A Beautiful New Deck Adds Outdoor Living Space

We like to make the most of our temperate seasons here in upstate New York, and time spent relaxing or entertaining on decks and porches are some of the best ways to enjoy spring, summer, and fall. While we find ourselves in the thick of winter, let’s go behind the scenes of this deck renovation and daydream of sunnier days to come.

For this project, we removed a weathered, treated deck at the back of the home, and built a new deck with composite decking, aluminum railing, and a new pergola.

We added quite a bit of square footage, additional access points, and removed a second floor balcony while updating the look of the entire back of the home.

The back of this house includes a walk-out basement, and the area beneath the existing deck included a concrete slab that we needed to work around. The size and scope of this deck project was considerable, which required expert planning.

The black aluminum rail work really pops against the composite decking, and the project created so much usable space for the clients to entertain their friends and family.

Our clients thoroughly enjoyed their first season with their new, expansive outdoor living space, and we know they’ll continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

 

A Gorgeous New Kitchen for Longtime Clients

We are honored when our clients turn to Schrader and Company for repeat projects, sometimes over the course of multiple homes. That was the case in this Project Spotlight, in which we undertook a kitchen renovation for clients we have loved working with over the years, on many different home projects.

For this kitchen renovation, our clients didn’t need an expanded footprint so much as some spacing changes that would improve the room’s functionality for their lifestyle.

In addition to moving appliances to create a new flow, we installed new custom cabinets with quartz counters and full-height quartz backsplashes. We put in a new window unit, new appliances, and new luxury vinyl tile flooring. We built the new cabinets to the existing soffit at the ceiling perimeter, which the clients wanted to preserve. Custom moulding at the higher center portion of the ceiling adds visual interest.

The existing kitchen island remained, and interestingly, is a custom Schrader and Company creation that we built for the previous homeowners.

The mixture of painted and white oak cabinets is a beautiful design touch, and the thoughtful placement of the appliances gives the room a great flow for both cooking and entertaining.

It’s an absolute pleasure to collaborate with these longtime clients, and we are thrilled that they trusted us to bring their vision for their home to life once again.

Design Trends We’re Loving Lately…

We asked our brilliant in-house designers Brooke Weinert and Kara Woitkoski to share some of the best recent design trends they’re seeing in the industry today. This thoughtfully assembled list can help inspire and guide you as you look to make selections for your own home projects.

As always, Brooke and Kara are here to help bring your interior design visions to vivid life!

  • Larger Fixtures (in lighting & hardware specifically):

Larger Light Fixtures and hardware with texture or complimentary colors are huge right now. They’re being used more as statement pieces, which we love!

  • Textures (in backsplash, countertops, cabinet doors, etc.)

We’ve seen a decline in true square edge backsplash tiles and a rise in tiles that are handmade or look handmade, bringing in more character and texture with perfectly imperfect edges. It brings a much more natural and welcoming feel to any space. We’ve also been seeing more interest in mesh or metal panels in cabinet doors to bring a more interesting and detailed style to their homes. 

  • Color in Cabinetry

We have seen a lot more color being introduced in cabinetry, which is so much fun! We’re seeing a big increase in “natural” colors, like stone, slate blues, tonal greens, etc. While we love a classic white kitchen, it’s such a fun opportunity to work with color more frequently. This year specifically, we’ve had multiple clients who want to steer away from an all-white kitchen, saying it doesn’t feel “warm or homey” enough for their preference. With our recent clients who do want white, we’ve use other tones to support and bring warmth to the space; be it a wood island or two tone cabinetry to make it more interesting and welcoming.

  • Command Centers

Almost all of our kitchen projects lately have requested a “drop zone”, better known as a command center. We think with getting back into our normal, pre-Covid routines, we’ve also gotten back to our old ways, which means everything ends up on your kitchen counters! We don’t love that, so we like to design a designated area for all the little things from chargers for your phones, to organizing mail. We’re doing our best to help families stay more organized and keep their clutter out of the kitchen.

  • Tile and Wood Alternatives

While loving the look of tile flooring, people are wanting lower maintenance and more wallet-friendly options. Luxury Vinyl Tile (or Plank), known as LVT or LVP, has become extremely popular. They can give you the look of tile without the grout, while being much more forgiving on your body and joints. They can also replicate natural hardwoods, without worrying about scratches, water damage, or seasonal movement.

  • Natural Countertops

While we love the virtually zero maintenance quartz countertops, we have recently (surprisingly) seen a big comeback of natural stone countertops. Despite the fact that they require more maintenance and care, our clients have been consistently steering towards granites, soapstones, and even quartzites! They are made from the earth–a snapshot of a moment in time–and each slab is completely unique and one of a kind. That is tough to beat!

 

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!

 

A Beautiful Bathroom Renovation, with Future Safety In Mind

One of the best things about renovation is that it allows us to reimagine our living spaces in ways that work better for how we actually live, without leaving the homes we love.

In this Project Spotlight, we’ll go behind the scenes of a gorgeous bathroom renovation that took away unneeded elements, improved and modernized the space, set the clients up for aging-in-place, and reflects a more updated aesthetic.

The overall intent of this renovation was to update the existing bathroom. The existing bathroom’s design and materials were dated. The bathroom included a big garden tub surround that was hardly ever used, fiberglass shower unit with a bulky glass door unit, and linoleum floors. We removed the tub and reallocated that space with a custom window bench flanked by custom linen towers. The shower was a fiberglass unit that was hidden, so we re-oriented the shower location to be more of a focal piece with open glass design, tile floor, tiled walls, shower seat, all new Kohler Margaux® shower controls and rain heads in Vibrant® brushed nickel, with frameless glass walls and door. The toilet was updated to a comfort height Kohler Kelston® toilet. The color scheme went from earth tones of beige and brown to vibrant whites and blues.

With mostly white tile in the shower, we chose to upgrade the shower door and wall glass to “low iron” glass. The low iron glass does not have the greenish tint that standard shower glass normally has, and allows the selected white tile to appear bright white as selected, not green. The eight inch shower head features Kohler’s innovative Katalyst® air-induction technology, which efficiently mixes air and water to produce large water droplets and deliver a powerful, thoroughly drenching overhead shower experience.

The clients had a desire to update while considering some aging in-place options, such as a comfort height toilet, a low shower threshold with shaving shelf, grab bars, an easily accessible shampoo niche, and blocking for future needs. The window seat was designed to have a place to sit outside the shower. All door hardware and sink and shower controls are lever type for ease of use.

Replacing the big inset tub with the built-in window seat and linen towers provides more usable and functional space for the client.  

The overall look of the finished project is classic, elegant, and updated. Our clients are very happy with their beautiful new bathroom, and can enjoy it safely for many years to come.

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.” 

Creating Major Curb Appeal

A beautiful front porch is the stuff homeowner dreams are made of…

We love to picture ourselves enjoying a hot cup of coffee and the morning paper from a comfortable chair, surveying the neighborhood and greeting friends, or decorating for the seasons with flowers, pumpkins, or twinkling lights. Your front porch is your home’s first impression, and we all want to maximize our curb appeal.

That’s what we did for our clients in this Project Spotlight, who wanted just the right front porch to blend seamlessly with their lovely log home.

The clients wanted an update for both aesthetic and functional reasons. They wanted to make sure that the new structure did not take away from the look of their log home, but needed a front porch they could enjoy with ample room for seating.

Integrating the new finishes with the log siding was important in this project. The home featured a relatively new brick sidewalk that the clients also wanted to keep. We recessed the stair tread to allow the brick walk to remain, while making sure the porch floor was deep enough to allow for the usable space the homeowners needed.

The combination of the stone column bases, wood trim and ceiling, and the tongue and grooved composite flooring all work together beautifully.

The end result looks like a part of the original design, and is allowing our clients to enjoy their home in a brand new way.

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.

 

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.

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.”