designed kitchen. Period.
Food preparation and all attendant passions have been taken to new collective highs during Covid lockdowns—homeowner love for kitchen space is off the charts. When there is proper room to prepare food, store implements, lay out ingredients and cook to perfection the entire household seems to be happier.
We understand—and have accordingly designed custom kitchen layouts with proper flowlines and brilliant built-in storage.
LUXURY PRIMARY SUITE & BATH
This is spelled H O M E S P A.
When one can’t readily go out for such – the spa can come to you.
Double showers with a stand-alone bath amongst calming tones with reclaimed design elements is a look and ambiance our clients find tasteful, calm and soothing to the senses. An exquisite touch we love is a bathroom skylight introducing natural light into the space for a sense of sunshine and outdoor comfort.
A custom indoor pool is another element which adds a sense of comfort, calm and peaceful healing.
These Architectural Design Build elements and trends can be integrated across Wellesley, Winchester, Weston, Wayland, Westwood and Waltham by New England Design and Construction.
This luxury indoor pool with skylight rendering is part of an custom architectural design build project for a Wayland client.
THE CULTURAL BEAUTY OF BOSTON’S POWER W’S:
You will know when you step into Wellesley, Mass — it has a feel and ethos distinct from the beautiful array of cities that make up the Greater Boston Area. There is an ambiance of natural comfort, aesthetics, and pride that has coursed down through generations beginning over 350 years ago.
This gem of Boston is cultured, with tranquil natural beauty and a perceptible sense of family and community. (As of 2020, Wellesley was the 36th wealthiest town in the United States and 10th in Massachusetts). Massachusetts itself is the 2nd wealthiest state in the US behind only Maryland.
Wellesley occupies 10 square miles of quintessential Massachusetts suburban beauty in Norfolk County and was founded originally in the 1630s, later evolving as part of Dedham, Massachusetts.
Wellesley is home to the academic trio of Babson College, Wellesley College, and the Massachusetts Bay Community College and is a 28 or so minute drive from Boston on the I-90 depending on traffic.
There are currently 32 or so homes on the market in Wellesley—on the market for between $599,900 and $14,000,000.
“In April 2022, Wellesley home prices were up 14.6% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $1.9M. On average, homes in Wellesley sell after 6 days on the market compared to 12 days last year. There were 29 homes sold in April this year, up from 22 last year.”
We have lovely clients in Wellesley—this beautiful NEDC Wellesley custom home addition was featured in Modern Luxury Boston Common: https://mlbostoncommon.com/a-former-baseball-players-property-is-reinvented-for-modern-suburbia
This is an earlier piece dedicated to Wellesley and its beauty and culture: https://www.nedesignbuild.com/beauty-of-wellesley-ma/
Tucked artfully between Wayland and Waltham and poised directly above Wellesley, Weston is approximately 15 miles west of Boston–a strikingly beautiful neighborhood filled with landed homes ranging in style from Colonial, Colonial Revival and Federal to Greek Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne with a splash of elegant Tudor.
Weston was ranked as the 11th wealthiest zip code in the United States as of 2019.
There are currently 38 homes on the market with a sale price range of 699,000 to 16,899,000
“In April 2022, Weston home prices were down 4.4% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $1.7M. On average, homes in Weston sell after 14 days on the market compared to 47 days last year. There were 12 homes sold in April this year, down from 18 last year.”
Wayland is approximately 20 miles west of Boston—a 30 minute drive on the I-90. Wayland is a smaller town, but distinctly beautiful in its own way—it was originally part of adjacent Sudbury.
In 2021 Wayland was ranked in the top 100 towns in the US to raise a family. (www.wayland.ma.us/home/news/wayland-ranked-top-100-best-small-towns-us-raise-family)
Wayland is also quite safe and for this reason families, professionals, and retirees value it highly:
“In October 2021, the 100 Safest Small Towns in America were announced by Safewise. Wayland ranked 6th out of all US small towns (5,000 to 15,000 residents), and was the highest-ranked Massachusetts town on the list, enjoying some of the lowest property and violent crime rates in the US.
As far as architectural style goes, you will see many Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, and Federal style homes in Wayland.
There are currently 17 homes on the market in Wayland ranging from $545,000 to $2,749,000
“In April 2022, Wayland home prices were up 4.0% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $975K. On average, homes in Wayland sell after 14 days on the market compared to 20 days last year. There were 11 homes sold in April this year, down from 20 last year.”
These are photorealistic renderings of a custom whole home design and remodel we are doing for a client family in Wayland at the moment.
Westwood was initially settled in 1641 and was originally part of Dedham–it was formally incorporated as Westwood in 1897 and is located roughly 12 miles southwest of Boston.
Westwood has an area of approximately 11 square miles. It’s comprised of many landed estates and large, spacious single-family homes.
There are 35 homes on the market in Westwood with prices ranging from $15,500,000 to $499,000.
“In April 2022, Westwood home prices were up 20.0% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $1.1M. On average, homes in Westwood sell after 16 days on the market compared to 10 days last year. There were 15 homes sold in April this year, down from 26 last year.”
The beautiful town of Winchester is located approximately 8 miles north of Boston.
Winchester occupies approximately six square miles and is bordered by Woburn, Stoneham, Medford, Arlington and Lexington. This is one of Boston’s wealthiest areas and has a distinct and regal elegance to it. The Middlesex Fells Reservation borders Winchester on the east and part of the Upper Mystic Lake lies within Winchester’s southern border, offering exceptional natural beauty along its shoreline.
There are currently 34 homes on the market in Winchester ranging from a small condo offered for $269,000 to seven-bedroom single-family home for $4,750,000
“In April 2022, Winchester home prices were up 3.3% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $1.3M. On average, homes in Winchester sell after 15 days on the market compared to 22 days last year. There were 26 homes sold in April this year, down from 34 last year.”
This is a beautiful Architectural Design Build custom suite we did for a European client in Winchester:
The project was to remodel a full bath and create a bedroom out of an office on the first floor of a three-bedroom home. The client wished to create a first-floor master suite in which to age in place during elder years— albeit she was fully mobile and self-sufficient. The client raised her family in the home and now lives alone. She was born in Denmark, and has a minimalist aesthetic. She came to NEDC looking for modern master bathroom ideas that fit her mid-century modern inclinations.
It was important to create a space that was very easy to maintain, use, and operate. She desired a private sanctuary, in which she envisioned neutral colors with splashes of bright color. She had a very strong desire to get rid of the pink fixtures currently in the bathroom and no longer use pink in her environment. She expressed a strong desire to eliminate the current soaking tub, and replace it with a walk-in shower that offered a bench, and a range of plumbing options including a hand-held showerhead. The client had an affinity for Vipp brand products in her environment and additionally desired a medicine cabinet, wall hung toilet, and dimmable LED lighting.
OUR RECOMMENDED REAL ESTATE TEAM FOR WELLESLEY, WESTON, WAYLAND, WINCHESTER AND WESTWOOD:
For these beautiful regions we recommend the #1 team from Wellesley for the past 16 years:
Benoit, Robinson, O’Rourke
With the recent addition of Rikki Conley, this is a powerhouse team of seven with unparalleled experience in Wellesley and Boston’s Metrowest. Their integrity, service and results speak for themselves:
“Debi is the “the” broker for the Wellesley area. We were impressed with her detailed knowledge of not just the area, but every house’s history and inside scoop. She and her team was also very responsive to all questions/concerns both before, during and after the closing process…”
“For the past 4 months we have worked exclusively with Lara O’Rourke to purchase our first home; I have struggled for several days to start this review because I am not eloquent enough to describe how unbelievable the experience has been. I can truthfully say that Lara is one of the most professional, kindest and hardest working people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing in my life…”
“We worked with Chelsea Robinson on finding our forever home! She was incredibly knowledgeable of the market and helped guide us through some tough decisions as we searched for a new house. During the process she was always very responsive and professional. I would certainly use her again if we were ever to purchase a new home and I would most definitely would recommend her to anyone looking for an agent in Wellesley or the surrounding area…”
Rikki Conley recently joined this team, bringing decades of international experience to this truly excellent team.
With expertise that transcends both city and suburb, Rikki Conley skillfully guides clients throughout both Boston and the Metro West. Her passion for residential architecture inspired Rikki to earn her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture and she began her career by working at the world-renowned architectural firm of Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) before joining Perkins Eastman Architects in New York. Over the past decade, Rikki has designed, built, and consulted on new construction homes before adding real estate sales to her portfolio. Throughout her real estate career, she has leveraged her architectural background to assist clients preparing to market their residence as well as those seeking to acquire a new property. Two of the greatest challenges for clients buying or selling a home are “vision” and “staging.” As a residential architect, Rikki assists buyers to “see” the possibilities and guides sellers on how to “display” their property.
HOW TO APPROACH A MAJOR HOME DESIGN AND REMODEL IN WELLESLEY, WESTON, WAYLAND, WINCHESTER AND WESTWOOD:
What home design and remodeling approaches are trending in the W’s and Boston’s Metrowest?
There are two primary approaches to a major home design and remodel. While this can be made very complex as a subject, the natural creative process is fundamentally simple. I will cover both here:
Design-Bid-Build is the process that has been introduced over the past 150 years or so whereby you as the client directly hire an architect to draft plans and design your project — to then have it bid out to multiple contractors seeking to win the bid and perform the project. This approach has been generalized as mainstream over the past decades and sold to homeowners, often creating client stress and potential loss of both client funds and time. This approach has many liabilities for the client due in no small part to the fragmented spheres of responsibilities which this system and method creates. There is no single person or entity fully accountable to the client for the entire project’s success.
By default the client is ultimately responsible for both Architect and Builder as well as the ultimate success of the project. Thus one can have impractical and expensive design work, impractical planning, numerous change orders, shoddy craftsmanship, and projects which are off timeline and over budget. In the end, the client can be left damaged. You or a family member or friend may have experienced this in the past. We have many clients come to us after poor experiences with this approach.
Architectural Design-Build (also Design Build) is the natural approach to creation of the built environment and has been used for thousands of years to create many of the beautiful structures of earth. Architectural Design Build is the way to go if you want to save on time and money, reduce stress, and eliminate a fragmented sense of project responsibility in the people working for you. Architectural Design Build is a model that stresses single-source accountability with the creative design, planning, and remodel executed start to finish by one firm.
Architectural Design-Build in Cambridge is currently being turned to by professionals, families, and individuals as the cutting edge of efficiency, aesthetics, practicality, and accountability when it comes to designing and remodeling a home. This approach packages architectural design and interior design services with artisan-level building and remodeling services. This natural synthesis makes for a simple, efficient, and accountable creative process followed by a streamlined and responsible build phase, reducing cost, time of execution, and client stress throughout. With the Architectural Design Build approach, the client is dealing solely with one fully accountable firm.
New England Design and Construction does Architectural Design Build with a specialty focus on sustainable luxury homes. We are extremely mindful of environmental impact and passionate about project efficiency and client comfort.
I hope this is of help—please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a dream project in mind, or simply want to ask some questions. We are here to assist.
m. 617 906 1025
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