Keeping Classic Charm in an Updated Kitchen…

A classic never goes out of style.

That’s why our goal for the kitchen renovation featured in this Project Spotlight was to retain all of the original charm, while also making the updates that our clients desired.

This project was a complete remodel of the kitchen and breakfast nook of a 1968 ranch home. The existing kitchen was a classic, well-equipped 1968 kitchen, complete with avocado green appliances. The client is the original homeowner, and was very happy with the original layout. 

Since the space itself didn’t need to be re-configured, we concentrated on updating the look and functionality of the room, while remaining true to a 1960’s ranch-style vibe.

We removed the existing cabinets, Formica counters, avocado appliances, drop ceiling, and laminate flooring. We also removed and replaced two existing windows with newer energy efficient Andersen 400 Series casement windows..

The upgrades were plentiful: cabinets with roll out drawers and shelving, updated Bosch appliances, and hidden task lighting. To the delight of our client, we even sourced and included a custom pull for the wine storage cabinet.

The existing sentimental butcher block counter was refinished and repurposed for a prep area. We used Leviton’s Renu® outlets and switches to bring a fun color to the dramatic backsplash. For ease of use and durability, we specified Earthworks Parkhill Luxury Vinyl Planking for the flooring, which gives the look of real wood without requiring as much work to maintain. 

We removed a kitchen that was designed and installed by the current owner over 50 years ago, with an abundance of sentimental value. It was so rewarding to see the homeowners so happy with the results, and not a shred of regret.


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.


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.


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.

In Conversation With…

In this ongoing feature, we’ll go behind the scenes with the professionals at Schrader and Company to explore some of the ideas, practices, and concepts that keep the shop and showroom talking. So let’s talk about…

The Value of the Schrader and Company Planning Process

Ben Cangeleri, President of Schrader and Company and Brian Taber, Director of Planning

First things first, what is the difference between the Schrader and Company planning process and the “Free Estimates” that we often see advertised in the marketplace?

ben-and-brianBrian: Well, the most basic difference is the level of commitment involved in these very distinct scenarios, for both us as the professionals, and our clients as the consumers. Our planning process is a meticulous, thoughtful, tailor-made plan from start to finish that takes into consideration that each client’s home and needs are individual and varied. It’s not a “one size fits all” kitchen or bath remodel that we choose out of a catalog. Our multi-step process differentiates us from others in our field. We have never done the same project twice, and every project needs an excellent plan.

Ben: Absolutely. A “free estimate”, as you might see advertised by a different company, places the burden of expertise on the client. This implies that the client is going to know exactly what they want and what will work, and the remodeler will base his or her estimate on that. We believe it’s the remodeler’s job to guide the homeowner, offer suggestions for improvement, ensure the products and materials will work, etc. Remodeling projects often have many moving parts and pieces. It’s imperative that homeowners view the upfront process as developing a plan for success, rather than just getting some sort of free estimate. Our planning process allows for us to take the lead on the project, collaborate with the homeowners to ensure their satisfaction, and leaves the coordination and the details to us.


So walk us through the steps of how the planning process is implemented for a client.

Brian: After the client makes the initial call or contact, we gather basic preliminary information. Then the lead is assigned to one of our very experienced project planners. The project planner will initiate another conversation with the potential client, visit their home, and discuss budget before planning begins to ensure that we are a good fit. We are a boutique remodeler, so it’s important that we determine immediately that a collaboration makes sense.

Ben: Then, depending on the size and scope of the project, there are three paths we take:

For something simple and straightforward such as a window or door installation, we make sure the budget works, send the homeowner shopping for their needed element to one of our trusted associates so they can see what they like, and we then provide detailed specifications and a cost estimate for the work.

For something larger, like a kitchen or bath renovation, a Design Services Agreement is signed before the planning work begins.  This authorizes a thorough process that results in a beautiful CAD design, final material selections, detailed project specifications and a final cost estimate.

For the largest kind of projects that we do, we will often hire an outside architect and collaborate with them to form one planning team.  A Design Build Agreement is signed which breaks up the project planning process into specific phases to ensure the client is getting the project they want.  The results of this program are stamped construction drawings, final material selections, detailed project specifications, a detailed cost estimate and a plan for a successful construction project.


Why do the more involved, larger scale projects start with a design agreement?

Brian: The design agreement puts a value to the time and effort of a myriad of skilled professionals. The client in turn receives a completely flushed out project plan, with no detail left out, no questions left unanswered. And the more time and effort we put into the front end of the planning, the less stress and uncertainty there is later, for our clients and for us as company that wants nothing more than to leave each of our customers completely happy at the end of our time together.

Ben: Our bottom line is that we want to inspire confidence and earn trust so that we can transform our clients’ houses into their dream homes. Our design agreement is the professional procedure we undertake to make that happen.


How does the Schrader and Company planning process make the oftentimes stressful experience of a home project easier on the client?

Ben: We stay sensitive to the fact that for most people, your home is the biggest financial investment of your life. When we are trusted to come into your home and make major changes to your living space, we take that very seriously. A thoughtful, tailor-made plan eliminates “what ifs”, lays out the budget from the very beginning of the process and goes into incredible detail about each step of the project. We take away as much of the unknown as possible so that our clients feel comfortable and prepared from start to finish.

Brian: I’ve had repeat clients phrase it as “I just stay on the path that you lay out for me”. One great thing we provide our clients with is a specific list of contacts pertinent to their particular job and a detailed list of every decision and appointment they will need to make. So for example, if a bathroom renovation calls for the client to pick out tile, we’ll recommend not just a trusted company, but a specific salesperson, their contact information, and their individual hours of availability. We’ve vetted this network of experts over time and they’ve earned their place on our recommendations list. It takes so much uncertainty and guesswork out of the process for our clients, and saves them time and stress. No need to window shop.

Ben: It’s also worth mentioning that the people drawing up the plans for our clients are not only experienced project planners, but also experienced in the field. Brian Taber, John Hudson and Brian McCormick have a cumulative 100 years of construction and project planning experience between them, and they are always sharing ideas, troubleshooting challenges, and introducing new concepts to each other. And then all of the office collaborates with our incredibly talented crew in the field. It’s a really exciting and inspiring atmosphere.

Brian: Our field experience is so useful as we put the pieces of the project together. I am building the client’s specific project in my head as I go through the process of designing it. We take all of the design selections that have been made and make sure it all fits in one cohesive picture.


Any final thoughts?

Brian: If there was one thing I wish our clients and potential clients knew about how we work and our level of investment, it’s that we never stop thinking about your project. Until the day we leave your home, and in fact long after, your specific project and your happiness with what we have delivered to you is constantly on our minds.