Thank You to the Veterans

At Schrader and Company, we are proud of our long legacy of military service. Company founder Peter Schrader enlisted in the United States Navy Seabees in 1968, served in Vietnam in 1968/1969 and at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico in 1970, and he was honorably discharged July 1970.

His son, and current company co-owner Silas Schrader enrolled in Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  After research and reflection, Silas chose to join the Marines, wanting to experience the very best in leadership training, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 2002. Silas was deployed twice to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2004 and again in 2005 with 3d Battalion, 1st Marines. Silas’s current Marine Reserve commitment  is with the Marine Forces Pacific out of Hawaii.

It is clear to both Peter and Silas that their military backgrounds have been extremely beneficial to their professional careers, helping them acquire skills and apply developed instincts they have used time and again in building their business and facing the challenges of everyday life. 

Because of this personal experience and connection, Schrader and Company recognizes the value in employing and supporting veterans. We are currently the only non-Union organization in the area which employees recent veterans through the Veteran’s Apprenticeship Program, a part of the GI Bill. 

Through this program, veterans earn wages and work during an apprenticeship, while learning the skills needed in that occupation. Veterans receive compensation as they learn a skilled trade, and the company benefits from the talents of these men and women who have so bravely served our country.

On Veteran’s Day, we give thanks for the sacrifice and service of veterans everywhere, most especially those within our own company. Thank you Jeff Peterman for your service as a Sergeant in the United States Army and to Mark O’Lena for your service in the United States Air Force. We are proud to employ veterans, and are so thankful for the unique gifts they bring to Schrader and Company.

Who We Support and Why: Charlton Historical Society

We love being an active part of our community and sharing with you the organizations and philanthropies that matter to us.

The Charlton Historical Society is one such organization, and because of the good work they do, as well as the fact that it is home to some of our valued Schrader and Company team members, we count them among our favorite local philanthropies.

The mission of the Charlton Historical Society is to promote and encourage original historical research, disseminate educational material on local history, and cooperate with educational institutions to gather, preserve, display and make available for study materials and records relating to Charlton History.

Learning more about our local history is always a positive thing. It links us to our neighbors and connects us to our roots. 

One of the ways we support the Charlton Historical Society is by sponsoring their Charlton Heritage 5K. We’ve enjoyed being a sponsor since 2013. Proceeds from the race go right back into the Charlton Historical Society to support their continuing good works. 

To learn more about the Charlton History Society, you can visit their website.

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.

 

A Silver Lining Renovation

As happy as we always are to be welcomed into a client’s home to begin the exciting process of renovation and transformation, we recognize that sometimes our services are called upon due to less than desirable circumstance. Such was the case in this Project Spotlight, where we came in to do an extensive remodel for a client whose home had suffered significant water damage. But this project is the perfect example of making lemonade out of lemons, and the end result is one that we are proud to share with you, and most importantly, made our client very happy.

We came into the project following remediation of the impacted areas of the home, which meant we were starting at square one–a largely gutted house. We worked with one of the trusted architecture firms in our network, Tim Gallagher of Architex , on a Design/Build interior renovation, which encompassed a new master bedroom on the first floor, a new master bathroom with aging in place features, a new kitchen, new windows, doors, and flooring throughout, new spray foam insulation, new electrical, and renovations to upper floor bedrooms and a bathroom.

Our goal was to create a beautiful new interior for our client, and to take the opportunity presented by this disaster to make updates that would allow for aging in place. Wherever possible, safety features were added like wider doorways and hallways, step in showers, stackable laundry facilities, and a first floor master bedroom.

It was also important to preserve some of the original features of the home, like the brick fireplace.

We were sensitive to the fact that our client had been displaced by the water damage, and we wanted to get her back in her fully-functioning home as soon as possible. Project Planner Brian Taber and Project Manager Kevin Connor had all of these goals in mind from start to finish.

This project was a true collaboration and involved working closely with the client and her family to ensure that the result would be a better, safer and more beautiful living space. The size and scope of the work meant that we were basically rebuilding this home from inside out, and only through lots of conversation and careful planning could we ensure that no detail was overlooked. All of the new improvements, from custom Schrader cabinetry, new appliances in the kitchen, and a special lower height baking counter to bathroom safety features and energy-efficient windows were “whole team” conversations.

The hard work paid off and our client ended up with a renovated home with maximized storage, aging in place safety features, and eclectic and charming design details.

We were thrilled to be the engineers of the silver lining following a serious storm for this homeowner, and she was thrilled to be back in the home she loves, enjoying all of the fresh new improvements. We know she will continue to enjoy her home for many years to come.

You Don’t Need to Go Bigger to Get Better

When clients come to us with hopes to remodel their existing home, we know they are doing so because they want to remain in the house that they love while improving the functionality of their space. One might think this necessarily means making rooms larger–adding square footage or knocking down walls. But sometimes all that is needed is imagination, innovation, and thoughtful design.

In this Project Spotlight, a kitchen is remodeled to improve the function and design for two avid home cooks. And with careful planning and some inspiring design elements, no changes needed to be made to the kitchen’s original size and footprint.

The work began with some structural basics. The kitchen was actually part of a previous home addition, and the floors had not been perfectly leveled to the original structure. Once the Schrader team rectified that and improved insulation to exterior walls for energy efficiency, the design improvements could begin.

The kitchen already featured a lovely hexagonal, windowed eating area and a kitchen island with seating. The island was completely reconstructed with new countertops and a wider work surface area, and by re-orienting the seating at the island, the flow of the room was improved and more space for cooking was created.

This project also posed a unique venting challenge. These skilled home cooks have an induction stove top, but a skylight was positioned directly above it. To work around this venting issue, a pop-up vent was installed, which rises out of the counter and then slides back down at the bush of a button–an exciting technological innovation that also works with the room’s streamlined aesthetic.

For added storage and functionality, Aventos by Blum soft-function lift-systems were added, to house small appliances and whatever else the homeowners might need.

The final look of the complete kitchen is light, bright, and modern. The clients were enthusiastic participants throughout the renovation, researching ideas and products and collaborating with Project Planner Brian Taber and Schrader cabinet craftsman Robert Page closely on all aspects of the work. Project Manager Val DeCesare oversaw the work to its successful and beautiful completion.

“This particular project is a perfect example of how to increase functionality without increasing space,” says Brian. “The homeowners love cooking and entertaining in their new kitchen and that’s the most rewarding thing for us.”

 

 

A Green Dream House for Local Farmers

One of the best things about building a home from the ground up is the opportunity to tailor your space not only to your style and tastes, but to your values.

In this Project Spotlight, we will look at a home that reflects the homeowner’s desires for an energy efficient house that makes the most of green technology innovations.

These particular clients are the proud farmers of Lovin’ Mama Farm in Amsterdam, NY where they cultivate two acres of fruits, flowers and vegetables. They aspired to construct a well-built home on their extended family’s beautiful property, the Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve. Their goal is to continue farming their family’s land, and continue a proud legacy of conservancy that can be enjoyed now as well as passed down to future generations. And in keeping with their ethos of being environmentally-friendly, they wanted their home to be extremely energy efficient.

This project was a collaborative effort, from start to finish. The homeowners brought their own considerable knowledge of “green”  practices and innovations to the table, and under the careful oversight of an architect we were able to achieve a design that maximizes energy efficiency and also leaves room for future design additions, like a potential wraparound porch.

We started with the shape of the house. The simple rectangular shape used here is the most energy efficient shape. The home employs a geothermal heating and cooling system, by local firm Aztech Geothermal. Geothermal energy is heat derived from below the earth’s surface which can be harnessed to generate clean, renewable energy. When used as a home heating and cooling system, it involves using underground pipes laid below the earth’s surface, where temperatures remain consistently moderate. The pipes in the ground circulate a water solution and carry energy to the heat pump in the winter for heating and remove heat from the building into the ground in the summer. The consistent temperatures mean the home’s heating and cooling systems don’t need to use as much energy to achieve a comfortable seasonal temperature.

A big part of creating an energy efficient home is ensuring a tight seal around potential air leaks where heat or cool air can escape. We used blown in cellulose insulation in the attic, dense pack cellulose in the walls, and a ZIP System(R) wall sheathing with one inch foam to provide continuous insulation around exterior walls. We carefully went over all areas of potential air leakage, caulking all cracks and using spray foam wherever needed. We also installed double pane Andersen 400 series windows, as well as Thermatrue and Andersen doors.

But a house also needs to breathe, and to that end we installed an HRV heat recovery ventilator, which continually turns over the air and captures heat–allowing for air flow, but also minimizing heat loss.

The home has also been setup for solar panels, which the homeowners hope to install in the near future.

This project perfectly illustrates the many design and technology innovations available to clients who are looking to create a small energy footprint while still living in style.

We loved working on this home with these dedicated local farmers on this picturesque property, and increasing our knowledge of energy-efficient home-building. We know they will enjoy it for many generations to come.

 

 

 

Sunken Tub, Elevated Design

It’s always exciting for us at Schrader and Company when we are given the opportunity to design and execute something truly unique for our clients. We love to challenge the depth and breadth of our collective craftsmanship, and this Project Spotlight afforded us just such an occasion.

This particular home was designed and built by our client’s father many years ago–a special circumstance in and of itself. When it came time to remodel the bathroom, the goal was to update all of the space’s functional and design aspects while paying respect to one very distinct original feature, the sunken tub.

Our mission was to modernize and reshape that sunken tiled tub while providing our client with a bathroom fit for a five star hotel. To accomplish this feat, we started completely fresh and all of the contents were removed down to the framing. The tub area was reframed to accomplish the client’s desired shape and size. We designed, fabricated and installed a custom vanity, built-in mirror, lighting soffit and two linen tower cabinets all with a white finish and pewter glaze. On top of the stunning cabinetry is a natural stone vanity top with two rectangular, undermount sinks.

A significant design feature of this bathroom is the mesmerizing movement and fluidity of the floor and wall tile. Surrounding the distinctive tub is a frameless rolling shower enclosure that enhances the stunning appeal of the tub and bathroom. Finally, using a darker color paint on the ceiling adds to this bathroom’s serious “wow” factor.

The total effect of all of these thoughtful changes is one of sleek, luxurious elegance. This bathroom would not be out of place in any design magazine.

This was a truly rewarding renovation project that exceeded our client’s hopes and expectations. They love their distinctive, beautiful, modern bathroom and we loved working with them to create it.

It’s a “before and after” transformation we never get tired of looking at, and we think you’ll agree!

  • Before

 

We Are Hiring! Are You the Office Administrator We Need?

We are looking for a dynamic professional to join our Schrader and Company team as an Office Administrator.

Our ideal candidate is passionate about the unique operations of a small business, willing to learn, grow and contribute to the advancement of the company, and can manage the multiple aspects of administration. If you are highly organized, self-motivated, a good communicator and bring a positive, self-starting energy to your work, we are looking for you!

Sound interesting? Here is what you can expect from us:

  • A competitive compensation package with opportunities to advance
  • Hourly compensation, health insurance program, paid time off, holiday pay, etc.
  • The opportunity to learn and/or enhance your skills as a professional administrator
  • Consistent work hours
  • Working in a dynamic industry for a small, energetic and innovative company
  • A truly family culture where the average 18 year employee tenure is a result of care for each other and mutual respect
  • A culture that encourages continuous improvement and high standards
  • A culture of excellence
  • The pride of being a part of a company with a stellar reputation for over 40 years

If we have your interest, tell us why you would be successful in our company.

Email Ben Cangeleri at ben@schraderandco.com. Please include a resume and references. Or visit our website’s “Join Our Team” page.

 

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.