A Dramatic Renovation That Feels Like a New Home

A well-planned and well-executed renovation can sometimes be so dramatic, the end results feel like a completely different home!

In this Project Spotlight, we take a look behind the scenes of an extensive remodeling project, covering two floors and multiple rooms.

The goal of the renovation was to create spaces that better worked for the family and their lifestyle. The clients had outgrown the existing space, and they wanted to update the aesthetic in the kitchen especially.

We renovated a large portion of the first and second floors of the home. On the first floor, we renovated the kitchen, mudroom, dining area, and parlor. On the second floor we removed the master bedroom and master bathroom. This space was rearranged to create two bedrooms and a main bathroom. We then removed the roof from the existing garage and created a new master bedroom suite.

The kitchen/mudroom space was opened up to create a better flow. The transition of each area as well as the finishes that were chosen are spectacular.

The difference between the original and finished spaces is nothing short of amazing. It almost feels like a different house altogether.

Our clients are so happy with their renovated home, and we are beyond gratified to know the project came together in such a satisfying way for everyone involved.

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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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A Very Special Renovation: The Charlton School

While Schrader and Company is best known for the remodeling, renovation, and construction of private homes, we also relish the opportunity to work on public spaces. When that public space is used for the education and enrichment of children in our community, it certainly becomes a very special project, indeed.

In this Project Spotlight, we’ll go behind the scenes of our renovation of The Chapel of the Arts at The Charlton School, a local non-profit boarding school that offers a therapeutic approach to education, with the goal of giving their students the tools for success in all aspects of their lives.

The original goal going into the planning and design were to renovate the existing chapel to one that reflects the school’s design direction (based on a 20-year campus improvement plan) and improve the use of the building as an art classroom. The building started as a chapel back in the 1970’s, and over time was utilized for different functions. Prior to the renovations, it was being used for some of the arts programs, but not all. The building lacked bathroom facilities, space for the pottery program, and did not meet the needs of the school.

The interior had not been updated since the 1970’s. It was dark inside and lacked natural light or any adequate lighting. All the windows within the chapel were dark stained glass. Lighting is instrumental to art and art education, so we specified all new lighting fixtures and new windows to create a bright, welcoming interior. 

“The 20-year improvement plan is a modern farmhouse aesthetic, the goal being clean and timeless, while trying to respect the history of the campus,” says Project Planner Mark O’Lena.  “It was our mission to bring that style to the space.”

“It was great to be able to partner with our designer Brooke Weinert to re-imagine what this space could look like. We left some of the elements of the chapel to pay tribute to its roots and added design elements to keep with the desired aesthetic, while at the same time adding lighting and custom interior cabinetry by cabinet designer Robert Page, and specialized pieces that make the space modern and fun.”

The targeted design goals include providing an ADA compliant bathroom, dedicated kiln room, private counseling areas, display spaces, storage spaces, and function specific spaces (e.g. pottery and glass, photography, painting, cleanup, etc.). The existing heating was not very efficient, and cooling was non-existent. An updated high efficiency boiler, programmable thermostats, and zoning were added, along with large ceiling fans and “mini-splits” for cooling.

Experts were consulted to assist in the design of the kiln and glass room. We also utilized a stained glass specialist to assist in the removal and storage of the existing large stained glass panels. 

Scheduling the start of the project during the summer was a priority, so design and planning had to happen fairly quickly. Various COVID guidance restrictions were implemented during the planning and design phase (at both Schrader and Company and at the school) and continued through-out the construction phase. Project Manager Austin Sullivan did a great job managing and performing the renovation.

The entire renovation project relied heavily on community donations, the largest being a grant from The Sarah B. Foulke Charitable Fund.

The end result is a bright, open, cheerful space that functions beautifully for the needs of both students and educators, and invites creativity and imagination.

”We would not have accomplished this without the vision of the entire team at Schrader and Company,” said Alex Capo, LMHC, Executive Director of The Charlton School. 

It’s wonderful to think about the generation of students who will benefit from their time at The Charlton School, and their enriched arts education made better by these improvements to their learning space. 

We were delighted to be part of this important renovation project.

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A Classic Never Goes Out of Style

A bathroom is one of those home improvement projects that you want and need to stand the test of time. Not only will it encounter heavy daily wear and tear, but it’s a room where the essential components are relatively permanent. Few of us would want to re-tile a shower or replumb a new bathtub every few years. 

That’s why it’s so important to make choices and selections that feel just right for your individual home, aesthetic, and lifestyle when undertaking a bathroom remodel. In this Project Spotlight, you’ll see an example of a bathroom renovation that really kept an eye to the classic hallmarks of timeless design, solid craftsmanship, and luxurious details. 

The goal of the project was to completely renovate a large bathroom. The homeowners felt that the existing built-in tub, shower, and vanities were dated. We removed everything: shower walls and floor, tile floor, tub and tub surround, vanities, all fixtures, mirrors, doors, and exhaust fan. The project also encompassed improvements to two closets just off the bath.

The desired aesthetic was a very traditional, yet stylish master bath. The clients worked with interior designer Brooke Weinert on selections to really capture the classic look and feel that they wanted. The outcome demonstrates just how dramatic the change to an existing space can be, when time is spent in the details. Walking into the room, the claw foot tub and designer tub filler capture your eye. The in-laid vanity doors with clear crystal knobs add a touch of nostalgia and class. The subtle addition of chrome in the plumbing and light fixtures adds to the classic feel.

Cabinet maker Robert Page worked with our clients to design and produce two truly one of a kind furniture style vanities, that while elegant, will stand the test of time both visually and functionally. The tile and marble work speak for itself—classic and elegant. The custom full glass shower opens up the space. We upgraded the heavy shower glass to Low Iron, which eliminates the greenish tint of standard shower glass, allowing the dazzling white of the Carrara Marble to show through. We also included an attic mount fan that allows for a more delicate vent and light than a standard ceiling mounted unit. 

“This renovation took place during the pandemic and under Covid safety restrictions and protocols,” says project planner Mark O’Lena. “We had to regroup, and change some of the ways we typically perform our mission. Essentially, adapt and overcome.”

“As a planner we have the opportunity to walk through the project with the client and see the expression on their face when we tour. I am always pleased when the client is pleased, and judging by the reaction, they were pleased. So much so that they have given us the opportunity to work for them again.”

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Incorporating Color and Pattern Into Your Renovation

Home decor trends and home decor trends go…

We can all remember a time when shag carpeting or avocado appliances were the height of sophistication. It can be tricky to separate the classic from the trendy when embarking on a home renovation. The last thing any of us want to do is invest in expensive and permanent changes to our home, only to find they’re as passé as popcorn ceilings in a few years time. That is why it’s nice to have experts at the ready who can help guide us to choices that we will want to live with for decades.

Color and pattern are having a real moment in terms of design trends, and we meet with lots of clients who are interested in adding some visual interest to their homes, but are concerned about what might turn out to be “too much” or “too trendy” as times goes by.

Our award-winning Interior Designer Brooke Weinert and architectural representative Christine Raible of Best Tile were kind enough to sit down with us to talk about ways to incorporate color and pattern into our home decor in thoughtful ways that will stand the test of time. 

On Color Choices:

Brooke: I like to incorporate color in permanent fixtures (tile, cabinetry, etc.) using more tonal or muted versions of colors that the clients already have in their home. For example, if the clients like blue and have blue in other parts of their home, I’d recommend a slate blue or navy blue tile or island accent. Both slate and navy are shades of blue that are still regarded as neutral “tones” that read blue and bring out blue in other colors close by.

We are less likely to get sick of neutral colors, because they tend to play well with many different colors. I think the stem of the issue of things being trendy and going out of style are when we choose bright tones that draw our eyes’ attention much more quickly. So when we inevitably want a change, a bright blue island is going to make repainting and redecorating much more difficult, resulting in wanting a total renovation.

Christine: With tile especially, because it is so permanent, I try to recommend one showpiece in the space that has color and pattern, whether that be the countertop, the floor tile, or an accent mosaic. Then all of the other parts of the space become supporting roles to that feature. There can be other colors and patterns in the space, but having that one feature helps it to not become overwhelming and too trendy. 

 

On Picking Patterns:

Brooke: I love pattern and texture, and these two often work hand in hand. I think these add a very important depth to a design that can sometimes be overlooked. However, you have to be careful when choosing something with a pattern or texture, to avoid making your space look too busy, and therefore, seem smaller. 

If you’re hoping to do an accent tile to incorporate a pattern in your shower, for instance, you want the patterned portion to distinctly stand out from the rest of the wall tile. So you don’t want to choose a wall tile that has a lot of movement and variety, because it will compete with the patterned tile and become difficult for our eyes to process.

One thing that I think is often forgotten when choosing a patterned tile is ensuring that the pattern works well with the style of the home and stays in tune with the design style. I’ve seen so many Houzz images where there’s a gorgeous traditional white kitchen with a bar area that has an accent patterned backsplash that looks like it belongs to another house. We don’t want that!

Another way I like to incorporate pattern/texture is switching the installation format of the tile. This is a fun way to play with a “classic” tile and make it a bit more fun. I love when we have clients who come in saying they “hate subway tile”, and then we show them the many ways that it can be installed and they look at it in a whole new light. 

 

Trends that Aren’t Too Trendy:

Brooke: Trends I’m seeing include the incorporation of a color, either in the backsplash or island. I’ve also been seeing a lot of accent backsplash behind the ranges again, mainly carrying the countertop up as the backsplash behind the range only.  I’m not sure if it’s because people have been stuck at home for so long and want a change, but it seems like a lot of clients are wanting to express themselves with brighter tones and bolder patterns in their homes than they had pre-Covid lockdown. 

Christine: Glazed ceramic wall tiles are very popular and I feel they are also very classic and timeless.  There are so many options and you aren’t stuck to just the traditional white subway tile. These tiles come in a range of sizes from 2×8 to 4×16 and many other sizes in between. They also have a range of colors, patterns, and glazing. Adding a glazed ceramic tile with variation in the glaze is a nice way to add a little pattern and interest without making the space too busy.    

Adding a mosaic as a vanity backsplash in lieu of a traditional 4″ quartz or granite backsplash is a fun way to add a pop of color and pattern behind your sinks. Accenting the back of the niche in your shower with an accent tile also adds a subtle pop. Powder rooms are the perfect place to play with color. This is the space that your guests most often use and they are a separate space from other spaces so you can really play with patterns in there. I often used patterned porcelain tiles or stone mosaics with variation in these spaces.

Check out some examples of color and pattern trends in our projects below and consider adding a pop of visual interest to your next project. With Brooke and Christine’s expert guidelines in mind, there are plenty of ways to spice up your space in a timeless and elegant way.

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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.

 

 

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.”

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Schrader and Company Picks Up Three 2020 “Best in Building” Awards

We are so pleased to share that we’ve been honored by the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association for their 2020  “Best in Building” Awards.

Schrader and Company picked up awards in three categories: Best Historic Remodel, Best Kitchen Remodel ($75,000 +), and Best Utility or Special Use Space.

The pandemic prevented us from gathering with our peers in the field in person to celebrate these accolades as we usually do, but the CRBRA put together some excellent videos showcasing personnel from each winning company explaining their projects.

Our Interior Designer, Brooke Weinert, did a wonderful job taking the viewer behind the scenes of our three award-winning projects.

We are honored by these awards and their recognition of our efforts to deliver the best in craftsmanship to our clients.

 

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.”

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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.

 

 

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