We’ve been doing custom home design and remodeling projects for clients in Somerville for nearly twenty years now.
It’s a special part of the Greater Boston Area I’ve grown to appreciate, respect and love. I am frequently asked about the merits of Somerville by real estate agents, home owners and clients and thus wanted to share a current perspective on this special town as we move into 2022.
First off…a bit of Somerville history:
Somerville is proud of its history. For good reason.
Somerville has played a visible role in the formation of the United States from the very outset–the area of Somerville was first settled by those of European descent in 1629, nine short years after the Pilgrims initially arrived to Plymouth.
When Paul Revere took to horseback that famous night of April 18, 1775…he rode through Somerville, Medford and Arlington to warn of oncoming British forces.
It is widely held that the Grand Union Flag (The first flag of the American Colonies) was raised on Prospect Hill in Somerville on January 1, 1776 by George Washington and the Continental Army. This flag stood as an initial symbol of colonial unity, evolving from each colony flying its own flag in the combined military efforts against the British Crown.
Somerville was officially established as such in 1842—split at the time from what is now Charlestown.
As regards geographic footprint, Somerville covers a bit over four square miles and is home to a slightly over 80,000 residents. Somerville is the most densely populated municipality in all of New England and ranks 16th nationally in population density.
And while Somerville is densely populated—it’s a sprawl of multi-family homes and not urban high rises or skyscrapers. This gives Somerville a distinct look, feeling and appearance of its own.
International renowned Tufts University was established in 1852 and lays along the Somerville/Medford border.
Somerville Culture in 2022:
What we love:
Somerville has an incredible urban vibe and sense of life. It’s a vibrant mixture of families, single people, educators, artists, professionals, and unique businesses across a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds. It has a warm atmosphere and is a place many families are selecting as a preferred location to create and raise a family. It’s proximity to downtown Boston is seen as a distinct advantage for those in various aspects of the business sector.
This is one of the more desirable and exciting parts of Somerville. It is full of delicious one-of eateries, restaurants and coffee shops, Davis Square is a hub of sorts for local gatherings, entertainment and dining. Local standouts I recommend:
Davis Square Handcrafted Donuts and Bagels
The name says it all. Straight up Boston delicious basics for breakfast. You can now order online as well. I recommend the smoked salmon or steak and cheese on a delicious, handcrafted bagel. With a good espresso in the early morning you can’t really beat that–they are currently open 7am to 2pm.
Get there early as they literally sell out. (I recently hit Somerville to scoop up some of these bagels for a Boston born friend on the West Coast before I caught a flight–they were sold out). I took a picture for him. Your welcome.
Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
381 Summer Street
The Rosebud offers an iconic American setting in an old-style dinner, and the food and atmosphere are totally on point. They are currently doing Brunch, Dinner and Happy Hour. I highly recommend the skillet roasted salmon or the steak tips for dinner—delicious. The New York Style Cheesecake for dessert is excellent.
223 Elm Street
Also located off Davis Square, these guys are solid as it gets for a quick slice on the go or a sit down pie in Boston. Authentic, local and delicious—they are independently and locally owned and operated.
In addition to many other restaurants and eateries, Davis Square is home to the iconic Somerville Theatre—home to stage performances, independent film and popular cinema. Originally constructed in 1914 and now beautifully restored–it’s truly a beautiful and unique experience to attend.
Approximately 2 miles separate Davis and Union Square—they are a nice 40 min walk or 15 min cycle ride apart.
Bow Street Market
Bow Market in Somerville is a collection of 30 or so independently owned small businesses and stores in a restored warehouse locale.
The upper level of Bow Street Market houses retail and an exceptional venue for diverse shopping with choices ranging from Japanese sustainability to a vintage type record shop. Visitors can find handmade items, breweries, and exceptional coffee.
The lower level is an array of delicious food venues—from vegan Egyptian street food to Venezuelan cuisine.
Bow Market is a neighborhood hub and offers courtyard seating outside—a wonderful way to dine if you have small children or simply want to have a nice meal with family and enjoy beautiful New England outdoors.
And Bow Street is located just a few blocks from our favorite Comic Book Store in Boston! Hub Comics!
19 Bow Street, Somerville
I bring my children to Hub Comics when we are in the area and they love it. A fascinating store owned by artist and teacher Tim Finn, it has comics and graphic novels for everyone. Passionate about quality graphic storytelling for all ages, Hub Comics also does events and movies. It’s a warm, original, and exceptionally creative venue known and loved throughout Boston.
They also now have curbside pick up!
And…if you are looking for an indoor sit-down brunch, desert, or dinner in Union Square, I highly recommend you check out The Independent.
75 Union Square, Somerville
Absolutely excellent for brunch, dinner, or dessert – the Independent is a local pub and restaurant with an array of local fare, a splash of international and truly delicious seafood.
Assembly Square draws its name from the former presence of a 52-acre Ford Motor Company assembly plant in the area in the mid 20th century. A bustling automotive scene at the time, Assembly Square was the venue where the Edsel was manufactured.
Assembly Square has been a focus of massive revitalization efforts over the last decade and now boasts a new T stop and massive developments which have come to fruition over the past several years. Assembly row offers over 40 retail and dining experiences and is a vibrant shopping and dining venue as well as being home to the AMC theatre.
Tufts University Campus:
Tufts University is on the border of Somerville and Medford. This is my alma mater and a truly beautiful campus of 150 acres that offers a striking outdoor space. Considered one of the best schools in the nation–Tuft’s proximity also brings an infusion of life with their international student body, visiting families and overall academic culture.
Somerville Real Estate:
Somerville is a fairly hot market for Boston. The average sale price for a home is approximately $871,500 with homes lasting on the market for an average of 28 days.
You will see a lot of the Colonial Revival Style of Architecture in Somerville, Mass. Orderly streets, lined with homes and interspersed with Ash and other beautiful trees changing color in the Fall.
Recommended Real Estate Agent in Somerville Mass:
Charles Cherney is a Compass real estate professional we would highly recommend. A Harvard Grad and local Boston resident for decades he’s a family man who intimately knows both Somerville and Cambridge like the back of his hand. He has an upbeat, engaging and caring style that we value highly. His Youtube Channel gives you straight insight into the raw local market.
We highly recommend:
Charles Cherney – Real Estate Professional.
Mobile: 617 733 8937
Transport in Somerville:
Full service of the new Green Line extension is set to begin initial operation into Somerville next month. This is a big deal and a long time coming, but seems to be on track for success. This Green Line extension will offer Somerville Residents four new stops and will offer direct access to Downtown Boston. A massive project of over 2 Billion USD, this is an extremely significant development for the area which has been years in the works and overcome some major challenges—not the least being Covid 19– to become a reality.
Somerville is 5.8 miles from Boston’s Logan International Airport—that’s about 15 mins on the I-93 South depending on traffic. In operation since 1923, Logan International Airport is New England’s largest airport and offers direct flight access to destinations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, among other spots.
If you love to walk, Downtown Boston is about an hour and 10 mins away. Cyclists can do the four miles in about 25-30 minutes or so. Cycling is a cultural thing in Somerville and Boston and residents will find a number of Somerville bike trails to take advantage of as well as plans for Somerville to expand its existing network of bike lanes to further accommodate cyclists.
Somerville is also quite walkable, especially anywhere near the main squares – Davis Square, Union Square, Teele Square, Ball Square, Magoun Square, and Assembly Square.
Architectural Design Build in Somerville, Mass:
Boston is a city known for its innovation, knowledge base and overall vector sustainability and inherent efficiency of process.
Many Boston homeowners are seeking a smooth, creative and reliable experience when it comes to a custom home design and remodel. Opting to forgo the design-bid-build methodology and seeking Architectural Design Build experience.
Within all great work and methodology there is an inherent element of simplicity. Architectural Design Build in today’s nomenclature refers to the approach of having one creative firm fully responsible for all architectural and interior design as well as the full execution of the building and construction process. If this seems simple—it is. It is also the way the natural course of building was done for thousands of years in the creation of many of the beautiful structures of Earth—the Parthenon, the Cathedral at Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, The White House and many many more. In each case a single creative entity would envision, plan and execute—ensuring responsibility, efficiency and foresight.
The derivation of the word “Architect” is actually “Master Builder.”
Boston homeowners are increasingly turning to Luxury Architectural Design Build firms to realize their dreams—drawn by the efficiency, accountability, prediction and creativity inherent in the process.
Architectural Design Build denotes the return of the Architect to the original role throughout history as Master Builder — fully responsible for all elements of a project from conceptual planning through skillful execution of all aspects and phases of building and construction. At NEDC we embrace this time-honored role.
We are responsible for every aspect of project planning and execution–a turnkey process with five-star creativity and white-glove service.
NEDC prides itself on being an award-winning team of creative Architects, Interior Designers and Artisan Builders with a passion for natural aesthetics and a return of the Architect to the true role of Master Builder.
Sustainability and a love for this Earth are woven in the ethos of our company, our mission and the spaces we create.
Architectural Design Build offers the following client benefits:
Reduce client stress.
With a creative firm providing single source accountability from conceptual design through completion of artisan build—you as the client don’t have to run the project. We do.
As our Architects and Designers are also Builders we Value Engineer your project from the outset to achieve the desired result for the best cost. This eliminates unreal and expensive planning that is extravagant in practice or cannot actually be built. This does happen in the industry—not with us.
With proper due diligence and completed planning done beforehand there are far fewer surprises in construction. Our projects come in on time. A study by the Construction Institute showed that Design Build projects had a 102% faster speed of completion.
Embrace Sustainable Design (and its benefits for the Earth as well as occupant health and wellness).
We use natural light, sustainable materials, and reclaimed wood intentionally in our custom sustainable designs.
Here is a beautiful example of sustainable design:
A Custom Somerville Passive House: A Gold-Standard Eco Home
NEDC has is creating a custom Passive House for a Somerville client which is coming along beautifully. This NEDC design was completed last year to convert an existing two-family Somerville Home into a fully custom single-family Passive House.
A Passive House is essentially the gold standard in Eco Homes and you can learn more about this project here:
And this engaging interview with client Tim Finn of Lesley University’s College of Art & Design and owner of Somerville’s Hub Comics! (Thanks to Meghan Block and Boston Moms for the interview)
The process and client benefits of a Passive Home are laid out here:
Here are several other beautiful NEDC Architectural Design Build projects we have done in Somerville that can be seen here:
NEDC Somerville Whole Home Remodel & Two-Story Addition:
NEDC Somerville Custom Kitchen Design & Gut Remodel:
I hope this helps! As always—I’d love to hear from you
David Muniz Supple
(617) 474 0309