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See our blog for new projects, announcements, and all things TMS Architects.

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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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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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