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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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Summer in New England is always much too short. With just a few months of warm, sunny weather each year, us locals are inclined to make the most of it. For many of our clients, that means installing a home pool. It can be a laborious (not to mention costly) addition, but a well-designed pool area offers plenty of fun for kids and adults alike. As we move closer and closer to Fall, we’ve decided to look back on some of our all-time favorite designs.

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When it comes to constructing or renovating a home, location is one of our major sources of inspiration. And here in New England there’s plenty to inspire: from the dreamy seacoast to peaceful lakes to idyllic pastures. Often this is expressed on a large scale — through natural stone terraces, shingle-style siding or grand entryway columns — though we love to luxuriate in the details, too! Cupolas and weathervanes are classic elements of a New England home, and we like to incorporate them into our designs whenever possible.

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Nearly three years ago, we gave you a sneak peek at one of our projects in progress. This cottage-inspired, New England home is now complete, and we’re thrilled to give you a tour.

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A beach cottage offers an escape from reality. It’s a place for quality time spent with loved ones, fun in the sun, and relaxation. Of course, the design of such a place should enhance the experience, creating a soothing sanctuary away from the demands of everyday life. That’s exactly what we did when we transformed the master bathroom of a 1950s beach cottage into an open, contemporary, and all-around luxurious retreat.

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