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Easy Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill this Winter

Keeping Warm in Front of FireplaceIt’s hard to believe winter is almost here again! Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to lower your heating bill this season.


Caulk around the windows and check for any holes outside your home.

Weather Stripping

Replace weather stripping around the doors. If you can see light or feel a draft, it needs to be replaced.

Drapes & Rugs

Put drapes over the windows to help keep the heat in and the cold out. The heavier the drapes, the better. Rugs add a layer of insulation above the floor.

Water Heater

If you have an older hot water heater, put a cover on it to help it stay warm.

Fire Place

Close the flue to your fireplace when it’s not in use and make sure it closes all the way. If you don’t already have them, you may want to consider adding glass doors to help with insulation.


Change your filter monthly during the cold weather season. Don’t make your furnace work harder than it has to!


Get a programmable thermostat so you can keep temperatures cooler when the house is empty and warmer when it’s occupied.


Keep your bathroom door open when you shower so the heat can spread to other rooms. Leave the oven door open after you turn it off until it cools down so you can enjoy the added warmth.  

Questions about real estate opportunities in the Greater Boston area? Contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty!


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    Diamonds, Champagne and Ol' Blue Eyes

    2018 has been a brilliant year for gems. Sotheby’s jewelry auction sales this year have totaled a massive $403 million.

    Sotheby’s fine jewel auction on December 4, 2018 featured collections with stunningly designed necklaces,  brooches, bracelets, and rings by powerhouse designers Van Cleef and Arpels, Harry  Winston, Cartier, and Bulgari. The diamond engagement ring that Frank Sinatra proposed to Barbara by slipping it in to her glass of champagne was sold after intense bidding for just shy of $1.7 million. The ”Lady Blue Eyes” diamond will twinkle on for its new owner. Cheers!

    The “Magnificent Jewels” and “Storied Provenance & Iconic Design” Auctions at Sotheby’s in New York totaled $46.4 million in sales. In addition to the Sinatra jewelry collection, important jewels from other well-known collectors were also auctioned. Of note was a flawless Harry Winston diamond which sold for $4 million. 

    There is still time to own a piece of the “Ol’ Blue Eyes” collection. Art work, jewelry, and collectibles owned and collected by the Sinatras will be available by on-line auction. Included in the sale are paintings by recognized artists as well as a number of abstract paintings by Sinatra himself. 

    Contributing to this year’s superlative results in jewelry sales was the Marie Antoinette collection of precious jewelry. Personal and important jewels and gems not seen by the public for over two centuries were presented for by Sotheby’s Geneva. The most notable item being the exceptional, natural pearl and diamond pendant which Marie Antoinette wore on her three strand pearl necklace. The lot garnered over $36 million CHF.

    While many of the fine art, jewelry and collectibles offered at auction may be too pricey for the average consumer, it still is a pleasure to “window shop”. Collections give us insight into what was appealing and coveted by their owners Sinatra’s collection is worth a look, you may learn something about Ol’ Blue Eyes that may surprise you. He was a singer and a painter and of course “he did it his way”.

    Close Up Series: Salon Reyna

    At Salon Reyna, everybody loves what they do, and it really shows! In episode 8 of Close Up in Our Community, Barrett Sotheby's International Realty team Laura Ferrara and Sheila Horne speak with Salon Reyna owner Lori Reyna about what makes this Salon stand out. The keys to their success are the quality of the work that goes out, as well as the friendliness and professionalism.

    Stop into Salon Reyna at 326 Great Road in Bedford, or visit their website 
    Check out this episode and all of the archives on our Close Up Series page

    Follow along as we release new episodes on our social media pages:
    Facebook: Barrett SIR
    Twitter: @barrett_sir
    Instagram: @barrettsothebys

    Holiday Cheer in the Community

    Barrett Sotheby's International Realty is proud to sponsor and participate in several holiday events. We hope to see you there! 

    Concord Museum Holiday House Tour

    Saturday, December 1st from 11am - 4pm
    Tickets and Maps to be picked-up at Concord Museum, 53 Cambridge Turnpike
    Seven of Concord's most beautiful private homes will be professionally decorated in the holiday spirit by local and Boston-based interior designers. Guests will be welcomed inside these gracious residences, each decorated in a different holiday theme.
    Tickets: $45 members/ $50 non-members

    Bedford Winter Walkabout

    Saturday, December 1st from 4 - 6pm
    Bedford Town Center and Common
    There will be live music, family friendly activities, treats, business give-aways and discounts. The tree lighting will take place on the common at 5pm. Our office, located at 49 Great Road, Bedford will be providing hot chocolate and free professional photos with Santa! 

    Concord Tree Lighting and Parade

    Saturday, December 2nd from 3 - 7pm
    Concord Center
    This annual tradition is sure to delight with festivities including dozens of roadside attractions and a parade highlighted by Santa leading the tree lighting. Our office, located at 33 Walden Street, Concord will be providing cookies and a visit with Rudolph! 

    Acton Holiday Stroll

    Saturday, December 8th from 12:30 - 4:30pm
    West Acton Village
    Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy hot chocolate, peruse the craft fair and gift basket raffle, explore local businesses and go on a scavenger hunt for the grand prize 40" TV. Our office, located at 525 Massachusetts Ave, Acton will be one of the stops for a clue along the hunt!

    We are also fortunate to be participating in opportunities to give back.

    Toys for Tots Collection

    Now through December 7th
    Donations can be made at any Barrett Sotheby's International Realty Location.
    We're collecting new, unwrapped toys this holiday season. Please consider dropping off a gift for a child in need.

    American Girl Doll Raffle

    Now through December 20th
    Tickets purchased at our Concord office located at 33 Walden St, Concord.
    Three dolls will be raffled to benefit Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. Suggested donations are 10/$10, 3/$5, and 1/$2.


    Shop Small Map: 2018

    Shop Small Saturday 2018 is November 24th. We are fortunate to have an abundance of small shops to frequent year-round and during the holidays! We asked our agents what their favorite stores to stop in for gifts are to prepare our Saturday plans. The recommendations were abundant!

    Acton, MA

    Handworks was suggested by Linda VanEmburgh. VanEmburgh said, "Handworks in Acton has the most distinctive, artistic gifts."

    Concord, MA

    "Favorite holiday small shop… hands down Nestings!" said Anna Travias. A favorite of many, this name popped up with agents and staff alike!

    Revolutionary Concord was also a repeated recommendation, mentioned by owner, staff, relocation department, and our agent Nancy Wright.

    A new addition to the center of Concord, Graham was mentioned by Laurie Cadigan.

    Sharing a good laugh, Laura McKenna mentioned Priscilla's Candy Store, my favorite local shop for holiday gifts, quality chocolate truffles packaged beautifully, and they make the most gorgeous chocolate Santa Claus. Just don't put them in the stockings when there's a fire! Did that!"

    Lexington, MA

    Bobbi Tornheim mentioned the Holiday Marketplace of LexArt. Tornheim said, "Over 150 local Artisans sell hand made crafts priced from $5 to $1,200. Jewelry, hand woven clothing items, wooden bowls and boxes, some furniture, some excellent children's toys and puzzles, painting, photography, note cards, wide range of ceramics, sweaters, etc. Much of the work is Gallery  Quality." Tornheim also mentioned the location, 130 Waltham Street in Lexington, open November 30th through December 23rd from 10 AM to 5 PM most days.

    Lincoln, MA

    Something Special in Lincoln was noted twice, first by Terese Surrette who said "They have something special for everyone on your list."

    In Lincoln, Terry Perlmutter mentioned the Old Town Hall Exchange.

    Surrounding Towns

    Although our offices are located in the towns mentioned above, as well as Bedford and Carlisle, they are not the only places we are fortunate to enjoy!

    In Littleton, Cataldo's came up more than once. "They decorate dozens of trees with themed ornaments, have great stocking stuffers, and fun unique items," said Karen Wallace.

    Nicolette Mascari also suggested B Happy in Wayland, MA, with great gifts for any home.

    We hope you'll have the opportunity to visit one of the towns we get to call home during your holiday shopping this year!

    Hungry for Inspiration and Insight? Recipes for any dietary restriction or preference this holiday!

    There are so many things to look forward to throughout the last few months of the year. Holidays galore, time with friends and family, and often tremendous meals to gather around.

    For some, these meals pose difficulty as they navigate traditions that do not match their eating habits. You may find yourself in this situation, or on the other end cooking for diets you do not have much experience with. No matter if it's a dietary restriction for health, religious reasons, or simply a lifestyle you (or your guests) adhere to, accommodating everyone around the holiday table is an important element to plan for and can really make your house feel like home.

    We've asked our agents' what their favorites for the holidays are and sprinkled in a few links to resources that might help you plan your meals!

    For those following a low-fiber or low-residue diet, Anna Travias has a beautiful go-to meal that will leave your taste buds wanting more and your stomach happy as can be. Travias says, “My holiday tried and true favorite is lemon-garlic roasted leg of lamb with potatoes, a genuine Greek salad which (shocker) contains no lettuce, and tzatziki dipping sauce.”

    After hearing about the meal Travias offers, we looked into additional gastro-friendly Thanksgiving sides.

    Laura McKenna offers vegetarian and vegan options at her holidays. McKenna shared, "My husband makes a simple black beans and rice with salsa on the side for our vegetarian guests. It's real yummy, and the meat eaters gravitate to it as well!" 

    Plant-based options are a great addition to any meal, as well. Not only do they offer choices for your guests who may want them, but they also often accommodate many other health-related diets as well. Martha Stewart has a whole plan for Vegan Thanksgiving, with lots of sides, and Minimalist Baker has some great "mains" that won't leave you asking where the Turkey is! 

    For desert, Sheena Santos has a go-to, "an amazing chocolate torte that is gluten free but everyone (gluten free or not) loves."

    For those who need (or want!) to eat gluten free, these options are simple and sound delicious, too.

    Of course, these suggestions are not an exhaustive list. There are many other restrictions your guests may have in their diets. When it comes down to it, the real ingredients for the holidays are understanding, compassion, and openness to discuss what others may need and enjoy! 

    2018 Holiday Moving Tips

    Family Moving BoxesIt’s hard to believe the holidays are just around the corner! Moving during the holiday season is no easy task, so we’ve put together some tips to help reduce the stress while still enjoying this special time of year.

    Keep the Holiday Spirit

    Decorate for the holidays! Wait to pack up the holiday decorations until right before your move so it still feels like home. You can just pack a bin full of holiday decorations right before you leave. This way, you can easily find, unpack, and put them back up once you get to your new home. If this isn’t possible, keep at least one room decorated. Remember to take a break from the chaos and take a drive around town with your family to look at the holiday lights.

    Prioritize & Pack

    Pack everything you will not need (except for the holiday decorations). Go room to room and pack all of the nonessentials. Label each box and keep them neatly stacked in the garage or basement so they are out of the way and ready to go. Wrap any gifts and put them in a box labeled “open immediately.”


    The holiday season is a great time to give away any items you no longer want or need. Many charities will gladly pick up your donations free of charge. This will leave you with less to pack while helping others.

    Timing & Budget

    Surprisingly, the holiday season is a really busy time for movers, so book your move as far out as possible. Also, moving on a holiday weekend usually costs more, so keep this in mind if you’re on a tight budget. Don’t forget to consider the weather and holiday traffic when scheduling your move. There will probably be lots of holiday shoppers and travelers on the road.

    If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the Greater Boston area, contact Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty today!


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      Celebrate Halloween with Barrett | Sotheby's International Realty!

      Each year we enjoy celebrating Halloween with the community. As in past years, we're excited to distribute treats and blinkers to the kids in our towns, and we hope to see you there. If these are out of your plans, you can also stop by our Acton office at 525 Massachusetts Avenue for a blinker! 

      Close Up Series: Munroe Center for the Arts

      In our most recent episode of the Close Up Series, episode 7 takes us to the Munroe Center for the Arts in Lexington where music, artwork and creative spirit fill the halls. Here, Realtor Juli Jorgensen meets with Executive Director Cristina Burwell to discuss the magic inside this iconic Arts Center. All ages are welcome and whether you’re a musician, artist, dancer, or all-around art enthusiast, you will feel right at home!


      Visit the Munroe Center for the Arts at 1403 Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington, or visit their website 
      Check out this episode and all of the archives on our Close Up Series page

      Follow along as we release new episodes on our social media pages:
      Facebook: Barrett SIR
      Twitter: @barrett_sir
      Instagram: @barrettsothebys