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.
The bonded and insured squad of chromatic commandos at Eric's Painting Services travels with a stockpile of professional equipment, coating bland vertical surfaces in high-quality paint. The floor and furniture are lovingly draped with a protective cloth before the team thoroughly repairs any of the walls' small dents, holes, and wormholes. Two coats of paint follow preparation, transforming dull tones into rich, vibrant façades. All tools, tape, and miscellaneous painters are removed from the premises after the service.
The staff at Zoots Dry Cleaning extracts stains and stress by pairing eco-friendly dry-cleaning services with the convenience of extended evening and Sunday hours, 24-hour drop-off and pickup services (available at most locations), and an automated drive-thru system. Team members clean clothes, draperies, bedding, and rugs with a biodegradable solvent as opposed to harsh PERC chemicals, and some staff are trained to expertly excise stains from the delicate lace and beadwork of bridal-gown bodices. Most stores also have a tailor on location who is able to alter ensembles in a snap. Customers get e-mail notifications when orders are ready or they can download a smartphone app to keep a close eye on the status of their dirty laundry.
Over seven years, the Boston String Quartet has vibrated strings in collaboration with artists such as John Mayer and the Boston Ballet, stirred the air molecules at Symphony Hall and PBS, and performed by invitation for former President George H.W. Bush. With this deal, eighth-note connoisseurs can wrap their eardrums around the quartet's dulcet tones as they present "Xibus," an evening of contemporary and classical that marks the zenith of a two-day workshop collaborating with Finneytown High School orchestra students. Over the course of the evening program, the quartet and the students will cajole their chordophones into ringing out in harmonious arrangements of music by Carlos Santana, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Bill Gates's new Viking-punk band, as well as performing original compositions by members of Boston String Quartet.