The historic yellow colonial house at 13 School Street was witness to the birth of our nation. When Captain Daniel Leach built his house in 1786, the American Revolutionary War had just ended two years before (January 1784) and the new United States of America was trying to figure out how to govern itself.  George Washington was not yet President and the Constitution of the United States had not yet been drafted.

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Here we are about three months into living with our new neighbor, COVID-19.  And, in some ways, we are at one of those turning points because COVID-19 will have forever changed us.  Will we ever go back to giving bear hugs and kisses to those we love?  (I hope so.)  Will we ever go back to thinking that world events won’t affect us personally?  (I hope not.)  And have we forever changed the definition of "I'm at work"?  (Yes, we definitely have!)  So, let’s take a look at those at-home workspaces and see if they actually are where we want to work because the home office, in some form, looks like it’s here to stay.

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The Queen Anne style house at 12 Bridge Street, designed by well-known architect Cornelius Russell of Roxbury, was built for Frederick J. Merrill and his wife, Mary Sayre Merrill, in 1896.   Its completion was mentioned in the January 30, 1897 Cricket, which describes it as “one of the handsomest and most convenient private residences in Manchester.” 

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I started writing these articles right when COVID-19 first hit, and I was all freaked out because I thought my kids might miss a week of school and my yoga studio might let fewer people into class. Turns out those may have been the good old days.  What do I do to clear my head, feel my sorrow, and gain my strength?  I gather with friends… outside… six feet apart… in small groups only… but still.  So, let’s talk about some good ways to set up the outside of your home so it feels just as warm and welcoming as the inside.

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Windows are intimately connected with the complements we offer houses like “wonderful natural light,” or “good bones,” or “so much character.”  They are one of the most important design features in your home.  They must look beautiful inside and out, operate perfectly, and be dressed for both a party and for bedroom time.  (Much like a 1950s housewife, I fear.)  So, let’s offer them some respect.

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Manchester’s Karen Swanson has focused her professional career designing the one room that is now the undisputed center of the American home — the kitchen.  Earlier this month she was named “Best Kitchen Designer” in Boston Magazine’s 2020 Best of Boston Home.  In this Q&A, Swanson shares her nonlinear journey to kitchen design, her advice for home projects and describes the rewarding process of working through challenging designs.

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Well into the new season, it’s now less “out and about,” and more “in and around.”  Life at home. Entertaining.  The holidays. Winter. Coziness. All that.

This marks our first foray “Home”, with two special sections before Thanksgiving with a local take on home life and food. We focused the section on the things that make our lives inside a little nicer, a little more enjoyable. 

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Stacey Clarimundo is an interior designer who in 2018 opened her studio-slash-store in Essex.  We met her when asking local home design experts how they view the seasonal design reset and share some advice from them on what’s practical, what can have great impact and make a familiar environment a little more exciting.

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Painting may be the last thing on people’s mind.  That’s a mistake, says one expert.  Interior painting is one of the easiest ways to make a fresh, dramatic change for the new season.  Exterior jobs stop by November, because of the cold.  But fall and winter can the optimal time for interior painting.  It’s easier to achieve the right balance between hot and cold temperatures that allow paint to dry and bond properly.