Thank You for 20 Years, Jeremiah!

Investing in our Team Tools

We are celebrating twenty years of Jeremiah Mills lending his skills, leadership, and talents to our team at Schrader and Company Construction Services.

Jeremiah began as a carpenter and rose to the role of Project Manager, where his expert level of craftsmanship and ability to guide a team have resulted in some of our finest work.

“Jeremiah is an incredibly talented Project Manager and craftsman who often takes on some of our more complex renovations,” says Ben. “Clients quickly come to value Jeremiah’s acute attention to detail, the exceptional care he takes of their home during renovations, and his clear communication style. Jeremiah without question elevates our company. We are grateful to have him as part of our team for the past twenty years, and we look forward to many more years to come.”

He is a standout perfectionist among a whole company of perfectionists, and  a pace setter for defining the level of quality and attention to fine detail selected on any particular project. In addition to crafting beautiful spaces for clients, Jeremiah approaches his projects with extreme care and sensitivity to the clients home and possessions. Although not particularly recommended, it’s often a running joke that you can eat off the floor of Jeremiah’s work site.

Thank you for twenty years of hard work and loyalty, Jeremiah!

Congratulations, Mike Singsheim!

Last month, we bid a fond farewell and wished a happy retirement to one of our longtime employees, Mike Singsheim.

Mike joined Schrader and Company in 1996, bringing with him a bevvy of professional painting experience. In his 25 years with our company, Mike distinguished himself as someone who always gave his all, and was never willing to sacrifice quality.

Clients loved the results of Mike’s high quality work in their homes, and his uncanny ability to match the trickiest of stains and create a seamless finish.

“Mike is a genuinely good person,” says Silas. “ He’s exactly the kind of extremely hard worker you want on your team.”

Retirements are always a bittersweet goodbye, but we are excited to wish Mike well as he moves closer to family, and gets to enjoy his grandchildren.

Thank you for your many years of hard work and loyalty, Mike!

 

Kind Words From Our Valued Clients

Everyone at Schrader and Company knows that our true value lies in the quality of our relationships with our clients. We are so fortunate to be invited into your homes, and entrusted with the task of making them into the beloved spaces where you live your lives. We take that responsibility seriously, and there is nothing more rewarding for us than knowing we’ve met and even exceeded your expectations.

Here are a few of the most recent testimonials from our valued clients, both old and new:

 

“We want to thank you for the skill, care, and artistry you put into our vanity. It’s not just a stand to hold up the sink, but a true work of art!”

“Everyone involved in our project was professional, pleasant, and easy to work with. Cleanups were done daily while the team worked, which means a lot to a homeowner. It was always a joy to speak with Lynn whenever I called. You can just hear the smile in her voice.”

“From the structural design down to the smallest details of cabinetry and trim, our Schrader team took time and care to do their best work at each step. We chose them for our project because it was clear that they understood the construction in our 200-year-old home, and our project planner excelled at looking at both the big picture goals and the smallest details during the planning phase. What we learned through the construction process is that the whole Schrader team is not only hardworking and talented, they are also kind, trustworthy, and easy to be around, which makes a huge difference when you have people coming in and out of your home every day. At the end of a months-long project, we are left with a new section of our home that is beautiful, functional, and will last for generations. We are also left with positive feelings about the process and the people. It is clear that the Schrader crew keeps their motto at the core of their business. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with a talented team and know that we were getting the very best for our home and our family, both in terms of product and process.” 

“They are a skilled group in every aspect. We thought our kitchen was going to be our last big project, too, but then we had them do a screened porch (another beautiful masterpiece!) and a stone wall and new fireplace mantel. After the kitchen, I couldn’t get enough of them. To this day, I still look around my house and think, ‘What else can we have Schrader do for us?’ ”

 

Incorporating Color and Pattern Into Your Renovation

Home decor trends and home decor trends go…

We can all remember a time when shag carpeting or avocado appliances were the height of sophistication. It can be tricky to separate the classic from the trendy when embarking on a home renovation. The last thing any of us want to do is invest in expensive and permanent changes to our home, only to find they’re as passé as popcorn ceilings in a few years time. That is why it’s nice to have experts at the ready who can help guide us to choices that we will want to live with for decades.

Color and pattern are having a real moment in terms of design trends, and we meet with lots of clients who are interested in adding some visual interest to their homes, but are concerned about what might turn out to be “too much” or “too trendy” as times goes by.

Our award-winning Interior Designer Brooke Weinert and architectural representative Christine Raible of Best Tile were kind enough to sit down with us to talk about ways to incorporate color and pattern into our home decor in thoughtful ways that will stand the test of time. 

On Color Choices:

Brooke: I like to incorporate color in permanent fixtures (tile, cabinetry, etc.) using more tonal or muted versions of colors that the clients already have in their home. For example, if the clients like blue and have blue in other parts of their home, I’d recommend a slate blue or navy blue tile or island accent. Both slate and navy are shades of blue that are still regarded as neutral “tones” that read blue and bring out blue in other colors close by.

We are less likely to get sick of neutral colors, because they tend to play well with many different colors. I think the stem of the issue of things being trendy and going out of style are when we choose bright tones that draw our eyes’ attention much more quickly. So when we inevitably want a change, a bright blue island is going to make repainting and redecorating much more difficult, resulting in wanting a total renovation.

Christine: With tile especially, because it is so permanent, I try to recommend one showpiece in the space that has color and pattern, whether that be the countertop, the floor tile, or an accent mosaic. Then all of the other parts of the space become supporting roles to that feature. There can be other colors and patterns in the space, but having that one feature helps it to not become overwhelming and too trendy. 

 

On Picking Patterns:

Brooke: I love pattern and texture, and these two often work hand in hand. I think these add a very important depth to a design that can sometimes be overlooked. However, you have to be careful when choosing something with a pattern or texture, to avoid making your space look too busy, and therefore, seem smaller. 

If you’re hoping to do an accent tile to incorporate a pattern in your shower, for instance, you want the patterned portion to distinctly stand out from the rest of the wall tile. So you don’t want to choose a wall tile that has a lot of movement and variety, because it will compete with the patterned tile and become difficult for our eyes to process.

One thing that I think is often forgotten when choosing a patterned tile is ensuring that the pattern works well with the style of the home and stays in tune with the design style. I’ve seen so many Houzz images where there’s a gorgeous traditional white kitchen with a bar area that has an accent patterned backsplash that looks like it belongs to another house. We don’t want that!

Another way I like to incorporate pattern/texture is switching the installation format of the tile. This is a fun way to play with a “classic” tile and make it a bit more fun. I love when we have clients who come in saying they “hate subway tile”, and then we show them the many ways that it can be installed and they look at it in a whole new light. 

 

Trends that Aren’t Too Trendy:

Brooke: Trends I’m seeing include the incorporation of a color, either in the backsplash or island. I’ve also been seeing a lot of accent backsplash behind the ranges again, mainly carrying the countertop up as the backsplash behind the range only.  I’m not sure if it’s because people have been stuck at home for so long and want a change, but it seems like a lot of clients are wanting to express themselves with brighter tones and bolder patterns in their homes than they had pre-Covid lockdown. 

Christine: Glazed ceramic wall tiles are very popular and I feel they are also very classic and timeless.  There are so many options and you aren’t stuck to just the traditional white subway tile. These tiles come in a range of sizes from 2×8 to 4×16 and many other sizes in between. They also have a range of colors, patterns, and glazing. Adding a glazed ceramic tile with variation in the glaze is a nice way to add a little pattern and interest without making the space too busy.    

Adding a mosaic as a vanity backsplash in lieu of a traditional 4″ quartz or granite backsplash is a fun way to add a pop of color and pattern behind your sinks. Accenting the back of the niche in your shower with an accent tile also adds a subtle pop. Powder rooms are the perfect place to play with color. This is the space that your guests most often use and they are a separate space from other spaces so you can really play with patterns in there. I often used patterned porcelain tiles or stone mosaics with variation in these spaces.

Check out some examples of color and pattern trends in our projects below and consider adding a pop of visual interest to your next project. With Brooke and Christine’s expert guidelines in mind, there are plenty of ways to spice up your space in a timeless and elegant way.

 

Muddy Spring Weather Calls for the Perfect Mudroom

April showers bring May flowers…and mud.

Here in Upstate New York, we wait impatiently for the snow to finally melt and the sun to shine again, taking us out into our yards and gardens, ready to make the most of the spring. But with this return to the great outdoors comes the inevitable mess of nature. When it’s time to come back home from our outdoor revels, we track in grass, leaves, and mud, needing places to store our wet umbrellas and raincoats, boots and bags.

That’s why every home needs a good mudroom. A mudroom with ample storage provides a crucial stopping point for the mess of the outdoors before it can infiltrate your carpets and furniture. 

Families especially can benefit from these designated “in and out” stations, which offer homes for all the abundant “stuff” of childhood–lunch bags, sports equipment, backpacks, shoes, hats and gloves, and now, masks and hand sanitizer. 

A mudroom is a simple upgrade to your home that truly benefits everyday life. Take a look at some of these beautiful examples of mudrooms we have created for our clients, and give us a call if you’re ready to corral, organize, and streamline your home for better living.

 

 

Schrader and Company Picks Up Three 2020 “Best in Building” Awards

We are so pleased to share that we’ve been honored by the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association for their 2020  “Best in Building” Awards.

Schrader and Company picked up awards in three categories: Best Historic Remodel, Best Kitchen Remodel ($75,000 +), and Best Utility or Special Use Space.

The pandemic prevented us from gathering with our peers in the field in person to celebrate these accolades as we usually do, but the CRBRA put together some excellent videos showcasing personnel from each winning company explaining their projects.

Our Interior Designer, Brooke Weinert, did a wonderful job taking the viewer behind the scenes of our three award-winning projects.

We are honored by these awards and their recognition of our efforts to deliver the best in craftsmanship to our clients.

 

The Future Looks Bright: Meet the Young Talent on Our Team

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At some point in the last decade, you’ve probably read a think-piece or heard a news story about the downward trend of interest in careers in the trade industry. 

Fewer and fewer young people are picturing a future in the skilled trades, and that brings about serious questions about who exactly is going to build America’s homes, plumb the pipes, wire the electronics and HVAC units, and generally fix what gets broken in our country in the decades to come.

While the nation at large might wring their hands at the decreased interest in the trades industry, here at Schrader and Company, we see a crop of passionate, committed young people who strive to hone their craft to the highest of levels. These newest members of our team already demonstrate an elite level of skill, professionalism, and talent. We believe in encouraging the interest of young carpenters, and providing opportunity for them to grow, gain hands-on experience, and make a good living. 

We sat down with the newest and youngest members of Schrader and Company to ask them about how they got started in their chosen field, what they’ve learned on the journey so far, and what advice they might have for other young people just starting out.

Their thoughtful answers tell us something we all want to hear: the future of our company, and our entire industry, is safe in their capable, hard-working hands.

 

Austin S., Project Manager

I first became interested in  carpentry and building in high school. I took a lot of fine woodworking classes and a course called “Basic Principles of Construction”, where we built a few small things and then sheds at the end of the year. I ended up really enjoying it. 

I chose to pursue this career because of the enjoyment I get out of woodworking and crafting. I also knew that college wasn’t the right path for me.

Working with the Schrader team has taught me everything I needed to know to work my way up to project manager at 21. I’m still not done learning. There is much more to learn as this profession is always changing.

If you know college isn’t for you, never be afraid or ashamed of pursuing a skilled trades career. The knowledge that you take home every day will benefit you in the future guaranteed, and the skills you learn, you can use in every aspect of life.

 

Sean K., Project Manager

 My wife and I had purchased a house and started to do some large renovations to it. We hired out most of the work but I took on some of the smaller projects. Over the next couple of years I took on some larger scale remodeling projects and my passions switched from the work I was doing during my day job to the extracurricular projects I had at home.

I had graduated from college with a degree in economics and worked in the finance field for several years but I grew disenfranchised with the office atmosphere. I felt greater reward from working with my hands and problem solving on the renovation projects in my own home. I was tired of paying people to do the remodeling work I would rather be doing myself. With my wife’s support, I decided to make the jump and make a career change to learn carpentry and construction.

Working with the Schrader and Company team has put me in a great position to learn numerous aspects of the construction field.  I have been able to work on a variety of projects that have exposed me to different challenges and experiences. In a world that is going the way of mass produced kits geared to being assembled by anybody, it has been a privilege to be in a position to learn the industry from a company that still exemplifies craftsmanship.

The construction industry can be a very rewarding one. It allows for a full experience of being able to physically involve yourself in the work, but also to engage the mind when needing to find a solution to problems. There is also great enjoyment in being able to be a part of a project from beginning to end, and being able to physically see what you were a part of creating.

 

Nicco T., Apprentice Carpenter/College Student

Since I was a kid I was always building with LEGO, which led me to take several construction electives at Shenendehowa High School.

During my junior year of high school, my technology teacher  saw my interest and pointed me in the direction of the Hudson Valley Construction Tech program. Then during my senior year I was in a class to build a house with my teacher Mr. Verhagan, and I decided to apply for that Hudson Valley course. I am now starting my second semester there soon.

I could fill a page with the skills I have already learned being here at Schrader and Company for almost a year now, but I believe that the team has taught me that putting in hard work will pay off.

If this career path gives you satisfaction after looking at what you have completed after a day of work, then you should pursue this career.

 

Ryan C., Production Assistant/High School Student

I first learned of my love for carpentry and construction when I was thirteen years old building a workbench with my dad. Once I discovered working with my hands, I inherited some tools from my great grandfather and started to build things on my own, learning something new with every project.

 What made me want to pursue construction as a profession was working with and learning from my Uncle Marco, who is a very talented stone mason and an owner of Lazio Construction. He taught me about the different types of construction that I might be interested in and introduced me to Shrader and Company.

 Working with the Schrader and Company team has taught me that the area of construction that excites me the most is remodeling and new construction. I have discovered that working on site rebuilding a project or starting a new one, and doing it the right way, has taught me more about my passion for carpentry than I ever could have imagined.

For people who are interested in the trades, I strongly advise them to learn more about the many different paths in construction. Once they’ve found what excites them the most, they should get hands-on experience and they will soon discover that there is never a day or an age where you stop learning something new.

Happy Retirement to Project Manager Kevin Connor

After more than twenty years of hard work, dedication, and exceptional talent, it’s time for us to bid a fond farewell to Senior Project Manager Kevin Connor.

Kevin came to Schrader and Company in 2000, after a long period of time working as an independent in the commercial field of construction. He quickly established himself within our ranks as a knowledgeable mentor, a thoughtful leader, and an imaginative problem-solver who was always beloved by our clients.

Kevin has led countless renovations in his time at Schrader and Company, bringing his tremendous skill set, reliability, and gentlemanly manner to any and all projects. Kevin has also been an influential and competent mentor to younger carpenters who have joined us over the years. His tutelage and example have helped new team members hone their craft to his level of excellence.

In 2010, after ten years with the company, Schrader and Co. founder Peter Schrader had this to say about Kevin’s contributions to the team: 

“Kevin is one of those leaders who inspire others by setting imaginative goals. All of us can learn from someone who thinks this way—a person who can sort through the noise and discover what has true importance in his life, define that in terms of a goal or a dream worthy of pursuit, and then go after it.”

Kevin’s next chapter will find him out west, where he can enjoy time with his family and grandchildren, and (we hope) lots of time for reading and well-earned relaxation. He takes our best wishes, and profound gratitude for his two decades of service and loyalty with him.

“Over the past twenty years Kevin has been a valuable and thoughtful sounding board, an exceptional craftsman, and a dependable, consummate professional, “says Ben. “He has represented what we want this business to be. Kevin’s profound impact on the company, and those around him, will last far beyond his time at Schrader and Company.”

 

Surviving and Thriving During a Kitchen Renovation

Deciding to undertake a home renovation is an exciting moment.  Finally—after dreaming, saving, planning, and finding the right remodeler and the right time—the work can begin! But it’s important to carefully consider the realities of a project before the first hammer leaves the toolbox. All construction work results in some amount of disruption to the usual rhythms of daily life, and one of the most involved renovations (that benefits the most from some forethought) is a kitchen remodel.

We sat down with two different clients whose own extensive Schrader and Company kitchen renovations meant that their usual cooking workspace needed to be relocated and rethought for the duration of their project. 

Their inventive solutions and creative workarounds will benefit anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Their experiences prove that with a little flexibility, the right equipment, and a positive outlook, the construction phase needn’t be a painful one.

Without further ado, here’s a list of some of our clients’ best tips for surviving and thriving during a kitchen remodel:

 

Tip One: Creating a Mock Kitchen 

  • Set up a cohesive space in a different part of your home (dining room, living room, basement, garage) that works as a small galley with a miniature version of a typical kitchen. 
  • Consider a good location—if possible, near a utility sink, bathroom sink or tub.
  •  It’s also helpful not to have to move your temp kitchen around. Consider where it can stay for the duration of the project.
  • Think about stations for typical kitchen use, like a surface area for food prep, an area for food storage, an area for washing dishes, and a place to deal with food scraps and trash.
  • One client used a jelly cupboard to keep dishes, glasses, and some mixing and serving bowls handy.
  • Make a space for tea and coffee prep if that’s part of your daily routine. 
  • Big plastic tubs work well for pantry/food storage and keep pets and pests out. 

 

Tip Two: Creative Cooking Workarounds

  • Our clients all agree that grilling (if the weather works) is a great tip. They also recommend an outdoor camp stove, a countertop toaster oven, a crock pot or instant pot, and a panini press or griddle. 
  • Often the existing refrigerator and existing microwave can be set up for use during the project.

 

Tip Three: Don’t Forget About Clean-Up

  • You’ll need a spot to put your trash and recycling, a spot to scrape dishes (trash, toilet, or helpful dogs are all good options when you’re washing dishes in a space without a disposal). 
  • Consider purchasing a cheap plastic utility sink for a shower. One client put a water-resistant folding table next to their utility sink for a dish drying rack, and installed a hand sprayer in the shower to help with washing dishes. 
  • Buy a strainer for the drain where you are washing dishes for small food scraps so you don’t clog your drain. 

 

Tip Four: Budget for Reality

  • It’s a good idea to keep a little discretionary food fund for the duration of the renovation. Realistically, you might opt for more takeout or dining out while your dream kitchen is being created, and even time savers like pre-chopped produce cost a little extra. It’s all about balance.

 

Tip Five: Keep Perspective

  • Good things take time. We’ll just quote one client directly who had this to say about her extensive kitchen renovation process:

“The two most important things to me for this time have been a sense of humor and a sense of perspective and gratitude. Yes, it can be frustrating. Things take longer. Messes are plentiful, and harder to clean up. But my little galley is nicer than many apartment kitchens, and nobody is going to cue the violins for me because I don’t have a dishwasher while I’m waiting for my Schrader kitchen. We are lucky to be doing this, and are living like this temporarily, for an excellent reason. We are grateful to be able to go through this process and look forward to the end product, and that gratitude allows me to keep the temporary inconvenience in perspective.”

 

How We Keep Our Saw Sharp

Investing in our Team Tools

In the construction and remodeling field, we know how important it is to keep our tools in pristine condition. As business owners, we apply the same philosophy to the running of our company. One of the things we do to keep Schrader and Company operating at the level of excellence we always aspire to is to regularly check in with the best professional advisors.

Once a year, we meet with our attorney, accountant, insurance/financial advisor, marketing expert, succession advisor, and a fellow local business owner/advisor to dig into the topics that will make us better. We create an agenda that allows us to ask these experts our questions about the latest changes in each of their fields, brainstorm new ideas, take on constructive criticism and feedback, and set new objectives for our company.

This regular check-in ensures that we are always up to date on the ever-evolving changes to the systems that impact our industry. Our annual advisor meeting keeps us accountable to our overarching mission and business goals, and provides dedicated time from the busy pace of daily operations to think about our future and legacy.

We benefit so much from the wisdom of these trusted experts, and we pass those benefits right down the line to our clients through a more polished, seamless, and professional experience with Schrader and Company.

This is just one of the ways we “keep our saw sharp.”