architecture

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Summer is here. Brilliant blues abound; crystal skies, fragrant flowers, and of course – the sea. From 4th of July to days “upta camp,” all of New England is preparing for her greatest season as a regional gem. Vacationland, crisp air, and smoky evenings of glittering stars by the water. The imagery never ends. But there’s a certain imagery that can become a part of your home, all year round: classic waterfront architecture. With a few touches or even full renovations, your exterior can have you dreaming of gorgeous summer days, no matter the season.

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As the saying goes, good things take time. In November of 2014, a family approached us to design their lakeside vacation home from the ground up. They desired a home where the whole family could enjoy skiing in the winter, waterfront fun in the summer, and socializing with their neighborhood friends year-round. It was an exciting undertaking, but not without its challenges. Nearly a year was spent working with the town on demolition of the former house on the property and deciding on guidelines for the new house to be constructed. In November 2015, Cristina Marais began working with the client on an interior design plan, while Rob Carty and Tim Giguere finalized the overall design of the house. Finally, just a few weeks ago, it was move-in day! Read on to learn how this home, a long time in the making, finally came together as a beautiful retreat for the entire family.

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Throughout our homes, each space can serve an endless variety of purposes. A living room is a place of comfort, of entertainment, of lazy Sunday mornings; a bathroom a place of rejuvenation, of contemplation, of preparation. The kitchen becomes a headquarters, the pantry a kid’s clubhouse, and the other way around. On the weekdays, one is an area of hectic rushes and piles of refuse – and on the weekends, sparkling to perfection for the best parties around. But there is one space that remains unchanging, timeless in purpose and quintessential in essence: the master suite. From the sprawls of Versailles to the stories of the Plaza, master suites serve as the foundation of a home’s inner life. It is where we start and end our day. Yet while their purpose may be unchanging, they are often forgotten in renovations, an afterthought to a house’s interior design; and a bit of change within that space may be all you need to redesign the experience of your day to day life.

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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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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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As summer creeps into New England, many of us are daydreaming about that picture perfect beach escape. An oceanfront home is the embodiment of luxury and relaxation, and we have the privilege to be working on a stunning one this summer. Though the project is still very much in progress, the shape it’s taken so far has us inspired for many summers to come. Take a look behind the scenes to get into that summer state of mind…

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Any beautiful home will have its most spectacular features. Those soaring ceilings in the living room, a spacious kitchen, that oak mantelpiece in the study, these sweeping bay windows. While many homes may have some lovely details, the truly splendid have that special spot where, just as you turn the corner down a hallway, someone’s piece of design inspiration leaves you breathless. Yet, that all-important piece is too often overlooked: the hall itself that brought you there. Seen as the perfunctory artery of any living home, the functionality of the hall relegates it to necessity instead of beauty. While without it, those other choices could not exist, transitional spaces remain a frustrating afterthought, needed but not glamorous; as if design exists only in large rooms, and doesn’t flow throughout a home. Considering that particularly as an entrance, this part of your home is the first you and your guests may see and connects every other element within it. A hall or foyer becomes not just a path from one room to the next, but the area that creates a gorgeous and complete home every step of the way.

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Any attempt to describe the work of Frank Lloyd Wright could easily fill an entire doctorate thesis, never mind a blog post. Any list of his accomplishments would take an afternoon to read, never mind fully comprehend. Yet any understanding of American architecture — and the history and future of architecture itself — owes itself to Wright’s work intrinsically, and bears his tenets instinctively. All of us at TMS are no different in this, particularly given his dedication to design that harmonizes humanity with nature, a fluid connection between the outdoors and in, and that a structure influences the lives of those who spend time within it. In celebrating the legacy of a man whose work spanned two centuries, nothing can be more apparent than the fact that it has guided the beginning of architecture in a third.

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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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Architecture Advocates: Charles Brewster 
By J. Dennis Robinson

Even his best friends said he was dull. His two-volume Rambles about Portsmouth  remain the most important books about New Hampshire’s only seaport. Yet historian Charles Brewster (1802-1869) was, himself, a shy methodical man, who led a remarkably uneventful life.

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