Friday, July 31, 2015

So Many IMPORTANT Things to Consider

Being invited to estimate a home remodeling project is a privilege. Being awarded the project is an exciting reminder of the commitment to excellence our team always has on each and every project. Your home is typically the biggest financial investment made. Yet, it is so much more. Our dreams for the future of ourselves and our family reside together. At Apple Wood, we take this truth to heart. Although we have been building homes or improving existing homes for decades now, we never forget yours is unique. Your home is your castle in so many ways. We respect the love you have for your home as we come along side to make your ideas and dreams a reality for years to come.  

We value your trust and faith in us. To be referred to a friend or family member who also wants to begin a project is what we thrive on at Apple Wood! A very high percentage of our new business is born from our client's referrals. There is no better compliment!

One thing is for sure, your project is going to be an adventure. Like all adventures, there are truly great times. There can be some trying times as well. Having your daily life upset with designers, craftsman, plumbers, electricians, and installers in your home daily for weeks can be stressful.

Working with one "go to" project manager who you communicate well with is essential.
Be sure to do your due diligence. Talk to your family , friends, or neighbors about their experiences.
Listen carefully and interview the legitimate professionals who pleased them. We all realize we jell well with some personalities and maybe less with others. The choice you make will impact you and your home's environment for months, perhaps years.

Here are some considerations. Do you enjoy their personality? Do you communicate well?
Do they "get" your ideas or push their own on you? What do they commit to regarding daily cleanup to keep your home as organized and peaceful as possible during the construction process? These are the issues where the rubber meets the road that end up making a huge difference in your peace of mind as well as the finished product!

Our Apple Wood team pride ourselves on listening to your ideas and questions. It helps us discover your design style and living habits. All of these components are part of the process. I think a reminder of an old expression is appropriate here. How many times have you heard or said, "You get what you pay for"? I know it is true from personal experience. You?

Well, in the remodeling industry, it is not only true, it is critical. Sometimes, trying to save a few dollars by being your own project manager or hiring the least expensive sub contractor becomes a nightmare. It can result in poor workmanship or poor quality fixtures, cabinets, or other materials needed in the project. Worse, is being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous amateur that is all talk and takes your money, then abandons the job as they run away with your deposit. It all happens, unfortunately.

I mentioned in earlier blog post starting your "Design Wish Folder". When you begin collecting pictures or articles about the features and styles you like, your vision begins to form. Sometimes it is so consistent it is easy to determine the exact design style you resonate with. Sometimes, you find many different styles you like or a more eclectic look. If the couple find each of them has different ideas and taste that need to be negotiated to find the middle ground, the stress level accelerates.

We enjoy getting to know you and your families preferences are important to us. We are experts helping couples compromise. It is a little like being a marriage therapist. Typically, men love wood with lots of grain and texture. That rugged NH look. The ladies typically prefer a more refined look. Many prefer the sophistication of painted cabinets with glaze. Yes! This is a common conversation in our showroom and consultation appointments. Guess what! We succeed helping every one compromise with the final result of both parties being happy! I bet you did not know we are magicians too!

There are basics that all projects share. However, having the opportunity to help each couple and our clients explore their taste, their dreams and hopes and discover the perfect balance is so rewarding!

We value educating you to learn design trends and ways to balance both tastes in one project. You will be happy and excited to see how we can integrate them into a beautiful new room addition, kitchen, or bath.  My next blog will be filled with ideas on how we make this magic happen! You are going to love it!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Having Your Own Spa at Home

Our culture keeps adding the pressure to do more and do it faster. When will we be able to slow down and really enjoy life! Here at Apple Wood we are devoted to making your house a home that brings you great joy and satisfaction!

The need for two incomes to finance family life today adds considerable stress. It takes up the majority of both adults hours daily. Plus, our kids playing outside with friends for hours has been replaced with organized activities which force parents to become taxi drivers on the way to all the other destinations that make up their day! Wow, how do we do it?

Even the gift of coming home to relax after a busy stress filled day has transformed. Another 60 to 90 minute appointment at a spa for some "down" or "me" time is the new norm for those lucky enough to find the time and resources to enjoy the luxury.

As new home and remodeling contractors, we here at Apple Wood  are experiencing couples who are tired of the hamster wheel. More and more, our clients, realize the wisdom of creating a spa of their own with a new bath project. Manufacturers of  cabinetry, tubs, flooring, high end plumbing fixtures, and numerous accessories have stepped up the options considerably.

I have always loved the free standing claw foot bathtub of yesteryear. However, my home is not a Victorian or turn of the century Craftsman style house.  I assumed my only option was a built in tub with a surround and shower head enclosed by a shower curtain or glass sliding doors.

Good news! Modernized claw foot bath tubs are still available to satisfy the design tastes of  someone who loves to live in a historical home or "Painted Lady" Victorian. If you do not and still want a free standing tub, most manufacturers have expanded their lines to include contemporary sleek lines. For example, the sculptural Escale or Reve Collections by Kohler are a pure work of art with geometric lines to complement a modern taste in decor. Both choices have pieces in their collection for every necessary item needed in your bathroom. That means your pedestal or vanity top mounted sinks match the tub. The toilet will as well.

Why is it important for the plumbing fixtures to match? Most homes do not dedicate a large part of the square footage of the home to bathrooms. The Master Bath is an exception. Some can be wonderfully expansive, but most are not. The eye naturally interprets the room as larger when there are less differences to look at or changes in the room. Glass shower walls and matching lines in the plumbing fixtures flow better. They give an illusion of  continuity. Color choice and simple lines add to the same calming effect. Selecting matching tile for the shower that is repeated in the flooring adds space visually.

We can make your bath beautiful so it "looks" like a spa. We can also make your bath a spa!

There are no limitations these days for a home spa environment. Remember the freestanding tub?
Instead of jacuzzi jets requiring a tub to be against the wall dropped into a framed box with a deck hiding the pipes needed to create the water motion, air jets within the unit itself creates the bubbles.
The tubs are heated within as well. Your water never gets tepid or cold as it can recirculating in a jacuzzi style tub. You can relax and drift away  in the same temperature of water as long as you like.
Stepping out of the tub onto a heated tile floor is heaven too as you reach to grab a big fluffy towel off the heated towel bar.

If you prefer and have the room for both a shower and a tub configured on a wall or in a corner, picture this! You are relaxing in your bathtub looking at your bath fireplace with a fire glowing just past your feet. Perhaps your Master Bath is on the second floor which allows you to enjoy your magnificent view from the large window next to your tub since no one can look in. The beautiful glass walls and door of your shower allow you to gaze at the " jewelry" accent tiles you added to the stone or porcelain tile shower walls you selected. They are the same tiles used elsewhere in the room, which visually expands your space. You may never leave your new spa!

If you are shower person rather than a bath person, you have even more options.  Most Master Baths can accommodate a shower and bathtub. If not, the biggest trend these days in Master Baths is removing a tub completely to expand the shower into a two person piece of heaven. You do not have to give up having the air jet tub if your Master Bath does not have room for both. One can still be available by upgrading an existing tub in another bathroom in your home.

One way of finding square footage for a double shower, other than removing the tub,  is to access closet space in a bedroom next door to the bath. To be legally called a bedroom a closet must be in the room. However, a current closet can be reconfigured, made a little smaller so that the master bath shower can be expanded.

Spa showers can combine so many luxurious elements. Dual shower heads are the basic component.
Two people can shower, wash their hair and enjoy getting ready for the day in a more timely manner.

If relaxing after your work day is your goal, think about these spa options. Benches to relax on and sit awhile slow you down almost as much as soaking in a bath tub will. Shampoo, conditioner, shaving products, and your skincare products all have a home conveniently created into the wall of the shower. Steam jets turn your shower into a steam room that draws out the tension of your day.

Handheld wand shower heads are only part of high end accessories for shower controls these days. There are panels that include specially designed and positioned pulsating jets to massage you. Do you enjoy music and soft lighting? Both are available for your home spa experience in your shower or bathroom as you relax in your freestanding tub.

We would love to listen to your needs and your dreams to make your house the home you have always wanted. Please stop by our showroom or give us a call. We are here to make your dreams a reality!



Thursday, July 2, 2015

New Color and Materials Trends

We will be leaving for a wonderful family vacation to the West this week. We will reopen Wednesday, July 15th. We wish you, your family, and loved ones a wonderful 4th of July holiday!

We have covered many new ideas to get your creative juices flowing to design the best new bath possible in your home the past few weeks. Today I am going to write about a few basics every homeowner has to make decisions about in their bath remodeling project.

The same wood species stained, perhaps glazed, cabinets used in kitchens are also built in vanity and tall linen cabinets. Painted cabinets are as well. Since painted cabinets are generally constructed with major parts being MDF, they are very popular in baths. Let's discuss the differences in a bath environment.

Have you ever had trouble opening a wood door on a rainy day? Since wood is a natural product, it is reactive to temperature and humidity in a room. It can swell when the air is moist. Then it shrinks when the air is dry. This can be especially annoying with drawers and with mitered door styles. Drawers may be hard to open until the air dries out. Mitered doors made out of wood may gap showing an unstained surface which contrasts with the stain you selected. It is temporary and does not bother some people. However, this attribute can truly bother some.

Since there is so much moisture in any bathroom every day, painted cabinets are perfect. Painted cabinets are made with MDF instead of original wood. MDF does not react to moisture in the air. Stained wood cabinets are often installed in bath projects. They work fine especially with full overlay doors. Just keep in mind, wood is a natural product that will adapt to moist or dry air, heat, and cold.
Before making a decision please consider and compare a painted door for your bath project.

Probably the most popular vanity is white or off white. It looks sharp in a traditional or contemporary style. A new neutral has arrived on the scene and is gaining popularity. Gray, all shades of grays, add sophistication while offering the light and bright feel the whites always have. Gray cabinets are stunning when combined with classic Carrara Marble!  Our customers love a clean crisp look in general, which offers longevity. To have  another choice of  subtle designer hues of gray has proven very welcomed. If a truly dramatic look is desired, a medium to dark gray hue does the trick.

Gray also lends itself to inexpensive updating as often as you want. Since gray is a mix of hot and cold colors on the color wheel, accessories, towels, and bath mats in either spectrum of the color wheel blend amazingly. Right now yellows and oranges are the trend. However if you decide to buy some new towels and accessories in blues, greens, teal, red, or purples for a change, you will enjoy a completely new look for very little investment. Of course, you can do the same with the whites, but there seems to be a more powerful statement made when your cabinets are in one of the gray tones available.

Lighting is the next necessary and expressive choice to make. The days of  the horizontal bar of Hollywood dressing table big bulbs are gone! The size of the bath determines scope and scale of every design feature. A small bath may still have one light over the vanity sink area. However, a larger bath my incorporate chandeliers, sconces, drum shade lights, and LED lights. LED light minimize heat and the use of electricity while creating bright light. Recessed or canned ceiling lights are still used. However, there is a trend away from them to designer lighting touches that complement the design style the client wants in the bath.

For instance, a beautiful chandelier over a luxurious jetted soaking tub invites you to linger in the opulence. It is like adding the perfect jewelry to your outfit. matching sconces in the vanity area carry the theme beautifully through through the room.  If your design style leans towards simplicity you will love the drum shade pendant lights. Lighting of an Asian flair is another choice if contemporary is your favorite happy place. The choices are endless.

Remember the Design Wish Folder we told you about weeks ago. Start filling it with pictures and notes of what your dream bath looks like, Call us for an appointment. Bring  your folder and ideas with you so we can help your dreams come true. We are here to help you!