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

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I always like to chat about the necessary parts of buildings that we sometimes take for granted. Even the most benign functional things can play an essential role in the feel, texture, and style of a place. One of the most useful of these things is architectural screens, fences, and lattice. Screens and fences are used for privacy or as a visual or physical boundary. Lattice is another such barrier that is supposed to block the view and access to critters from under your porch while still allowing air to flow. There are so many choices we make as architects to design them, so they disappear to blend into the surroundings or play a starring role. These fences play an important roll in setting the tone for two very different aesthetics.

Here the traditional white fence blends with the lacy attitude of the screen porch while doing its job to provide privacy to the pool area and a barrier that is required by code.

The modern wooden fence provides privacy for an in-town contemporary garden, and boldly states that you will see lots of clean, modern things as you enter this remodeled home.

 

These traditional fences set up a layering effect as you move from public to private areas. They interact well with the architecture.

 

This fence has nothing in common with the architecture and therefore sets up a casual backdrop for this poolside fireplace.

This sunroom takes on the language of an open porch. The use of a lattice screen, with an oval cutout that mimics some of the home’s window details, gives some enclosure and shade to the space while adding a traditional element.

Similarly, this bench greets you at the entry porch and is framed by a round screen cutout that is repeated in the living room where it frames the view to the mountains. One could argue without these details, this renovation would still work, but the repetition of language and events ties the home together.

 

The functional exterior screen at the basement level of this home blocks an exterior storage area from view while still allowing air to flow under the deck above. Again the diamond cutouts follow the diamond motif throughout the house, including the diamond muntins you see in the adjacent windows.

Reinterpreted, on the interior of this same home, the screen gives some separation to the balcony study areas on either side of the two-story living room.

     

It also defines the boundary of the living room and gives this 20′ high volume some interest and sense of scale.

In the basement, these motifs are used a little more playfully in the upper guard rail (screen) at the stair. This type of reinterpretation allows the stair to be open but still part of the overall composition of cabinets and built-ins on this family room kitchenette wall.

This outdoor shower, surrounded by a very straightforward fencing system, works well with the home’s details.

Alternatively, in a home with a very small back yard and some close adjacency to the neighbors, another approach was used. Each side of this porch was filled in with a custom screen that gives privacy to an outdoor shower on one side and buffers the neighbors that are 15′ away on the other. The height of the interior transom windows is reflected in a screen change from full privacy at the bottom to open balusters at the top. This was a creative way to integrate the architecture with the functional, needed privacy screens.

 

This home uses a simple vertical board pattern as the barrier under its porches. The architect could have used any number of lattice configurations to do the same functional job. However, it was a great decision to use simplicity here as to not take away from the intricate railings that are being highlighted on the porches and decks above. Had the railings been simple, the choice for cutouts in the vertical boards or some more complex patterns could have been deployed.

 

Here is an example of a historic home’s lattice where this complexity is celebrated amongst the simple forms of the foundation and simple porches. Certainly an inspiring design for this classic arts and crafts home.

Hopefully, the next time you look at a home, you may be more aware of some of the pieces and begin to realize why some things are appealing and why some items are not as pleasing. There is a vast vocabulary to work with when building a home, and we hope that we make wise choices for all the pieces and parts so that the building flows together in a pleasing composition you can call home. If you’ve been looking to add some new aesthetic details to your home don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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Are you spending more time at home these days and realizing that your home lacks that something special? Or maybe you’re just tired of seeing the same old things day after day? Luckily there are a few quick and easy changes you can make to your home that will make your surroundings much closer to that ideal house you’ve always dreamt about.

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Like most of the world at this moment, all of us at TMS Architects and Interiors are working from home to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means that many of us needed to improvise and put together home offices and workspaces at the drop of a hat. Many of us have converted guest bedrooms, basements, kitchen tables, and cobbled together spaces for ourselves in various corners of our houses while navigating all of the other challenges that the lockdown has brought.

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We’re proud to announce that The Governor’s Academy Peter Marshall French Student Center Redesign and Expansion in Newbury, MA is slated to break ground at the end of January 2020 with a targeted completion date of mid-August 2020.  The Academy has selected Shawmut Design + Construction out of Boston, Massachusetts to serve as Construction Manager and General Contractor for the project.

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Thanks to the Internet and numerous shows focused on home improvement and real estate, even a casual design enthusiast can build up a pretty robust vocabulary of architectural terms. But beyond terms like “beadboard” and “crown molding,” there are some words and phrases that can trip up even the most experienced of architects. Today, we’re taking this window of opportunity to dig into two of the more often confused architecture words (even among industry pros): Mullion and Muntin

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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.

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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…

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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.

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A fireplace in a New England home is as traditional as it gets. The sights, sounds and smells of a crackling fire conjures many positive memories of holiday gatherings or of watching the first winter snow fall through frosted window panes as the flickering light of orange and yellow flame danced across the darkened walls and ceiling.

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Marie Kondo is seemingly everywhere as of late but if you find yourself wondering who exactly she is, no worries; we’ve got you covered. Marie is a Japanese lifestyle expert who is best known for her #1 New York Times best-selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and most recently her hit Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Marie has developed a system for tidying your home which is known as the KonMari Method. Encouraging people to only hold on to items that “spark joy,” the KonMari Method promises to help people bring “serenity and inspiration” into their lives.

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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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