Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What's New in Apple Wood's upcoming BUSY season

March 20th IS the first day of Spring! Yay!  We are in the last throes of winter and all ready for singing bird's, no snow, planning our gardens and getting our seedlings going or purchased to get a jump on planting! Spring cleaning time is the only time all year I actually look  forward to cleaning. I cannot wait for warmer days to open windows, let the breeze blow away the cobwebs of winter!

There is another really important opportunity coming now! While you do your Spring sprucing up many of you will begin thinking about the remodeling project you think about every year. We love that ! We want to help you so let me educate you about the process please. Thinking about finally getting that project underway seems to come in Spring and then again in late summer. The hope is the new kitchen will be remodeled and ready for Thanksgiving. That is a great idea! However, NOW  is the time to come see us if you want your new kitchen or bath ready for 2017's Holiday season!

Are you asking , "Why now?"  Well, excellent contractors with high levels of expertise and integrity get lots of referrals and/or new contracts with past clients. Apple Wood typically begins helping a client with one project, say a bathroom remodel, and they want to do more.  In the process the client is so happy and impressed because they trust us and can not imagine awarding their next project to another professional. It is very common for them to begin talking about the other kitchen, bath, deck, addition, or any number of other projects they have dreamt about forever.

We know our customers have many choices. We are honored that after working with us, most decide they are thrilled with the results. Then they cannot imagine working with anyone else. Once homeowners experience Lenny and his team's respect for their home, family, and remodeling vision , no other remodeling professional is considered.  Experiencing the excellence in craftsmanship, products, and level of expertise Apple Wood provides gains us repeat customers.

Let me remind you about the process which typically takes at least six and sometimes nine to twelve months. Remodeling is a creative endeavor. It is also very technical, emotional, and time intensive. This is especially true when the home owner's are a couple. Everything in remodeling is about selections, choosing the right design and then the components to place into the space to make your dream a reality.

Get ready I am going to say something "radical"! Yes, RADICAL!!! I mean it and I can get away with it because I am a woman! We all know women reserve the right to change their minds. We understand that and you will find we have patience to allow some changes, even midstream. However, please realize that very tendency is what delays projects and impacts completion. If a woman is a decision maker for your remodeling project, please come see us early, this Spring. It gives you some wiggle room to consider choices and changes before signing the final contract. If you wait too long, you may be at the end of a line of  other clients who are ready to go now. Of course , we wish to help every homeowner we can! We hope you are on our client list for 2017 and invite your family to celebrate Thanksgiving with the completed project you will be proud to host in.

I will be writing about vision, ideas, how to organize it all the next few weeks. Have a great week and come see us SOON!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cost VS Value / Kitchen and Bath Remodels

I hope the past few Cost VS Value posts have informed you well! Have they? Value can be a relative concept. After all, value is often determined by what we want and how much it matters to us.

Why do people remodel kitchens?

There are so many answers to that question. Maybe you are just tired of the old layout, cabinets,or counter tops. Perhaps you bought a house, and you have a vision of making it yours, by updating it. Maybe you have recently redecorated and want the kitchen or baths to compliment the new look. Are you planning on relocating , thus listing your current home for sale? If so, updated baths and kitchens truly add value. Are you asking yourself how to pursue the dream of a new kitchen or bath wisely?

May I suggest you stimulate ideas and organize your thoughts by considering actually imagining
functioning daily in your new space. Wow, that may seem daunting. However, if you tune in to your own internal dialogue. you will discover thoughts in my our mind every time you walk into and cook in your kitchen or access your bath. For example, they tend to go like this!

" I hate this corner cabinet, everything gets lost in it! I want a lazy susan corner cabinet where I can see everything I want to access."

"I thought these pull out shelves would be great but now I would like pots and pans drawers. I would only have one step to get what I need."

"I hate hauling this heavy spaghetti pot from the sink all the way to the stove for pasta. My friend's new kitchen has a faucet that extends over her cook top and fills her pasta pot on her stove! "

Write all these thoughts down and keep them in a a folder with pictures of ideas you like. That is where to begin designing your perfect kitchen or bath.  If you go to  our archived blogs, you will discover one about your Design/Dream Folder. Basically, that contains ideas, pictures, articles and items you collected over time. Looking at that will solidify your taste and subconscious preferences. It can be a wonderful stimulus and tool to stay on target with your taste and budget. There are so many possibilities. No one can have everything they want! Yet, allowing yourself to dream and list every possible wish and desire will give you a great start. Pretend money is not an object and write it all down. Then, mindfully prioritize. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover you may be able to accomplish much more than you expected. We are here to help you think about it all and determine your best options for the way you live.

Another very important consideration is the value of your home and others in your neighborhood.
 We highly suggest researching Real Estate values around your home. Why would I begin there? If you have lived in this home awhile, you may not know its current value. This is important for a number of reasons. Just as homes and neighborhoods vary in value. Kitchen cabinet lines and all components placed in the new space do as well.

Important considerations are the price point and values of the homes around you, in your neighborhood, and city. Do you plan to remain in this house as your forever home? Are you planning on selling it to downsize or upgrade? How dated are your current baths and your kitchen?
Why all the questions? Let me explain.

Have you ever been in a middle class neighborhood and seen a mansion? Yes, sometimes you will.
Most likely your immediate thought is why is this expensive house in this neighborhood? That is a great question that explains the mystery and wisdom of being aware of your surroundings. There are usually two possibilities.

Maybe the expensive home originally owned all the land around it. The owner may have sold part of their land to a developer.  Another possibility is the original home is a family home occupied for years by the same family or various members of it. Often family homes such as this are remodeled to meet the desires and needs of the growing family. It is considered a "forever home".  Updating such a home for the needs and enjoyment of the current owners makes remodeling past the appropriate price range of the neighborhood it sits in okay. However, realistically, the owner needs to factor in this fact. When you remodel a house extravagantly whose resale value would normally be compatible with the neighborhood's price/value range, you will NOT enjoy a good cost to value ratio.

Always prepare yourself with this knowledge. It is not wise to put a million dollar remodeling project into a middle range neighborhood. It is equally unwise to make a  conservative "budget end"  remodeled bath or kitchen into a million dollar home. The average buyer knows instinctively when discrepancies like this happen. They will be uncomfortable and pass on purchasing the house.

Always keep in mind a fact seen every day in every town in New England. Zoning can be tricky , especially in New England. Sometimes there are businesses, mid range homes, old shack like buildings, and expensive homes on the same street! Home builders are shifting to balance neighborhoods. That is important and a good thing! I am teaching you hoping you will be aware and wise as you consider purchasing or remodeling a home. Appraisers value a home factoring in the neighborhood. A less desirable home in a great neighborhood can be impacted positively. The opposite is also true.

Being home builders as well as a remodeling contractor, we have seen it all. We love to consult with home buyers and homeowners. Our experience covers every factor in both industries. We consider ourselves fortunate to inform and help people get the best value for their investment. So come talk to us. We are happy to share information that will help you make good decisions.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Exterior Improvements Cost VS Value

Most Kitchen Bath showrooms are marketing locations. Owners put a great deal of thought, planning, and expense into their showroom for potential clients ability to come see, touch and operate
the products they are considering placing in their homes. Lots of people love to come in for ideas for a kitchen or bath remodeling project. We enjoy talking with you about your dream project. Please come see us!  You will discover that Apple Wood is unique and offers so much more!

What is the difference. There are a few important ones. First of all we are a Design Build Company. What does that mean? It means once you have made your selections, signed the contract, and have your start date, you have only one phone call to make concerning any and every question, or concern that comes up, We schedule, follow, and keep tabs on everyone and everything connected to complete your project excellently. This is our primary commitment!  

Lenny Santosuosso, Apple Woods expert building professional, has literally been building homes since he was a teenager.  Most builders begin their training much later when they are older. Lenny's experience was well established before his twenties. There is literally no residential building project Lenny has never done! One of the scary truths about our industry, is their is no required training.  Certifications and Licences are also not required in New Hampshire. Due to these facts, some homeowners award projects to less experienced people. It is very common for someone who may be a very skilled "handyman" to suddenly decide they can take on building a home, addition, or remodeling project bigger than their experience has prepared them to handle.

Our Kitchen Bath Showroom came to be due to Lenny's search for a synergistic partnership. His original  company was Apple Wood Construction, a Custom Home building/remodeling specialist. Lenny's search for a partner to refer his clients to for Kitchens and Bath cabinets resulted in unsatisfactory quality and workmanship. He tried a few to quickly discover their standards for excellence were not the same as his own. I am telling you all this for a reason. Our Showroom is focused on Kitchens and Baths. However, Apple Wood continues to take on exterior projects as well as complete home construction.

Going back to our topic of Cost vs Value, I want to inform you we build decks, replace doors and windows, replace roofs and siding, and garage doors. None of these are as exciting as a complete remodel or addition perhaps. However, where value is measured each is a significant factor that adds value to your home. After all curb appeal is very important! This especially impacts listing prices if you want to sell your home.

Here are the figures for these various outside improvements:

When you add or replace:

A Deck:                  Average cost recouped is 68.4% (Composite) 74% ( Wood)    
A New Roof:          67% to 72%
New Windows:       73% to 77%
Siding:                     77%
Entry Door:             81% to 95%
New Garage Door:  92%

Pretty impressive, I'd say! Homes typically are our biggest investment. Isn't it great to discover updating our homes in ways we dream of, actually adds to our portfolio value.

Happy dreaming! Come share your ideas and let's get started!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bathroom Remodel Cost vs Value

Do you love a Spa? Who doesn't, right?

Wouldn't it be amazing to have your own Spa at home? With the innovative plumbing
fixtures available now, you can! Really!

Dual fixtures in a shower built for two is heaven. Faucets and Shower heads have expanded into
jets placed on a vertical bar. The jet heads can be adjusted to massage your back's lumbar to neck area regardless of the varying heights of your family members. Benches to relax on are popular. These are perfect spots to recline on as you enjoy the Steam feature of your fixture.

How about massaging the reflexology points on your feet as you stand in your shower? Yes, with specialty tiles you can experience this as well.

Replacing outdated bathtubs with the current clear glass surround adds space to the shower. It also opens up visual space in the bathroom. Beautiful stone and tile features are seen the moment you enter the room.

Are you tired of staring at the toilet when you wish to relax in the bath or shower? We have solutions to create separate spaces for these two uses of a bathroom.If you do love to soak in a tub, have we got the solution! No matter what your taste is, we have the perfect tub. Jacuzzi tubs are wonderful to relax in if you want to.

I am sure these ideas are inspiring ideas. Start clipping out or printing pictures of what you like. Bring them in to show us. We can help you decide what is possible in your budget.

Remodeling a bath recoups you an average of 66% of your cost. It is one of the key selling points of resale homes. Buyers want updated kitchens and baths. The choice of which home they purchase is often decided on these two rooms.

There are two ways to remodel a bath. We can help you update in the current space your bath is in now. We can also help you open up the space with an addition. A third option is accessing a closet space or adjoining bedroom no longer used to expand into.

Watch out though, a new Spa Bath my cut into your Social Calendar. You may never want to leave!  Your Spa Escape awaits!  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Project Costs versus Value / Basement Remodel

As I mentioned last week, Lenny Santosousso has a broad background in home construction. There is truly nothing connected to building Lenny has not accomplished.

Why does this matter to you?

Being a General Contractor, Lenny builds custom homes. However, unlike many builders Lenny wants to help any homeowners needing any size project. As a rule most home builders use subs who are experts in their fields. Apple Wood Construction and Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath does as well. The rare distinction we offer however is Lenny's experience. It is so broad, he can literally handle everything a project requires. If a Sub hired by Apple Wood does not have the expertise or capability to produce our level of excellence, they are no longer used. Lenny does NOT compromise quality and craftsmanship. He will complete the job himself rather than produce substandard quality.

 Lenny's reputation for excellence is so well known among our local Building Inspectors. One  has actually commented, he is so confident Apple Wood's projects will be perfect. It was also stated, he is so confident in Lenny's perfection that actually going out to the site seems a waste of time. Of course, they ALWAYS inspect everyone's jobs. What a compliment though!

 Not everyone needs a big project built. Some homeowners are interested in smaller projects. The problem they have is finding someone who is qualified and trustworthy to value and complete less involved projects. Lenny realizes people need smaller projects built. We build outdoor decks, update siding, window replacements as well. Of course we remodel kitchens, baths, and build additions too. Whatever you need in exterior or interior remodeling projects, Apple Wood will do it right the first time!

The Cost vs Value article has researched and prioritized more projects than I can cover in one blog post. I will be writing about those we are requested to handle by the majority of our clients.

Let's begin with a popular New England project, Basement remodels. Here in New England the average Job cost for this project is $73,649.00. The average value recouped for this project is 61%.

Basements provide potential living space that may help with important times of transition in families.
Need some extra bedrooms, Man Cave, entertainment space, or family room. Remodeled basements can supply the square footage to accommodate multiple purposes.

We are often contracted to build In Law Apartments in basements. Yes, we have the skill and ability to add light to dark basements. There are many options to add windows and doors that flood the space with warm light. You will be amazed at what is possible. The 61% added value actually increases too over the years. A basement project adds square footage, thus resale value when the time comes to sell your home. We would love to discuss all the possibilities and answer your concerns and questions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cost vs Value

The title of this just about says it all, right? Who does not want to update and improve there lives, health, and home? We all have " Want's", especially us ladies. Our homes are our nests! I do not know a woman who is not considering changing and upgrading, or remodeling her home!

The BIG question is always, is it "worth" it. Of course, many factors must be considered to answer that age old question. In the Home Improvement, building and remodeling business there is an annual tool which helps determine the answer. Remodeling Magazine publishes their Cost Versus Value issue every January. It is a dependable measuring stick on return of investment both homeowners and remodeling professionals seek to research projects return on investing in your home. They research this nationally and break down which projects return the best bang for the buck regionally.

There is no way I can cover all the information in one blog post. This magazine is filled with such valuable research and marketing information. I would fail informing you if I try and cover all of it in only two to three blog posts. Our scope of projects for our clients spans so many important upgrades plus new construction, I am going to be mindful and elaborate on details regarding the design construction process and cost on our most sought after projects in our region.

Apple Wood is unique because we help our clients with more than Kitchen and Bath remodeling. I do not know if you know our history. Let me remind you. Our beautiful Windham Kitchen and Bath Showroom came about out of necessity. Our original parent company Apple Wood Construction  needed a reliable, excellent Kitchen and Bath professional to refer our clients to as they designed and built their dream home.

 Lenny was a successful General Contractor with decades of building experience. He was looking for a synergistic network of building professionals whose commitment to excellence equaled his own. After attempting to find the right fit with a number of  local Kitchen and Bath businesses, he realized to provide the best for Apple Wood clients, he and Lisa needed to expand Apple Wood Construction. That need birthed Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath which guaranteed any new construction kitchens and baths as well as remodeling the same would meet the same rigorous standards of excellence their
reputation as a quality home builder  required.

You, our current as well as future new clients benefit greatly. With nearly three and a half decades of building every type of home and home project, there literally is nothing Lenny has not built. If you need more than just a kitchen or bath, you are in excellent hands. Whether your project is an interior project , deck, roof, siding, replacement windows all the way to adding a kitchen addition, Master Suite, Basement remodel, or complete second floor to your existing house, Lenny has experience and the expertise to do it all! THAT ability and service is without equal!

You are going to be pleasantly surprised as over the next few weeks I write to inform you about the cost versus value percentages on projects you have probably been pondering for a long time. You will not need to guess any longer. Now you will have the researched information to prioritize any and every investment you have considered making in your property.

Monday, January 16, 2017


The Holidays were wonderful. Then January comes and the joy I felt hanging the lights is reduced to a nagging awareness every time I pull into the driveway. Time to take then all down. I think I am beginning to understand why people just do not bother! I will, though.

Do you ever have an overwhelming feeling of frustration trying to find a certain spice, or cooking tool? Are your drawers so packed and messy that it is impossible to find what you need. I run into this situation every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I vow to clean our the drawers year after year. You know, " a place for everything and everything in its place!" Great goal that just keeps being added to my "To Do" list year after year! How about you?

We have great solutions for organizing. Let me make some suggestion. Many can be added to your existing cabinets. Others are ideas to tuck away for the future when you remodel. There is an accessory company called Rev-A-Shelf that manufactures many handy racks you can add to your current cabinets and drawers. Their product is generally made out of metal. There are also custom wood accessories that are very durable. If you still have a Blind Corner Base Cabinet that swallows anything you place in it, swing out shelving will solve the issue.

Rev-A-Shelf 4WLS882-32-570 32in Half Moon Lazy Susans, 2-Shelf

In our Dura Supreme Line Cutlery Dividers keep your silverware neat and organized. They come in single height and Two Tier Trays.
The slotted knife holder can be hidden below a two-tier cutlery tray for maximum drawer use. Dura Supreme Cabinetry storage tips.
Next to your prep and stove area adding a Drawer Knife Holder keeps all your sharp knives neatly and safely in place.
A slotted Drawer Knife Holder keeps blades sharp and works perfectly next to a cutting board drawer. Dura Supreme Cabinetry storage Tips.
Another great accessory near this area is the Drawer Spice Rack. It resembles a shallow staircase. Laying all your spices on each section really helps you see and access exactly which spice your recipe calls for.
A Spice Rack Drawer from Dura Supreme Cabinetry is the perfect way to see your spice collection at once.
A very handy organizer is a Sink Base Pull Out Caddy. It is perfect to hold all the cleaning supplies that tend to get knocked over and pushed out of reach!
Under The Sink Pull-Out Caddy from Dura Supreme Cabinetry for storing Cleaning Supplies. The basket detaches for use around the home.

Obviously adding such items in an existing kitchen can be challenging at times. When you begin to collect pictures, sketches of your ideas, and notes in your Dream Folder, be sure to ask your Designer about built in accessories available in the new cabinets. All of the ones I mentioned above are available , of course. Here are a few more that can be placed in the cabinets as they are assembled by the manufacturer. There are so many handy, functional options for spices. Many add a Design element that takes your kitchen to a custom level. Apothecary Spice Drawers are available as a horizontal addition under a wall cabinet. They are also wonderful placed vertically. I found these drawer very handy and functional! I kept my medications in one of the drawers close to my sink. Spatulas,knives, hand or tea towels fit perfectly in them too.
Apothecary Drawers Add decorative and useful storage in this kitchen wood hood from Dura Supreme Cabinetry.

Where do you keep bottles? Oil, Vinegars, Wine, Liquor need a home. There are visible wine rack
cabinets. There is also a Bottle Rack in Deep Roll Out Shelf that is place in a base cabinet for 18 to 48 inches wide.
Roll-Out Cabinet from Dura Supreme Cabinetry with divided spaces just for bottle storage.
How about all those pot lids? Ugh! It can be so frustrating searching for the right size. How about Adding a Lid Storage Partition in a deep drawer that organizes every lid? Combine that with your Pots and Pans Drawer and everything is easily accessed!
Pots and Pans Deep Drawer Storage with Lid Partition storage from Dura Supreme Cabinetry
How about your dinner plates being reached easily next to your stove? There are Plate Rack Drawers that make that happen. Another option we can show you here in our showroom is the versatile Dish Storage Drawer that can be re figured to fit  any diameter plates. Want to replace your old plates with new ones? No problem. You just adjust the pegs to fit any size dish you want!
A Drawer Plate Rack from Dura Supreme Cabinetry stores and organizes plates vertically.   A Dish Storage Drawer by Dura Supreme Cabinetry in a base cabinet stores stacks of plates and bowls. Plateware and Dishware Kitchen Storage Ideas.
Remember the old bread box? If that appeals to you, Bread Drawer Covers are available, as are bread cutting boards and Chop Blocks.        

I saved three of my favorites for last. Tray dividers are awesome. Maybe two is a good idea. One near the oven for baking cookies. The other one is perfect near your food prep of cooking area to hold your serving platters. Oh , If we could only have EVERYTHING we want!
Tray Dividers for Kitchen Cabinet Storage shown in a contemporary Dura Supreme Cabinetry kitchen with stainless steel doors.  Tray Divider Pull-Out from Dura Supreme Cabinetry is perfect for Cookie Sheets, Pizza Pans, and Baking Tray Storage
I absolutely love Pull Out Fillers. These are typically three to six inches wide. Some are also available in 4" or 9" widths. These are handy to fill in gaps in the run of cabinets on a wall. Even better they are a Design feature that also gives you extra storage right where you need it. My favorite Pull Out Filler is faced with a Post or Column! This practical and beautiful addition takes your kitchen or bath design to a higher level!
Dura Supreme's Pull-Out Cabinet for tray storage is perfect for cookie sheets, pizza pans and other trays. Shown in a modern kitchen design.                                     A Dura Supreme Pull-Out Spice Rack Cabinet offers multi levels of storage in only a few inches of space.
Come see our showroom , we can show you all these awesome accessories! Happy New Year!