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While the New England sky may now seem forever filled with slate clouds, chilling winds, and endless mists, these same gray days truly mean that spring is coming – and after spring, comes that irrepressibly gorgeous New England summer. Though famously beloved around the world for its sweeping blue skies and soaring mountains, rocky coastlines and roaring rivers, no one cherishes a New England summer more than those who have survived a New England winter: local New Englanders. Distant though it seems, summer really is around the corner; and with just a few imaginative redesigns or exciting additions, it can bring out the best our homes have to offer.   

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Nothing sparkles of summer fun quite like a swimming pool. It’s a raucous, joyful call to all that makes this times great: glittering sun, wild times, favorite people, quiet contemplation. However it’s enjoyed, and no matter the size, shape, or depth, a pool is there to vibrantly celebrate the season throughout the months.

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Swimming pools might be the epitome of summer for most – and a marvelous addition to any home – but in New England, the icon of summer takes a slightly different, deeply exquisite shape: the water. Lakefront to harborside, in New England, “the water” means one thing and one thing alone – escaping the world to hear that lap of waves on the shore. Whether it’s the dock of your dreams or a wonderful beach walkway, creating a tangible connection between your home and its nearest oasis is one to be prized for generations.

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Oceans, lakes, ponds, and pools are not the limit of New England summers, of course. To believe such would scathingly ignore thrilling ranges and rolling hills – not to mention roadtrips, tree climbs, barn dances, and fireworks. Some are not water-lovers, but greenery-conquerors, and New England provides plenty for both. But in adding the best of summer to a home, incorporating a full-scale mountain remains problematic; yet that doesn’t leave those who don’t hope for waterfront bliss without brilliant prospects, from luscious gardens to woodland walks. Even the simple dedication to developing and caring for a rolling, verdant lawn is a lovely investment in years of Capture the Flag and star-gazing.

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For many, the best of summer comes without swimming or hiking, rowing or playing; it needs little more physical activity than the turn of a page and the lift of a wine glass to make for the ideal day. And for those many, summer isn’t complete without warm, drowsy afternoons of dappled sunlight and long chats; without those times on the deck. A home might very well have a few slats of wood or a brick patio already attached – but that isn’t the same as a true porch. The real deck – or veranda, or porch, or anything delightful – must contain deliciously comfy seating, beautiful arrangements, with loads of light and shade in equal measure. A breathtaking view is, naturally, perfect. When building or renovating this classic extension, remember: it should feel enchanting in essence, a literal extension of your home’s best, drawing any family and friends to it as the summertime heart of the household.

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Extensive outdoor additions can appear overwhelming to the point of impossibility. Summer is too soon, the work is too stressful, and the last thing anyone wants to do when the weather finally becomes magnificent is worry about a single thing – never mind a time consuming addition or renovation. It never needs to be so complex. If digging a pool, building a dock, or extending a porch seems too much – and understandably so – consider the spaces that already exist in your home and how they could be melded into the beautiful outdoor world of summer. French doors in the dining room, welcoming warmth? A fresh paint, brightening the halls? Refinished floors, winking in sunlight? Whether it’s a concrete, actual opening of a space to the nature outside or an aesthetic shift, the transition can easily be one as enjoyable as the season.

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However, there is a special fun to marking the beginning of summer with a distinctive choice, a unique addition. But nowhere does it say such excitement must come from a large, complicated project. By building the most modest of fire pits to accentuate your favorite outdoor area, a basic gathering space becomes a fantastic paradise. With the smell of woodsmoke, the crackle of the fire, and the chill of evening air underneath glowing stars, nights take on a bit of timeless magic.

Design by TMS Architects

Staring at yet another rainy sky, it may feel spring is an allusion to something that will never come. But come it always will – and soon after, delectable summer. By planning your spring projects with the next step in mind, your summer can be filled with incredible memories to last all year long, and for many summers to come. 

Whether you’re looking to build your dream waterfront vacation home, or simply thinking of ways to improve the one you have for the season to come, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation.

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As beautiful as they may be, not every garden needs to be as sweeping, lush and high maintenance as Versaille. They are not exclusively for the vast expanses and many landscapers of a Newport mansion. Nor are they only for the relaxing retiree of Cape Elizabeth, dedicating daily hours to temperamental plants and soil research. Gardens can be for absolutely anyone, and can serve a more fun and fulfilling purpose than pure aesthetic and priggish tea parties. Your home garden should be just that: a functional, wonderful, welcoming extension of your home.

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