A person can change.

by the Artist

I had plans. dreams. A lovely large home. Built especially for me by the Carpenter on a pretty spot of land. Years ago I had even come up with some plans.

We built some larger custom spec homes a few years back and that only fueled my dreams. The last spec home we built was as close to my dream home that I could imagine. The Carpenter and I designed it from "scratch". Even though we built it to sell... I built if for me. And I did get to live there for awhile. And it was a dream. I wanted to stay forever. Not just because of the house but because of the quaint neighborhood where it was located. 

Well eventually you have to wake up. We moved back to our "real" home. I was determined to let that dream go. And I have. I now appreciate my smaller home, and in fact the desire for a larger home is long gone. The desire to live in that neighborhood is gone. (ironically the Carpenter wants to move back in a few years!) Maybe that comes with age. But I also think I've come to appreciate efficiency, smaller organized spaces. Minimalism. I even shop differently. I only buy what I need when I need it. 

And I think part of what has influenced this change in me is the "tiny house" trend. I don't think I could live full time in a "tiny house", but I can appreciate the lifestyle. And the creativity to be able to live that lifestyle. Here is a sweet "tiny house" from Houzz.com that is beautifully designed. http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/70571277?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u3538&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery0

Our company's brand line "Helping you love where you live" resonates with me more then ever now too. Staying where you live, embracing the potential in your home. Making the most of every square inch. Who would have thought that small homes would be trending post decades of bigger is better. That some are downsizing before they have an empty nest. That it's more a lifestyle choice, an intentional choosing of a smaller efficient footprint.

I'm excited about this. Call us if you are too!




by the Artist

We are in the between time. Just wrapped up the Modern Farmhouse Project. Starting a couple new projects. And in between we take care of the little jobs that have been on the wait list as we gear up and get into the groove with the new projects. 

It all works out. A balancing act for sure. This week as the Carpenter and I looked at the white board to schedule out the week.. I had to write a bunch of question marks. Between times don't go in a straight line. They are fluid. We have to be flexible. Rather.. I have to be flexible. I like plans and orderliness. I'm not good with changing plans or not even making a plan. No. Not for me.

I did take the time yesterday to head over to our completed Modern Farmhouse Project http://www.applewoodremodelers.com/recent-projects/ to take some final photos. Wow. I hadn't been there in awhile. Seeing it totally finished was amazing. What a contrast from what it used to look like. It must feel like living in a brand new house to the homeowners. It would feel that way to me. 

Here are some photos I captured yesterday. The house really turned out lovely. So simple and sleek. So fresh. I think you will agree. I've also attached some "before" photos just so you can see how transformed the house is!

A good idea.

by the Artist

While the Carpenter deals with the mechanics and the ordering and all the details of our current large project- The Modern Farmhouse- I've been assisting with design decisions when needed. It's been fun to work with the homeowners as they work through the many decisions that are needed to be made for the scope of this project. I am basically "on call" ready to lend a listening ear or do some research for materials.

I think.. no I know that this can be overwhelming with the amount of decisions that come along. Even if you have a good sense of design and know what you like and what you don't like.. it still can be taxing. 

I usually set up a secret board on Pinterest and an Ideabook on Houzz.com. Then send out the invitations to start sharing and gathering styles– flooring, trim, lighting, tile etc. It's collaborative and I like that. I work mostly alone these days.. I no longer have co-workers to bounce ideas off of.. so boards and books and collaborations scratch that itch. I also work on keeping up with the latest housing design trends. Well that is the easy part as I tend to chase shiny objects. Unfortunately my ever changing design perspective has made the Carpenter crazy at times! Well and me too. just alittle.

Why am I sharing this? For those of you that might need that type of help. Perhaps you are leaning towards calling that other builder. Maybe we would be a good fit if you know you need design help, that you know it kind of makes you crazy, and to even think about it makes you break out in a cold sweat. My design assistance for whatever question or decision you may have or will encounter during the entire length of the project is included in the project. No extra cost or fee. It's part of the deal.

And that's a pretty good deal.

Wrapping it up.

by the Artist

It's a short week for our crew. Christmas. The Carpenter made plans last weekend to "wrap-up" the Bridge St project. All he needed was good weather and a healthy crew. It looked doable. It wasn't. Illness, rain and wet snow made a short week even shorter. But he knows how to be flexible. He and the crew pulled all the equipment not being used from the project and brought it over to the next project. Then he sent the guys home to start their Christmas celebrations.

We will finish up the garage gable craftsman architectural beam detail (which they are building custom) and a few odds and ends, between Christmas and New Year's. Despite the warm, wet fall this project is coming in on schedule. Very thankful for that. 

I've been busy keeping the "home fires" going and preparing to host Christmas Day for 23 family members coming to Applewood headquarters! We're having Italian fare (what else for a bunch of Swedes and Norwegians?) Yes... this New Jersey girl likes to shake it up a bit! 

We're looking forward to sharing our little home for Christmas. And these days I don't even mind that it isn't a big home. The more programs I watch about living in "Tiny houses" the more I appreciate my "small house". Why would I need more? It is enough. I don't even worry anymore about accomadating 25 of us in two days. It is what it is. It's more about spending time together and remembering why we are celebrating at all.

From our home to yours.... may you have a blessed Christmas with your family and friends.

See you in the new year!

For real.

by the Artist


At a recent interview the Carpenter was asked if there really was an "Artist and Carpenter". The Carpenter looked at the guy and said.. are you serious? You are looking at the "Carpenter". It made me think about that. What is obvious to us isn't ever as obvious to someone else. And in this digital age.. what you see on a screen is not necessarily real or true. 

Well I just pinched myself. I am real and as of this morning.. the Carpenter is too. I am an artist- trained in graphic design. I now work in our company doing all the marketing, and I assist with any design needs for our projects. And the Carpenter has been pounding nails and loving what he does since age 18. We are married. We work every day to make it in this digital world, to be a presence, to keep the work that we do relevant and hopefully from time to time.. fleetingly interesting to you.

This week we started a large exterior remodel. Click on this link to see the album I set up on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.924098774343969.1073741922.342655239154995&type=3 These are our favorite type of projects. We are excited to share with you. Prior to starting this project we both spent quite some time meeting with the homeowners to gather information, present design concepts– to be given the opportunity to partner with them to achieve the goals for their home. This is a huge responsibility. We are up for it!

Thirsty anyone?

by the Artist

Bidding on high.

by the Artist

Last week the Carpenter and I headed to a home, to take photos and measurements for a large exterior renovation project we are bidding on. We call these larger whole house exterior projects "Second Acts". http://www.applewoodremodelers.com/second-act-1/ We love this type of work for different reasons.

The photos I took will be used to layout some design ideas to show the homeowners. The Carpenter went to look more closely at all aspects of the exterior, as well as take measurements for his bid. In the photo above, I caught the Carpenter deep in thought up on the roof. I'm always surprised how relaxed he is up high. 

The Carpenter favors working with the existing conditions of an older home. Problem solving what is revealed during the project, figuring out how to fit new materials and design into "old". He says it's like working a puzzle. He makes the renovation work.

I enjoy the challenge of designing the "before" to become a beautiful "after". I watch my share of home improvement shows. Actually we started watching "This Old House" before HGTV was even a glimmer in a producers eye. I make the design work.

We've both learned a lot over the years. A lot. How to renovate to current market standards without breaking the bank, and still maintain quality craftsmanship. There is an art to that. 

And we're off to another busy week. 

Here's to hoping you have a good week too.