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Compare and contrast. It’s done by everyone; to make the best choice, find the best deal, take the best chance. Throughout any day, endless small decisions are made by the measure of these meters, without even conscious thought: which elevator will come the fastest, which sandwich for lunch, which movie to watch. These choices shape our tastes and styles, these little opinions, from the boots we like to how appealing we find the structure of a doorway. Eventually, such choices begin making larger appearances – where we go to college, where we live – and rarely are choices larger and put on greater display than when they form the creation of your home. In your home, your choices are reflected not just to the current outside world, but to your own family for generations. This is what makes the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses of Portsmouth, New Hampshire a unique and exemplary opportunity to look at the process of taste, culture, and choice in two houses built nearly three centuries ago, in striking contrast, side by side – and both with their stamp on our nation’s history.

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Even during the most comfortable of times, the thought of redesigning your house can be exhausting. Renovations strike terror into the hearts of even the bravest of homeowners. Both terms are harbingers for dusty air and sleepless nights, hectic mornings and gritty floors. But nothing is more tiring and frightening than when either term is involved with a building’s structure. This fundamental foundation – from the very literal foundation through every wall and angle – of a structure seems insurmountable, epic in importance and unfathomable to change. Shifting any elements, of any size, feels ridiculously difficult at all times – but never more so than when the weather swings from freezing blizzards to muddy false springs. Yet these elements themselves are so often the shifts needed to bring new life to a home, beyond the rejuvenation of fresh throw pillows and a switch of the rugs. But instead of focusing on the scale of a change or the differences in the exterior, consider the multitude of small, manageable changes in interior architectural details that can be achieved long after the original build, regardless of how daunting the season may be.

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It’s January. Every single surface of your life is filled with words like “fresh,” “new,” and “revitalizing.” Junk mail touting gym memberships covers the kitchen table, articles about healthy meal plans cram the computer screen, and all emails on your phone reference resolutions to be maintained. Things to be bought and sought, thrown out or traded in. But this year, let the change of season be rejuvenating without the stress, without the buying, without the endless, never-satisfying fetching of “new” and burn out of “old” – by reassessing what you already have. With a few changes, additions, and adjustments, your house will be ready to welcome all the new year has to offer, just by focusing on two words: storage and organization.

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During the first week of the new year, it’s always nice to sit back and reflect. For TMS Architects, 2016 meant exciting new projects and clients, tying up loose ends, and taking time to celebrate and explore. We’re so proud of our team for their hard work and accomplishments this past year, and we’re excited to see what 2017 brings. Read on to learn about our favorite highlights from the year that was. 

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