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!

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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