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For most, nothing symbolizes the celebration of this time of year with as much wonder and beauty as a Christmas tree. But in New England, it is emblematic of so much more: our evergreens have grown and soared for generations, and the traditions surrounding them represent the timelessness this season brings. These trees are of the same essence as the crackling cold air on a night of starry skies; of spiced hot cider and the glowing warmth of woodsmoke; of snow-topped hills turning blue in the light of winter sunsets. They speak of the magic made by children every year, waiting for Santa and playing in pageants. They bring that special joy which makes us all a bit happier, and a bit kinder, and a bit better – the special joy that makes the world a more hopeful place, even if just for a week or two. This is an annual respite for New England, and no place shows it quite as beautifully as The Rocks Estate.

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Most towns have a Historical Society, a museum where the unique past of a specific place is celebrated and passed on to future generations. Whether they’re the smallest of villages or largest of cities, a town’s museum can be a genuine institution, collecting and protecting everything from family trees to farming practices. But while in most towns such societies and museums are often in a cherished Victorian home or a renovated library, as usual, Portsmouth’s dedication to its community goes far beyond with the thirty-nine separate historical edifices that create the truly outstanding Strawbery Banke Museum.

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As 2016 draws to a close, many designers and industry professionals attend what will be their last trade show of the year: the Boutique Design Trade Fair at the Javits Center in New York. One of the premiere hospitality design trade shows, it provides designers with a chance to see upcoming trends and meet with leaders of the industry. This year, the TMS Interior Design team attended the show finding a wealth of inspiration and resources to keep us ahead of the curve. From living walls to touch-safe fire to metallic textiles, here are a few designs from the show that inspired us.

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by J Dennis Robinson

Portsmouth is unique. New Hampshire’s only seaport, soon to celebrate its 400th anniversary, blends charm and culture with vitality and commerce. In this series historian J.Dennis Robinson profiles people who influenced, honored, pictured, preserved, and promoted the historic architecture of “The Old Town by the Sea.”  

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There are countless intimidating elements to owning a home: renovations, upkeep, extensions. flooding, insulation, pipework. repainting, re-flooring, reupholstering. For every moment of comfort and excitement, there can be so many more of stress and endless planning. But there is a specially intimidating element, that comes especially just once a year: holiday guests. You love your home, and want everyone you love to love it as well. But beyond basic survival of the season, there’s the struggle of living your life this most hectic time of year, while also creating an environment in which your guests can enjoy the full experience of life within your home. The beautiful people you care for most can exemplify the best of the season’s merry spirit, with just a few planning tricks.

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The towns that nestle along New England’s rocky, spectacular coastline are legendary for many things: remarkable history, breathtaking beauty, and incomparable character. These many towns may all be remarkable, breathtaking, and incomparable – at any time of year, or any moment within that year – but there is one town that shines especially, and never more so than a special time of year. While some may think first of the shimmering, vibrant hues of autumn; the glimmering, dewy blossom of spring; the sparkling, lush flash of summer. But in Portsmouth, there’s one season that glitters more brightly – the wintery holiday season. The glisten of untouched snow, glowing candles in windows, woodsmoke dancing in the crisp air. Nothing shows off our harbor as the Christmas Capital of North America quite as well, unless it’s the bevy of wonderful events that celebrate it all.

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There are some of us who spend all year looking forward to this time of the year: the sparkling snow, the holiday cheer, the scent of woodsmoke in the air and a glint of candlelight at the dinner table. For them, the weather is sometimes the best part, or at least an acceptable part of the deal; cozy nights, long days on the slopes, and plenty of comfy layers in between. But for even those heartiest of people, this season brings some things few embrace: winterizing and renovations. Be it dedication to the environment or dedication to your pocketbook, the unique challenge of heating throughout our New England winters is one that has defined us for generations. With a vast array of options from short-term to long, your winter can be spent focused on the wonderland instead of the thermostat.

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The sunset has shifted, the air has a crispness so fresh it can be tasted, and the chill creeps slowly into everything from your house to your bones. Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is planned, and the temperatures seem to be finally settling down in true New England fashion. From year to year, these things never change – but perhaps they make you think of adding another, certain warming tradition. After all, this is the season of woodsmoke and flashing embers, magical sparks and dusky flames. There’s nothing like coming home to start a roaring fire, or spending the weekend nestled in front of one with your favorite book and a cup of tea. If those autumn winds have you considering this cozy home addition, all you need are a few hints and tips to start planning the change that could make your entire fall and winter brighter.

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There may be no word that strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners in quite the same way as this simple one: renovations. It brings to mind endless days of contractors tramping in and out of your house, strange problems that seem to grow unceasingly, and mystifying bills that breed themselves. Things that would never have been a thought before – how long can the kids do homework in the garage during this project? – become a daily focus in lives where days are already full. But renovations don’t have to be a spiraling, time-consuming era of stress when they can instead be an exciting time of possibility – even during this busiest time of the year. The thing most often forgotten when thinking about the word “renovations” is that “renovations” don’t have to be enormous, expensive, or time-consuming to make a massive impact on redesigning a space into new life. When it comes to innovative choices in beautiful spaces, the tiniest of details can make the most magnificent change.

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We are pleased to announce that TMS Architects recently received four 2016 PRISM awards! This annual ceremony hosted by the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston recognizes top local talent in the Architecture and Interior Design industry, and we are thrilled to be included once again this year. Read on to take a look at our award-winning work…

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