Making the Most of the Seasons with a Gorgeous Outdoor Living Space

Here in the northeast, we know how to make the most of our seasons. Sometimes that means keeping the environment out so we can enjoy the great outdoors without pesky insects, or fear of inclement weather.

In this Project Spotlight, we take a look at a deck and porch renovation specifically designed to be used in as many weather conditions as the changeable seasons might throw at us, while still looking beautiful.

Like so many of us, our client wanted to be able to enjoy her time outside without being bothered by bugs, or rain.

We removed decking and railings from the existing deck, but the previous deck framing remained. We supplemented the deck framing, added helical piers for support, extended the existing deck, and framed a roof to create the screened porch.

For the screens, we used the ScreenEZE screening system, which works well, and offers unobtrusive clean lines that don’t detract from design elements.

The finished product is very low maintenance, and as you can see in these photos, bright, spacious, and functional.

Adding outdoor living space to your home adds square footage and ample opportunities to enjoy warm summer days, cool autumn nights, and everything in between.

If you’re interested in a screened porch, deck, or patio, call us to talk about the possibilities for your home!

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Seamless Updates to a Historic Charmer

Schrader and Company is a construction firm comprised of history lovers. We take pleasure in the beautiful details of older homes, and relish in the challenge of updating them for our clients in a way that makes modern living more effective and enjoyable, while paying homage to the aesthetics of yesteryear.

In this Project Spotlight, we return to a gorgeous 200 year-old home owned by repeat clients for an extensive, multi-room renovation. 

Last time, we renovated an upstairs bathroom to better suit our clients’  lifestyle and modern needs. 

For this project, we removed a large deck, removed the old mud room, and took off two exterior walls and framing for the back part of the house. We then built a new mudroom, enlarged and renovated the kitchen, and opened the connections to the rest of the house. On the second floor, we enlarged the hall, added a second story laundry closet, and replaced the small existing craft room with a large, light-filled room to be used as a craft room, guestroom, and office.

The goal was to add onto the home in thoughtful ways that would enhance our clients’ lifestyle. We created a larger kitchen so that the whole family could be involved in their daily meal time activities. The spacious and organized mudroom replaces an unheated porch, providing designated space for boots and backpacks, and more comfortable comings and goings for people and pets. The new screened porch allows the homeowners to more easily enjoy their property, and entertain. The craft room updates enhance a needed at-home work space, and provides a comfortable space for guests as well.

As with any historic renovation, attention must be paid to the smallest of details to create a cohesive look between the original parts of the house, and the new. Choices like wide plank wood flooring and porcelain, brick tiles help achieve this goal, as do many of the other thoughtful design selections.

At the end of this extensive project, we were able to design, specify, and build an addition to this historic home that looks as though it was a part of the original build, and it is as functional as it is beautiful.

Our clients had this to say about their newly-renovated home:

“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.” 

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Building A Backyard Oasis

Spring, summer, and fall here in Upstate New York invite us all to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before our long winters set in. We love helping our clients make the most of their properties by creating their perfect sunrooms, porches, and decks.

This Project Spotlight goes behind the scenes of a beautiful deck renovation that allows the homeowners to revel in their beautiful landscaping, entertain their loved ones, and expand their living space.

Our clients wanted to update their existing deck, add a deck extension for a BBQ area, and include a new railing system that would allow them to view the beautiful landscaping they had previously installed.

We started by removing the old wood decking, stairs, and railings. Weather-resistant composite decking was used for the new outdoor space, and a BBQ area and fire pit area were constructed, utilizing large format tile. We also installed a cable railing system for a sleek, modern look that allows the clients to enjoy their backyard views without obstruction.

Special attention was paid to the prevention of water damage, as is necessary when working with outdoor spaces and entryways. At the area in front of the patio door, we included plastic grating to allow water to drain from the deck before it could build up at the door threshold. 

The smart materials used all work together to create a beautiful backyard oasis. The renovated deck is as functional as it is beautiful, and we’re thrilled that our clients are enjoying it just as much as they had hoped.

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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.

 

 

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.

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.”

 

Supporting the Future of Our Industry

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Schrader and Company knows that our current success and the future of our entire industry depends upon the talents of those in the skilled trades. Without a pool of highly-trained, motivated, and career minded construction professionals, plumbers, HVAC specialists, and manufacturers, homes cannot be built or remodeled.

There have been many reports in recent years on the decline of interest in skilled trade professions, with industry leaders sounding the alarm that we all need to do more to inform and support young people who are interested in a rewarding career in the trades.

To that, Schrader and Company supports multiple local scholarships for high school graduates to encourage them in their pursuit of their skilled trades career goals.

Schrader and Company was part of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Rotary Committee to establish and create criteria for the “BHBL Rotary Skilled Workforce Scholarship”. The 2019 winner, Justin Stiles, is now working for a local HVAC company, and is continuing his education and training. The 2020 recipient was Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake graduate Brendan Flynn.

The Peter H. Schrader Construction Industry Scholarship, awarded annually, is given to a Scotia-Glenville high school graduate who has expressed interest in a career in the skilled trades and has demonstrated the strong work ethic prized by our company founder. 

 We also have a new field team member for the summer, Nicco Tebbano, who recently graduated from Shenendehowa High School and plans to go to HVCC for Construction Technology in the fall.  We are enjoying working with Nicco, and helping him build his on-site skill set. Nicco was recently interviewed by CBS Channel 6 News about the work experience he is gaining this summer with Schrader and Company.

We want to do whatever we can to attract and support new talent in our industry. We believe there is both a great need and opportunity for young people to enter into the trades for a very rewarding career.

It’s All in the Timing…

The team at Schrader and Company is here to assist our clients with a wide array of home renovation and construction  needs—ranging from extensive remodels, additions and custom homes, to interior modifications or custom cabinetry. No matter what kind of improvement you have in mind for your home, our goal is to help you realize your vision.

To that end, one of the most important things we can do for all of our clients and potential clients is provide you with a clear sense of our process, so you know what to expect the first time you give us a call or visit our showroom.

A primary consideration when undertaking a home improvement project is timing. You have a busy life to lead, and planning out the most convenient time for a project is a crucial first step.

If you reach out to Schrader and Company for a smaller home improvement project, such as a small bathroom, door or window replacement or other minor modifications, any time is the ideal time to call. Depending on our schedule, we generally experience shorter lead times to get these kinds of projects underway.

Our more extensive renovation and construction projects, which involve collaboration with architects, the creation of a design/build agreement, and many design and selection decisions, generally can take several months to plan. Those months are put to efficient and critical use, as we formulate an intricate and finely-honed plan. We do this so that once work commences on your project, it is full-steam ahead, with minimal lulls, delays, or wait times to further inconvenience the homeowner.

Additionally, as all of us living in the northeast know, weather also presents its own factors which must be negotiated. Spring, summer and early fall are great times for exterior projects like porches and decks. Winter is the ideal time for interior work.

The most important first step in the journey to a home you love is making that initial call to the most trusted experts in construction and renovation. For over 47 years, Schrader and Company has been proud to serve our community and bring our clients’ visions for their dream homes to life. 

We hope you’ll give us a call to start the conversation about your project as soon as possible!

 

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.”

 

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Adding Post and Beam Tools to Our Company Toolbox

At Schrader and Company, we believe that continuing education is a necessary part of maintaining the standards of excellence that define us. Whenever an opportunity arises for team members to learn valuable information that will enhance their craft, and therefore our clients’ projects, we are interested.

Two of our talented field team members recently attended a continuing education workshop that adds significant and specialized knowledge to their skill set. This past October, Mike Atwood and Jeff Peterman traveled to Baff, Maine to attend the week-long “Purely Post and Beam” course at the Shelter Institute.

The course is an intensive introduction to the skills necessary to design and build a 24 x 24-foot timber frame structure by hand, using post and beam construction techniques. The days are spent onsite designing, cutting, and raising a post and beam frame. The entire structure is created in the short time frame, and held together with only twelves screws. 

Fine-tuning their post and beam construction techniques was an enlightening experience for both Mike and Jeff.

“It was nice to step back from the speed of construction, work with wood, and create something from scratch,” says Mike. “We gained a better appreciation for taking time with layout, and meticulous technique. It absolutely applies to how we work at Schrader and Company. These post and beam skills can be applied to everything, from historic renovations to new builds.” 

“It’s great to have had the experience and come out with new tools to add to our repertoire and toolbox,” says Jeff.

We look forward to sharing with you how Jeff and Mike’s new knowledge can enhance our work for our clients and their homes.