historic preservation

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There’s a reason this time of year is considered the most wonderful, the most magical. The world is a little kinder, the nights a little cozier. The best part, of course, is being together with the people you love most. Cherish this month with these incredible Portsmouth events — Travel + Leisure called us “Christmas Capitol of America” for good reason, after all!

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TMS Architect’s guest blogger and local historian, J. Dennis Robinson,  provided us with a December post that,  in this season of light, appropriately turns its attention to electricity, Ben Franklin and an  historic Portsmouth home. 

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The new owners of this historic residence wished to retain its formal aesthetics but recognized that their young and energetic family needed some additional casual space.  The kitchen and the spaces in the rear ell did not meet the owners’ needs and the second floor master bedroom also served as access to the second floor spaces in the rear ell.  All bathrooms were antiquated and the home also lacked direct exterior access to the large back yard and swimming pool.

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Just when we least expect it, a new blog post for TMS Architects arrives from our guest historian, J. Dennis Robinson.  The subject of this one was timely as it had been in the local papers and was wonderful to get more information about this particular building on State Street in downtown Portsmouth.

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Restoring a Victorian home can be a seemingly endless undertaking, both physically and financially. However, once your project is complete, you’ll not only have a beautiful home, but you’ll also have contributed to a historic preservation project in New England. While it’s best to hire a licensed architect to help plan your restoration, there are some tips you can follow if you prefer to do the work yourself.

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Historic preservation in New England is tantamount to most owners of the gems of yesteryear. While older construction is generally far superior to the fast-paced construction of today, modern living makes it necessary to increase your living space while maintaining the integrity of your home’s history. Enter the practice of utilizing sensitive additions.

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Hardscaping is an excellent addition to any home or commercial property in need of an uplift or boost in value. There are many considerations when developing a plan for your project, and working with an architect is a great way to ensure your money is well spent and that your project will not cause damage to your home’s existing facade.

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Historic preservation is an aspect of Americana that can be seen in New England and communities both small and large. And, this is one of the driving factors that keep some homeowners in their historic home from one generation to the next, leading some to add an addition. But with tight regulations that ensure the integrity of original structures, this is not a project homeowners should take on without the advice and design skills of an experienced architect.

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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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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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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 has enjoyed working with the Portsmouth Music Hall Theatre over the years, having partnered with a team of builders, construction companies and engineers to complete a historic renovation of the theater in 2006 and 2007. So, we’re excited to be lending our support to the theater once again this year by sponsoring the upcoming Music Hall Kitchen Tour.

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According to a new report by Builder magazine, “There are clear trends in house plans.” Top-selling homes are revealing that homeowners are favoring larger floor plans with first-floor master bedrooms and home offices, among other features. Looking at these top trends can help homeowners decide how to infuse their existing homes with the most value possible during 2014 remodels.

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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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TMS Architects’s guest blogger, J. Dennis Robinson, provides us with a serious message in his 23rd guest post for us.  As he points out, cultural tourism is important to our local economy as Portsmouth is one of the top heritage destination points in America and as building continues at a rapid pace downtown, the last bits of history are being destroyed underneath these new buildings. 

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