Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lextopia Exhibit

Exhibit on Display June 20th through September 19th
1:00 - 5:00 Daily at The Depot Building, 13 Depot Square, Lexington

Celebrate and explore Lexington's unique architectural legacy - and its impact on the world!

In the years after World War II, a diverse group of bold young architects came to the sleepy Boston suburb with a dream of revolutionizing home architecture and design. What they accomplished here has been called Lexington’s second revolution, and it certainly was an architectural “shot heard ‘round the world.”

The exhibit highlights the architects who worked here, the neighborhoods they created,  and the ways their work affected Lexington and the larger world. It showcases modernist architecture, furniture, and housewares from the Society’s collections, as well as artifacts donated by numerous other individuals and organizations. Several mid-century modern house tours, a mid-century modern marketplace, Sunday afternoon gallery talks and other events will occur throughout the summer and fall.

Gallery talks Sundays at 2PM:

  • August 2 – Wendy Hubbard, Site Manager of Historic New England’s Gropius House in Lincoln, Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus and the Gropius House: Roots of Mid-Century Modern in Middlesex County
  • August 9 – Andrea Quagliata, former Moon Hill resident, creative director, photographer and author of Modern Orthodoxy and Eclecticism, The Case Study of Six Moon Hill.
  • August 16 – Pamela Hartford, landscape historian and preservation consultant, It's Not Just the Buildings:  Landscape in the Aesthetics of Mid Century Modernism
  • August 23 – Bruce Clouette, senior historian of the PublicArchaeology Survey Team in Storrs, Connecticut and author of the National Historic District Nomination for Moon Hill in Lexington
  • August 30 - Katie Rowley, Manager, and Somers Killian, Associate of Machine Age, Highlights of Mid-20th-Century Furniture Design.
  • September 13 – Bill Janovitz and John Tse – Marketing and Purchasing Your Mid-Century Modern Home

Admission: $5/person

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lexington Citizens' Academy

“It is a tribute to the town that so many dedicated municipal employees shared their expertise with citizens beyond the scope of normal business hours.  Speakers were enthusiastic, well prepared, and clearly dedicated to their respective departments and quality service.”-2013 Lexington Citizens’ 

Academy Participant
The 7th Annual Lexington Citizens’ Academy has been scheduled
for this fall!
The 2015 Academy begins Tuesday evening, September 15 and features eleven evening sessions. 
Do you know:
  • Who builds trails on Conservation lands?
  • What is inside the Police Station?
  • Where you can buy a rain barrel?
  • When you need a building permit?
  • Why a Fire engine responds along with the ambulance?
  • How many different types of Public Works vehicles there are?
  • How the public schools are using technology in teaching?

Participants have the opportunity to engage with Town departments, learn more about the services provided by their local government, and discover new opportunities for public involvement.
There is no fee to attend the Academy, but early registration is recommended as it will be limited to 30 participants!  

For more information, please contact Deputy Town Manager Linda Vine by email, or by calling 781-698-4540.

Topics include:
Town Financials and Budget
Public Works
Economic and Community Development
Police Services
Human Services
Town Meeting
Town Clerk

The first Citizens' Academy, held in the fall of 2009, was a joint initiative of the Lexington 2020 Vision Committee and Lexington Community Education.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to Keep Home Maintenance Costs Under $300 a Year

Cringe at the thought of major repairs to your home? It’s the little preventative maintenance things you do throughout the year that’ll keep big repair bills at bay. In fact, you can keep your entire house fit and healthy for a mere $300 per year. Here’s how.

1. Get Up Close and Personal with Your House
Annual cost: $0-$10

Trust us — you want to be on intimate terms with your house. The more familiar you are, the easier it is to spot potential trouble spots before they get out-of-hand — and expensive to fix.

You don’t have to be a pro inspector; just take the time to stroll around. A DIY inspection costs nothing — and could save you thousands. Look for:
Cracks in the foundation. Hairline cracks are fairly normal, but keep an eye on them and note if they’re getting larger. If so, your foundation may be settling unevenly. You can make a small mark with an indelible pen across the crack; over the next few months, if you notice the mark is moving apart, call in a foundation expert.
Proper soil grading. Foundation soil should slope away from foundation walls at least 6 inches in 10 feet. More is better.
Downspout extensions. They should reach at least 5 feet away from your house. A flexible extension is about $10.

Roof damage. Use a pair of binoculars to look for shingles that are curled, torn, or missing, and rust spots on flashing. 
Shaggy bushes and tree limbs. Keep plants at least 3 feet away from your house. Branches can channel water right to your siding; during a windstorm, they may bang against your house and cause damage.
Branches near your roof are squirrel highways; trim them back to prevent critters from reaching your roof. You don’t want pests in your attic.

2. Make Caulk Your BFF
Annual cost: $24

Your home’s No. 1 enemy is water; your home’s best friend is caulk.

Cheap and easy to use, caulk seals openings and prevents water from getting inside your home, where lingering moisture causes rot and mold. Caulk seals air leaks that can rob you of precious heating and cooling energy.

As caulking ages, it may come loose as your house settles slightly. Every year, inspect window and door frames for cracked and missing caulk. Check around exterior dryer vents, hose bibs, and electrical wiring to make sure openings in your siding are sealed tight.

You won’t be caulking the whole enchilada — but bet on using 3-4 tubes of top-quality exterior acrylic latex caulk ($4-$6 per 12-oz. tube) every year.

3. Give Your House a Facial
Annual cost: $0-$32

As you make your inspection rounds, look for blemishes — chipped or peeling paint, small chips in stucco, and missing mortar between masonry. A little spot repair prevents moisture from doing more damage.
Keep paint in good repair and help your exterior paint job last longer by touching up chipped or peeling areas so water can’t penetrate. Keep a close eye on trim, porch columns, and stair railings. Annual cost: $16 for 1 qt. of color-matched exterior latex paint.
Plug holes in stucco with pre-mixed latex stucco patching compound ($7 for a 1 qt. tub).

Repair missing mortar using textured, masonry mortar repair compound ($3.50 for a 5-oz. tube).
Clean your exterior. All types of siding benefit from an annual cleaning to remove dirt and grime. Use buckets of warm, soapy water (½ cup of trisodium phosphate — $4.95 for a 1 lb. box — dissolved in 1 gallon of water) and a soft-bristled brush attached to a long handle. Or, use a homemade green cleaner from ½ cup baking soda dissolved in 1 gallon warm water.

4. Coddle Your HVAC

Annual cost: $50-$164
Change furnace filters. Have you looked at them lately? They’re filthy! They’re cutting down on your heating and cooling efficiency and making your furnace fan work overtime trying to push air through stuffed-up filters. Keep allergy-causing dust to a minimum and give your furnace a break with regular HVAC maintenance that includes changing your high-quality filters every 3-4 months.
Get an HVAC tune-up. For this annual HVAC maintenance chore, bring in a pro to clean out furnace parts and recharge your refrigerant levels. Signing a contract for an annual inspection lowers cost per visit.

5. Show Your Water Heater a Little TLC
Annual cost: $0
Remove sediment and gunk in the bottom of the tank by hooking a garden hose to the drain valve and draining the tank until the water runs clear. That helps your water heater warm up quickly and more cheaply.
Test the pressure relief valve by quickly opening it two or three times (catch the spillage in a small bucket). After testing, watch for any leaks from the valve.

6. Clean Your Gutters
Annual cost: $0

Clogged rain gutters cause overflows that damage siding and soak the soils around your foundation. That mean foundation problems that lead to expensive repairs. Clean your gutters at least twice each year to remove clogs and debris. Like you didn’t know that!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

6 Outdoor Projects You Can Do with Your Kids

Now that the kids are finally out of school, the 4th of July Holiday is behind; get your kids outside and spark their creativity with fun, simple home improvement projects. Plus, you’ll boost your curb appeal.

 If you’re looking for ways to unplug your children and get them some fresh air, try these engaging outdoor projects. You’ll introduce them to a little pride of home ownership while adding some finishing touches that’ll ramp up your home’s curb appeal.

When making stuff with kids, remember the Keep-It rules:
  • Keep it safe. Use gloves and safety glasses when necessary.
  • Keep it simple. They’ll come away with a sense of accomplishment if it’s a project they can handle easily.
  • Keep it under an hour. Kids’ attention spans are short.

1. Making stepping stones
This classic kids’ project never gets old — it’s gooey, messy, and arty. You’ll make the stones using ready-mix concrete or mortar; a 40-lb. bag makes 3-5 stones. Make your own forms with wood, or use old pans, aluminum cake pans, or anything that’ll create a 2-inch-thick stone.

While the concrete is still wet, decorate with beads, tiles, marbles, and polished pebbles. Wait 48 hours until the concrete is dry to remove it from the form.

Cost: A 40-lb. bag of ready-mix mortar is $6.

2. Painting your mailbox
Put a little sizzle in your snail mail when you let your kids paint the mailbox.

Un-mount the box and clean it first. When dry, give it a coat of metal primer, then let your kids’ muse take over. Inexpensive craft store stencils help keep designs on track. Take the kids to the store and let them pick out designs. Don’t forget to include house numbers.
Visit: for steps to paint your mailbox.

Cost: Primer, $5; acrylic craft paints, $20-$40 set of 10 colors; plastic stencils, $1-$2 each

3. Planting a shrub that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
There’s some delayed gratification with this project — the payoff doesn’t happen until the critters find the shrub — but the fun factor is high when they do.

Keep the digging to a minimum — one or two plants are plenty. Make a generous hole and have the kids fill it with outdoor potting soil, and put them in charge of watering as the plant roots in. Hold a contest to see who spots the first wildlife visitor.

Nectar-producing shrubs that attract hummingbirds include Hibiscus, flowering quince (Chaenomeles), and Lantana. Butterflies like butterfly bush (Buddleja) and Potentilla.

Cost: $10-$30 per shrub; a bag of potting soil is $9.

4. Building a garden gate arbor
It’s easier than it sounds. You’ll find simple DIY kits at home improvement centers that you and your team can put together in 1 to 2 hours. If that challenges younger kids’ attention span limit, let them wander away for a bit, then call them back when it’s done. They’ll love carrying the finished arbor to the garden and setting it in the ground.

Cost: $150-$250 for a wooden kit.

5. Adding solar lights
This is one of the easiest projects. Gather up some solar walkway lights — the kind mounted on a stake — and have your kids put them along your sidewalk, paths, and at the edge of garden beds. When the sun goes down, they’ll get a kick out of seeing the lights switch on.

Cost: Outdoor lighting comes in all styles and prices, but you’ll find an 8-pack of solar stake lights under $50 at your home improvement center.

6. Stacking a tipsy-pot plant tower
Here’s a great optical illusion that kids will really dig. Stick a ½-inch diameter wooden dowel or piece of copper pipe firmly into the ground or a big pot. Put clay pots of various sizes onto the pipe, threading the pipe through the drain holes. Fill the pots with soil and tilt them at crazy angles — the rod holds all the pots upright. Plant easy-care impatiens or petunias. Visit for video instructions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Increase Your Lexington Home’s Value with These Upgrades!

Fresh paint can increase your Lexington's home value.
When it comes to home décor, some Lexington homeowners might think this has nothing to do with home value, but that isn’t true! Your home decorating choices could increase your home value, so as long as you’re spending your money on home upgrades, you might as well choose the ones that will bump up your home value! When it comes time to sell your Lexington home, you’ll be glad you did.

As your Lexington real estate agent, I’ve put together a list of home decorating updates you can make that will help increase the value of your Lexington home. Choose the ones that will look best in your home, and have fun making them a summer project!
  • Painting. Fresh paint can increase the value of a home, whether it’s on the interior or exterior, and it’s one of the easiest, most affordable upgrades you can make to your Lexington home! Stick with neutral color tones, especially if you plan on selling your Lexington home soon.
  • Lighting. Since bright rooms look bigger and more inviting, the brighter, the better. Replace burnt out bulbs, especially when staging to sell, and upgrade the light fixtures to add even more value. Since these typically stay with a house when selling, your Lexington homebuyer will see the value in modern fixtures.
  • Countertops. Granite countertops are still the top choice among Lexington homebuyers, in every price range. Because they’re so in demand, many buyers are willing to pay extra for them. Therefore, you should see a return on investment when switching to granite.
  • Appliances. Stainless steel appliances are right up there in demand with granite countertops, so again, you will see a return on investment when upgrading outdated appliances with stainless steel options. This includes the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher, but if only doing one, opt for the fridge.
  • Windows. Window treatments are an upgrade worth investing in, because they add visual appeal and functionality. Plantation shutters are especially popular, since they are custom made for your home. Buyers will see them as an added asset worth paying more for.
For more home décor upgrades worth investing in, check out this RISMedia blog post. All of the options listed can increase your home value, which you’ll be grateful for when it comes time to sell your Lexington home.

Are you ready to be a Lexington home seller now? Have questions? Contact me, your Lexington real estate agent! I am always here to answer your questions and to help you achieve your goals in the Lexington real estate market.

Theresa D'Antuono