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We spend a significant amount of time working on the finer details of our projects.  The end results are rewarding not just for ourselves, but also the end-users and owners of the buildings.  However, these details are not always just for looks.  Homes and commercial buildings today are implementing more and more building systems to help with life safety, building comfort, and overall sustainability.  All of these systems live behind the beautiful finishes and details that we create in our buildings.  Some of these details can require an immense amount of coordination to pull off well and each building will require different approaches to achieve the desired result.

In most of our custom homes, the goal is to heat or cool a space with little to no attention drawn to the ducts, pipes, and registers required for building.  Sometimes it is not as simple as just running a pipe or duct within a floor or ceiling space due to conflicts with the building structure.

In larger commercial building projects, we’ll use complex three-dimensional models of the building to help coordinate all of the required systems.  This allows us to spot potential conflicts ahead of construction and reduce problems in the field. The above images illustrate the coordination model produced during the design process to identify and eliminate conflicts between structural members and elements of the heating, air conditioning, fire protection, and plumbing systems.  The below photo shows how those pieces fit together in the field after installation.

Radiant heating systems, like those pictured above, are an extremely efficient way to heat a space, but these systems require some specialized details for flooring installation as well as finding a proper location for the required equipment. Establishing areas where those loops occur and making sure that we plan for the right amount of heating coil is especially important to ensure a comfortable space.

Coordinating the location of piping for plumbing fixtures can be especially difficult in some instances.  Due to structural beams and the required slope for pipes to properly drain, we’re sometimes limited in the ways that we can conceal the pipes. The result is a great looking bathroom shown below.

Photo by Rob Karosis

In larger buildings with bathrooms, showers and kitchen equipment in various places, these systems can become increasingly complex.

Pipes and ducts are not the only system components that can be hard to hide.  Electrical wiring can be a challenge as well whether it is due to larger wire sizes or an increased number of wires coming into one space.

While we often focus on eye-catching design, it’s these hidden, functional features that make a custom home or commercial space safe and comfortable. Taking great care to plan elements like pipes, ducts, wiring, and plumbing can make all the difference, and we’re just as committed to getting these details just right as we are to designing a beautiful space.

Considering a custom home of your own? Get in touch with us for a consultation.

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Guardrails and handrails are two necessary pieces of our built environment that we come in contact with almost every day but may take for granted. Guardrails are the part of an elevated walkway or stair that protects us from falling off the edge. Handrails guide us along the path of a stair and give us something to grip as we navigate up or down in our buildings.

These two ordinary elements can impact the design and feel of a building tremendously, and as a design element have the opportunity to help unify the design theme as well as provide some unexpected delight. Read on for a few of our favorite guardrail and handrail designs from TMS Architects projects…

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Every April the design team here at TMS makes an annual pilgrimage to the High Point Market – the interior design industry’s biggest trade show. High Point Market, which is open every six months, draws in more than 75,000 designers, architects, and industry professionals. The market’s current demographics are seriously impressive with 180 buildings, 12 million square feet of showrooms and the presence of 2000+ vendors. Each market is bigger than the next! After taking some much-needed time to process all that we saw this year, here are some of our favorite design trends seen at Spring 2019 High Point Market…

Color Palettes

Color stories which we noticed included ‘tried and true’ white and blue palettes as well as slightly edgier pairings like pink and green. A popular color that we saw being used by so many vendors was yellow. It definitely brought our team a much-needed touch of sunshine after braving another New England winter!

Blues and whites are a staple color palette for us; we are located in the coastal northeast and our clients love a crisp and timeless look inspired by the ocean and blue skies. We were so inspired by all of the new and refreshing ways in which we saw these colors presented – lots of new textures, patterns, and combinations!

An accent of a bright and cheerful yellow is sure to liven up any space. We loved seeing the sunny hue incorporated into artwork, textiles, and accessories. Using yellow as the primary accent color looks beautiful, but it’s also the perfect complementary color to add into the mix and makes reds and white pop. Shown below are some of our favorite sunny spaces!

In Full Bloom – Sculptural Floral

With spring in the air, we expected to see lots of florals; however, we were pleasantly surprised by the innovative ways in which they were presented! Lots of designers took a leap away from using traditional floral prints and brought this concept three dimensional. Some designers took an extravagant approach to florals, incorporating larger than life floral arrangements into their showrooms, while others interpreted floral shapes as part of the furniture.

Bringing Green Inside

Keeping in context with bringing sunshine and florals indoors, there was definitely no shortage of greenery either! Natural and bright, soft and subdued, and even deep and moody greens were a huge trend when it came to textiles. The majority of artwork tended to depict natural life, and greenery was an essential accessory for many designers.

 “Tiny House” Furniture

A fun little surprise we noticed when it came to furniture were secret compartments and even “tiny house” features hidden inside. 

Our favorite piece of furniture showcased at High Point Market was hands down the Grand Staircase Bureau by Theodor Alexander. How adorable are these tiny stairs?

One of our favorite parts of the week was running into Bobby Berk, who was at High Point showcasing his new collection with A.R.T Furniture. Besides being a talented interior designer, Bobby is a well-known star of the popular Netflix series, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. We loved getting to check out his new collection which includes both indoor and outdoor pieces. Bobby says this new collection “offers elegant home essentials that fit seamlessly with a variety of interior design styles.” 

Cristina and Stephanie with Bobby Berk

As always, we had a wonderful time exploring and getting inspired at High Point Market. We’re looking forward to incorporating many of these trends into our future projects! Did you have a favorite? Comment and let us know!

If your home needs an interior refresh or complete redesign, get in touch with us today.

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Some of the best details in architecture are hidden at first glance. Any well-designed building should appear cohesive, free of any jarring details that stick out or steal the show. But when you take a second look, a closer look, you can see that attention to detail that goes into the building. The detail that brings the whole structure together, the detail that ties in concepts and design intent. This detail is difficult to achieve, yet when done properly the design looks easy and effortless.

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Renderings of a kitchen and living room design in progress.

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to design a custom home or building. We’ve previously shared how we use 3D renderings to help clients picture what a project will look like upon completion, and today we’re diving into the world of virtual reality. With VR technology, our team and clients can “step inside” of a space before it’s designed, allowing everyone to get a sense of what the design feels like, and make any necessary adjustments prior to construction.

VR technology originated in 1838, with stereoscopic viewers that use similar technological principals to what Google Cardboard and other phone-based VR headsets use today. Headsets and 3D environments were developed in the 1950s and 1960s, but advancements in the space stagnated due to a lack of technology to create realistic, visually appealing experiences. Now with improved graphics engines and software that allows for the creation of realistic 3D spaces, VR has seen a huge jump in use and people and companies are finding the field increasingly more and more popular and profitable.

We’ve been using VR at TMS Architects for a few years now to test out spaces during the design process, occasionally showing them to clients. Using our rendering program, Lumion, we have been able to make virtual 360 walkarounds and panoramas to send to clients to give them a VR experience without needing headsets. Coming into the office to put on a headset is a great experience but when that is not an option, 360 visualizers make it possible to locate the client or user within the space and allow them to see what the space feels like.

Panorama of the McIntyre remodel in Portsmouth

We recently used this when submitting for the McIntyre remodel in downtown Portsmouth, NH and created several panoramas of the outdoor spaces in order to allow the selection committees to better visualize what we had in mind for the project.

Rendering of a project in progress.

VR can also be extremely useful for troubleshooting and fine-tuning designs. While working with a client on an ongoing project, pictured above, she had some concerns about the stair layout and the ceiling height in the entryway. We were able to bring her into the office and place her into the model using our Oculus Rift headset and she was able to journey around her areas of concern. We then redesigned the stairs to make them a more comfortable experience, something that would have only been realized during construction using regular methods of representation. She was also able to see that the entryway celling height was just fine and wasn’t a cause for concern, giving her peace of mind with that area of the house.

VR is also useful for in-office design work by showing the architect and others working on the project any problem areas or clashes within the model. With the prevalence of 3D design software like Revit, buildings are being designed in three dimensions rather than two and issues with the model can occur. We have used the VR headset and other VR software to detect areas that are missing information, need additional attention to detail, or even find places where there are clashes between our model and the structural model provided by the structural engineers. All of this comes together to create a more sound, error-free design.

Virtual reality gives us the ability to showcase designs and streamline the building process as we’ve never been able to before. We’re glad to be able to use this technology to create a more cohesive experience for our team and our clients and are excited to see how it advances in the years to come. If you’re looking to get started on a new home or commercial building, we’ll bring both top-notch talent and technology to your project. Contact us today to get started!

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Welcome to the second half of our Amazing Exterior Renovations blog series, where you get a behind the scenes look at some of the historic homes we’ve had the chance to renovate. Today, we’re diving into some exterior renovations that are a little different — from a lakeside home with a long history of lovely family memories to a Greek Revival renovation in Portsmouth’s South End.

Read on for stunning transformations (and check out Part 1 if you haven’t yet!)…

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Many of our projects begin with a totally clean slate — bringing a client’s vision to life by designing a brand new and completely custom home. But starting from scratch isn’t always necessary. When the location of a home is just right, or an existing home is rich with historic details, a client may choose to renovate instead. Over the years, we’ve had several opportunities to renovate historic homes in stunning locations — blending classic New England charm with the style and needs of a modern family.

Read on to learn more about some of our favorite exterior renovations…

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A few months ago, we shared the beginning stages of a sustainable Maine home in progress with you. This homeowner desired to implement practical, sustainable elements within a traditional, Cape Cod style home. In our last post, we walked you through our process from laying the foundation to completing the basic structure of the home. Today, we’ll give you a detailed look inside so you can see how we’ve insulated the house for maximum efficiency.

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Spiral staircases have truly stood the test of time. They’ve been around for thousands of years, but it’s not uncommon to find them in a contemporary home today. This unique design can make the most out of a compact space, make a statement, or often do a little of both at once. Read on to learn more about spiral staircases and see some of our favorite designs…

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When you read the words “Maine home,” we bet there’s plenty that comes to mind: rolling hills, peaceful views, and classic New England style. Sustainability and efficiency, however, are probably not at the top of that list. In the past, prioritizing sustainability would dictate the overall design of a home, meaning styles like a classic Cape house would be out of the question. Today, however, it’s easier than ever to incorporate green features into traditional architecture… of course, having years of experience with both like we do doesn’t hurt either.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be documenting the progress of a Maine home that features both classic design elements and a forward-thinking approach for both the current homeowner and the generations to come. We hope you enjoy following along!

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