Making a Historic Home Work for a Modern Family

Everyone loves the irresistible charm of an older home. There is much to recommend them–charming mouldings and wide-plank wood floors, abundant nooks and crannies, and a sense of history that can both transport and ground us. But it can also be challenging for modern families to live in spaces designed for a different time and a different way of life.

When issues like this arise, renovation is often the answer. Such was the case in this Project Spotlight, in which we transformed a late 19th century home to better suit the needs and wants of contemporary living.

This large-scale remodel involved the renovation and redesigning of several rooms. A first floor bathroom was completely renovated. A laundry room was moved from a closet-like space in the kitchen to its own second floor location, with much more storage and usable space. A former changing room/walk-in closet off of the master bedroom was re-divided to allow for several upgrades, namely a true walk-in closet, a dedicated master bathroom, and an additional bathroom for the client’s daughter.

These renovations solved the client’s chief problems of needing more bathrooms for their family, and much more storage. As always with a historical renovation, there were inherent challenges that called for innovative solutions.

Project Manager Jeremiah Mills led a field team of talented craftsman in meeting those challenges. There were issues of structural flooring and framing. Lots of hands had touched this more than 100 year-old home, and a solid and straight foundation was needed before any further work could commence. Because this remodel called for lots of work on bathrooms, and we did not want our clients to be overly inconvenienced while the work was taking place, we planned and installed a temporary fiberglass shower unit in the first floor bathroom for their use during the renovations. We removed it when the work was complete.

When it came time to focus on the design elements, it was important to make choices that would reflect the traditional style of the home, while incorporating modern aesthetics. Interior designer Brooke Stollery was on hand to help marry the historic with the contemporary.

“The clients wanted to create a simple ‘boutique’ feel while still suiting the character of the historic home,” says Brooke. “I think the new clawfoot tub, mosaic marble flooring, and traditional, antique style of the selected fixtures pulled that together really nicely.”

We also milled trim to replicate what was already existing in the home to create a cohesive look to all of the rooms. Custom Schrader cabinets in the new laundry room, double pocket doors, and refinished wood flooring and stairs also elevated and improved the look of the whole house.

“Our clients were wonderful to work with and we take tremendous pride in knowing that we were able to take the home they loved and make it work so much better for their family,” says Project Planner Brian Taber.

The end result is a charming example of how respectful updates to a historic home can make all the difference for the families that inhabit them, keeping them livable and well-loved for many generations to come.


A Guide to Good Design: How We Help Our Clients Create Their Dream Space

At Schrader and Company, we are always striving to deliver the very best in home renovation and construction along with impeccable customer service to our clients. Part of our job is to understand our customer’s experience of the home remodeling and building process, and do everything in our power to make it a seamless, stress-less, and fun experience. From the first time you meet with us to discuss your ideas, to the day we pack up the last of our tools and leave, we want you to feel comfortable and involved in the process of turning your house into your dream home.

One way that we can guarantee our clients a better renovation or construction experience is by offering the impeccable design services of Brooke Stollery, our in-house interior designer. Brooke is here to guide our clients through any and all design and selection decisions, offering ideas, a helping hand, and expert insight.

Once a client has committed to working with us on a project, Brooke’s services become instantly available. And there are many different ways she can assist, depending on the client’s individual needs and preferences.

“When meeting with clients, I will typically talk with them a bit about their project expectations, what they have in mind for finishes, how they make decisions, and then tell them about our process. Our selections process is great because it can really be altered to fit our customer’s individual needs”, says Brooke.

The first and most common way for Brooke to work with clients on selections is for her to organize, schedule, and attend all meetings with our trusted Schrader and Company vendors, so the clients don’t have to worry about who to contact or at what point in the process to make those appointments. For material selections–things like backsplash, flooring, countertops–Brooke will usually make some suggestions based on a thorough consultation about the client’s preferred style. This format gives Brooke the opportunity to discuss the project and scope of work with our contacts at each vendor beforehand, ensuring productive meetings for our busy clients.

Another option is to have Brooke source and bring material options right to the clients. This path works well for our busier clients or those that are overwhelmed by too many options. This takes a bit more up-front design conversation and a better understanding of the client’s personal design style. Brooke will then use her understanding of the client’s preferred style based on information gathered during initial meetings to choose proposed selection options.

“To give an example, if I am working on designing a new bathroom for clients, we would need to choose (in addition to many other things) floor tile. After some design meetings, possibly some shared inspiration pictures, I would make a trip to our tile vendor, sign out three or four solid options, and bring them to my client to ultimately make a final tile selection. Keep in mind that I would not only be signing out floor samples, but for a bathroom, I would most likely be bringing them floor tile, shower wall tile, shower floors and countertop samples all in one trip,” explains Brooke.

The third type of path to design selections is a little more hands off. Brooke will meet with the clients, get an understanding of what they need, and create a selection sheet. The selection sheet is specific to their project, so if they’re renovating their kitchen, Brooke will include a section for appliances, cabinetry, flooring, backsplash, countertops–all the ingredients necessary for their kitchen–so they’ll know what to shop for. We also provide a vendor contact list, sharing our trusted associates at each vendor and how to contact them. This option is best for independent clients who are quick decision makers and know what they want.

“My job is really to be a resource to our clients, to help design them the kitchen, or bathroom, or mudroom of their dreams, while seamlessly blending it with the rest of their home,” says Brooke.

Whether our client needs a full service designer who can help guide all of the selection decisions, or simply a knowledgeable resource who can frame out the specific needs of the project, Brooke is here to help.

We are proud to offer this service to our Schrader and Company clients, and know that Brooke’s wealth of design expertise has been of huge value to our customers.

If you’re excited to make some changes to your home, give us a call and let Brooke, along with our talented team of planners and craftsmen, transform your space into the magazine-worthy house of your dreams.


A Silver Lining Renovation

As happy as we always are to be welcomed into a client’s home to begin the exciting process of renovation and transformation, we recognize that sometimes our services are called upon due to less than desirable circumstance. Such was the case in this Project Spotlight, where we came in to do an extensive remodel for a client whose home had suffered significant water damage. But this project is the perfect example of making lemonade out of lemons, and the end result is one that we are proud to share with you, and most importantly, made our client very happy.

We came into the project following remediation of the impacted areas of the home, which meant we were starting at square one–a largely gutted house. We worked with one of the trusted architecture firms in our network, Tim Gallagher of Architex , on a Design/Build interior renovation, which encompassed a new master bedroom on the first floor, a new master bathroom with aging in place features, a new kitchen, new windows, doors, and flooring throughout, new spray foam insulation, new electrical, and renovations to upper floor bedrooms and a bathroom.

Our goal was to create a beautiful new interior for our client, and to take the opportunity presented by this disaster to make updates that would allow for aging in place. Wherever possible, safety features were added like wider doorways and hallways, step in showers, stackable laundry facilities, and a first floor master bedroom.

It was also important to preserve some of the original features of the home, like the brick fireplace.

We were sensitive to the fact that our client had been displaced by the water damage, and we wanted to get her back in her fully-functioning home as soon as possible. Project Planner Brian Taber and Project Manager Kevin Connor had all of these goals in mind from start to finish.

This project was a true collaboration and involved working closely with the client and her family to ensure that the result would be a better, safer and more beautiful living space. The size and scope of the work meant that we were basically rebuilding this home from inside out, and only through lots of conversation and careful planning could we ensure that no detail was overlooked. All of the new improvements, from custom Schrader cabinetry, new appliances in the kitchen, and a special lower height baking counter to bathroom safety features and energy-efficient windows were “whole team” conversations.

The hard work paid off and our client ended up with a renovated home with maximized storage, aging in place safety features, and eclectic and charming design details.

We were thrilled to be the engineers of the silver lining following a serious storm for this homeowner, and she was thrilled to be back in the home she loves, enjoying all of the fresh new improvements. We know she will continue to enjoy her home for many years to come.

You Don’t Need to Go Bigger to Get Better

When clients come to us with hopes to remodel their existing home, we know they are doing so because they want to remain in the house that they love while improving the functionality of their space. One might think this necessarily means making rooms larger–adding square footage or knocking down walls. But sometimes all that is needed is imagination, innovation, and thoughtful design.

In this Project Spotlight, a kitchen is remodeled to improve the function and design for two avid home cooks. And with careful planning and some inspiring design elements, no changes needed to be made to the kitchen’s original size and footprint.

The work began with some structural basics. The kitchen was actually part of a previous home addition, and the floors had not been perfectly leveled to the original structure. Once the Schrader team rectified that and improved insulation to exterior walls for energy efficiency, the design improvements could begin.

The kitchen already featured a lovely hexagonal, windowed eating area and a kitchen island with seating. The island was completely reconstructed with new countertops and a wider work surface area, and by re-orienting the seating at the island, the flow of the room was improved and more space for cooking was created.

This project also posed a unique venting challenge. These skilled home cooks have an induction stove top, but a skylight was positioned directly above it. To work around this venting issue, a pop-up vent was installed, which rises out of the counter and then slides back down at the bush of a button–an exciting technological innovation that also works with the room’s streamlined aesthetic.

For added storage and functionality, Aventos by Blum soft-function lift-systems were added, to house small appliances and whatever else the homeowners might need.

The final look of the complete kitchen is light, bright, and modern. The clients were enthusiastic participants throughout the renovation, researching ideas and products and collaborating with Project Planner Brian Taber and Schrader cabinet craftsman Robert Page closely on all aspects of the work. Project Manager Val DeCesare oversaw the work to its successful and beautiful completion.

“This particular project is a perfect example of how to increase functionality without increasing space,” says Brian. “The homeowners love cooking and entertaining in their new kitchen and that’s the most rewarding thing for us.”



Breaking Down the Barriers to Your Dream Layout

One of the things that makes home remodeling and renovation so rewarding and exciting is that it enables a homeowner to stay in the home that they already love, while opening up all of the possibilities to the home of their dreams.

Sometimes renovation entails the modernization of a space to keep up with the times, or the expansion of a space to grow as a family’s needs might. And sometimes renovation means completely changing the flow and layout of a home to better suit the desires of the homeowner and the way they wish to live. This was the case in this Project Spotlight, in which we took down the walls that defined many smaller rooms to create an open, airy flow. The results are incredible, and if you didn’t know the before and after photos were the same residence, it would be hard to imagine.

These clients came to us with hopes for a much more open floor plan for their home. They are avid cooks, so creating a flow from the kitchen to other rooms that could be used for entertaining, dining and food storage was paramount. Walls were taken down to achieve this goal, and a new pantry, mudroom, bathroom and sunroom were renovated in addition to a fully updated kitchen.

The remodeled space boasts may cool features, including two kinds of countertops–a solid surface stone on the curved kitchen island (a notable feature in and of itself) and walnut underneath a row of custom cabinetry. The new cabinets are a shaker-style, constructed in our cabinet shop. There’s a beautiful bead board backsplash in the kitchen as well as a sleek hood over the range which does not obstruct the view to the sunroom, and adds to the open feel of the space.

Even though this was a large-scale renovation, we were committed to minimizing the inconvenience to our clients, as is always our priority. We were thrilled that they reported to us that the experience was low-impact during the construction, and they were able to go about their lives, and even work from home as the renovation progressed.

The results speak for themselves, and the transformation of this home is one we are always proud to share with prospective clients to illustrate just how much change is possible with the right design plan in place, and the best of skilled tradesman at work.

Take a look at the stunning before and after gallery below and give us a call if you’re ready to open up your home to some fresh possibilities!


A Green Dream House for Local Farmers

One of the best things about building a home from the ground up is the opportunity to tailor your space not only to your style and tastes, but to your values.

In this Project Spotlight, we will look at a home that reflects the homeowner’s desires for an energy efficient house that makes the most of green technology innovations.

These particular clients are the proud farmers of Lovin’ Mama Farm in Amsterdam, NY where they cultivate two acres of fruits, flowers and vegetables. They aspired to construct a well-built home on their extended family’s beautiful property, the Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve. Their goal is to continue farming their family’s land, and continue a proud legacy of conservancy that can be enjoyed now as well as passed down to future generations. And in keeping with their ethos of being environmentally-friendly, they wanted their home to be extremely energy efficient.

This project was a collaborative effort, from start to finish. The homeowners brought their own considerable knowledge of “green”  practices and innovations to the table, and under the careful oversight of an architect we were able to achieve a design that maximizes energy efficiency and also leaves room for future design additions, like a potential wraparound porch.

We started with the shape of the house. The simple rectangular shape used here is the most energy efficient shape. The home employs a geothermal heating and cooling system, by local firm Aztech Geothermal. Geothermal energy is heat derived from below the earth’s surface which can be harnessed to generate clean, renewable energy. When used as a home heating and cooling system, it involves using underground pipes laid below the earth’s surface, where temperatures remain consistently moderate. The pipes in the ground circulate a water solution and carry energy to the heat pump in the winter for heating and remove heat from the building into the ground in the summer. The consistent temperatures mean the home’s heating and cooling systems don’t need to use as much energy to achieve a comfortable seasonal temperature.

A big part of creating an energy efficient home is ensuring a tight seal around potential air leaks where heat or cool air can escape. We used blown in cellulose insulation in the attic, dense pack cellulose in the walls, and a ZIP System(R) wall sheathing with one inch foam to provide continuous insulation around exterior walls. We carefully went over all areas of potential air leakage, caulking all cracks and using spray foam wherever needed. We also installed double pane Andersen 400 series windows, as well as Thermatrue and Andersen doors.

But a house also needs to breathe, and to that end we installed an HRV heat recovery ventilator, which continually turns over the air and captures heat–allowing for air flow, but also minimizing heat loss.

The home has also been setup for solar panels, which the homeowners hope to install in the near future.

This project perfectly illustrates the many design and technology innovations available to clients who are looking to create a small energy footprint while still living in style.

We loved working on this home with these dedicated local farmers on this picturesque property, and increasing our knowledge of energy-efficient home-building. We know they will enjoy it for many generations to come.




If You Build It…

Spring will come?

Well, to be fair, spring will come no matter what–all current weather evidence to the contrary. But spring and summer and even the golden, crisp days of early fall would be so much more enjoyable when spent relaxing and entertaining in your beautiful new outdoor living space.

This Project Spotlight is an excellent example of how you can increase the livable space of your home with the addition of a screened-in porch and deck.

For these clients, we removed a large, existing deck to create a new fully screened porch and outdoor deck, using the best in low-maintenance, weather resistant materials. We modified the roof framing to create the eye-catching tongue in groove spruce ceiling which serves as a stunning design element.

The flooring of both the porch and deck areas is Azek Decking, made of a premium composite material which will never rot, and the boards come together with a hidden fastener system. The screening is a Screen Tight system, which will allow the homeowners to enjoy their outdoor space free from both the nuisance of bugs, and mess of leaves and debris.

The addition is built seamlessly around the existing features original to the home, and the bay window really pops when set against the new deck and doorway to the porch. The custom-made truss, wrap-around stairs and light fixtures are the finishing touches that give this project such polish and style.

The clients are thrilled with their new porch and deck, which added about 350 square feet of livable space to their home. It’s perfect for entertaining, relaxing, and making the most of the best weather days of the year.

Which are on their way to us. Any day now…

Aging In Place and Style

Many homeowners come to us with hopes of renovating their current house with an eye to the future. We all want to be able to reside safely in our homes as we age, and there are fantastic design innovations that are making that dream more possible than ever before.

When we approach a remodel with the goal of making it a client’s “forever home”, one of the most important rooms to focus on is the bathroom. This is where we can employ thoughtful design elements and techniques to make it safe and sustainable for an occupant of any age and ability, without compromising on beauty and aesthetic.

This project is a great example of the marriage of sleek, attractive details and smart aging in place strategies. This particular homeowner tasked us with providing a spa-like bathroom that came closer to his desired, more modern aesthetic, while tastefully including a few very important safety features.

To begin the project, the contents of the bathroom were removed down to the framing. A small unused closet was also removed to increase the bathroom space, making movement in the room easier.

We added a curbless shower which includes a linear drain and a hinged open glass shower panel. This curbless design eliminates any kind of step up or down from the shower, greatly reducing tripping hazards under wet conditions. The stunning stainless steel bathroom accessories are multifunctional as both towel bars today and grab bars in the future.

Beyond the safety measures, the finished project presents as a sleek, luxury bathroom with great use of color and line. The grey floor and wall tile are complemented by the white wall-hung sink and Teak towel shelf.  We also created the beautiful custom cabinetry linen shelf which provides ample storage and an attractive design feature.

The client is thrilled with this transformation, and can rest assured that this bathroom will allow him to safely age in place in the home that he loves.

We were thrilled to make his goal a reality, and are ready with the expertise and tools to make that happen for you as well. Give us a call if you’d like to strategize about ways to make your home safe and sustainable for your family for many, many years to come.


Sunken Tub, Elevated Design

It’s always exciting for us at Schrader and Company when we are given the opportunity to design and execute something truly unique for our clients. We love to challenge the depth and breadth of our collective craftsmanship, and this Project Spotlight afforded us just such an occasion.

This particular home was designed and built by our client’s father many years ago–a special circumstance in and of itself. When it came time to remodel the bathroom, the goal was to update all of the space’s functional and design aspects while paying respect to one very distinct original feature, the sunken tub.

Our mission was to modernize and reshape that sunken tiled tub while providing our client with a bathroom fit for a five star hotel. To accomplish this feat, we started completely fresh and all of the contents were removed down to the framing. The tub area was reframed to accomplish the client’s desired shape and size. We designed, fabricated and installed a custom vanity, built-in mirror, lighting soffit and two linen tower cabinets all with a white finish and pewter glaze. On top of the stunning cabinetry is a natural stone vanity top with two rectangular, undermount sinks.

A significant design feature of this bathroom is the mesmerizing movement and fluidity of the floor and wall tile. Surrounding the distinctive tub is a frameless rolling shower enclosure that enhances the stunning appeal of the tub and bathroom. Finally, using a darker color paint on the ceiling adds to this bathroom’s serious “wow” factor.

The total effect of all of these thoughtful changes is one of sleek, luxurious elegance. This bathroom would not be out of place in any design magazine.

This was a truly rewarding renovation project that exceeded our client’s hopes and expectations. They love their distinctive, beautiful, modern bathroom and we loved working with them to create it.

It’s a “before and after” transformation we never get tired of looking at, and we think you’ll agree!

  • Before


Project Spotlight: New Construction

Project Spotlight: new construction

Since 1973, Schrader and Company, Inc. has distinguished itself as the remodeling company to trust in the capital region. In projects both big and small, they have earned a reputation for quality of craftsmanship, professionalism and customer care. And while remodeling and renovation will always remain at the core of the company’s services, new construction is an exciting new venture for both employees and clients.

Our Design/Build model allows Schrader and Co. to partner with the best architects in the business to conceptualize and then create our clients’ complete dream homes. Our team of experienced professionals guide homeowners through every part of the process, helping them to make selections that will result in a house specifically designed for their family’s needs. We remain in a managerial role throughout a new build project, while also subcontracting out to our respected trade colleagues, which allows us to keep competitive with costs specific to this industry. Because new construction can be so minutely tailored to a homeowner’s needs and wants, the end result can vary from large and grandiose to a more budget-conscious downsized domicile.

An excellent example of Schrader and Company’s new construction success is this stunning home, designed to be the forever residence of a local couple. The clients were originally interested in working with Schrader and Co. on an extensive renovation to their home, with the goal of creating first floor living spaces that would allow the owners to age in place. But when the idea of a new custom home was brought to the table, with a location just a few hundred feet from their current house, it became clear that a fresh start would best suit their needs.

Local architecture firm Architex was brought on to the project, headed by owner and principal architect Tim Gallagher. Tim and his team brought their extensive experience and consummate knowledge to the table.“When we enter into a Design/Build agreement with a client, we form one cohesive team with the clients and with the architect. Tim is so wonderful to work with because he knows the right questions to ask of a homeowner to understand their needs,” says Ben Cangeleri. “ Tim and his team are talented, flexible, and can turn initial ideas into a beautiful, functional design.”

New home construction - outside view
New Home Construction - outside view
New home construction - Office Space

The clients also play an important role in any project, and their involvement here contributed greatly to the successful end result.

“These clients were excellent at communicating their needs and hopes for this home. They were great at making decisions and giving clear feedback. With careful scheduling and planning, the project unfolded incredibly smoothly,” says Ben.

Through this kind of intimate collaborative process, great creative strides are made. The home boasts many unique touches that illustrate just how far a new custom home can be from a cookie-cutter model. The mantel in the living room was once a beam from the owner’s grandfather’s barn, bringing a sense of history to a fresh space. The bar countertops are done in Ohio State University colors, in deference to the owners’ pride in their alma mater. And special accommodations were made for the way the clients wished to live in their home, with rooms being designed to work with a pool table, and Christmas tree.

New home construction - Custom Kitchen
New home construction - Den with bar
New home construction - Living room with custom fireplace mantle

The homeowners are absolutely thrilled with the results of the process, and have become dear friends and member of the extended Schrader and Co. “family”. They recently expressed how much they were looking forwarding to hosting holiday celebrations this year.

“That’s a huge testament to how well the house is working for them and their needs, and that gives all of us involved tremendous satisfaction,” says Ben.