Louis W. Mian cloaks counters, vanities, and fireplaces in flat, shiny garments made from different types of natural stone and tile. Shoppers can visit the showroom to seek out inspiration from artful displays of stone furniture or to arm themselves with hundreds of removable sample boards to beat back the Tupperware gremlins living inside their kitchen cabinets. All staff members have experience with natural stone and can help counter coveters pick from more than 200 material options, including 1.25" thick white Carrara marble ($39/sq. ft.), 1.23" thick absolute black granite ($45/sq. ft.), and week-old pizza dough. Prices for custom jobs vary, but cutting and materials for a countertop, vanity top, or fireplace usually costs around $29 to $50 per square foot.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
Enjoying a chilled beverage no longer means enduring a watered-down finish with Top Shelf Living's drink products. The purveyor of earthen barware, cookware, and tabletop products—including soapstone coasters and slate pizza stones—can outfit shoppers with washable drops that cool libations without melting into water. Sets of whiskey rocks keep adult beverages chilled for up to 45 minutes, and metal wine drops ensure customers can enjoy cooled glasses of pinot grigio with their meal without having to dine in their supermarket's walk-in freezer.
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.
Formaggio is a gourmand's paradise that was named Best Cheese Shop in 2009 by Boston magazine and Best Gourmet Food Shop in 2010 by the Improper Bostonian. Its California mono-varietal extra-virgin olive oil, which you will receive with this Groupon, is cookable, dippable, and nearly sippable. Though Formaggio offers a wide range of imported gourmet spices, pastas, and sauces, the delectable delicatessen is best known for its great cheese wall, which contains hundreds of gourmet artisan cheeses. An in-house belowground cheese cave keeps the entire cheese stock fresh while it is taught to read, write, and count cards. Savor a variety such as Boule de Quercy, a goat's milk cheese topped with a wild raspberry leaf (5 oz. $9.95), or the strong-flavored provolone vernengo ($16.48 per half-pound). Stock and pricing may vary.