About James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 20 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

Carpenter Architects (Expanded)

Two hundred years ago there were few architects to direct carpenters in the way to build a proper home. That was just fine. Homes in general were simple and carpenter architects paid a lot of attention to detail and proportion.There were books written by architects, that provided guidelines and formulas for the creation of homes but those were a point of departure and did not anticipate every condition that the carpenter would encounter. Those early builders were trained well and took […]

By |July 13th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||0 Comments

6 Ways to Love Your Basement

The key to loving your basement is creating a space you want to visit.  Everyone is different.  A basement gym might encourage a daily workout, or a home theater might bring the whole family down for movie night.  Wine cellars are perfect for the basement since cool, windowless rooms make for perfect wine storage.  Entertainment spaces or laundry rooms work well also.  A basement is an open canvas waiting for the perfect use and someone with a vision to make […]

Small Addition, Big Excitement

Few events rival the excitement leading up to the arrival of a new puppy.  We will soon be picking up our, (my daughter’s), Border Collie from a Pennsylvania farm family-the Freys, who own Frey’s Livestock Supply.  Our puppy’s parents are true working dogs, herding cattle on a daily basis.  Our sheep don’t know about the change that is about to happen on our mini-farm.

I would like to thank Nancy Frey for the great photos she let me use, and I […]

By |June 12th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||8 Comments

Everyone Needs to Know a Good Woodworker

When I have a special woodworking project for myself or my clients, the first person I call is Rodger Manley.  He literally can make anything with wood.  He builds double hung windows like they were built in 1750, or 1880, or you name it.  He loves old homes and I have seen him replace 200 year old windows and exterior details, that when he was finished, you could not tell the new from the old.

Although Rodger can build anything, […]

By |June 12th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous, Wood working||4 Comments

9 Pool Houses of Summer

Nothing says summer like kids splashing around in a pool–except perhaps an adult party centered around a pool on a balmy summer evening. In either case, a pool house makes everything easier. Whether the pool house is small and simple or includes a full kitchen and guest quarters, having a place to store cold drinks, towels and refreshments makes summer entertaining a lot more fun.

A pool house can be a place to access only the absolute necessities while enjoying the […]

By |June 8th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||4 Comments

9 Screened Porches, Just in Time

When it is buggy out, a screened porch is in it’s glory!  I love to eat dinner on my open porch (as well as drink my morning coffee), but if the bugs are out, I go inside.  Screened porches solve those problems entirely.  It is just lucky for me, that my property rarely has a bug problem.  For some homeowners, the mosquitos, gnats, and other biting insects come out like clockwork, making it hard to relax and enjoy their […]

By |May 15th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||1 Comment

7 Uses for Reclaimed Beams

We use reclaimed wood beams on many of our projects.  They add color, texture and a sense of history to every home.  Some are used as structural elements, some as decorative elements, and other times they are milled into flooring, cabinets, trim, or furniture.  200-year-old beams have a color and texture which  are very hard to reproduce.  Old-growth trees, from which they were made, also have a grain structure which is very different than wood which is generally available today.

Most […]

By |May 15th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||2 Comments

Wood: It’s Not What It Used To Be (Revisited)

I once owned a converted one-room schoolhouse built in 1865.  The siding and the trim around the windows, soffit, fascia, corner boards, etc. were made of pine.  When I bought it, it had been without paint for years yet the windows and trim were in perfect condition.  Today, if you left a wood window made of pine exposed for 2 years (or less) you would probably need to replace it.  Homes built 15 years ago can have major problems […]

By |May 13th, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||1 Comment

6 Rooms in the Eaves (Expanded)

When we first moved into our 1790’s home, I bumped my head many times on a sloping ceiling in the master bath.  I could not wait to change that situation. One of our first major additions/renovations included a full height master bath.  We still have a sloped ceiling in the new bath, but it starts at about 7’-0” and goes up from there.

Ideally the sloped ceiling starts high enough so that furniture easily fits against the walls of the […]

By |April 23rd, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||0 Comments

4 Kinds of Home Lighting

The American Lighting Association identifies 3 types of interior lighting: Task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting.  I would add a fourth which falls into several categories, but I would call mood or stage lighting.   I don’t mean dramatic stage lighting, I mean setting the stage in a home for a mood or an event.    When my family eats dinner in our dining room, we light a large candelabra and it sets the mood for a fun […]

By |April 23rd, 2017|Categories: Miscellaneous||0 Comments