Interior Design

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Stairs.  We use them throughout the day in some capacity. They come in all shapes and sizes and explore all sorts of styles and finishes, from the rather basic to the amazingly ornate.  We don’t give stairs much thought, other than when they feel uncomfortable, like in an old house.  Today, we want our clients looking forward to using and seeing their stairs.

The genesis of stair deign begins simply with its location within the plan.  Since the stair is a visual focal point, the stair often is located near the front entry, or the main living space positioned to provide efficient access to all floors.  A single stair works for most homes but larger homes or homes with long footprints may require two.  If this is the case, the secondary stair is often less formal and located near utilitarian spaces, such as a mudroom or garage.  How the stair looks depends on the interior design.  A stair works as an extension of millwork, allowing the details to flow from one floor to another.  There are examples of transitional, traditional, and contemporary staircases shown throughout this post.

Each stair showcases unique details to enhance the look and feel of the home using key stair components.  These components are the handrail, baluster, newel post, tread, riser, wall stringer and outer stringer. Together, these elements function to provide safety and beauty.  Most of TMS’s homes feature traditional and transitional detailing and as a result the stair components are more elaborate.  For example, newel posts are larger and could exhibit mouldings, rosette carvings, finials, and sizable newel caps.  Balusters range from squares to turned and can even have fun cutouts and medallions.

The balusters and newel posts are the components where the main house theme carries through.  For instance, a nautical theme house may have round newels, whereas a traditional, historical or farmhouse theme would have a box newel or a starting newel with a volute.

A handrail must provide a specific grip dimension for safety, so the larger profiles found in historical homes are hard to replicate and meet code.  We’ve altered these profiles to capture a similar appearance but meet the code requirements.  To do this we combine two handrails with a smaller grip sized on top with a larger moulding profile at the base of the handrail.  This satisfies the life safety aspect and creates a robust handrail that both looks and feels good.

Contemporary and modern stairs deviate from the more traditional stair elements.  You’ll find simpler handrails, sometimes even square profiles, with balusters made of metal, cable, glass or solid walls.  Treads and risers are also minimal and made from a variety of material, versus the wood half round treads with scotia nosings, stair runners and profiled stringers of the traditional stairs.  Modern stairs could feature mono-stringers and cantilevered treads, sometimes with no risers between the treads, giving the appearance of a “floating” stair.  The look is both aspiring and formidable in the sprit of turning the stair into a distinct experience.

TMS Architects and Interiors spends a great deal of time focusing on stair layout and how it fits within the larger fabric of the overall millwork package.  They are showpieces built by fine builders and woodworkers which become celebrated pieces of art.

We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the creative ways stairs can shine within your home. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your next design project.


TMS Architects and Interiors has been designing beautiful New England homes in a variety of traditional and modern styles for over 35-years.  One of those iconic styles is called Shingle Style.  Of true New England origin, Shingle Style was made popular in the latter part of the 19th century and was inspired by the idea of a slower, simpler and romantic lifestyle.  For this reason, you’ll find this style populating locations where relaxation is a way of life, such as the oceanside, lakefronts and mountainside retreats.

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One of our recent projects here at TMS Architects Interiors was a stunning furniture install at a picturesque lakeside location in New Hampshire. This home is a mixture of neutral natural textures with a contemporary edge. The look nods at lakeside living while showcasing some exciting fabric and color choices for a special flair.

Take a peek at the highly anticipated install day unfolded!

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Storage is something we all seem to need more of these days. Why not find a way to add it to your home while making it visually appealing at the same time? Built-in cabinetry is extremely customizable and adds a high-end look to any room. Cabinetry can be creatively designed in any style or configuration- the possibilities are endless! Built-in millwork enables the addition of plenty of storage without adding bulky standalone pieces. This is especially important if you have a small space or an awkward layout that would not allow for the use of typical furniture. You can turn what could be an otherwise unusable nook into something specifically designed to suit your particular storage needs.

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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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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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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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