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Blog :: 02-2012

242 Beacon Street

We're happy to have a new home going on the market this coming week.  This brownstone is the perfect location right in historic Back Bay. The home is both charming and convenient. All of Boston is just a short walk away from this one-bedroom condo.

The home includes a cozy but open living room with gorgeous hardwood floors and bay windows.  These bay windows face the sunny side of the street and allow for great natural lighting. Custom built-ins also provide easy-to-access storage space directly in the living space.  An interior bedroom with a hidden closet opens right into the living room. A small hallway brings you from the living room to the large tiled kitchen and bathroom. A large private storage space is also very useful for

This condo presents a great opportunity, with so much to offer in the Boston area, 242 Beacon is the ideal location.

There will be an open house this Sunday from 1:00-2:30pm.

Real Estate and Social Media

Last week we highlighted the importance of a good real estate website.  This week we want to highlight something a little bit more fun, social media! Who doesn't love social media?  You have Facebook, your friends do,  your parents do, and your grandparents probably do too. Then you have Twitter, and blogs (which you're reading right now), and Pinterest, and so on and so forth. Social media isn't going away either, it's here for at least a little bit longer.

In today's world, social media is nearly a requirement for any business and that includes real estate. Social media is all about starting a conversation.  It allows agencies and individual brokers to have a two way conversation with clients.  Clients can say what they like (or don't like) and they can tell the agency at the same time that they tell all their friends.  It's the ideal tool for promoting word-of-mouth and a free way to boost public relations.

Social media also takes almost no commitment on the client's end when they click "like" or "follow" on your agencies page.  It's simple and doesn't feel like work. It's also a tool for learning more about your clients and connecting with them on a more personal level than a website would allow for. Using multimedia across different social media platforms also engages current and potential clients.  This includes using videos and pictures that are less work than reading full articles.

Today, if properly used, social media will allow clients to find you, instead of the agents needing to seek out their clients.  When it comes down to it social media just makes life a whole lot easier, especially in real estate.


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Home Lighting

Lighting in your home doesn't always seem like the top priority, and to be honest it doesn't always sound all that interesting.  But of course we all need lights in our homes, so why not change it up and make it interesting.  It's important to make sure your home is well-lit and still looking good.

There's a whole range of different ways to brighten up your home, here are just a few options:

Table Lamps

There's no commitment with table lamps, you can move them where ever you'd like and have as many as you need.  If you get tired of one, just get rid of it and find a new one.  They're convenient in the office or on your end tables, where ever works for you!

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Floor Lamps

Floor lamps become like a piece of furniture in a room.  They can be almost as important as your couch or coffee table.  They truly add something to which ever room.  They're wonderful when you need to fill up a little bit of extra space or add just a little bit more accent to a room.

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Cieling Lights

Now these are all about the show.  There are the basic functioning ceiling lamps and then there are those that make a statement.  Depending on which room you're looking to put lights in you may need to adjust your taste in home lighting.  You can go ultra modern with sleek lines, classy and ornate with chandelier style lights, or simple and homey with soft glows and lampshades.

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Wall lights

A little trickier to change but certainly more unique are wall lights.  Not everyone has them but they can really accent an extraordinary room. If you have art that you want to showcase or a room that's really special, wall lighting might be exactly what you want.

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 

Both floral and modern, this lamp will add a fun touch to any contemporary space. 


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Real Estate and Websites

We live in a world of online communication. Many things are intangible with the use of the internet and social media.  We can shop for the holidays and birthdays without leaving our couches, order bouquets, and meals, pay our bills, and of course shop for real estate. Naturally it is also important to visit your future home and see several places in person, but having a great web presence is the first step in guiding potential buyers and sellers to your business.

Every agency, office, broker etc. has a website now, and it's not always easy to make your website stand out, but it is important to offer a website that acts as a tool for the clients. Shopping for a home can be overwhelming but a great website will make all the difference in the buying and selling process.

Anyone seeking out a new place can get a quick glimpse of every home and what they include, all in one place. This is a fast way to make life a whole lot easier. Offering assistance, guides, and tools to make the search more efficient is something that will forever be an asset to any company in real estate, and it also helps those that aren't so familiar with real estate.

With this being said we're all very excited at The Charles Realty to be launching a brand new website soon! We want this to be a service for those looking to buy, sell, or rent.  We plan to make everyone's lives easier, not just ours, but your lives too. With buyers, sellers, and renters guides and easy access to searches everything you need will be right there on our website.  Stay tuned in the next week to learn more!


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Burrage Mansion

Boston is a city full of amazing architecture and gorgeous homes. In fact it's sometimes difficult to be in awe of a home in Boston, simply because there are so many wonderful places. However one home that has managed to stand out for over 100 years now is the Burrage Mansion.

We thought it would be fun to highlight this jaw dropping home today.

The Burrage Mansion sits at 314 Commonwealth Avenue, right here in Boston and is certainly not your typical modest home. With almost 50 gargoyles, dragons, and cherubs carved into the exterior of the building, this mansion now is home to six condominium units.

The mansion built in 1899, was definitely a statement from its owner Albert C. Burrage, a successful lawyer and business man.  Burrage traveled a considerable amount but always considered Boston his home, and wanted to display his success in the form of a building.

Modeled after the Vanderbilt home in New York and designed by renowned architect Charles Bringham, the mansion dominated the street, and still does today. A sunroom that wraps around the mansion with gorgeous victorian glass ceilings is just one more signature element of the building.  Mahogany's, stained glass, and marble ensure that anyone walking by the mansion or through the mansion knows this isn't your typical home.    

Decorating with Flowers and Florals

It's Valentines Day and that means all the good things of life like love, chocolate, hearts, cute cards, and flowers are all around today. So we wanted to take a moment and embrace all the wonderful bouquets and flowers that are being given and received today.  But the best thing about flowers are that they're not just for February 14th, they're good any time of year, and anywhere.

Flowers might even be best when it comes to decorating your home.  Flowers and floral prints are always a nice way to add some personality to any space. Here are some ways that we've found to incorporate flowers into your home:

1. Change your flowers with the seasons

Every room looks a little bit better with a bouquet but sometimes it is nice to change it up.  Placing different flowers for each season in different rooms of the house will give your home a whole new feel four times a year.  Deep roses in the winter months, Sunflowers in the fall, lilacs and bright lilies in the spring, and vibrant wildflowers in the summer will change the look and feel of any room.

2. Floral Print carpet

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but so are floral rugs.  What's great about floral rugs is the wide variety.  Floral doesn't mean it has to be overly feminine or busy and overwhemling.  Floral rugs can come in simple patterns, victorian styles, bold and bright, or calm and subdued looks. There is a floral carpet out there for everyone, and it can really warm up a home.

3. Floral Pillow cases

No need to make the all the furniture floral but add some pop to the typical living room and couch with some fun pillow cases. Once again florals come in any style imaginable.  You might even want to keep some different pillow cases and covers on hand, so when you're tired of one floral print you can move on to the next!

4. Flower window boxes

Once you've brighten up the interior, time to add a little bit of life to the exterior of your home. Window boxes add an element of versatility to your home.  Changing with the seasons and offering you a way to personalize your home, window boxes are quick and easy to maintain. Whether your live in the suburbs or right in the middle of the city, window boxes are great for any style home. It will help you stick out from the other white picket fence homes or add a little bit of wildlife to your townhouse.

5. Floral Tablecloths

They're quick and they're temporary! It takes all of 5 seconds to change your tablecloth and make a dinner casual or formal based on your choice of floral prints. Make it springy or summery, make your dining room whatever you'd like with your choice of florals.


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6 Walnut Street

Charming, warm, and inviting homes always make for the best living.  6 Walnut Street is just that, a warm and inviting home that leaves you feeling cozy and comfortable.  This renovated 1-bedroom condo is the ideal location, on Beacon Hill, with the Boston Commons and the Public Gardens acting as the front yard. Living here puts you right in the center of the city, not very far from anything.

This home features hardwood floors and an open concept kitchen and living area.  The Epicurean kitchen is complete with granite countertops, an island, and stainless appliances. Exposed brick and a beautiful fireplace remind you that you're in historic Boston, with a little touch of the old and new.  Custom arched glass doors also provide a unique and elegant look in the open living room.  This condo's design is absolutely beautiful and truly special, including plenty of storage and closet space.

Another great feature is its private patio area, situated away from the street.  It's rare to have outdoor space in this highly sought after neighborhood, but this condo has it.  It's a great way to take in each season and escape from the constant rush of Boston.

There will be an open house held on Sunday, February 12th from 11:30 am to 1 pm.   Call Betsy Herald for more information regarding this charming condo at (617) 263-0353

Finally Progress Potential for Filene's Site

This is an issue that is dear to many, if not all, Boston residents. For roughly 3 years now, there has been a gaping hole in the middle of the city's busy downtown crossing area. We've blogged about this before. We have been excited about possible new retail outlets that might move in to where Filene's used to be, and we've discussed the controversy surrounding the developers. Up until about a week ago, Vornando Realty Trust of New York was the sole developer linked to the site. Since then, it has been announced that Millenium Partners have taken control of the site. Vornado is now a more passive partner. Because it was due to Vornado's conflicts with our mayor, the project had been put on hold, this shift in command means that we should be able to expect some progress soon!

Millenium Partners are no strangers to this area in Boston. It developed the Ritz Carlton Tower and is currently at work with the Hayward Place residences across from the Ritz. Personally, I am excited about something being done to try and rectify this eyesore in one of the city's most frequented areas.  Do you think this is promising? I certainly have my hopes up for the first time in a while.


Renting in Boston

It's no secret that living in Boston is not cheap, and renting is a prime example of that.  Since 2009 the average rent in the Boston area has risen from $1600 a month to $1686.  It's understandable that the economy is not at its best right now but the price of rent is taking a toll on the average renter, including college students and young professionals.

On the upside of this all people are still renting regardless of the prices and apartments are moving fast. People want to live in Boston. .  Leases are already being signed now for September first move-ins.  After all, this is a city full of opportunities.  From the age of 18 until retirement Boston provides education and career opportunities. There is never a dull moment and always something out there to do in terms of entertainment and fun.

Boston offers a little bit of a certain price. Boston is expensive; the fifth most expensive city in the country to be exact, but it is the direct result of the high demand. People want to be in the midst of this city and live close to their work, and there's nothing wrong with that. Convenience is key regardless of the economy.

The renting market certainly has not fallen victim to the same economic struggles that the housing market has.

In fact, it may be because of the struggles of the housing market that rentals are soaring.  Many people don't have the job security they did five years ago and are afraid to invest in a home, but renting removes the permanence that buying suggests. There's no doubt that residents of Boston want to stay here and make this city their home.  Sometimes it's just about making a bit of a sacrifice to live in such an amazing city.


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Superbowl Weekend!!

Since we know that you're not going to b focusing on home too much this Sunday.... Are you thinking of hosting a party for the game? If so, are you worried about packing on the calories on game day? Superbowl Sunday is one of those "eating" holidays like Thanksgiving, when sometimes you feel like it's okay to go crazy. However, if you're going to try and take it easy and eat less this Sunday, then here are some awesome and tasty ideas for you!

Creamy Spinach Dip:

Serves 8

Rich avocado and puréed white beans give this crowd-pleasing, healthy dip its creamy texture. Serve with carrots, celery and red bell pepper for dipping. Our Health Starts Here® recipes celebrate naturally flavorful whole foods by limiting added sodium and containing no extracted oils or refined sweeteners.


2 fresh jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds removed, if desired)

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups 365 Everyday Value® Organic Unsweetened Almondmilk

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

3 cups cooked no-salt-added cannellini beans (or 2 15-ounce cans)

1 avocado

1 (16-ounce) package frozen 365 Everyday Value® Chopped Spinach, prepared and squeezed to remove excess liquid


Cook peppers and onion in a large dry skillet over medium heat until browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add almondmilk and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, for 2 minutes more. Carefully transfer contents of skillet to a food processor along with lemon juice, yeast, beans and avocado and purée until smooth. Stir in spinach and serve warm or at room temperature. (To heat dip, spread in an 8-inch baking dish and bake in a 350°F oven until hot throughout, 25 to 30 minutes.)

Healthy 7 Layer Dip


1 15 oz can of Refried black beans, made with all-natural ingredients with no oil, sugar, etc. added (instead of the processed refried beans usually used)

2 Mashed avocados (instead of avocado "dip") Season them with 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

8 oz of 0% Fage Greek Yogurt seasoned with Taco Seasoning, or you can also use fat-free sour cream (instead of full fat sour cream or mayo)

Fresh veggies! I used 1 bunch of green onions and 3-4 roma tomatoes, diced (per Anne's suggestion) - but you can use diced red onions, diced red pepper, etc - the sky's the limit.

1/4 cup low fat Mexican Cheese blend

I served the dip with homemade, baked tortilla chips: made using corn tortillas, olive oil spray, and salt - and broiled in the oven at 350 degrees

Zucchini Fries


2 zucchinis

1 egg white

1/4 cupmilk

1/2 cupshredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Vegetable cooking spray


Preheat oven to 425°. Cut zucchini into 3-inch sticks. Whisk an egg white in a small bowl, and add milk. Combine Parmesan and seasoned breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini sticks into egg mixture, and then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place zucchini on sheet. Bake for 25 or 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Also, think about making your own pizza, with whole wheat crust!

Let us know how your Superbowl goes! Go PATS!