Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nothing Like Watching

I have an idea! I do not know why I have not done this!?  We have a great Facebook Page where we post pictures.  Let me ask you, would you enjoy my posting of pictures and videos in these Blog posts as well? I can post them and enter a more detailed description in the Blog.

Lenny has amazing abilities and results! Last week's post made me realize short videos and pictures help homeowners understand why and how things are accomplished. Seeing is believing too. It reduces stress created by the "unknown".

Like every professional, it is easy to forget your clients do NOT know what the process is. Isn't that true? I bet, as you go about your work day accomplishing what is "natural" for you, you minimize the skills and importance of the details particular to your services or jobs. We all assume our customers or clients know what we do or are not really interested. However, this is your home, your nest, and most likely, you are going to need to remain living and sleeping in it during the remodeling process.
So, I thought, "Ask the readers!"

Homeowners are shocked when they realize the decisions, selections, and sheer details that need to be discussed , understood, and accepted in the contract phase. I hope to create clarity and calm for you as you transition into the Demo Phase. Let's begin with some basics. We will post follow up pictures or videos that illustrate to help your understanding of what to expect.

Have you thought about how to protect your home's interior when you are busy improving it in a room close to another important gathering place in your home? Dust has a way of landing EVERYWHERE and traveling further than you ever thought possible! Let's begin there.

Of course this can have an impact on your physical health, especially your respiratory and visual health. However, it also impacts your emotional and mental health.  The Demo phase is messy. There is no way to prevent that fact. Having your home torn apart while living in it is stressful! Yes, it is temporary and the results will be worth the inconvenience. However, it is a fact the homeowner must
factor in to their decisions.

In New England where many of our homes are 75 years old or older, we can run into specialized issues. I did in my Circa 1908 home remodeling our kitchen and bath.   Improving one area should not impact another area negatively, right? The reality here is unique to the United States.  In New England, where many of our homes were built decades: if not a century ago, horsehair plaster may be the way the walls were constructed. Have you ever broken into a wall made with it? Oh my, the fine dust is unbelievable!  It can be impossible to capture if you are not prepared and ready to confine it. Even newer construction is messy, dusty, and unpleasant to work around or live in proximity to. So, what can be done to protect yourself, your family, pets, furniture and belongings?

Your best protection is a temporary wall made for the duration of the "dusty" phase.  Plastic Sheeting to create dust barrier walls is a must! Any Contractor that takes pride in their professionalism and truly cares about the safety and health of you and your family will enclose the work area to confine the mess. They will also clean up daily before leaving the work site.

There is nothing like personal experience to help us understand what is important to your clients.
Honestly, as a Designer, I often discussed with my clients the need to be prepared realizing remodeling can be wonderful and exciting. It can also be stressful too. However, I did not know how stressful it could be until I remodeled my own kitchen and bath. Even knowing the process and inconvenience, I was not prepared for the days, I was just tired of my home being turned into a construction zone. It was worth it in the long run. It was still upsetting at times along the way.

Our repeat clients that contract with us for multiple projects do so based on our genuine care and concern for your project, your property, and your sanity.  We would love to do the same for you!
There is a difference so it is important your award your project to a Contractor who keeps all of this in mind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Did you know?

It occurs to me today , every blog post I do is about us doing kitchen or bath remodeling projects. I'm going to diversify today. There are endless projects homeowners need and want so please bare with me while I clue you in to the exciting truth of all Apple Wood can accomplish for you.

Did you know we do EVERYTHING? What? Really? Yes, really! I know that is uncommon. How can that be? Well, it is past time for me to let you know ANY need, interest, or improvement to your home inside or out can be accomplished here at Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath. Yes, it is true!

Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath was created only 4 years ago. Lenny and Lisa Santosuosso also own a General  Contracting Home Building business (Apple Wood Construction). They opened it long before our Kitchen & Bath showroom existed.

Lenny went to a vocational high school to learn the construction trade. By the time Lenny was seventeen, he was an experienced carpenter and craftsman. The family pride in helping home owners has continued for generations in the Santosuosso family. Now, Lenny the fourth is learning the business along side his Dad. You gotta love that! I do !

In addition to our Design Build approach to kitchens and baths, Lenny is a new home builder. We
also do decks, additions, siding, windows, fireplaces, flooring, remove supporting walls to create open concept homes. If you want something done around the house chances are Apple Wood can do it for you.

Referral and repeat business is what all construction professionals hope for. Apple Wood thrives on repeat business. Once a homeowner experiences our design expertise and Lenny's craftsmanship, their wish list for home improvement projects expands. It is very common for our clients to tell us to get ready and prepare to get the thumbs up to do the bath, or kitchen, or a garage, or the deck next.

Think about the importance and value of working with a contractor who can do any and everything you want or need. It is extremely rare for one homeowner to afford every project they want to do all at the same time. However, to have the freedom to brainstorm and prioritize the current project keeping future ones in mind saves time, stress and money. Working with one company , hopefully Apple Wood,  helps eliminate the issues that may arise hiring different companies for different projects.

So how did our Kitchen Bath Showroom come into being? Why is it what everyone associates  Apple Wood with? Let me explain. When you are a General Contractor you are overseeing every component needed to build a complete home or business building. You build a team of sub contractors you trust , rely on and hire to build your clients home or business. The GC has to research, contact, and develop a working relationship with electricians, plumbers, roofers, siding companies, flooring, tile, and kitchen and bath designers and showrooms. The Contractor works hard to find synergistic  partnerships with subs he can count on to be committed to the same level of quality he is. That can be quite a challenge.    

 Initially, Lenny endeavored to find Kitchen and Bath showrooms and professionals he was confident in. They needed to be ethical, dependable, organized, and detailed. They needed to have the same commitment to excellence Lenny has. After having difficulty finding someone to work the decision was made to open his own cabinet showroom. Too many compromises were happening working with outside Kitchen and Bath professionals and showrooms. That is how Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath was born. We have been much happier and so have our clients.

If there is any profession where being OCD and a perfectionist is a good thing, it is remodeling. In fact , I would go so far as to say, those attributes should be present in anyone remodeling homes.
Think about it. Remodeling an existing space is a combination of art, creativity, math , and craftsmanship. If any of those ingredients are missing, the results will be lacking.

I love working for the Santosouosso's for many reasons. They are people of their word, dependable, honest and excellent at their craft. Your project will be competitively priced, on budget, and on time. You will not be disappointed. I would be so bold to say, you will be a client for life.

Come see us and find out for yourself!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Unusual Yet Convenient Items to Include

New England is filled with such variety. Especially, where homes are concerned. Since America began here long before we won our independence from England, we still have homes from the 1700's, even earlier in the late 1600s. I love the Post and Beam Construction of many of  New Hampshire's early homes!

One of the fun things about a career in remodeling is seeing so many of these homes original kitchen hearths and bun ovens. I have designed and coordinated the installation of kitchen additions fortunate enough to "keep" the historical items in place while designing and building a new kitchen with all the conveniences of this century within the same room or very close by. These homes take the warmth and nostalgia of our rich history to a higher level. Being invited to special Holiday Events by the owners of an Historical Home is truly a special treat!

Many of these Historical Homes are in some of New Hampshire's cities, some in the country, or little villages between the two. We are surrounded with a rich tapestry of beauty homes of all sizes and design styles. The homes that happen to have acreage are especially beautiful. I love seeing gardens, horses, livestock, and the pets that belong. My purpose for this unusual topic and the title of this post
relates to those family members loved by all, our dogs.

 Mud Rooms are an integral and important addition to New England homes. "Mud" being a very appropriate term, especially for homes with land, gardens, and animals to care for. Most animals do not enter the house. Dogs are the exception. I want to share some fairly new features many homeowners are considering and installing when remodeling these days.  Function is key yet  cabinet manufacturers, along with plumbers and tile designers and retailers have met a need very creatively! What could that be?

Let me set the scene. Often the mudroom is near the kitchen entrance and pantry or laundry area. These "necessary " rooms, especially in New England are set apart from the living or dining room areas where you socialize with friends and gather as a family. These functional areas are perfect for receiving the homeowner after working outside. Generally located near a back door and or the garage they help keep other rooms tidy, neat, and clean. Mud Room is the perfect description.

What special features are designed for this space? For awhile now, designing a wall or corner configuration of cabinets to hang coats, hats, scarves, gloves and umbrellas has become very popular.
Since our winters can be raw we are in need of multi layers of jackets to heavy coats, hats, gloves, the more room you can spare for this practical space, the better! Here are a couple of ideas my clients have found key.
1. Seating that functions as hidden storage is perfect. It gives you a place to sit for ease taking off
2. Tall cabinets to anchor cabinets on two walls meeting in a corner allow more hidden storage.
3. Wall Panels like Bead Board add a country rural feel. If your home is more formal a Raised or
    Recessed Panel to match your kitchen cabinet doors works perfectly too. Picture the anchor Tall
    Cabinets connected at the base to the seating cabinets. The wall panels connect it all finished off
    with beautifully stained Solid Stock installed horizontally accessorized with sturdy coat hooks. The     final touch being crown molding on the tall cabinets as well as the expanse of the solid stock trim.
4. If the square footage allows, some deep "Pots and Pans " Drawer bases are perfect for hat, scarf,
    and gloves storage.
5. This is also a perfect place for some Trash and Recycling Cabinets.
6. A handy and convenient black board or bulletin board to keep track of dates for activities would be
    a great addition too.
7. I have actually designed a work space with shelves into Mud Rooms occasionally. They became
    excellent drop off points for the kids homework assignments , books , etc. The routine of  knowing     that is where everything is can help keep the kitchen counters and island less cluttered.
It may not be practical or possible to integrate all these options. It is a great idea to consider  what would be best for your lifestyle.

Okay, are you ready for a fairly new trend? I think the practicality of it will win you over, if you have four legged family members, especially big dogs. Recently there has been an interest in a new focus in these rooms as well. It is a practical "luxury" that also keeps the rest of your home free and safe from dirt or mud being tracked in by your pets.

Building in a corner doggie shower is the new rage! People who have them do not know how they managed with out them before! What? A dog shower? Okay stay with me, I will explain.
Have you had to clean up your bathroom walls, tub, shower after "finally " breaking down and bathing your dog? Yeah, how did you like that?

Adding a shower pan in a corner of your mudroom, with tile extending up the walls 3 to 5 feet is a perfect dedicated place to bathe your pets , "BEFORE" they walk  through your clean house with mud all over them or their feet. This is a mini shower with plumbing and a faucet you can extend to wash and rinse "Buddy" as you get all the yuck taken care of in one easy convenient place.

As I said , our clients who have them wonder why they did not think of this years ago! Just sayin!