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.”


Fall In Love With Your Home Again

Now that the Valentine’s Day roses have wilted and the chocolates have all been eaten, it’s time to cast your attention elsewhere and ask yourself about that other important relationship in your life–your relationship with your home.

What would it take for you to fall in love with your home again? Or maybe truly love it for the first time at all?

March is a great time to start planning for future projects. Maybe you’d like 2018 to be the year you finally cook in your dream kitchen. Maybe this cold weather has you daydreaming about summer entertaining on a new deck or three season addition. Or maybe your growing family needs bigger and better bathrooms, mudrooms, or laundry spaces.

Whatever the goal, Schrader and Company has the team, talent and tools to take your home from barely working to working for you. We want you to love your space, not just live in it.

So give us a call and let us help you redefine your relationship with your house.

It can and should be a love that lasts a lifetime.

New Year, New Goals

Happy 2018!

We hope you enjoyed a peaceful and happy holiday season.

As you celebrate the sense of renewal and resolution that always accompanies the beginning of a new year, we invite you to cast your eye about your home, and ask yourself what you might want to improve or create in the coming year.

The post-holiday quiet is the perfect time to reflect and ask these questions about your house:

    • If you cooked the big holiday meal or baked the December days away, did your kitchen work for you?
    • Would an improved use of that so important space make next year’s holidays run smoother?
    • Did you host out of town family or welcome the return of children and adult children under your roof?
    • Did you have enough space to comfortably accommodate your guests?
    • Did you feel proud and comfortable sharing your living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms with all who entered?
    • As you decked your halls both inside and out, did the reality match the cozy vision in your head?

Just as we embrace New Year’s goals and resolutions for our health and wellness, now is the perfect time to set real, concrete goals for your home. The long, cold days of winter keep us inside, and all too aware of the ways our home might function better for our families if we made some important and creative changes. Now is the perfect time to meet with a Schrader and Company craftsmen and discuss your hopes and dreams for your home.

So as you corral endless muddy boots,wet mittens and soggy snowpants in the coming months, think about what a custom mudroom could do for your family.

On days and nights when the bitter temperatures keep you housebound, consider if improved energy efficient windows and doors might keep your heating costs lower and your home warmer.

And while you whip up the healthy meals that will help you reach all your wellness goals, contemplate a gourmet kitchen with Schrader custom cabinetry. We have it on good authority that even kale tastes better when cooked in a kitchen you love.
As for us at Schrader and Company, our 2018 goal is the same as it has been since 1973–to continue to earn our clients’ trust and loyalty by providing the very best in quality remodeling and construction.

Our resolution is to make your home resolutions a reality.

What are the best materials for outdoor kitchens?

We’ve talked about what you should consider before beginning your outdoor kitchen project. Today we’re talking about the best materials for you to use in your outdoor kitchen.

An outdoor kitchen in upstate New York is going have to hold up to our winter weather, the freeze and thaw cycles of spring and fall, and summer heat. In addition to being able to weather the elements, materials should be able to withstand high temperatures from the grill, be easy to clean up spills, and withstand general kitchen abuses.

Countertops –

Avoid porous countertop materials such as limestone in favor of materials such as a cultured granite with UV stabilizers. Granite should still be sealed on a regular basis to keep the countertops looking fresh and new.

Other suitable options for outdoor countertops include marble and stainless steel.

Engineered countertops and quartz countertops are not suitable for outdoor kitchens.

Cabinets –

Stainless steel is a great choice for outdoor kitchen cabinets. Good stainless steel cabinets should be rigid, and have welded corners for structural stability.

If you love the look of wood, consider teak cabinets. Teak wood is known for its natural resistance to rot and decay. Cabinets made from teak will still require regular maintenance (sealing with a waterproof finish) to keep it looking it’s best.

Cabinets made from marine grade polymer make for a quick and easy clean up. Marine grade polymer cabinets are water tight so you can just hose down your kitchen space if needed.


If you outdoor kitchen is not being built on a pre-existing patio area you’ll need to pick out a durable flooring material. Just like the kitchen inside your home, expect that the flooring will be heavily trafficked and abused (falling pots, food spills etc.).

With that in mind Natural stone like slate, sandstone, marble are great options for outdoor kitchen flooring, but keep in mind they may absorb oil and stain.

Concrete is another great flooring option, to prevent cracking from out freeze thaw cycles look for a formula that has an additive base that will help the concrete withstand temp changes without becoming damaged.

Thinking about getting an outdoor kitchen?

Outdoor kitchens are showing up everywhere now. Before you jump on the trend here are three questions to ask yourself.

Do you have the space?

Even if you already have a deck or patio attached to your home, you may have to make some changes to accommodate your new kitchen. Your current deck may require additional support in order to hold the weight of the outdoor kitchen island. You may also need to build out from your current deck to make room for the kitchen, do you have the space on your property for that? Can you build upwards easily in order to create a shelter from the weather?

What features are you looking for?

Outdoor kitchens run the gamut from the most basic of basic to the all out outrageous. So what do you want in your kitchen (and don’t forget it all adds up!). At minimum an outdoor kitchen should have some sort of work surface, a grill, and a gas line if needed.

An outdoor sink isn’t necessary, but it can be very convenient. However Installing an outdoor sink can become expensive depending on your water lines. Would you be able to make due without a sink or is a must have?

Outdoor fireplaces, smokers, pizza ovens, tiki bar, your imagination (and budget) is the limit when it comes to building your outdoor kitchen. Which brings us to our next question…

How often will you use it?

Are you already a grilling enthusiast? Does your family love to dine al fresco? Chances are an outdoor kitchen would be a great investment for your home and lifestyle. If you’ve never grilled before and you cringe at the idea of sharing your eating space with bugs and all things creepy crawly, it would be a good idea to hold off on adding an outdoor kitchen to your home.

While the outdoor kitchen is becoming more and more popular, the addition of an outdoor kitchen may not boost your home value as much as other home renovations might.

Summer time is a great time for these projects

Warm rays of the sun, cool breezes, the smell of flowers in the air, it could only mean one thing. That’s right summer is just about here in the Capital Region, and we’re sharing some of the best projects to begin now that the threat of snow and frost has passed.

Replacing windows

Windows can be replaced anytime, but who wants to install a bay window in the middle of January? Replacing your windows with more efficient windows in the summer months can also help keep your utility bills down.

Kitchen Remodeling and Renovations

Kitchen projects can become tiresome pretty quickly, especially if you prefer home cooking over take out. Luckily you can still enjoy a home cooked meal without use of your stove during these warm months. Go ahead and brush up on your grill skills while your kitchen is temporarily out of service. Cooking outside during the summer is also a great way to keep your home cool!

Adding a Deck

The outdoors are where it’s at during the summer months, which is why adding a deck or patio to your home is one of the best summer projects. Adding a deck or patio can be a quick project if you’re prepared and have someone knowledgeable doing the job, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your new addition.

Protect Your Patio From Ticks

We had a fairly mild winter here in the capital region, and because of that it is predicted that we will be dealing with an influx of ticks this year. Now, don’t let that ruin your backyard activities this summer. We’re here to share a few tips to keep ticks at bay naturally so you can enjoy the warm weather.

Clear brush and tall grasses around your home.

Ticks do not jump or fly, instead they wait on tall grasses, brush, and leaf matter for a potential host to pass through the area. Clearing out areas of overgrowth will lower the chances of you coming into contact with ticks in your backyard. Keep your lawn mowed and your yard free of leaf debris throughout the season to deter ticks from hanging out on your property.

Create a mulch barrier

Here’s a fun fact, ticks do not like to cross mulch and gravel, they find both materials to be irritating. You can use this to your advantage and create a barrier around your property line. If your backyard is adjacent to a wooded area, you’ll want to create a three foot wide barrier between the treeline and your lawn

Keep woodpiles stacked nicely and away from shade


Tick thrive in moist shady areas, don’t let your woodpile look like a four star hotel. Keep it stacked neatly and in a sunny area if possible.

Repel with plants

There are a few plants that are useful in repelling ticks, these would make a great addition to your mulch barrier, or to planters kept on your patio. These plants include: Mint, Lemongrass, Thyme, Rosemary, Garlic, Chrysanthemums, Fleabane Daisies, and Mexican Marigolds.


We hope that you are able to implement some of these anti-tick tips in your own backyard. Of course, don’t forget to check regularly for ticks on yourself, and especially on children and pets. A little bit of prevention and vigilance can go a long way when protecting you and your loved ones from ticks.


Learn the lingo – Muntins and Mullions

If you’ve ever gone shopping for windows, you may have come across the terms “muntin” and “mullion”. The two terms often get confused, so we’re helping to clear up that confusion.

The framing that is used to separate and hold pieces of glass within a window is called a “muntin”, sometimes called “muntin bars”, “sash bars”, or “glazing bars”. Typically muntins are made of wood or metal. Historically muntins were used because it was less expensive to use smaller pieces of glass, rather than a large single pane of glass.

A mullion on the other hand is a bar or post that separates window units. Mullions are primarily a structural element, but have also been used as a decorative element in some architectural styles.

Do’s and Don’ts of Houseplants

Houseplants have become prominent in interior design lately, and for good reason. These green little wonders can purify the air in your home , lift spirits on those grey winter days, and add visual interest to your favorite rooms. Before you go out and start buying plants though, read through these tips.

Do – Think about children and animals when choosing your plants

Before you bring a houseplant home you should look up whether or not the plant is toxic to humans and animals. If your home is filled with inquisitive little ones – of the human and/or pet variety- keep any potentially toxic plants out of reach and make sure to pick up any fallen leaves of debris from the plant.

Here are a few resources to start off with: 

List of toxic plants from the ASPCA

If you find contradicting information it is best to err on the side of caution if you are concerned about accidental ingestion.

Do – Know how much light exposure the room in your home has

Certain plants can thrive in dark rooms, while others simply won’t tolerate it. For happy houseplants check out their light requirements and put them in proper spaces in your home.

Do – Know how big the houseplant is going to get.

Your new houseplant might not stay small forever.  Some houseplants, like the parlor fern or some philodendrons can get big, or can get unruly overtime. Large houseplants may end up requiring a support system so keep that in mind when choosing new plants

Don’t – Crowd your plants

When you bring your new houseplant home chances are good that you’ll have to repot it. Choose a new pot that is at least two inches larger than the current container. That should give your plant plenty of room to grow.

Don’t– Overwater your plants

It can be really easy to overwater your new plants, a good rule of thumb is to let the soil of most houseplants dry out between waterings. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, which is why it is always important to check individual plant’s requirements.

Don’t – Feel bad if your first attempts at keeping a houseplant don’t go well

Things happen and houseplants can die, that doesn’t mean that you have a black thumb. There are plenty of low maintenance plants for you to start out with and build up your knowledge on proper care of houseplants.

Welcoming Spring – Looking at drainage

If “April showers bring May flowers” then we should be expecting a bloom filled May here in the Capital Region.


If your yard looks like this, call a professional.

Until then it’s time to shift focus to the foundation of your home and the land around it. What we’ll be looking for is any potential drainage issues near the footprint of your house.

Gradually the ground around your home may become impacted, or erode away over time. Inspecting the grade of the land around your home on a regular basis can save you a whole lot of headaches and money in the long run.

If you notice any areas that allow water to pool near the foundation of your house take note. Small spots are easy enough for most home owners to fill in with topsoil and tamp down the new soil by hand, no need for expensive machinery.

Larger depressed areas around your home’s foundation may require professionals to take care of the job and fix any underlying drainage issues.