new england

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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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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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Back in the Summer of 2015 we shared photos and behind the scenes details of a Maine family playhouse under construction. After a great deal of hard work, we’re pleased to share that the whole family and many of their friends were finally able to relax and play in their new vacation house! Take a look inside…

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Summer is here. Brilliant blues abound; crystal skies, fragrant flowers, and of course – the sea. From 4th of July to days “upta camp,” all of New England is preparing for her greatest season as a regional gem. Vacationland, crisp air, and smoky evenings of glittering stars by the water. The imagery never ends. But there’s a certain imagery that can become a part of your home, all year round: classic waterfront architecture. With a few touches or even full renovations, your exterior can have you dreaming of gorgeous summer days, no matter the season.

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For most, nothing symbolizes the celebration of this time of year with as much wonder and beauty as a Christmas tree. But in New England, it is emblematic of so much more: our evergreens have grown and soared for generations, and the traditions surrounding them represent the timelessness this season brings. These trees are of the same essence as the crackling cold air on a night of starry skies; of spiced hot cider and the glowing warmth of woodsmoke; of snow-topped hills turning blue in the light of winter sunsets. They speak of the magic made by children every year, waiting for Santa and playing in pageants. They bring that special joy which makes us all a bit happier, and a bit kinder, and a bit better – the special joy that makes the world a more hopeful place, even if just for a week or two. This is an annual respite for New England, and no place shows it quite as beautifully as The Rocks Estate.

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There are some of us who spend all year looking forward to this time of the year: the sparkling snow, the holiday cheer, the scent of woodsmoke in the air and a glint of candlelight at the dinner table. For them, the weather is sometimes the best part, or at least an acceptable part of the deal; cozy nights, long days on the slopes, and plenty of comfy layers in between. But for even those heartiest of people, this season brings some things few embrace: winterizing and renovations. Be it dedication to the environment or dedication to your pocketbook, the unique challenge of heating throughout our New England winters is one that has defined us for generations. With a vast array of options from short-term to long, your winter can be spent focused on the wonderland instead of the thermostat.

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The concept of “cozy” might be most thought of in the chillier months, but the essence of that feeling is truly key to the interior of any home all year long, regardless of the temperature — because in many ways, that feeling of cozy is precisely what transforms an empty house into a beautifully fulfilling home.

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Summer may be coming to its end, but as all true New Englanders know, that only means the best of times spent in the great outdoors are just beginning. School may be in session and those September days tick away faster than seems possible, yet the temperatures remain warm, leaves remain green, and hours spent in nature remain so often the best of a day. Whether hot or cool, summer or winter, such experiences are priceless all year round – and even if school is back in session, that doesn’t mean the kids can’t enjoy the most wonderful aspects of the seasons. With a few twists and ideas, any outdoor space can become oriented to your youngest explorers, and kid-friendly can become family fun for all months and all ages.

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There is no time to truly enjoy the outdoors quite like the bittersweet end of summer. New England has known this for centuries, and that’s not likely to change soon: there’s a certain magic to that golden haze in the air and that hot breeze on the skin. There’s a certain magic knowing life can be taken a bit more slowly for just a brief respite, these few golden days of lolling and relaxing. There’s a certain magic to knowing the office will accept your lax schedule, and that the kids will entertain themselves outdoors while you unfurl with that long-awaited book on the porch. It’s a magic we dream of all summer, for most of our lives – and it’s the reason we build those gorgeous refuges by the water, soaking in the breeze, basking in the mountain glow. This part of summer is often where we love our summer best, with its beading sunlight and hazy, endless days, fully appreciating all that the outdoors have to offer. And if there’s one thing the outdoors provides best, it’s those eternal moments unifying today with all of those New England summers generations before us. TMS strives to ensure those very summers continue with environmentally friendly and conscious designs, continuously inspired by a time in which enjoying all our nature has to offer went hand in hand with taking care of that nature, in every beautiful outdoor setting.

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There may be little that most U.S. historians can agree upon. But if there is one thing, it’s that while this country of ours may so far have a brief history, it is one rich in detail and experience. While that may not be a surprising statement, the longevity of a cultural cornerstone within that short history – and its importance – might be: that of the country club. In our haste to become an independent nation, some habits are never quite forgotten and left behind; and some traditions flourish, much like ancient seeds brought to new soil. This country of ours might be just a few centuries old, but the first country club inspired by the empire we had just left was established within that first century – and in New England, have since become the epitome of luxury, the powerhouses of industry, and the utmost symbol of American potential and promise.

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As summer reaches its peak, becoming overwhelmed is all too easy. Anyone who regularly looks at a calendar cannot help but be amazed that July has zoomed past, and August is already upon us. While yesterday might have felt like May, suddenly all those plans for hikes through the mountains, trips to the beach, and evenings by the lake seem to have evaporated in the heat of running the kids to camp, attempting to keep the office cool, and the realization that schools will too soon be back in session. But August is precisely the time to truly soak in the summertime, with the wildness of early summer giving way to the relaxation of these hazy days. There’s a reason people vacation in this month, and a similar reason to why Portsmouth remains a vacation destination – and all of those reasons are just as true for each and every local. By taking the time to enjoy all our town has to offer, August vacations need not stray so far from home, and the gems of our area can be appreciated fully by both visitors and natives alike.

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As summer creeps into New England, many of us are daydreaming about that picture perfect beach escape. An oceanfront home is the embodiment of luxury and relaxation, and we have the privilege to be working on a stunning one this summer. Though the project is still very much in progress, the shape it’s taken so far has us inspired for many summers to come. Take a look behind the scenes to get into that summer state of mind…

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After months of continuous snow, slate gray skies, and that endless marrow-deep chill in the air, Portsmouth’s classic New England “spring” has finally begun to pass and summer is mere days from being officially here. The days will lengthen, kids will be out of school, and nights will be filled with warm honey light and cool breezes by the sea. What better way to welcome the season than by being involved in the area you love best? Beat the tourists with some amazing insider events around town, and get the most out of these early summer days.

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Architecture Advocates: Charles Brewster 
By J. Dennis Robinson

Even his best friends said he was dull. His two-volume Rambles about Portsmouth  remain the most important books about New Hampshire’s only seaport. Yet historian Charles Brewster (1802-1869) was, himself, a shy methodical man, who led a remarkably uneventful life.

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Greathorse-Med-2

Designing the GREATHORSE lifestyle club in Hampden, MA is one of our proudest accomplishments in the past year. What was once a dated country club in need of renovation is now a modern and luxurious lifestyle club with a rustic, family oriented feel. We combined Western arts & crafts with New England farmhouse style to give the clubhouse a laid-back atmosphere, and incorporated several equestrian details as a nod to the owners’ love of horses. Now, here’s your chance to take a look inside…

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Lighthouse Cove Cottage

There is little as thrilling, rewarding, and overwhelming as building an entire home of your own. To create the spaces of your dreams, and fulfilling the scope of your future. To build the ideal place into which you and yours can grow, and making it entirely your own. But while the final image of your complete fantasy might rest easy and fully illustrated in your mind, the actual steps taken between the first turn of soil in a shovel to the finishing beauty of your new house can be daunting. With just a few tips and considerations, the process of building your dream home can be kept from becoming a nightmare.

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There are many things to consider when you make an addition or large renovation to your home. It’s your home, so of course any addition should be something that you and your family will be able to enjoy for years to come. But it’s also smart to think about the big picture when making a change.

When it comes to return on investment, all home additions are not created equal. It’s nice to daydream about adding a sun room, swimming pool, or state of the art kitchen, but unfortunately those additions are not always the most practical when it comes time to sell. Here, we’ll share some of the best value additions you can make to your home.

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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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In our opinion, there’s nothing better than being able to take someone’s vision for their dream home and bring it to life. That’s why we’re so thrilled that Coastal Home Magazine chose our Field of Dreams home as the cover feature for their Autumn 2015 issue. Collaboration was key in this project — the homeowners worked closely with TMS’s principle architect Bill Soupcoff and Michael Cebula of Cebula Design to ensure everything fell into place just right. Coastal Home delves into the details in their current issue, but we couldn’t help but share some highlights…

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