Blog :: 10-2013

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find posts about can't miss properties, local events, and more! Here at Maple and Main Realty we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the Northampton area. Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us

Location, Location, Location

The minute we walked into our space at 28 North Maple Street in Florence, MA - we were smitten.  15 foot (give or take) ceilings, exposed bricks and beams, huge windows, charm and space galore!  We immediately started to envision the events we would host, the art we would hang, and the furniture we would buy to compliment the space.  We loved that the space was adjacent to two fabulous antique stores, Artifacts 20th Century and John Hunt Marshall III Antiques.  Who better to share a space with our real estate agency than 2 stores that sell fabulous furniture and antiques?  We knew we had found our home!

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We were so excited when Donnabelle Casis asked us to be a part of (First) Florence (Arts) Night Out last month.  Right away we reached out to some of our favorite local artists to see about hanging their artwork here for our artist's reception and open house.  Katy Schneider, Dave Gloman, Tom Martin, Barbara Neulinger, Robbie Heidinger, Robert Young and Ann Lewis were all generous enough to grace our white walls with their beautiful artwork.  Florence had a huge turn out, and our space was packed!

We realize that this can be a win-win situation for all involved.  Artists have a non-galleryesque relationship with us, we get to hang beautiful artwork on our walls (which just adds to the ambience of our space, making it a place where we want to be), clients who are looking to buy or sell houses in the Northampton MA area have the benefit of seeing artwork that they might want to purchase and hang on their own walls.  To this end, we are committed to keeping a rotation of local artwork on display at Maple and Main Realty.

This week, we have added the artwork of Ashfield MA artist, Marcine Appel.  These mixed media works  (collage and oil paint) were inspired by some time she spent in Spain recently.  I love sitting at my desk and admiring them.

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We look forward to the next Florence Night Out in May 2014!  Stay tuned.

 

We Are Growing!

Last week, we added a new member to our team of realtors here at Maple and Main Realty.  We are so excited to welcome Karen Van Treese McAmis!  Karen is an active member of the community in Northampton.  She volunteers at the Survival Center, she is deeply involved at her children's school - with the PTO, the annual book fair, and many other causes of interest that come across her path.  Karen grew up in Amherst, MA - attending Amherst High School.  She is a graduate of Hampshire College, and she currently lives in Northampton with her husband, three children and many pets.

Karen pursued her Realtor salesperson license with determination that we have come to recognize in all that she takes on.  From the time we first discussed it, until the moment she joined us, only 6 months had passed.  That includes taking the 40 hour course, studying and sitting for the exam!  All this during the summer while juggling her children's schedules.  Karen is smart, energetic, knowledgeable and would be a wonderful choice for anyone looking to buy or sell real estate in the Pioneer Valley.

Musings on a Mini-Renovation

This morning at the Hampshire Regional Y, whilst ellipting next to a friend, our conversation turned to the ever-popular topic of  renovations - in this case, our mutual bathroom renovations.  We own a 1926 Colonial Revival in the Smith College neighborhood in downtown Northampton, MA.  Great bones, as they say, beautiful moldings, solid and stately - with original 12 over 12 windows, a lovely screened-in porch, many bedrooms and three full baths (all oddly located on the second floor).  This is not something that has been an issue for our family - but we realize that the general public prefers not to walk up a flight of stairs in order to use the bathroom.  To that end, we have decided to convert a large closet on the first floor into a half bathroom.

I love renovations!  It's so much fun to pick out the fixtures, the paint color, the tile (when appropriate) and to see your vision come to life as the project progresses.  This is, assuming your plumber, electrician and carpenter show up to do the work, but that's another story.  In my case, I don't have much pre-planning to do with regard to architecture, flooring, backsplashes, etc.  We have a finite space, in which we need to fit a toilet, a sink and one new light fixture.  The floors are oak, the walls are plaster, the moldings are in good shape.  Happily, the space this 1/2 bath will inhabit seems as if it was made for the purpose.  I went to Home Depot, found a perfectly suitable toilet and sink, and I have a nice Ikea light fixture left over from one of my many trips to that dreamy blue and yellow toy store for grown ups (bonus that this item, which has been hiding in my basement, now has a purpose!  See, I did have to buy it).

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This image from Apartment Therapy closely mimics our new 1/2 bath (minus the window).

My friend has a different type of renovation to consider.  She lives in a smokin' mid-century split level ranch.  It's a great house, with fantastic outdoor space.  They have lived with the house "as is" for awhile now, and have decided that it's time to update one of the 3 well-placed full baths in her house.  The idea is to strip away some of the less attractive 1970's style design choices that were made before she owned the home.  Dropped ceiling, dated wallpaper, taupe tub and surround, shiny (not in a good way) tile, and bad lighting.  They are raising the ceiling, putting in a window to add more light, purchasing a supremely attractive and efficient toilet, and investing in a deeper tub.  She also gets to update her tile and paint color choices, allowing her to do something fun, like this....

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Ahhh, white subway tile, how do I love thee...

So, while trends can change more quickly than the seasons.  Let's hope that both of us are making value added updates to our beloved homes.  It's hard to imagine that anyone, in 20 years, would look at either of these two bathrooms as gaudy, dated or otherwise unappealing.  But, hey, you never know.

We Love Florence!

When my business partners and I decided to open up our  real estate agency this past winter, two of the most challenging aspects of that decision were coming up with a name, and finding a suitable location.  After many sleepless nights, and roughly 5,000 brainstorming sessions - we finally settled on "Maple and Main Realty" as our name.  This decision was precipitated by our great fortune at having found a beautiful home here in Bob Lawton's Artifacts 20th Century building in Florence, MA (we owe this turn of events to our partner in crime, Julie Held :)) -- which happens to be near the intersection of (North) Maple and Main Streets!  We took it as a sign that this was meant to be.

 

Maple and Main Realty Florence Office

We love Florence!  We love our space (thank you John Iles - maker of our beautiful desks and overall build out of our space)!  We envisioned having fabulous events here, with artwork from local artists gracing our white walls...

 

We were thrilled when local artist and neighbor Donnabelle Casis invited us to be a part of (First) Florence Night Out - the first of hopefully many Arts Night Out in our neck of the woods.  This event turned out to be a smashing success!

 

We put our  heads together and invited local artists, including Dave Gloman, Robbie Heidinger, Ann Lewis, Tom Martin, Barbara Neulinger, Katy Schneider and Robert Young to show there work here.

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We burned through a case of wine in 2 short hours - as well as numerous "Maple and Main" M&M party favors...

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And the town of Florence was rockin' - literally!  There was live music next door, artist's open houses, a film by local filmmaker Tom Greto looping in the Artifacts 20th Century Space, a balloon artist down the street, and our space was packed with revelers until the bitter end!

We love Florence!  And we are so happy to be a part of the community here.

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Fall Clean Up - a worthwhile investment?

It is amazing how quickly the leaves in our beautiful Pioneer Valley turn color this time of year.  The change in the air is palpable come late August, and within a couple of weeks we see an amazing array of hues peppering our many trees.  As the leaves start to fall, many of us begin the arduous process of raking, bagging and hauling them away (if we can get them bagged before the kids turn them into forts and/or playgrounds).  Some of us just fight with our partners about who is going to do it and within what sort of time frame.  Perhaps with the threat of hiring someone to do it for them if they don't have or can't find the time.  It seems reasonable to me (being in the latter category) to hire someone.  And since we wound up doing the backbreaking and unenjoyable work (IMHO) of doing our own spring clean up this year - I decided it was worth the effort to look into whether or not fall clean up is actually important for lawn health - or whether it is just an aesthetic choice.

For one thing, lawns actually need to breathe.  A thick layer of unshredded leaves left on top of a lawn (and under cover of snow) can cause snow mold, and is generally not great for your lawn.  Another thing to keep in mind is that most lawns in the Northeast are made up of a number of grasses that are more active during the cooler months of the year, know as "cool season" grasses.  These grasses can thrive in cool weather (such as the fall) if given enough sunlight and water.  With layers of leaves lying atop the grasses, they will not be given the chance to grow and strengthen their root systems.  One quick solution, and alternative to a full on fall cleanup, is mow and shred the leaves -- allowing sunlight and air to reach the grasses below.  The other is to rake and bag them yourselves.  Lastly, you could always hire one of the many local outfits who are happy to help with fall clean up for a fee.

This past summer - my husband finally admitted that cutting our half acre lawn with a push mower was a akin to trimming it with a pair of nail scissors - and he suggested to we buy a battery powered mower.  After I recovered from the shock of his statement (he is, as you may remember, the environmental fascist in our household) - I raced across the river to to Home Depot and Lowe's - only to find that their were none left in stock! Happily, my Amazon Prime account came in handy once again, and within a couple of days we were the proud owners of a Greenworks Cordless Lawn Mower with a 40 Volt, 4 AMP Hour lithium ion battery.  This thing purrs, it is so quiet!  It mulches the grass, or you can attach the bag to catch the grass and leaves, if you prefer.  The battery is rechargeable, and the mower is powerful enough to cut 1/2 acre lawn with in one mowing.  If you opt to shred vs. remove the leaves from your yard, a battery powered mower is a good way to go about it!