Monday, May 30, 2016

Technology In Remodeling

All of us are surrounded with more devices than ever. The capacity of phones, GPS, tablets, TVs, seems limitless. I doubt that most adults have explored every possible application available on their devices.

I have to be tutored by my kids on so many devices. Teenagers realize the potential of all that is available much quicker than I can.  Frankly, it makes me tired just thinking about learning to access all the technology available to me now. Suddenly technology is expanding into unexpected areas! Get ready for futuristic “Smart Kitchens and Baths” entering the scene.

There are great features available now for components in remodeling projects. New products  have developed to meet the demand for  high tech applications. For those who  know how to use all the features available in appliances, faucets , showers, bathtubs, spa accessories and lighting, the combinations are endless. Are you wondering how and why?

Let's begin in the kitchen. Entertaining and holidays present challenges for all of us.  We do not experience stress typically in our kitchens during our normal routines. However, a higher level of stress tends to come with our venture into parties, holidays, and entertaining. Everything from organizing ingredients, jumping into the  prep stage, to  timing all the cooked items to be done simultaneously is fun,  yet overwhelming at times. Many households are based on two adult incomes. Careers come first these days and with them, sometimes long hours. Technology to the rescue. As the cellular phone industry has expanded, devices can help us perform tasks on our phones that used to require a human present in the house previously.
We see ads for home security systems with video accessible on your phone. That certainly gives us peace of mind while away. How about turning on your oven to start dinner while heading into your afternoon meeting?  Technology has dramatically expanded now with cell phone and tablet apps being invented to facilitate consumer demand for connectivity. Remote control is the new norm when smart devices can be accessed via Wi-Fi. It is being used to operate everything from cooking appliances to lighting.

Let’s explore some of the cutting edge technology designed to take your kitchen experience into the stratosphere. Once you try some new conveniences, you may never go back to the old way of accessing appliances, cabinets, water, ovens, and stove tops.  There are too many components to address each of them in one blog  post. I will continue informing you of the fun new toys you can play with in your kitchen over the next few weeks.

The most descriptive  phrase to capture  this new trend in kitchen remodeling is “ Smart Rooms.” Lets’ consider some of the choices available to create your  own.  The promise is your Smart Kitchen or Bath will save you time. It will also stir your creativity.
This week we will begin with Lighting and new trends in electrical applications:

LED lighting is the hot new trend in kitchen and bath design. Originally, the savings on your electric bill caused interest. Lighting remained cool to the touch , thus safer. It used less energy as well. That was only the beginning of LED's possibilities.
Designers have been selling under cabinet lighting for three to four decades. Having your counter top illuminated makes food prep so pleasant. Isn't it wonderful to set the mood as you leave your kitchen lit only with soft lighting featuring your beautiful granite or Quartz Counter Tops? LED Under cabinet lights make the perfect "night light". They economically bring just the level of light needed to navigate into and through your kitchen late at night. 
Originally under cabinet lighting required wiring and switches to operate. Options included puck lights, small fluorescent light bars, or tubular string type LED lights. Any functionality was hidden with bottom cabinet molding trim. A new level of sophistication has arrived. There are new wireless puck lights. A company named Hafele manufactures a round LED IP65 rated fixture available in a chrome plated "shiny" finish or nickel-plated matte finish. It can be recessed mounted for kitchen or bath application. It is dual purpose. It can be utilized from ceilings as well as under cabinets. In both uses the warmth generated and uniform lighting has been wonderfully received by homeowners. All of this without the cost of wiring or need to turn on a wall switch. These can be controlled remotely.

Are your wheels turning? So many possibilities!  We are just beginning to explore this topic!
Like the industry itself,  the advancements seem to never end. There is even more lighting possibilities to inform you about next week. Have a great week and jot down your "lightbulb " ideas! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Multi Purpose Cabinets


Here at Apple Wood Kitchen $ Bath, remodeling baths has become a major project for many of our clients recently. Everyone longs for their home "spa" experience.

Most showrooms have more Kitchen Cabinet displays than Bath Vanity Cabinets. Generally, potential customers must expect the showroom to be split equally between kitchen and bath displays.  The reality is I have been in this business for over 20 years. I have never seen a showroom set up equally, between the two. Here is a secret to help you. Companies that specialize in only vanity cabinets do exist. They are typically free standing units that incorporate a built in sink and counter top. Generally speaking the quality is less than that of the vanity cabinets available with major cabinet manufacturers. Custom and Semi Custom cabinet manufacturers offer numerous door styles in many different wood species or painted cabinets. These choices can be ordered for your bath vanity cabinets as well as any kitchen cabinets you prefer.

When you come in to our showroom, any door style and finish displayed and listed in our books for kitchen cabinets are available in bath vanity sizes as well. The base cabinets used for a kitchen application are 34 1/2 inches tall. The same cabinet used as a vanity can also be that height or 31 1/2. The tall cabinets utilized as a pantry or broom closet cabinet in a kitchen are mirrored in baths as Linen Storage cabinets. Base trash cabinets double serve as laundry hampers. The pull out spice cabinets available for base cabinets next to your range are perfect on either side of your bath sink as storage for make up, toiletries, or hair care in the bath.

The reality is that kitchen remodels are generally more popular than bathroom projects. Here at Apple Wood most of our business is repeat or referral business. Sometimes our customers do one project first then contract with us to come back and update the other rooms. We find our bath remodeling customers are so impressed with their new space, it is only a matter of time until they return wanting us to remodel their kitchen as well.

The bathroom is a perfect place to step up to inset drawers and doors with or without a bead trim. A true "furniture" appearance is the result when inset doors and drawers are chosen. The "bead" is a detail of a special grooved trim surrounding the frame the door or drawer is set into. Another furniture feature that adds pizzazz is feet added in front of the toe kick or actually lifting the bottom of the cabinet off the floor. Since a bathroom requires fewer cabinets, lights, and accessories, it is the perfect place to incorporate finer finishes.

For the home spa of Jacuzzi tub, rain shower head, steam and massage jets to pamper yourself in. Lighting that adjusts to the mood you want to create takes being refreshed to a higher level. Full glass surrounds in a dedicated shower enclosure creates the sense of space. Beautiful tile work set off by the accessory of strips of glass tile borders beckons us in to admire the reflective surfaces. You can also add stone tiles into the floor that will stimulate your feet with a reflexology treatment as you stand in our own shower.

One of my favorite combinations is a luxurious Jacuzzi tub with a place to comfortable lean back and enjoy a fireplace at your feet. You may never leave! The choices are endless. There are waterfall shower heads we can mount in the wall that will literally feel like you are standing under a natural waterfall. Large circular "rainfall" shower heads encircle your head and shoulders with soothing warm to hot water to relax tired muscles.  Control panels with strategically placed jets can massage your entire back as you relax in your shower too. Steam is available as well. A true Spa experience is just a few weeks away. You may never want to leave your newly remodeled bath.

Even if your bath is smaller than you prefer, we can expand the space for you with an addition. If not, designing your new bath wisely using all the new tile, stone, glass enclosures, heated flooring, and special shower heads will visually expand the square footage of your current space as well as expand your enjoyment of relaxing in your own "spa" bathroom.

Give us a call, let's dream together to create your perfect beginning to truly relaxing in your home.
I think  you will be sleeping deeply and dreaming more than ever about all the possibilities!