His follow-through to completion is peerless
Tom was the architect who helped us to design our dream home. After the designs were complete, he was our key advisor throughout the entire project. He helped us to get the plans approved by our town zoning board and stood stalwartly beside us as we navigated changes and updates to our home-in-progress. Tom has an innate gift in understanding unspoken needs, is ever thoughtful, and is highly respected both by homeowners and those in the building trades with whom he has worked over the years. Even 18 months after moving into our home, new details from his visions come to light, making us appreciate his talents even more. Tom is also innovative when it comes to understanding and integrating new technologies, green building, and health-related accommodations in his designs. His follow-through to completion is peerless in our estimation whether in the build phase, advising on negotiations with builders, or developing multiple workable, cost-effective solutions to issues as they unfold.
The longer I live here the more I appreciate the details and the value of having hired a smart architect
I hired Tom Harden & Associates on two occasions. And I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the process and the results speak for themselves!
The first project was a total remodel of a very small home. I didn’t want a huge home but I wanted an open floor plan, lots of light, midcentury character, and some aging in place ADA features. Tom was with me every step of the way from getting a variance from the town, to helping manage the builder, assisting with choosing the fixtures and finally creating a punch list.
The longer I live here the more I appreciate the details and the value of having hired a smart architect. The house has dozens of really neat features that are a testament to Tom’s eye for detail and great design sense. Here are a few small examples of details that get nicer everyday. When Tom positioned the skylights, he positioned each one differently so I never see adjacent houses; I see trees and night sky. My light switches in just the right place – And I know they are in the right place because guests and family never ask me “Where it the switch for…?”; and I have knock out Hubbardton Forge lights and he designed a rosewood and mahogany newel post that picks up on the wrought iron design in the lights; The first floor has high ceilings but Tom used clever design strategies to make them feel even higher. I have elderly parents and he designed a bathroom with extra wide doors for a walker, a shower with no lip and a cantilevered vanity that makes cleaning the floor a piece of cake.
He was also a gentle and wise advisor who helped me stay within in my limited budget. He retooled IKEA cabinets in such a way that people are surprised when I tell them the cabinets are IKEA. Thankfully he was focused on being green. I have high R-value insulation and a fantastic 3-zone heating a system that makes my heating and cooling bills really reasonable. When the fir front door I wanted was out of reach he designed an MDF door with embellishments that carries off the same feel but within my budget.
This summer when I wanted to add an outdoor kitchen there was no question who I wanted to work with- so I phoned Tom. An outdoor kitchen is a big investment and getting it right was critical. I knew Tom would bring the right proportions and if I left the selection of grill and fixtures to Tom, he would research the best items for the New England climate. While this was a shorter project it was the same kind of experience of good listening, smart questions, excellent drawings, and fixture recommendations that were dead-on target and perfectly proportioned.
A great architect makes all the difference and can save you money. Tom hits all the expected marks but what sets him apart is his ability to deliver things you don’t even know how to ask for and to help you navigate the countless choices. He has a great sense of proportion, and he can recommend fixtures and products that are just right and work with you to make decisions within your budget. I have recommended Tom to all my friends and that is not a hard sell after they see my house.
Absolutely superb in a very challenging project
Tom Harden was our architect on a very major renovation project we did on our house during 2008-09. He was absolutely superb in a project that was very challenging from a design and management perspective. We could not have done the project without him, and we are extremely satisfied with the results.
The project involved multiple aspects and multiple objectives. Our contemporary house was built in 1991 with excellent structural materials but with an awkward floor plan causing poor functionality. It also lacked acoustical privacy and energy efficiency. The project primarily included: (i) Reconfiguring the first-floor layout to make it more functional and aesthetically pleasing which included a complete remodel of the kitchen, dining room, sunroom and powder room plus the addition of a mud room from space cleverly borrowed from the garage; (ii) Completely redesigning the master suite on the 2nd floor including enclosing a large portion of a seldom-used balcony and totally remodeling the en suite bathroom and walk-through closet; (iii) Finishing off attic space over the garage as an exercise room; (iv) Increasing the natural light using sun tunnels; (v) Enhancing the basement space including installation of a ¾ bath; (vi) Remodeling two existing fireplaces and installing inserts; and (vii) Modernizing and upgrading the HVAC and insulation of the house to greatly improve energy efficiency and comfort.
Tom Harden was involved from the inception with the project, including conceptualization of the project, exploration of alternatives, selection of contractor, and complete design specifications. He also served throughout the project as architectural and construction adviser. He excelled in these roles. As in any renovation there are always times when the builder presents multiple options and the homeowner must choose. Tom’s advice during these times was invaluable in the way he understood and explained the ramifications of each option.
Perhaps what was most impressive about Tom was his ability to truly listen and understand our desires and tastes and objectives for the project. He was very adept at explaining technical details either about mechanical systems or subtle design aspects. He was able to come up with creative ideas to implement our desires for the project. He “rescued” the project on several occasions by coming up with clever and innovative solutions. He was always patient, understanding, professional, and though we had an excellent contractor, it was quite useful to have Tom bridging the communication and overseeing the construction process.
Considering all the services Tom Harden provided and the quality of his service and centrality of his role in the project, his fees were modest and well worth the cost. He was definitely essential to the success of our renovation.
Truly a pleasure to work with
Tom Harden was truly a pleasure to work with. We had never worked with an architect before we decided to put an addition on our house. We interviewed several architects, but found Tom to be more tuned in to what we wanted. He had good ideas and was receptive to our ideas, and respectful of traditional design styles. He has a great sense for where symmetry is needed. For us he came up with a great blend of old and new. He took advantage of our difficult site without overwhelming the modest neighborhood. In the end we got an addition we are extremely happy with, and energy-efficient, too.
Responsive, creative and delightful to work with!
We hired Tom Harden and Assoc. to create concepts, design options and preliminary design drawings for remodeling our '60's rancher. We did not ask for construction drawings, though it was understood that assistance would be available as needed during the building process. His deliverables were exactly as promised, reasonable in cost, on time and of excellent quality. The project included: adding a master bedroom suite; creating a welcoming entry and foyer; replacing the garage and screen porch; and re-arranging interior spaces. Options were wide open, though the external appearance, rooflines and massing of the house were very important to us and we asked Tom to have that drive the design.
He succeeded and we are delighted with the results of his work ... the house remains true to it's organic design, has a very direct, practical and pleasing approach from the driveway and maintains unity, with the new and old parts blending perfectly. After extensive discussions, Tom started by providing several concepts each with variations, followed by visually useful computer-generated isometric views (and later upon request colored them to aid in finish selection.) Together we iterated these ideas many times, Upon selection of the final concept, Tom gave us preliminary drawings and greatly assisted in the building permit "package". These drawings included more information than we expected, and provided excellent guidance to the trades involved. Twice we needed to make some significant changes and Tom was very responsive with new drawings to capture the changes.
Since we were serving as our own general contractor, Tom was called upon many times for assistance with permitting, foundation and building issues as they arose. He was exceptionally responsive and provided (often time-critical) information in every instance. That, and his contributions when he came to the job-site were most appreciated. Also his "preliminary" drawings were very detailed and saved much of our time during construction. Since we were serving as our own GC, had previous home renovation experience, and planned to hire very experienced trades, we thought that we did not need detailed on-site architectural assistance. Thus we mutually agreed up front that Tom would charge by the hour, with an estimate provided by him of the time involved in each of the phases. Overall we were very satisfied with his charges: they were clear, reasonable and professionally presented.
Tom Harden was very easy to work with ... he listened well, contributed perspectives that stimulated discussions, had solutions to big and small issues, and useful ideas to solve little problems, as well as having at hand a wide variety of resources (which we appreciated and utilized!)
Based on our experience with Tom, we highly recommend him for home renovations. He is responsive, creative and delightful to work with.