“We had the opportunity to work with Helen on two different houses, a 1950’s contemporary and a 1899 Victorian cottage – two extremely different styles. We experienced first hand Helen’s wonderful ability to design what is appropriate to maintain the original style of a house, while updating it with creativity and flair. A three season porch on the 1950’s house added much needed character and now complements a contemporary family room. A once dark Victorian kitchen is now filled will sunlight, warmth, and is so welcoming!!It was a pleasure to work with Helen on both projects. She is prompt, listens, and has a good sense of humor.”
Betsy and Mike Brown
“As we embark on our fourth renovation with Helen, it’s a good moment to consider why we have continued to use her services repeatedly all these years!Our renovations have been in two houses, both of which are recently built-one in 1968 and the other in 1987. They both required extensive updating of bathrooms, kitchens and living areas. Helen successfully designed alterations that are both beautiful and practical. She has a unique ability to combine pragmatic factors such as comfort, access and light with dramatic design elements so that the space feels new and fresh. We felt that her sensibility for light was particularly important in two different spaces, one in the woods and one on the water. In both cases Helen’s work fit the site and at the same time enhanced the positives and counteracted the negatives of the site (too dark in one and too bright in the other!)
From the exterior, it has been important to us that the additions look appropriate to the rest of the house. We did not want a “tail wagging the dog” kind of addition. The country house looks like it has always been there and yet it has a new look with windows, doors, eaves and siding that accentuates and improves a very traditional ranch design. It was an ugly duckling and is now terrific looking. Though the waterfront house didn’t need as much exterior alteration, the work that Helen did enhanced it by placing windows and doors in appropriate places….
We believe that as a woman and mother, that Helen is always conscious of the way in which the house will work for us as a family and as hosts. This has been a benefit in small and large ways… mudrooms, closet space, kitchen cabinet design, entryway locations and design all benefit from her “user ” orientation.
Another factor for us has been her ability to work with contractors. We have used two general contractors and many subs and without exception they have said that Helen has been the best architect that they have worked with. She is accessible to them and respectful of their costs and scheduling considerations.
We are in the process of working with Helen on the final piece of our country house, a garage and work space. We look forward to it!”
Pam Burns and Ed Pliner
“Having worked with architects over the years, I want to say that the experience — from start to finish — I had working with Helen Sides jumps to the top of my ‘best’ list. Helen combines her ‘clean’ design eye with everyday, practical living. She encourages collaboration in order to achieve the best possible result. She is professional, responsive and an incredibly wonderful renovation ‘partner.'”
“Architect, Helen Sides provides simply beautiful sensible designs that fit seamlessly into the character of a property. She navigates gracefully through the differences of opinion that partners frequently have, providing solutions that please everyone, even the contractors. In planning additions, Helen is respectful of the qualities that make existing structures unique. Her designs always achieve the goal of more space and yet never diminish the appearance or use of the old space, no matter how challenging. Our cottage on the lake in New Hampshire was 10.5 feet wide and 50 feet long and came with zoning and topographical restrictions. Helen came up with a design that added a master bedroom suite, a screened in porch, a mud room and enhanced both the living room and a bathroom. When the project was completed, even a neighbor had to ask, ‘I’ve forgotten, where does the old part end and the new begin?'”
“Helen did a terrific job of bringing this 1870s shingle-style house into the 21st century without losing the original look and feel. We were pretty hands-on clients with high expectations and Helen came through on all fronts.”
“In a renovation, Helen’s strength is her ability to respect and reflect a client’s vision, while maintaining the spirit of the original structure. She explores lifestyle and preferences, then gently marries the client’s personality with the project. When working with a couple, she balances each individual’s focal points, and often saves the marriage! Her good humor, love of her craft, and vast experience transform a project into a wonderful life event.”
Livia Cowan and Mark Glovsky
“We spoke with three architects about our old-house addition. Helen understood the issues from both sides: she knew how to design an alteration that would look like it always belonged to the house. At the same time her design made the interior space many times more useful and pretty. She has a rare ability to listen and respond to the client’s concerns. And her taste is impeccable.”
Nina Cohen and Craig Barrows
“When we purchased our house, we knew immediately that we needed to add on to the house and renovate the existing space. The house presented some unique challenges and we had a very definite ‘wish list’ we wanted incorporated. Helen not only listened to our needs but was creative in solving some of the site constraints. She not only created something beautiful but was also mindful of functionality and the needs of a family with children. We were especially concerned that the addition appear to have been part of the original house and that the transition between old and new be seamless. This was done so well that people often mistake the addition as part of the original house. We would highly recommend Helen Sides to anyone contemplating a small renovation or a whole house construction project.”
Susan and Kevin Barry