When Stephen Staples comes across an ancient ash can or a board stripped of its nails, he studies it as if it’s the Mona Lisa. What appear to the common eye to be scraps are seen by Stephen for what they truly are—the building materials of early New England homesteads and factories. With his family, Stephen repurposes the salvaged materials into handcrafted kitchen tables, headboards, armoires, and benches.
“All this stuff is from somewhere special. … You look at the piece, you see the history, you know what went on," he says. "They say the piece can’t talk. They do talk, you just need to know how to listen.” For those not fluent in the language of reclaimed materials, Stephen includes a certificate of authenticity with each piece that details its age and probable history, including which pilgrims stored their socks in it. For his meticulous handiwork and passion for history, Stephen has been featured on This Old House and WCVB's Chronicle and in Design New England magazine and the Boston Herald.
Furniture from more than 15 national and international sources fills Northeast Furniture Direct, a store that sells home furnishings at factory-direct prices. Shoppers can peruse memory-foam mattresses, leather sofas, formal dining sets, and more, all still wrapped in their factory packaging and bearing their manufacturers' full warranties. Each week, the store announces its public business hours; patrons can also visit during scheduled one-on-one appointments.
The Art Experience, a full-service art supply store, wields their aesthetic expertise to professionally custom frame whatever clients wish to make wall-ready. Capable of handling large-size frames such as 40"x50", the staff collaborates with quality glass ($15+), hundreds of mat boards ($14+), and multifarious metal and wood molding options ($7+/foot) to showcase décor-to-be of any shape or size at its cutest angle. The volume of in-house materials ensures that newly sandwiched and bordered pieces return to their owners as quickly as possible. With a custom-framed piece, blank walls can finally cover their nudity stylishly with sleek, snappily bordered diplomas, cereal boxes, and ATM receipt collages.