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Meet Carol Marsh of Helios Design Group in Jamaica Plain

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carol Marsh.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Carol. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a young woman, I was always involved in the arts, and had a variety of jobs to pay the rent. In my mid-twenties I decided to find a career which combined both, and architecture seemed to be the perfect answer.

I graduated from architecture school in Southern California, and moved to Boston in 1990. I worked for Hickox Williams Architects on Beacon Hill, and learned about working in Boston’s wonderful historic buildings. I also spent several years with TLCR downtown, designing schools.

I met my partner Chris Hosford at Hickox Williams, and we decided to go out on our own in 2004. Our first year, we worked out of Chris’s house, sharing the office with a few helpful cats. We moved into our current space in 2006, and have been designing houses and other spaces ever since.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We were just getting on our feet as a practice when the recession hit – I remember lots of friends in architecture losing their jobs at that time – major firms were closing, or laying off half their staff, and we had some lean years doing tiny projects.

In this field, you have to learn from your mistakes along the way – I’ve been blessed with some great clients who focused on the lovely homes they were getting, and were patient with the process.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Helios is a small architecture and interior design firm – we added a full time interior designer a couple of years ago. Our main interest has always been residential design working with homeowners, from new kitchens to new houses. I love the housing stock in Boston – there are so many great buildings from different periods. Working in an existing building is like putting together an intricate puzzle – tuck a little here, add a little there, and you can completely change the way a home works. Of course, building a house from scratch is great too. Lately, we’ve had a good time designing taprooms – it’s fun to design something that loads of people will enjoy.

Clients come to us knowing they want something different in their space, and often have a list of requirements, but we dive deep with them to discern what’s most important. We unfold the problem, look at it from every angle, and give people what they didn’t realize they could have, whether it’s calm beauty, intimate connection with the outdoors, or eccentric spaces. That process of listening carefully and considering all the possibilities is the same whether I’m designing a house or a restaurant.

I’m happiest when my clients tell me they love their new space, and especially when it really changes the way they live. I love driving around New England an being able to point at buildings I’ve worked on, and imagine someone enjoying the space.

What were you like growing up?
I was a shy and bookish girl – my family moved around a lot, so I was always the new kid. My sense of humor gave me a way of navigating new places and new groups of people. I think that’s continued – life is pretty funny, and it always helps to take things lightly. When I was young I started working in pottery, which began a visual education that continued through other mediums – I’ve become passionately visual – beauty in the world really matters to me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jared Kuzia
Milton Trimitsis
Cody O’Loughlin

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