Author: Jeni Francoeur

The Perfect Pantry

Nowadays, we are seeing the celebration of the pantry (and adaptations of it) and it is finally getting the accolades it deserves. With soapstone or marble shelving, beautiful soft-closing drawers, great lighting, and plenty of space to stock your spices, canned or dry goods, it is a highlight of many new or renovated homes.

Spring Refresher

Living in New England, we always enjoy the Spring “wake-up”, the birds are returning and singing their songs each morning, the grass is greening and it’s time to throw open the windows and let in that crisp, clean air. It’s a great time to be thinking about some of the small home projects that will get your home in tip-top shape in no time.

Get outside and enjoy the nice days by power washing your patio and outdoor rugs, wiping down your outdoor furniture and inspecting your cushions for wear and tear. Consider washing your furniture covers if it’s a possibility or it may be time to retire them and purchase new ones.

Clean your gutters and scrub and inspect your grill – these are big projects but in the long-run can save you money and hassle. Keeping your gutters running smoothly, especially in anticipation of spring rain will help protect against larger issues and big home repair bills in the future. Be sure that your gutters are graded away from your house and be sure that they have a clear space to empty out. Having a clean grill with fully functioning parts will help it last for years to come and won’t let you down right in time for that 4th of July BBQ.

Fix any holes you might have in your screens and give them a good washing. This may sound like a difficult project but the big-box stores have kits that make this very easy. It will save you from having insects and potentially small pests making their way into your home. Keeping them clean will hinder any residue or mold from growing and will keep your views beautiful.

Paint or re-stain your front door. Your door is a welcoming site and is one of the first things visitors focus on when coming to your home. Hot summer heat, cold winters and salt air are just a few of the elements that can warp or damage your door. Keep it looking fresh and new with a touch up every year or so.

In need of larger projects? Be sure to give us a call at (508) 746-0656

We’d be happy to help!

Cookies for Wrigley

Anyone who has had a dog knows that they are easy to please, a few belly-rubs here and there, a comfy couch and a good meal (it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of food) are always welcome. Anyone who knows Wrigley Thorson, our beloved office mascot, knows that food, treats, cookies, etc. are always top on his list. So, we thought we’d share with you a fun and easy recipe that Wrigley loves and we think your pooch might too.

This recipe calls for canned pumpkin (please use pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling), but it can also be used with mashed bananas.

Everything can get tossed into one bowl and you only need 5 ingredients. This way, you’ll know exactly what your dog is eating and you can feel good about giving him or her a few (ok, maybe more than a few) daily.

The recipe is easy:

Recipe courtesy of Mom on Timeout


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (please be sure to use pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling) OR you can swap out mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter natural, (nothing with Xylitol or substitute sweeteners)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (please check your pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg as it’s toxic to dogs)

If you really want to get crazy and blow your dog’s mind, add some mashed blueberries.


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and peanut butter. Stir until completely combined.
  • Add in flour and pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon) – stirring just until combined.
  • Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out dough to one quarter inch, using flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
  • Cut shapes out of dough and place on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 to 40 minutes – depending on desired level of crunchiness.
  • Remove treats from oven and let cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Aging Gracefully

Being in this business, we see a lot of different trends and “looks”; some aren’t able to hang around too long (remember shag carpets?) but others are deserving of the spotlight and should be given their due attention.  One of them is “living finishes” or “organic finishes”, for plumbing fixtures.

After hearing about faucets of this type a couple of times from clients, I wanted to know more about this product. What I’ve learned is that sinks or faucets with this finish are beautiful, wear well and add a lot of character to your space.

Unlike traditional plumbing fixtures, pieces with living finishes are un-sealed or un-lacquered and are allowed to change over the years and with use, allowing a gorgeous patina to be revealed (in other words, oxidation). When talking about these fixtures, it is referring to any metal, usually copper, brass, bronze or nickel silver (nickel is sometimes considered non-living but will actually patina over time). Stainless steel is typically considered non-living as well, though the surfaces can dull or change over time depending on how they are cared for.

So, what’s actually happening to the metal? Well, over time, the original layers of metal will show through, depending on the application and environment that it’s being used in. Everyday things like humidity, cleaning solutions, water hardness, salt air, etc can bring out the patina to your sink and faucet and really bring out its beauty over time. And since it’s “living”, it will continue to change through the years, bringing you different shades of patina and lots of character over its lifetime.

To care for a living finish is actually pretty simple: soap and water – a good scrubbing here and there will keep it looking great and will allow the patina process to continue. If you are finding that you aren’t crazy about the changes and you have a sink that is copper or brass, you can find a cleaner for those materials and revert the patina right back to its original state. Of course, you’ll need to do this every few months to fight the oxidation process.

Next time you are in the market for plumbing fixtures, give these a glance. Think of them like you see yourself, aging gracefully and only getting better over the years!

Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Nothing says the holidays like a beautiful platter of freshly baked cookies. Every year, our Office Manager Jeni, kicks off the holiday season with a cookie party, a celebration of baking where her family and friends bring a few batches of their favorite confections, filling themselves with sweet treats. This year’s party was well attended and one cookie stood out from the rest…here’s more about it from Jeni:

This year was our 8th year holding the cookie swap and the same ladies come every year, looking forward to an afternoon without children or spouses and a time to enjoy a glass of champagne or a hot cup of coffee with friends who enjoy baking…and eating.

This Ginger Crinkle cookie this year was by far the crowd favorite – it was just sweet enough with a delicious bite of ginger, great with coffee, tea or a little spiked egg nog.

The coveted Ginger Crinkle Cookie

The recipe can be tweaked a little bit to add a little more or less ginger, cloves or molasses, depending on your taste. Also, we have used granulated sugar or sanding sugar rather than turbinado – either way is just delish.

We hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do. You may want to make a double or triple batch because they go fast. Here’s how you can whip up a batch of your new favorite cookie:

Recipe courtesty of Jamie Deen.


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves. Add the shortening, butter and the brown and granulated sugars to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Slip in the molasses and egg and beat until well incorporated. 
  3. Add the flour mixture by scoopfuls and beat until combined. 
  4. Add the turbinado sugar to a small plate or bowl. Roll the dough into balls that are 1 inch in diameter (1/2 ounce in weight), then roll in the sugar. Place 12 balls on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies 9 to 11 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Cool on the baking sheets for 4 minutes, then continue cooling on wire racks. Repeat with the second batch.