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.”

 

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.”

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.

 

 

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.”

 

Long Distance Renovation

While many of our clients are also our full-time neighbors right here in the Capital Region, it has also been our privilege to work with long distance clients over the years, helping to build or remodel seasonal and second homes.

This was the case in this particular Project Spotlight, in which we helped to transform a property into the ideal lakeside retreat. 

Working with clients in a long distance capacity of course presents logistical challenges, but we pride ourselves on the strength of our planning process and clear, reliable communication to surmount any obstacles.

These clients wanted to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the three bathrooms and kitchen in their newly purchased lakeside home.

Project Planner Brian Taber worked with the clients to create major upgrades, including renovations of three bathrooms, and expansion of the first floor half bathroom into a full bathroom. Radiant heat and new windows were added to the home. The kitchen boasts beautiful custom Schrader cabinetry and ample storage. To make the most of the gorgeous lake view from the kitchen window, the counters were extended out and paired with a new counter-height window. 

Understandably, our clients were hoping to make use of their lake-front home in the summer, so a tight deadline needed to be met. With strong communication and the many talents of the entire Schrader and Company team including Project Manager Jeremiah Mills, Interior Designer Brooke Stollery, and Cabinet Maker Robert Page, the goal was achieved, much to everyone’s joy. 

“I’m thrilled that we were able to satisfy clients with high standards and a clear vision,” says Brian. “The project came out beautifully and really makes the most of the location.”

 

Brooke Stollery Honored at the NKBA Design Competition

Brooke Stollery Bath Design

In December we took to Facebook to share the great news that our own interior designer Brooke Stollery had been honored at the National Kitchen and Bath Association New York Tri State Chapter’s 7th Annual Design Competition. We wanted to tell you a little more about the accolade, and why we’re so proud of Brooke and the whole Schrader and Company team’s achievement.

The NKBA Design Competition is known for its rigorous standards and competitive judging process. The organization collects detailed project submissions, and only the top 30% of projects then move on to be critiqued by a panel of judges on a number of criteria. From that point, accolades are awarded to the winners.

Brooke took home Runner Up for the Best Master Bathroom Renovation, representing the efforts of the whole Schrader team of project planners and craftsman, particularly cabinet designer Robert Page and project manager Jeremiah Mills.

Brooke was up against many career veterans in the interior designer trade, and to be recognized and thusly distinguished in these early years of her career speaks to her talents and work ethic.

Congratulations to Brooke and the whole team! You can take an in-depth look at the winning project here.

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.