Photo Post

Happy Friday Thursday, friends!

Here at Sperry, we do a pretty good job of balancing. . . work and play!

Great job balancing your work to play ratio, Robin!


Small post ends in the wood shop!


Fabric testing and sampling – for our new line of tents!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Winding Down the Warm Season

Here’s a timely acronym for you! The WCR!

WCR here at the barn is a Wash, Check, and Repair, and it all begins in the fall. After a team takes down an awning, tent, or canopy, it comes back to the barn and takes a long bath. We scrub-a-dub away all of the debris of summer, and the cloth hang dries before coming out onto the floor for a thorough check and repair. We assess the condition of the structure, and go over the stitching to see how it is holding up. After the checkup, we patch any holes, and sew up any loose ends. Then the cloth is bundled, labelled, and snuggled in to our heated storage facility for a rest until the spring installation. Then we fetch another awning and lather, rinse, and repeat! Each step of the WCR(S) process is optional, but we find that all four together yield the best results, with the best longevity for each cloth structure.

Autumn Leaves

Have any questions? Just remember that your awning is still up and the air is cooling down? Give us a call at 774.849.3505 or send me an e-mail at



On The Floor This Week

Good morning, readers! The summer is starting to wind down here, and we have fewer installs going out the doors, and more new designs to work on for next year. We are still making plenty of classic Sperry Tents in a variety of sizes.

On the floor this week, we have:

(1) 46′ x 65′ Sperry Tent

(1) 32′ x 90′ Sperry Tent

A mixed batch of clear tent sidewalls for our friends out in sunny California (Hi, Zephyr Tents!)

A couple of tent repairs for the September Wedding Rush

A prototype for Visible Good, a company we greatly enjoy working with. They build and distribute Rapid Deployment Modules for emergency housing and temporary shelters.

Crate Shop

Not this week – but still pretty cool. Steve built a wee shipping crate for an overnight flight to Europe. Have a great trip, 32 x 90!

Have a great week, readers!

Storm Procedure at Sperry Fabric Architecture

It’s all blue skies as far as the eye can see, and here’s to hoping that the storms this year are as mild as a sleepy kitten.

From our blessedly sheltered location inland of Buzzards Bay, we were lucky in that our structures were almost entirely uninstalled before the big storms last year. Bundles of fabric architecture weathered the storms snuggled cozily into the Check & Repair bays of our heated storage here at the barn. Unfortunately a couple of structures were badly damaged during the surprising force of  hurricane Sandy, and have since been rebuilt.

As a talisman against big weather this year, to follow are some details about our structures and the procedure we recommend in the event of a big storm at any time of year.

All of our structures are designed to be able to withstand the normal spectrum of weather activity. By “normal” I certainly do not mean “fair weather” – a ship’s sail is a sturdy thing, and the baseline for all of our work lies in the sailmaker’s craft. For more exposed locations, we take extra care to make sure that the structure is fabricated specifically to endure high winds and more extreme exposure. That being said, hurricanes are fickle and unpredictable, and hurricane-force winds are well outside the normal range of weather conditions.

If any of our customers have questions about the weather report, we absolutely encourage them to call and ask away at 774.849.3505 or to e-mail us at info@sperryfabricarchitecture. As a small company, we are very familiar with the design of each structure, and we will be more than happy to give advice about what the best course of action will be.

We provide short notice take-downs for extreme weather situations and encourage our customers to call us as early as possible if they begin to feel concerned about their fabric structure.  With a storm looming, there are quite enough preparations to make without having to worry about a brand new shade-sail sailing away.  We take pride in our customer service – especially in these situations – and the proverbial “better safe than sorry” absolutely applies when it comes to your home and peace of mind.

Project Spotlight: Dune Cottage

Dune Cottage Deck(3)_newsmall

Look at that view. . . stunning!
The ocean is nice, too.
Photos courtesy of Ocean House and © Chip Riegel

The Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island is an amazing place. The sprawling, classic inn is a bright summery yellow, and is complemented by the grounds and the lovely beach-side restaurant – the Dune Cottage. As the sun warmed quickly to the summer season, we were brought in to design and install a matched pair of tension awnings to shade and shelter diners at the Dune Cottage.

Dune Cottage Deck (2)_new small

New awnings, the Dune Cottage, and the Ocean House itself peeking from the background.
Photo courtesy of Ocean House and © Chip Riegel

These awnings are made from one of our favorite heavy-duty cloths for use in long-term installations. Despite their rugged qualities, the awnings appear weightless and delicate, complementing the gingerbread trim on the Dune Cottage and the lighthearted summertime atmosphere.

image small

There is a playful contrast between the classic building and the modern tension awnings.

The posts and spars for these awnings were lovingly crafted in the wood shop here, made out of Douglas Fir and varnished well to protect against the elements. The stainless steel hardware is nautical strength, and will prevent rust and corrosion. The awnings have been party to a number of crowds this summer at some fantastic summer events. You can read more about the events at Ocean House and the Dune Cottage on their events website.

Stay tuned to see photos of the kitchen awning we are building right now for the hardworking chefs, slaving over the hot stove and under the hot sun. We can’t change the heat of the stove, but we can certainly add some shade to the equation!

If you like the looks of these awnings and think you might need one (or two, or three) of your own, please give us a call at 774-849-3505, or send us an e-mail at

Thank goodness – it’s time for photos!

Musto Custom Awnings

A matched set of custom tension awnings at a home on Cape Cod.

Happy Friday! Here is what’s new from the shop –

Castle Hill Bar

The outdoor bar at the Castle Hill Inn – arches and sidewalls from SFA.


A new, heavy-duty custom canopy at the New York Yacht Club, Harbor Court

New Welding Table!

And a new welding table for the welders downstairs – weighing in at. . .quite a lot, this beauty will make for a much sturdier work space.

Have a great weekend, readers!

What day is it? Friday!

What’s happening? Has anyone seen April and May? I seem to have lost them. . . a few minutes ago it was cold and there was time to organize everything, and now it appears to be June!

Let’s celebrate coming up for air with some photos of recent installations . . . and a mimosa – I’ll bring the photos, you bring the champagne? Seems fair to me!

Tav Vino

Tav Vino restaurant in Warren, RI


New York Yacht Club at Harbor Court (Newport, RI)

Ocean House

The Dune Cottage at Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI


Castle Hill Inn in Newport, RI

What do you think?

I guess there’s a chance I might be biased, but I’m pretty excited. We have some really bright, colorful, and fun custom projects coming up that I just can’t wait to share with you! Stay tuned, and have a fantastic weekend.

Thank goodness – it’s Friday!

Happy Friday, readers, and Happy Spring! It’s official!

Here’s what we have been up to recently:

The downstairs wood shop serves many purposes - so much room for activities!

The downstairs wood shop serves many purposes – so much room for activities!


Robin and Steve spent a gray, blustery day installing anchors. Thanks, Robin and Steve!


And now all the posts are standing tall, waiting for the rest of the structure.


The quintessential clock-out time – Friday afternoon at the Tent Barn. Thanks, Buzzards Bay Brewery!

Upstairs / Downstairs

It has been nearly a year since the main Sperry Tents office departed our shores for the wilds of the Wareham Industrial Park.  While we miss their excellent company, the move has been beneficial for both businesses in terms of storage, work space, and parking. Business is blooming for Sperry Fabric Architecture, and for Sperry Tents – they have two new rental locations this year, along with winter satellites in fair weather locations like Florida.

We have just passed through the slow part of our year – if you blinked, you may have missed it! I took a little nap one day (off the clock of course), and it seems to have passed us by. We are gearing up for tremendous spring and summer seasons, but during our small amount of maintenance catch-up time, we made a lot of progress.


is where we hide our offices. My desk, Xan’s, and Matt’s are tucked into a niche around the corner from the stairs. The old Sperry Tents offices are now divided and used for storage and office-space for special guests (Hi, Michelle!) Out on the floor we have lots of space for fabric architecture construction. Sperry Tents orders are being filled, and we are beginning to forge ahead with custom structures for the upcoming installation season.





is where our carpenters and welders work their magic. We have some storage shelving as well, but with a much smaller profile than the previous arrangement. Tent orders will be staged here while they await adoption, and finished repairs will snuggle in for a long winter’s nap. To mention the carpentry shop specifically would be a bit of a misnomer – the entirety of the downstairs (excepting the welding nook) is dedicated to the craft of woodworking, with a small protected nook for metal welding. Our wooden structures are growing in size and complexity at quite a brisk rate, and often long expanses of space are needed for lamination.

Savannah Spars


Hipstamatic Spars 2

With each change we make, we are using more of the space to its full potential. Of course, with the way things have been going, we may need to start pulling tent permits and working outside to supplement our space! That’s alright – we know where we can find some big tents. We welcome our customers to stop by and see the facility.

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Springtime!

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. Early springtime in coastal Massachusetts always smells like blustery winds and torrential rains. It’s a very good sign – toughens up the flowers. You might try to argue that I am feeling optimistic about anything that will melt the remaining ice crags in my driveway for me so I don’t have to do the pajama-car shuffle every night. But those are the words of a cynic. I can see the sun coming from a long way off, I tell you!

Can’t you just feel it? The sunlight warm on your skin, on the first warm days of spring. That breeze that almost makes you think you should put a sweatshirt on, but you simply can’t bear it in the face of such comparatively good-humored weather. The much-needed replenishing of your sadly depleted Vitamin-D stores. I bet if you really try, you can hear the birds chirping, squeaking, singing away. I bet you can see the baby squirrels making fools of themselves near the bird feeder and taste the barbecues of summer yet to come.

I know that in these dark times it seems foreign to imagine wanting to be shielded from the sun, but I’m sure we can all remember a time when we needed a break. What fun is having your first cup of coffee out on the deck if you have to slather yourself in sunscreen before dipping your toes into the bright sun? Who really wants to wear a hat while re-potting the plants when it’s 90 degrees outside and the humid air of a thunderstorm is rolling in?

If you might want an outdoor refuge from the bright sun this summer, please give us a call soon. Whether your apprehension is from the blazing sun or excessive bugs, we’re right here waiting for your call. Unfortunately, by the time those details of the great outdoors are actually upon us, we’ll be running around installing things left and right, so an early reservation is a great idea. And to get your creative juices flowing, here are some classic options that your custom design could resemble.

Duxbury Tension Awning from Below Manhattan Under Kids Tents Nonquitt CH Marquee Baldwin Sunshine

See anything you like? Let us know! You can get in touch with us through the contact form on our website, by e-mailing me at, or calling the office at 774.849.3505.

Now go on. . . get back to dreaming about that sunshine.