After devoting years to protecting precious pictures and keepsakes from environmental harm, the Middlesex Framing crew has amassed an inventory of highly protective materials. Acid-free matting keeps photographs and certificates from deteriorating over time, UV-protection glass guards against sunlight’s discoloring rays, and museum glass deters bandits who somehow made it across the living room’s laser alarm grid. Partnering with Larson-Juhl, the crew is able to access more than 1,500 molding samples and matting combinations—ensuring that each piece is both protected and enhanced by its border.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
The smell of chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel wafts down from the second floor of the Attrezzi store. A shop within a shop, Chocolate Chic sells chocolates and gourmet sweets, all handmade onsite. Decadent and memorable, the sweets put ordinary candy bars to shame, causing them to sneak back into the plastic wrappers from whence they came. Handmade peppermint patties, toffee, peanut-butter cups, and fudge showcase the versatility of cocoa, and chocolate-covered bacon and cave-aged cheese wrapped in dark chocolate combine savory and sweet flavors. In addition, a selection of locally made candies, including sea-salt caramels and taffy, rounds out the sugar-filled shelves.
Alan J. Gardner opened his Salem factory in 1933, winning over generations of loyal customers with custom-made and odd-sized mattresses in a wide range of styles. Massachusetts-made pallets support sleepers with hand tufted construction and fluffy cotton fillings catered specifically to each client's specifications. The company's direct manufacturer-to-customer supply chain erases the influence of bothersome middlemen or arrogant, cigar-chomping mattress barons. Sleepers select from a variety of comfy cushion styles, such as latex, plush top, tufted, or pocket coils, with options for all-natural materials such as Joma wool and layers of thick cotton-knit fabric.
Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply, which Northshore Magazine editors and readers voted as the best bath supplies store in the North Shore area, equips homeowners with a vast assortment of kitchen and bathroom furnishings from dozens of brands, including Dornbracht, Duravit, and Fairmont. Contemporary designs and classic models dot a 4,500-square-foot showroom, where a knowledgeable staff helps customers select the polished chrome towel bar ($34) or two-robe bathroom hook ($15) that best matches their lucky hubcap. An American Standard single-lever kitchen faucet expels water through a sprayer ($75), and a Grohe showerhead unleashes jets of moisture from a 6-inch-wide chrome disk ($63). Two levels of magnification power on a double-sided Kimball & Young vanity makeup mirror ($107) provide an up-close view for poring over pores or communicating face-to-face with the tiny pilots in your eyeballs. Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply does not provide installation.
Cutie Patutie's reigns as one of New England's largest children's consignment stores, stocking scores of gently used clothing, shoes, toys, and books generally priced 50% below retail value. Guests can zigzag through aisles that brandish dozens of name-brand items, including Gap, Old Navy, Melissa & Doug, and J. Crew, to outfit any pintsize brood. While inventory constantly evolves, Cutie Patutie's maintains a list of featured items, such as teen formal dresses ($36+), educational puzzles ($2.75+), and children's bedroom dressers ($45+), and some items decline in price the longer they stay on the floor. Mommies in waiting may also deck out their dermis in a wide range of maternity selections or furnish their crib from a wide range of home décor and housewares.