Historical Preservation

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Historic homes generally don’t have a lot of natural light, but this is all part of the charm that draws us to them in the first place. With the vast choices available today, it’s possible to bring modern lighting into a historic home without compromising the architecture’s character.

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Since your foyer is the first room to make an impression on family, house guests and visitors, it’s important to make a bold statement with the right design. Whether your style is modern or you’re re-creating a look from days gone by, the lighting plan you choose for your foyer is a fundamental step towards achieving your home’s best design.

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An important facet of sustainable architecture includes using building materials that are not harmful to the environment, as well as reusing materials whenever possible. Salvaged wood can be upcycled and used in many applications that meet both of those criteria. Considering the beauty, uniqueness and historical quality of reclaimed wood, you should not overlook its usefulness.

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In an era where energy-efficiency is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, when it comes to lighting a home effectively, modernizing the lighting in an historic preservation can be a challenge for both the homeowner and the architect. In order to protect the integrity of historic preservation in New England, finding a balance between the natural daylight and historic light fixtures with modern upgrades is essential.

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TMS Architects recently had the opportunity to work again with  Rob Karosis to photograph an unusual architectural project that Shannon Alther, TMS principal, worked on recently.  The homeowners of this beautiful home and barn had lived in the area for years and were thinking seriously about downsizing…apparently all they really needed in a new locale was access to the internet and an airport.  However, the more they thought about leaving the area, the pull of family and grandchildren was hard to ignore so they came up with an ingenious solution in lieu of leaving the family home.

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In 1986, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long had audiences in stitches in The Money Pit, a film about a dream house that becomes a renovation nightmare. That story, of course, is just fiction – or is it?

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When designing a transitional room, finding the right balance of new and old furnishing while maintaining an uncluttered space can be a difficult accomplishment. This can be especially true when you are trying to add task or ambient lighting.

New updates to timeless schoolhouse lights are an excellent way to add a vintage appeal to any room, especially when incorporating them with historic architecture. Light-diffusing shades and the smooth, clean lines of the pendulum-style lights are a classic way to add light to areas that are in need. Today’s schoolhouse lights offer bands of color, various geometric shapes, to add interest, and fancier fittings that would work in a number of transitional rooms.

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Between the facades and shimmering storefronts of new developments, historic homes can still be found in cityscapes across the nation, and globe, because of the variety of benefits provided by historic preservation.

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Having just moved a large pink dollhouse, made for my daughter by her grandfather, J. Dennis Robinson’s recent post for TMS Architects was very poignant.  The pink dollhouse has seen better days and needs some refurbishing but it was a labor of love and evokes so many good memories.  Dennis Robinson is absolutely right….architecture can be found in a pink dollhouse, a model of Portsmouth’s South Church, a hand-made wooden fire station, a home or skyscraper…all were designed, built and are repositories of very powerful memories. 

Dollhouses are not just for girls. My grandfather made one for me when I was a boy. It was a realistic, hand-made, wooden fire station almost three feet tall. It had a tower and two arched openings for my fire trucks. Grandpa Jake painted every red brick on the firehouse and installed every tiny shingle on the steep sloping roof. The model is still up in the attic of my parent’s home.

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Home Renovation

Historic preservation is about more than keeping a beautiful building alive; it’s about strengthening our present community by remembering and honoring our past. It gives us the opportunity to not only tell our children and grandchildren about the places that made us the people and community we are today, but to show them in person.

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After stepping inside the Portsmouth Music Hall, you’re immediately greeted with a burst of color. What’s beautiful about this experience is not only the various tones and shades seen throughout the historical landmark, but the fact that these colors tell the story of the Music Hall’s past and present as an enduring cultural center for the community.

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J. Dennis Robinson, historian and TMS Architects’ guest blogger, brings us an interesting piece today about Edward Tuck, founder of the first graduate school of business at Dartmouth, and leaves us with an interesting question to ponder…is an obelisk architecture?  Read on and let us know what you think!

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Preserving the history of a period home requires special knowledge of the architectural era during which it was built — from design practices and traditions to decorative approaches and popular accents and touches. If your home holds a particularly important architectural pedigree, even the specific shade of color employed in the home’s exterior and interior design becomes integral to honoring its original character.

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Historic architecture is an incredible source of inspiration for the design/build industry. By paying attention to woodwork, details and color choices, we often learn lessons that help us through the modern renovation process. This is especially true for people who own a historic home or building and are planning a renovation or preservation project.

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TMS Architects is delighted to welcome J. Dennis Robinson back as a guest blogger after a hiatus in which he was toiling away on his new book, Mystery on the Isles of Shoals.   The link he draws between architects and writers is very apt and we wish him well with his latest project! 

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Mark your calendars for the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Old House and Barn Expo taking place March 15-16, 2014 at the Radisson/Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH.  Historical preservation is an important mission for TMS Architects and we applaud the work that the NH Preservation Alliance does to publicize and preserve New Hampshire’s historic treasures.  The Old House Barn and Expo is only one of their many important activities.

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TMS Architect’s  guest historian, J. Dennis Robinson, is back with a piece for us on a mysterious pile of stone in Portsmouth Harbor.  If you live on the Seacoast of New Hampshire or travel in the area by boat, you have probably seen the structure’s ghostly presence on the banks of the Piscataqua River.  Dennis provides us with some insight into the building and its murky history.

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As most of us will be gathering around our fireplaces with our families for the holidays, we wanted to add another style of fireplaces to our series on fireplace design. As you’re enjoy the warm glow of your fire, we hope you’ll also enjoy this look at the Arts and Crafts style!

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If the nineteenth century fireplace was the cast iron design, then the twentieth century fireplace was the tiled design. It was towards the end of the Victorian period that fireplaces took on new stylistic features, including tiles and simpler patterns, that later became characteristic of the Edwardian Era.

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J. Dennis Robinson’s 24th guest post for TMS Architects answers one question: why there is so much brick in downtown Portsmouth but raises other questions that we will have to answer for ourselves.  Read on and stay safe this holiday season!

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