Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Trending Luxury Bathrooms

It occurs to me, I have been somewhat unbalanced recently always writing about kitchens. Let's talk about Bath Suites for a change. Today I am writing about the Free Standing Tub Trend.

Free Standing Bath Tubs -

In years past, every bathroom had a tub. Many homes only had one bathroom which meant a bathtub was essential for families with young children. Homes with two or more bathrooms are the norm now which brings up the tub debate. Whether to always place a dual purpose tub equipped with a shower head in every bath in a home or opt for a larger luxurious walk-in shower instead. Typically in a larger space the tub and shower share the square footage and add drama to the spa suite designer appeal.

Since most homes these days have two or more bathrooms, we are discovering our clients prefer the spacious walk-in shower in Master Baths especially. They are large enough to accommodate two adults who each have their own specialty shower heads and benches to relax on as the " rain " washes away the day. Optional shower jets in wall mounted units work out tight muscles. Even steam room nozzles can add to the spa experience.  Tubs are no longer considered a necessity even when considering resale.

When customers opt for a tub now, it is usually a freestanding style. It is a strong design accent that allows the homeowner to add their personality and decor style to their bath. Freestanding tubs come in every shape from a slipper look to ones that are curved, sleek, or boxy. The choices are numerous.
Since the tub surround is not needed to protect the walls during showers, the unit can be removed and replaced with another style tub if you redecorate. Setting an accent able next to the tub to complement the space is a current design trend, placing an antique table next to the tub in a traditional bath is classic. In a contemporary bath, a sleek glass table is perfect. Designing a specialty table with the same granite or solid surface material on the sink counter top is a great option. Placing items you would normally store on a tub deck surface adds to function and convenience.

White is the "new" color. The days of Fashion Colors in tubs, sink, and toilets is out. Everyone's interest in and pursuit of the spa look and experience has made white the "in" fashion color these days.

What so you think about this new trend? We will talk about the new trends in porcelain tile next. Hey, do you have your "Design Wish Folder" started yet?  It is a good place to keep your thoughts, ideas and questions. Until next time, enjoy dreaming and give us a call to make those dreams a reality!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How to make a big decision....


I hope Mother's Day was everything you hoped and you were surrounded with loving family!

Were you entertaining at home or where you a guest in another home? Was the kitchen functional? How smoothly did hanging out, cooking, serving and clean up go?  Think objectively about the experience. Now is a great time to capture any of your thoughts and comments about how smoothly the day went wherever you were. Write it down on paper and slip them into your Design Wish Folder.

We have covered many important considerations these past few weeks.  I hope I have educated you about possibilities and inspired your dreams. There truly are unlimited choices these days. Remodeling is exciting. Well, the dreaming, planning, picturing, and choosing new stuff is exciting.
The actual remodeling process? Well, that is more frustrating than exciting. It can be a nerve racking
frustrating messy interruption of your normal routine. This phase does pass thankfully.

Your enjoyment of the process returns and is even more exciting as you watch your new design take shape as the new fixtures, appliances, and cabinets are installed.

Let's talk about wisdom. Of course, price is very important. You want to get the most value! You must plan the biggest part of your budget to be applied to practical changes your kitchen needs to function best. The fun part arrives as you add many favorite extra items you've been dreaming about. This new kitchen is going to last for decades so think about priorities in the design process. Picture yourself  moving in , cooking, entertaining, and cleaning your new space. Allow yourself a little "imagination" pad for items you may decide are important "must haves" you opt to add. The demo and installation phase is really exciting when you have the vision of your finished project. The vision  helps to pull your through the hard reality and the stress living in your home while the kitchen is completely torn apart creates!

There are two BIG considerations to be wise. Often , they are not factored in. Both of these important decisions impact your safety, finances, and how happy you end up in the process. What are they?
1.) Being mindful regarding the appropriate scope of your project.
2.)  Awarding your project to a contractor you know you can trust and feel comfortable handing the
      keys to your home to.

Both of these require effort, time, and due diligence from the home owner to research the best fit for themselves, their family, and their home improvement project.  "You get what you pay for" is a truth on steroids in the home improvement business.

We all want the best value for the least amount of money. That is human nature. The truth is sometimes a high price is not equal to the best value any more than a low price means shoddy work. How do you know you are working with the best contractor for your project?  Referrals are always key, so ask around. Most of our projects are the result of  satisfied customers referring us to their family and friends. There really is no higher honor than being trusted to help our customer's loved ones. Thank you! Angie's List and other professional organizations with reviews also help narrow down candidates. Reading reviews is an excellent source of information.

Lets' address # 1 first:
Our homes are typically the biggest investment we own. Their appreciation in value impacts our portfolio dramatically. Thinking about and planning with future value appreciation is one of the wisest moves any homeowner makes. However, sometimes our emotions can get the best of us and we spend much more than can ever be recovered in resale. One exception is: if you have a plan to retire and live in the same home forever then add everything on your wish list you can afford. Do not worry about profiting from it. However, if you plan to sell your home, the following advice is best.

Plan the project budget that is appropriate for the value of your home and your neighborhood. In other words, prioritize function with a few extra perks for a kitchen in a $ 150,000 to $250,000 home. Do not make the mistake of  adding a kitchen you would find in a million dollar neighborhood home you plan to sell in the next few years. Also, if you have a large executive style home in an expensive neighborhood, be sure you select the appropriate quality, design, and amenities future buyers will expect to find in any prospective home purchase they make.

Remember, you are going to be working with this person and their team for weeks if not months. They are going to be in your home, around your family, neighbors, and pets.  Do you like them? Are you able to communicate easily with them? Have you checked their references and reputation?
Do they show up as scheduled and communicate what you can expect? What have former clients shared about their work ethic, care for your property, cleanliness and organization every day working in their home?  Did they respect the peace of their home by watching their language and not playing loud music? Did they refrain from smoking?  Did they clean up the work area daily? Were their children and pets safe? Were their belongings and the rest of  the rooms in your home respected and
left alone?

Your home generally is your most prized possession and biggest investment. It is also your safe place where you can find rest from the pressures of  the outside world. Every area of your home is filled with memories. It is also filled with valuables. Some may be irreplaceable. It can be tempting to  make a quick decision about who to award your project to based on pricing. However, there is a balance and hidden things you need to include as you consider value

See, there are so many things to consider when making the best decision about who you reward your project to. That choice will create an awesome outcome with good memories or just the opposite.
Here at Apple Wood , we have built our reputation treating our clients the way we want to be treated. We look forward to helping you create your dream project. Let's get started!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Those Useless Corners

Do you remember this chore? Mom needs something from inside the corner cabinet in the kitchen.
She cannot see in the cabinet or reach into it without twisting herself into a pretzel. Calling your name to help her was her last resort. After all you are short and small enough to crawl back into that dark cabinet if need be.

These catch all cabinets were aptly called blind corner cabinets. Perfect description! They were the largest cabinet taking up valuable real estate in one of the most essential rooms in any home. Typically at least half of their storage space was unused. If it was used, eventually something important would simply disappear. It would end up pushed all the way to the back never to be seen again.

Why do you need these corner cabinets? There really is no other way to maximize the use of all your kitchen wall space.  In large kitchens of many square feet available, corners can be  left open occasionally for a designer look. However, most kitchens have less square feet due to shorter walls. They must utilize every possible inch. Corner cabinets also allow your counter tops to flow continually creating maximum work space.

The Kitchen and Bath Cabinetry industry listens well to the feedback and suggestions of homeowners. We are continually finding new solutions for every need and most requests the public asks for. Corner cabinets are no exception. Today we have many ways to utilize every corner you have. The days of blind corners are gone!

Lazy Susan cabinets are available for the base and wall. They have been available for many years now. Depending on where your stove or sink is located, theses base cabinets can be perfect for pots and pans, storage items, or food. The wall corner Lazy Susan is handy for spices and other food storage or dishes. From the design standpoint the cabinet door can be diagonal or two doors hinged straight at 90 degrees on either base or wall cabinets. The rotating shelves are very convenient.

If you do not prefer the shelves rotating , they can be fixed. An "easy reach" feature helps preserve the visibility of all the contents.Typically this is accomplished by the upper shelf depth being half the depth of the bottom. They are easy to reach into.

Diagonal Sink bases are another option in a larger kitchen. This is especially nice where two windows meet in a corner. Some times positioning your stove in a corner creates unique touch.
There are many dramatic ways to make it a focal point. Both of these choices take up valuable corner storage space. Thus they are not wise in smaller kitchens. However, they are beautiful when you have room.

How  has the old "black hole" blind corner cabinet challenge been solved? So creatively!
Interior components and accessories are now available to maximize storage space. One solution is
two shelves with chrome rails that swing independently and bring the shelf contents out into the open. There is also a two shelf system designed by Rev-A-Shelf that includes a completely chrome interior accessory. Both have rollers placed in metal tracks that allow you to pull the bottom rack out and the top shelf sideways so you can access everything. Nothing gets lost in these efficient utilitarian corner cabinets. Impressive!

Less common are new drawer bases. Yes!! Actual drawers in the corner with 90 degree drawer fronts. So, you will not need to call one of your wee ones now to find something back in that dark
scary corner. Everything you need is conveniently available. Isn't human ingenuity amazing?

If you have "had it" with  wasted space in your corner cabinets, we are here to help! Come in to see us at Apple Wood Kitchens. We can show you all the great solutions to make your kitchen your happy place!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Lighting options for your kitchen remodel....

Hi, there!
Another week has flown by. I am happy to see more sunshine this week. Last week was still so cold. I guess it was appropriate to write about all sorts of options in refrigeration!

Moving on with new trends in Kitchen Design, I will write about lighting options today.
The days of dark gloomy kitchens and shadowed work stations are past. Of course, planning natural light to pour through beautiful well placed windows is always appropriate. However, due to placement, some kitchens have limited potential for natural light. If that is true in your home, there are many ways to bathe your kitchen with ample light.

The days of  florescent light boxes in the center of the ceiling have gone bye bye, thankfully! The florescent tube light bulbs used to cast an unnatural hue. They have been replaced by recessed lighting provided by  light fixtures that look like tubular cans. The framing of the kitchen ceiling
creates a space for these cans to be flush with your ceiling. They hold bright flood light bulbs which have the ability to brighten up any kitchen. Even homes with the kitchen placed in the middle between a family room and dining room where no exterior window is available can be as bright as any on an exterior wall.

I particularly love the low cost efficient under cabinet lighting available now. Cabinets with added bottom rail moldings called light rail camouflage the fixtures that flood your counter top work spaces with light. You will love it while prepping and cooking. In addition, it is a great night light or additional "mood " enhancing touch when entertaining that did not exist years ago. The convenience of preparing a new dish with bright clear light to help you read the recipe on your prep area is priceless. Especially when you are needing to be sure accuracy for baking is available. I have been known to ruin a recipe adding half a teaspoon when only a quarter of a teaspoon was called for.  
Beautiful elements of your granite counter top can reflect like diamonds with light bringing out the detail of the particular stone you selected.  The miriade of  inexpensive options will astound you for something so practical as well and beautiful. Come in to our showroom. We can show you examples of this practical new trend!

Pendant lights are another trend that update a kitchen design dramatically. A pendant light adds a touch of simple drama. Think of them as the jewelry accessorizing your space. Hand blown glass in colors and textures you love add drama. They are on long poles extending from the ceiling.
Depending on the width of your sink area, one centered or a series of three are common. Repeating
the same spaced over the width of your island complements your personal style. There are many choices of glass globes to choose from as well as small fabric circular or square drum shades. If you get bored and want to update your look after a couple of years, just change the pendant shade and you are all set!

In large kitchens, a focal point "statement piece " chandelier adds the elegance your home demands.
It will determine the appropriate design style of the other light fixtures in the room. A kitchen of this dimension often includes wall sconces as well.   

In a pantry area it certainly makes sense to add a ceiling light so you have visibility every time you enter. If the pantry is quite large additional under shelf lighting can help.

Walking into your kitchen to see a special cabinet as your centerpiece focal point adds sophistication and drama too. You may one or more cabinets that you want to feature as focal points. Staggered height and depth from other wall cabinets in the room accomplish this. To add more drama, try drawing attention to special dishes, glassware, or accessories with interior lights accenting the contents. Being sure to order your cabinets with finished interiors prepares them to become perfect displays of your favorite items.

The days of only a boring functional kitchen have passed. The great news is, all these new trends are affordable and functional as well. You are going to love your new "heart of your home".

Come see us soon so we can help you realize your dream space before the 2015 holidays.