An Award-Winning Historic Renovation

At Schrader and Company, we pride ourselves on the range of construction and renovation projects we happily undertake for our clients. But it’s safe to say that historic remodels hold a special place in our collective hearts. 

These types of renovations require a genuine appreciation for historic detail, a respect for the time and techniques used in the initial construction, and a keen design eye to make it all come together in one cohesive final result. The rewards for our team, and for the homeowner, are worth every minute of hard work.

In this Project Spotlight, we look behind the scenes of an extensive historic renovation that recently won the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association  “Best in Building” Award for Best Historic Remodel of 2020.

This renovation work involved the removal of some existing rooms and spaces that simply didn’t work for the homeowners, and the addition of several new spaces and targeted improvements to the original home.

We removed a free-standing, two car garage, a masonry side porch, family room with a large stone fireplace and chimney, the existing kitchen (with a small loft area above) and a first floor bathroom.

We added a new kitchen, a Jack & Jill bathroom, new windows, new siding and exterior trim, and new roofing shingles. Beautiful coffered ten foot ceilings create visual interest and amplify the spaciousness of the rooms. Cabinet Designer Robert Page created plentiful custom cabinetry for placement throughout the home.

The ultimate goal of the renovation was to improve both the aesthetics and functionality of the home while maintaining the historic feel of the structure’s original time period—the mid 1800s. 

Project Planner Brian Taber and Interior Designer Brooke Stollery worked with the clients to make decisions and selections that would achieve these goals, and preserve the historic charm while addressing some of the typical challenges that older homes can present. For example, the new basement floor level in the addition was much lower than the existing basement floor. This required some significant shoring work with steel reinforced concrete. Project Manager Mike Atwood and the field team worked tirelessly to bring the project to fruition.

The renovation also presented opportunities to maximize space and functionality. The mudroom shares a wall with the new great room, and a two-sided cabinet allows for wood to be passed directly from the mudroom through the cabinet to the great room, eliminating mess and making it easier for the homeowners to enjoy cozy nights by their woodstove.  

“These clients are great decision-makers with a true love for their home. They were a pleasure to work with from start to finish,” says Brian.

“They have expressed to us that they feel an incredible sense of peace in their newly renovated home. We couldn’t ask for more than that.”

 

Beauty in the Chaos

When the COVID-19 pandemic first arrived, we had no concept of how it might change our lives and our industry. As information began to circulate, we at Schrader and Company followed the safety protocols and guidelines set forth by the scientific and medical experts to keep our clients and employees as safe as possible.

While this curveball was one we never could have anticipated, we are so proud of the way our team rose to the challenge. This particular Project Spotlight is the perfect example of how we pivoted during the crisis, without sacrificing any of the quality or craftsmanship upon which we stake our reputation.

This extensive first floor renovation was a highly anticipated project for returning clients with whom we had already had a wonderful experience. This project began before COVID-19 hit our region and was completed during the pandemic, teaching us so much about how to effectively operate in this strange new normal.

Project Planner Brian Taber and Project Manager Jeremiah Mills and Interior Designer Brooke Weinert led the team in multiple room renovations, including a kitchen, keeping room, and mudroom. New insulation for better energy efficiency was installed, a wall was removed between the kitchen and dining areas for a more open flow, and improved views made possible through room design and new window placement. Custom cabinetry by Shop Production Manager Robert Page makes the most of storage opportunities, particularly in the kitchen and mudroom. French doors, a new vaulted ceiling over the keeping room, and a more open floor plan make it easier for the clients to live in and entertain in their space.

All of these changes greatly enhanced the functionality of the first floor of the home, and the aesthetic choices, state of the art appliances, and finishing design touches guided by Brooke take the result to new heights. This is a stunning transformation, and one that the entire team remembers with pride.

Much of this work took place under COVID-19 safety protocols, which meant that Jeremiah was the lone man on site for part of the project. He did a phenomenal job managing such an extensive renovation in extraordinary circumstances. New best practices with regards to cleaning and sanitation were also employed to ensure maximum client and team safety.

For his part, Brian is especially pleased with how much the clients love the renovations to their home. 

“On every job, I can envision the end result, but sometimes the outcome is even more beautiful than I could have anticipated,” he said. “This is one of those projects, and I’m thrilled that these clients, with whom we love to work, are as happy as they are with their home.”

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

They say good things come to those who wait. When it comes to big home projects, sometimes patience is an excellent virtue.

In this Project Spotlight, we’ll take you behind the scenes of a major kitchen renovation that the homeowners undertook at just the right time for them, and in doing so, achieved the exact result they were hoping for, with no compromises.

We all wish we could snap our fingers and make improvements to our homes whenever the mood strikes, but in reality, home renovations require careful thought, budgeting, and flexibility. 

These clients knew their kitchen needed a major overhaul for several years before they committed to a remodeling project. But rather than do things piecemeal or have to make budgetary concessions, they elected to wait, save funds for their project for a longer period of time, and begin work at a time when an interior renovation would be less disruptive to their lifestyle.

These clients had done a mudroom and laundry renovation project with us years before. The kitchen renovation was next on their list, to completely overhaul the core areas of their first floor living space. 

While the kitchen layout stayed roughly the same, the wall between the family room and kitchen was widened greatly, to create the open cooking/gathering area that so many homeowners desire. Now when family meals are being prepared or guests come over, there’s no sense of being isolated from one another in separate spaces. 

In addition to new cabinets and countertops, upgraded lighting and refinished floors, new appliances and a spacious kitchen island were added. They also chose a new stainless steel Kohler Prolific sink with built in compartments for cooking accessories and drying racks for maximum efficiency. Now the clients can cook and entertain with ease. 

The homeowners were able to undertake this project when it worked best for their own timeline, and the renovation took place over the winter, when interior projects are often scheduled.

For the clients, their patience in waiting to renovate their kitchen has paid off. Rather than having to make sacrifices in budget or timing in order to have it done fast, they were able to achieve their dream result by doing their major renovation just once, at just the right time for them.

They are loving the new connected feel of their kitchen, and being able to make everyday memories together in their home.

 

 

Uncovering Hidden Potential

In this Project Spotlight, we go behind the scenes of a kitchen renovation that benefited from a change in perspective—both literally and figuratively.

Our clients came to us with a goal for their lovely, open floor plan home, which unfortunately suffered from a small kitchen. The clients wanted their kitchen to reflect the airy, open feel of the rest of their house, and be connected to their dining room for ease in entertaining. With tall ceilings and plenty of potential, the existing layout was just not doing the home justice. The current layout also failed to make the most of a beautiful lake view.

In order to accomplish the homeowner’s goals of a more spacious room, improved flow, and upgraded aesthetics, project planner John Hudson and interior designer Brooke Weinert collaborated over best placement of the room’s features, and ultimately re-oriented a new custom kitchen island to take advantage of the lake view.

Knocking down part of the wall adjoining the kitchen and dining room, creating a large island with seating to face the lake, and removing an existing closet to install a larger, built-in pantry were high on the list of to-do’s for this renovation. 

The new white cabinetry and dark grey contrasting island offer a contemporary twist to this transitional kitchen that is the perfect space for entertaining. With ample counter space, a conveniently located beverage refrigerator, and decorative stacked cabinetry, the beauty of the home and function of the space were brought to a new level.

The room also features innovative storage solutions, like flip/slide or pivot/slide pantry doors. These doors allow for their designated coffee nook to either be left open and the doors to be tucked away out of the traffic path, or to be entirely closed away to hide any small appliances.

“We are so proud of all of our projects, but this one was a special transformation,” says Brooke. “Their new kitchen is now a space perfect for big crowds. Everyone can mingle in this space and still feel connected, even if they’re moving through the living room, kitchen, or dining room. It’s really great to be able to bring new meaning to the spaces in peoples homes.”

 

Long Distance Renovation

While many of our clients are also our full-time neighbors right here in the Capital Region, it has also been our privilege to work with long distance clients over the years, helping to build or remodel seasonal and second homes.

This was the case in this particular Project Spotlight, in which we helped to transform a property into the ideal lakeside retreat. 

Working with clients in a long distance capacity of course presents logistical challenges, but we pride ourselves on the strength of our planning process and clear, reliable communication to surmount any obstacles.

These clients wanted to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the three bathrooms and kitchen in their newly purchased lakeside home.

Project Planner Brian Taber worked with the clients to create major upgrades, including renovations of three bathrooms, and expansion of the first floor half bathroom into a full bathroom. Radiant heat and new windows were added to the home. The kitchen boasts beautiful custom Schrader cabinetry and ample storage. To make the most of the gorgeous lake view from the kitchen window, the counters were extended out and paired with a new counter-height window. 

Understandably, our clients were hoping to make use of their lake-front home in the summer, so a tight deadline needed to be met. With strong communication and the many talents of the entire Schrader and Company team including Project Manager Jeremiah Mills, Interior Designer Brooke Stollery, and Cabinet Maker Robert Page, the goal was achieved, much to everyone’s joy. 

“I’m thrilled that we were able to satisfy clients with high standards and a clear vision,” says Brian. “The project came out beautifully and really makes the most of the location.”

 

 Lighter, Brighter, and Better

One of the most desired features in any home is good light. We all want to feel the sense of spaciousness and brightness that lots of natural light can afford.

In this Project Spotlight, a kitchen underwent a dramatic renovation that not only improved the functionality and aesthetic of the space, but opened it up to more natural light. The result is a fresh, cheerful, polished room, perfect for both cooking and entertaining. 

Our client did not feel that her original kitchen matched her individual style or the overall theme of her home. She is a baker and likes to entertain and was looking for increased functionality as well as a more beautiful kitchen that would reflect her personal tastes. 

Project Planner Mark O’Lena, Interior Designer Brooke Stollery and Cabinet Designer/Shop Manager Robert Page worked as a team to increase the functionality of the kitchen in a number of ways—utilizing pull-outs, larger pantry units, custom cabinets and island, innovative appliances, and a relocated microwave.  

Additionally, the existing short casement window over the sink did not work well with the tall cabinets and ceiling. We put a taller Andersen 400 Series single casement in to let in more light, and improve the view by eliminating the center mullion. We also incorporated an Andersen short fractional grill with a simulated check rail.  This allowed use of a single unit that duplicated the look of the existing transom windows located in the adjacent breakfast area.

Robert created a beautiful custom island in the Schrader and Company cabinet shop that matches the new custom cabinets. The result resembles a furniture piece, and helps complement the new openness of the kitchen design.

To save more valuable counter space, we incorporated a Sharp R1214T under-cabinet microwave. It provides a wide range of options for placement, works with standard cabinet sizes and does not require a built-in kit or shelf, allowing for easy installation, and it comes with under cabinet task lighting. Additionally (and specifically useful for our client when baking) we incorporated Moen’s Arbor faucet in spot resistant stainless steel. This innovative faucet has Moen’s patented hands free MotionSense and Reflex pull-down spray, and its transitional look works well with this kitchen.

The end result is a vibrant, bright space with ample storage that works perfectly for our client’s lifestyle.

The client was so fun to work with,” says Mark. “She was trusting in both our planning and design, and is very happy with the end results. This project was one of those in which everything fell into place incredibly well. The time from start to finish was amazing, and was a real testament to the benefits of a well-planned out project.”

 

Modern Luxury Meets Historic Charm

We are fortunate to live in a part of the country that boasts many lovely historic homes—rich in details that speak to the domestic and cultural concerns of the past, charming in their aged beauty. But as any homeowner who lives in an older house can tell you, modern life and historic buildings do not always marry happily.

At Schrader and Company, we are proud of our decades of experience in renovating and remodeling historic homes. We share our clients’ genuine love and appreciation for the quality of old construction, and strive always to treat these special projects with accuracy, an eye to preservation, and a bit of reverence.

In this particular project spotlight, a new bathroom was created for clients who love their colonial home for all of its historic charm, and wanted an aesthetic upgrade that would give them modern luxury without jarring the style of the rest of their gorgeous house.

As is often the case with historic post and beam constructed homes, the planning and logistics for mechanicals posed a bit of a challenge, but one that the Schrader and Company team was well ready to handle.

Expertly crafted by Project Manager Jeremiah Mills, the new bathroom was built within the existing bathroom space, but the fixture locations were changed. A small, non-functioning, neo-angle shower was replaced with a new custom tiled shower. The built-in corner soaking tub was replaced with a new free-standing bathtub. The toilet was relocated to a more private location, and the vanity was moved from an alcove to a more open area.

The vanity cabinet is in a furniture style that sets the tone for the entire room. It includes inset doors, open toe space with furniture style legs, a slate top, and matching recessed medicine cabinets. One of the most unique features are the vessel sinks, handmade by the client who is a talented potter. Other style elements include brick tile flooring in a herringbone pattern, painted flat panel wainscoting, custom tiled shower with a glass enclosure, and a luxurious bathtub.

Project Planner John Hudson looks back on the project as a wonderful example of a modern upgrade that perfectly compliments a historic home. 

“All of the pieces fit together to create a historic feel for a totally updated master bathroom. The clients made perfect selections to fit the aesthetic of their home. And the vessel sinks are true works of art.”

The clients love their updated bathroom, and we take great satisfaction in helping to make a historic home work well for a modern family.

 

A Beautiful Kitchen Renovation

We’re thrilled to be rolling out a new batch of “Project Spotlight” articles for you! Everyone loves a good “before and after”. These renovations inspire us and show us what is possible with the right planning and the right team in place.

This “Project Spotlight” is a great example of how to achieve dramatic changes and big improvements without changing the footprint of a room. We were able to create a better functioning kitchen for our clients without changing the layout or making the space bigger.

The renovation was low-impact in terms of structural work—the floors and windows stayed in place, and the plumbing fixtures did not have to be re-configured, with one notable exception.

This particular client is an avid baker, and while we all like the idea of a kitchen island with a prep sink, sometimes that’s not the best use of space. Our client would benefit more from added work-space and a bigger counter top, so we removed the less useful prep sink to tailor it to the client’s needs and preferences. In deference to our client’s culinary skills and needs, we also added a second oven, which will make cooking and entertaining that much easier.

Cabinet designer and production manager Robert Page and interior designer Brooke Stollery worked closely with project planner Brian Taber to marry the aesthetic upgrades that the client was looking for with functional improvements to make the best use of the space. A built-in sub-zero refrigerator took the place of a freestanding one, and a stainless steel oven hood was removed for a recessed option, which lets the beautiful custom cabinetry and impeccable decorative choices shine. 

Brian notes that the lovely finished project is due to everyone’s collaborative efforts, including the clients. 

“These clients had wonderful taste, and were decisive in their selections. They were able to communicate with us exactly what they were looking for, and how we could make their living space better suit their lifestyle. The end result made everyone involved very proud.”

The “after” photos speak for themselves. Take a look at this remarkable renovation and give us a call if you’re ready to make your home work better for you!

 

Brooke Stollery Honored at the NKBA Design Competition

Brooke Stollery Bath Design

In December we took to Facebook to share the great news that our own interior designer Brooke Stollery had been honored at the National Kitchen and Bath Association New York Tri State Chapter’s 7th Annual Design Competition. We wanted to tell you a little more about the accolade, and why we’re so proud of Brooke and the whole Schrader and Company team’s achievement.

The NKBA Design Competition is known for its rigorous standards and competitive judging process. The organization collects detailed project submissions, and only the top 30% of projects then move on to be critiqued by a panel of judges on a number of criteria. From that point, accolades are awarded to the winners.

Brooke took home Runner Up for the Best Master Bathroom Renovation, representing the efforts of the whole Schrader team of project planners and craftsman, particularly cabinet designer Robert Page and project manager Jeremiah Mills.

Brooke was up against many career veterans in the interior designer trade, and to be recognized and thusly distinguished in these early years of her career speaks to her talents and work ethic.

Congratulations to Brooke and the whole team! You can take an in-depth look at the winning project here.

Schrader and Co. Honored at CRBRA 2018 “Best in Building” Awards

In November, Schrader and Company Construction Services was honored at the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association annual “Best in Building” awards. We were thrilled to take home three awards for our work. Ben, Lynn and Brooke were in attendance to represent Schrader and Company.

We were honored in the Remodeler category and won awards for our work in the categories of smaller-scale bathroom remodel, larger-scale bathroom remodel, and larger-scale kitchen remodel.

You can read the Project Spotlight articles pertaining to each of the winning projects (linked above) to go behind the scenes of how and why we achieved the results that we did for our clients.

To be recognized for the quality of our work is wonderful. Every member of our team from our project planners to our talented craftsmen have ownership in these accolades, as everyone’s contribution leads to the final product.

While our client’s happiness is always our number one goal, to be honored by our distinguished peers in our field is immensely gratifying. Thank you to the CRBRA for these honors, and congratulations to all of the other award winners!