Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Choose Wisely

Thank you for being such remarkable customers and clients. We appreciate you trusting us with your home, your family, your pets, and everything important to you. We realize what an honor it is when homeowners award their remodeling or building project to us.

We get excited helping you realize your vision and dream project! The process can take months. After decades of helping families build homes or remodel rooms in homes has given us the opportunity to get to know you. To help improve your life as well as your house is our goal. We are grateful for that and do not take it lightly. We know it is the greatest compliment we receive is when you refer us to a friend or family member. Thank you.

New England is populated so densely with homes built in the 1700's on up to new construction
remodeling construction. The building industry is extremely competitive in New Hampshire. Fortunately, many of our competitors are companies with integrity, great service and skill. However, there are dishonest people taking advantage of homeowners too.

Just today, one of our repeat clients declared why he awards his business to Apple Wood.
Mr. Joe D. of Windham stopped in with his signed contract and check for new project we are building in his beautiful home. As he handed me his paperwork, Joe said, " We are so happy we found Lenny for our remodeling projects! Lenny always treats our home as if it is his own. He does not say anything, but I can see Lenny working to make sure the quality and craftsmanship he utilizes in our home is the same as he would be using if he was remodeling his own."  Wow, what a great compliment! Thank you, Joe!

Do you agree that other than services or care you seek for your body, your home is your most precious possession? Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath professionals are committed to excellence in product and craftsmanship in every project we are awarded.

Often homeowners get so focused on cost alone. Yes, cost is important! However, if it is the only consideration, you may compromise peace of mind and safety in the home. We get so excited we can forget our family, possessions, and pets are all going to be impacted by who we invite into our homes. Always perform due diligence to check the reputation, skill, and honesty of any contractor you allow access to your home. Take this even one step further and ask the General Contractor how well they research the background of the build/install crew hired to work in your home.

Our reputation is impeccable. We value and are very mindful regarding how we care for you and your home. Besides our clients, we have earned the respect of  tradesman, expert craftsman, and the city inspectors sent to make sure all codes are met perfectly.  Finding a reputable remodeling contractor can be daunting.

As a Design Build Company we specialize in "soup to nuts" approach to new home construction as well as remodeling homes. We hold your hand and walk you through every step for months. You do not have to call anyone but us to set everything up and to follow up on the process. Of course, this is specialized and detailed. It is the standard in the industry. It will continue to be. We are here to help you every step of the way through the multiple steps and meetings necessary to cross all the T's and dot all the I's .

You will love working with us as we make your dream home a reality!


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Time is NOW

Early in June seems like a long time away from Thanksgiving and Christmas. The reality is Thanksgiving is only 5 + months away. Why am I even bringing this up?

NOW is the time to contact us to begin the process for any project you want completed by Thanksgiving or Christmas. Yes, I mean it! Year after year clients dreaming of cooking and entertaining their family and friends in their dream kitchen on Thanksgiving are surprised when we tell them it is not possible. We get it. We understand the general public does not realize remodeling is a lengthy endeavor. Perhaps HGTV shows like Fixer Upper, or Flip or Flop reinforce the illusion remodeling is quick. It is not! Why?

To honor our clients and be respectful of their time, we must base our "build and install" calendar on which customer is ready, made all the selection of product, signed a contract and paid to get going.
Someone may come in two or three months earlier to begin the process. Another family may come in with all their decisions settled and ready to sign the contract, which puts them at the top of upcoming build calendar. I think you can understand why even though it may seem unfair based on a first come first served model.

There are many reasons. One of the biggest is the length of time selections take. Let me help you understand. One caveat is, if you have been collecting ideas and keeping them in your design and project folder as we suggest in so many blog posts, you may be very clear on what you want. That can significantly speed up the process. However, the typical homeowner is not aware of the many phases and the options they can choose in each one.

The initial design phase can begin the delay actually. There are many possibilities depending on whether your project include an addition of  square feet to your space. Another factor is optional changes to the current footprint and the placement of cabinets and appliances. Anything is possible really depending on budget and space. Generally, when you see the design completed based on the measurements taken at your home, it sparks questions and your imagination. It is normal to want to make some changes. We generally include simple ones in a second option. However, many times confusion sets in when homeowners see what is possible. Their curiosity and personal creativity can kick in. Even in the very beginning of the process , it  can get complicated. It is important to acquire as many of the dreams you hope for that are possible within your budget. Yet, that can lengthen the design phase considerably.

Once the design is accepted, the selection process begins. Actually this phase is wrought with twists and turns, especially for us gals! It is kind of like shopping for shoes. We know we need some new shoes, so we go shopping. "Oh, my, look at those, and that pair over there! I like both of them , and look over there! I do not think one pair will do, I need more" Sound familiar?  It is so hard to decide because we wonder if we will regret buying one pair over the other. What to do? Wow! This is only for a pair of new shoes and will be repeated often without any real damage to our bank account and home life. Think about the same options and temptations happening as you visit flooring, tile, granite, cabinet, and appliance showrooms! The choices are endless! Very few people have the self confidence or self control to determine quickly what the final decision is. Add the reality of the differing taste and design sense of  you and your spouse. That takes the decision into negotiations. All of  these factors to select each component in your remodeling project dramatically slow the process down.

It is very important to plan for delays and have some wiggle room for the completion time. Remodeling can be a great adventure! It can be fun and exciting. It is also an upset to your family routine. Each member of the family impacted may react uniquely. The outcome will delight you and the pain of it will fade away as you enjoy living your beautiful new space! It will be worth it! Just remember, this is NOT shopping for new shoes, a new outfit, or even new furniture. All of those events happen on a fairly regular basis over the years. Remodeling your home is different. The selections you make are permanent. That means you need to give yourself time be sure of your selections.

We help all of our clients and they appreciate the process and the results. This is what we do best. SO give us a call , we are ready , willing, and able to hold your hand and help you create, design, and build your dream!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Long Weekends

Have you checked out our new addition to our services on our website yet? They will save you time!

What are your plans this weekend? I hope it is for fun. Looks like there is going to be warm sunshine so you'll be enjoying the BBQs , outdoor activities and visiting friends and family. What a great time to share why we are adding our new Online Option for you to use for your project planning!

EVERYONE is TOO busy. I know I am, it is overwhelming, isn't it? How did we get so crazy busy! We have all those time saving appliances, devices, and ways to communicate. Yet, finding extra time in our schedules eludes us more and more. Our sensitivity to this common issue was the incentive to offer an alternate planning protocol for our clients. 

Yes, our traditional Full Service approach is still available to you. However, if coordinating two working schedules or weekend appointments between the kids sports activities is stressing you out, then check out the Online TIME SAVING option. Relax in the comfort of your own home whenever it is convenient. 

We are here to help you whichever track you take. Give us a call if you have any questions! Enjoy the long weekend! Get out there and have some fun!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BIG Announcement !!!

What is our Announcement? READY?

We are adding a new choice to the remodeling process for busy clients who want to remodel their kitchens but are tight with time.



We understand how difficult it is for a couple who both work to coordinate schedules to come in for four to five appointments regarding their remodeling project. We want to help these clients remodel their homes with the same excellent quality we provide for our full service clients.

Of course, the Design Build full service we have always offered is always available.


Sometimes, people ask us if they can just buy the cabinets from us. They may want to also purchase the flooring, counter top,  lighting, plumbing fixtures, and accessories from us too.  Or they may have other sources for all the components. Up to this point, we have not been set to accommodate these customers.

Please go to our Website for all the details.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Trusting Your Ideas - Cost vs Value

Trust your gut! Be true to your own ideas and taste when it is time to update your home.
It is understandable and common to second guess yourself. It takes time to think, rethink, and prepare ourselves and our budget for remodeling. When we finally have the finances to move forward it is natural to think of every idea you pondered since moving into your home. We ladies are especially vulnerable to become confused when we want everything we wrote on our wish list. Like life, it is generally not possible to get everything you want unless you happen to have unlimited money. No one actually does. Learning to imagine yourself functioning in the new room helps narrow and prioritize the wish list.

I have written past blog posts about the importance of creating your Dream Folder. I must emphasize that again in this post. Those who take this advice and clip or print out pictures of what appeals to them are less apt to have any regrets regarding the choices they make.  There is a cycle most homeowners fall into as the time gets closer to actually remodeling. You have most likely waited for at least months, perhaps years. New ideas and products are introduced in this industry constantly.The sheer selection of  cabinet styles, finishes, accessories, base and wall cabinet configurations is endless! There is a common trap homeowners experience. Your folder will aid you to  be completely confident about your taste and what you want. You will discover the ideas and pictures reveal the style, colors, and finishes you prefer. That is a practical way to really be confident that you will like your new space. It will feel like "you"  and the enjoyment of your new project will last  for years. That is true value!

 Peer pressure is a big factor as well. Yes, peer pressure! REALLY?! We are not school kids anymore. Yet, we are more vulnerable to people's opinions and suggestions than we realize.You must approach your remodeling project based on our personal lifestyle and preferences. This is challenging between the two adults living in the home. It is normal for couples to have distinct differences regarding door styles, finishes, appliances, and accessories they like for their new project. Adding the opinions of other trusted family and friends multiplies the confusion and stress.

The topic of this post refers to this trap. Cost vs Value can be a big issue when we are influenced by
someones suggestions Have you ever gone clothes shopping with a friend whose fashion taste you admire but do not really share? I have. Their exuberance about how great I looked in an outfit influenced me to buy an outfit I never wore. That is a fairly minor waste of money. When considering the final cost of remodeling in time and money invested, being swayed by someones opinion to select cabinetry or finishes they suggest has huge potential of robbing you of value.

If you are remodeling a kitchen, think about how you cook. Are you a baker? Do you love to BBQ? What about prepping? Will cooking be a family effort or just you? Do you and your kids do homework or paper work in the kitchen? How about hobbies or games? Why does that matter?

If you have a budding chef who loves to cook or bake with you, they will love having a prep sink and area separate from where you are preparing food. Homework or paying bills can be pleasant in the kitchen nook area with a special place for actively working and being able to store or file away papers.  

Value also equates to timeliness. Homeowners contemplate remodeling projects for years, Yes, it is usually a long process that becomes more urgent when Summer's activities are ending and Fall's crisp air turns our hearts and imaginations towards upcoming holidays. Most people are not aware that a remodeling project's planning, designing, and selection process actually takes more time than the actual demo and installation. Around September 1st the calls begin to come in wanting to have a new kitchen or bath completed by Thanksgiving. It is usually not possible to begin and complete the entire process from Design to Install in eight weeks, Your best chance to get on the schedule to have a completed  remodeled kitchen to  prepare, cook, and serve your Thanksgiving dinner means starting the Design phase in early to mid Spring, Yes, some clients know exactly what they want and that helps stay on task and target which speeds up the process. That , however,  is unusual.

I have given you much to think about! We deliver value for our clients time and time again! We would love to help you realize your dream step by step. Be watching for some new services and offers coming from Apple Wood. We have a big announcement coming soon!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How Peer Pressure Affects Cost vs Value

I am going to make you nervous with a personal question, okay? Do your friends and family influence your decisions? Are your decisions weakened by peer pressure? I know, you are an adult, not a teenager. We adults think we are long past peer pressure! I hope that is correct. Peer pressure can cause you to make decisions that cost more and satisfy your dream less. This is very important! Be careful and be confident. Trust yourselves, trust your taste, your gut. This is your home!
Perhaps, if we are truly honest all of us are impacted by another persons opinion. Sometimes asking for people to share their ideas and opinion can help. Sometimes it is a bad idea that can rob us of the confidence we need in our own preferences. If you are seeking feedback for a remodeling project, it can backfire. We are not talking a pair of shoes or a dress here.
We ladies get very excited about our homes. We love to get our girlfriends input. What we have discovered is most women begin to doubt their ability to make good selections when they ask others for ideas and opinions. Be careful. You are going to find the selection process stress filled when you see all the possibilities there are just in the style you personally lean to. When a friend implants a thought or suggestion confusion can exponentially explode. Delays happen based solely on an inability to narrow down what to select from.
From a functional perspective and practical considerations, hesitation or constantly changing your mind can cause a couple to lose their place in the install/build phase . Final decisions and signing the contract put you on the Build Phase calendar. Even if the design phase happened before another clients project, hesitations can derail you until your final selections are complete. Yes, we prioritize on a first come first served basis. However, if another family that was originally scheduled after your project has made all their choices , and you are still not sure, you may have to be rescheduled. Nothing can move forward without final selections, decisions, and a signed contract.
We are discussing a change to our most important purchase, your home. It is your home, your money, and your living space for a very long time. Be careful about asking your friends and family what they would do.Let's face it, you can dream about what you “think” you want for years. You have probably considered every possibility. Until the finances actually show up allowing you to get serious, there is no real pressure. Now, that you can move forward and turn your dream in to reality, the fear of making a mistake may tempt you to doubt your taste and ideas. If that happens people get frozen in fear. They find themselves unable to decide exactly which selections are best.
There are a few misconceptions homeowners may possess. This is an emotional endeavor. Often remodeling professionals must wear multiple hats. Men and women have very different preferences regarding design, function, and especially the door style and finish of cabinets. Oops, time to go get the marriage councilor or psychologist hat!
This is just one more reason we encourage creating your Dream Design Folder. It is critically important. The most important step of remodeling for the homeowners is honestly communicating their wants, needs, ideas, and concerns before they take the plunge. Who is the Chef of the family. The kitchen will be their domain. I suggest if you enjoy eating and having your spouse prepare your meals, deferring to their ideas will make you happy. They will be spending the majority of the time in the space preparing food you love. Just a tip, a wise one!
We can help and would love to guide your through the perilous waters of creating your dream project. You are going to love it!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Basic Cost vs Value Considerations

What is cost versus value, anyway?
Unless you were fortunate enough and financially set to design and build your home exactly the way you would wanted it, there are still things you would add to your dream home. We love our nests and each of us, even each member of a family has their own definition of the perfect home.

Most of us find a new or resale home as close as possible to our wish list within our price range. What an exciting time it is to find, purchase, and settle into our homes. The reality is we soon discover the house needs improvement. It may need repairs or be overdue for updating. Eventually most home-owners begin “dreaming” about remodeling.

Why is Cost versus Value critically important?
There are many answers to that question. Some are obvious. Most of us are aware updating kitchens, baths and master suites make a big impact! It is a wise choice, if you are planning on selling your home in the next year or two.

Perhaps you are not planning to remodel but plan to build a new home. Building a new home is a thrill, especially when you are personally involved designing it and watching the Contractor build it. It is a wonderful experience I hope all of you enjoy in your lifetime. If you do, it will be a few years before you would want to remodel. However, if you purchased a resale house, making it your home is a natural progression. The remodeling arm of construction was born from this desire and need.

Most people dreaming of remodeling or adding an addition come into our showroom with absolutely no idea what their idea will cost. That is always the first thing on our minds, as it should be. After all, budgets and cost dictate how much of our dream we can actually bring to life. We will explore that deeper in a moment. However, I want to help you understand some equally important considerations first. It is a practical truth most do not think about until their home is close to having the demolition phase begin. What am I talking about? Well, who is going to be in your home for the duration of your project? What do you know about them? I think you can see how important those questions are. They do tie in to cost versus value.

These reasons are more abstract but equally important. Construction has many expressions. Cost versus value is also key as you consider who to award your project to. Let me explain.

Everyone wants to get the best value for the least investment. After all, your home is probably the biggest investment in your portfolio. When you are ready to get serious about remodeling you have probably talked to many friends and family members asking them for referrals. You may have visited many showrooms, big box store kitchen bath departments, and spent a fair amount of time on Pinterest, Houzz, or Angie's List. When you've done your due diligence you may be more confused regarding cost versus value than when your began your quest. It can feel like a part time job!

At some point, it will be time to interview and select the contractor you trust to award your project to.
Yes, I am skipping way past all the "stuff" the physical products you need to wade through in the selection process. I know, that is what is most important, right? Well, maybe not! Slow down a minute and consider this view of cost versus value.

It is always tempting to find the best price, WARNING: Best price does not necessarily equate to the best choice. I agree there are numerous possibilities and options. There are many firms, construction companies, handymen, and carpenters to possibly work with. Each of them have strengths, weaknesses, and a reputation. Referrals are the life blood of remodeling companies. Talking to everyone you know about what they had remodeled, who did the work, and what they like and do not like about the results is very important. There are so many scary stories out there regarding home owners paying a deposit and being abandoned with only a part of the promised work begun, That happens too often. We do not have time or space in this post to cover all the negative possibilities.

Who you award your contract to will be working with you for months. They will be in your home along with subcontractors, carpenters, counter top and cabinet installers. Some are trustworthy, some may not be. In this context, cost versus value must be assessed with clear consideration of the following facts:
Here are very "valuable "considerations.
  • References are key.
  • Did they welcome and respectfully answer your questions and concerns?
  • How many projects are they doing at the same time as yours?
  • Do they have highly trained professionals working with them?
  • Does the general contractor control their crew, requiring they be non smoking, speak respectfully and monitor the type of music or media they may tune into while working on your home?
  • Are they mindful and careful to protect the interior of your home?
  • Do they set up dust barriers?
  • Do they straighten up each night before leaving?
  • Do you feel comfortable having your children and pets around these people?
  • Are they insured?
  • What is their reputation?
  • Have they been verified as not having any criminal record?
  • Are they honorable safe individuals?

No matter how little money your project cost you, value can be destroyed making the wrong choice of who to trust in and remodeling your home. Be safe, be wise! We hope you will check on our reputation. We are competitively priced! Most of our projects are referrals or return business based on the trust our clients have in us. We would love to make your project beautiful and as pleasant as possible in the construction phase.