Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

Kitchen Remodeling: What Would Go Into Your Dream Kitchen?

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

Kitchen Remodeling: What Would Go Into Your Dream Kitchen?Kitchens are one of the most-remodeled rooms in today’s homes. It’s not surprising, given the increased role kitchens play in family living today. And while kitchens have become increasingly popular as social gathering places, they are still very much working rooms. That means they should be designed for efficiency and for comfort. What features would you build into your dream kitchen? Here are a few ideas. 

  • Plenty of Space to Work: Work with your designer/builder to ensure that you have plenty of space to prepare food. You don’t want to feel cramped, so allow ample room between countertops to turn around (and bend over!). 
  • Rethink Your Base Cabinets: Traditionally, base cabinets in kitchens have been shelves with doors on them. You might want to consider switching to drawers. Instead of getting down on your hands and knees to see what’s in the back of the cabinet, you can pull the drawers (and contents) out into the light where you can see everything. It’s much more convenient. And by the way—spend just a little more to get “soft-close” drawers. You’ll get a lot less bang for your buck! 
  • Let the Light In: If at all possible, take advantage of natural light on outside walls. Adding windows in your kitchen changes the whole personality of the kitchen. If space is really at a premium, you could at least consider narrow windows above your cabinets to let in more natural light. You’ll be amazed at how much bigger your kitchen will feel. 
  • Include a Dishhhhhhwasher: Because so many floor plans today have kitchens that are open to the family room or great room, the last thing you want is a noisy dishwasher. You’ll probably want an appliance that has a decibel level below 45. One word of caution, the lower the decibel level, the higher the cost (generally). You’ll have to decide how much the shhhhh-factor is worth. 
  • Build in a Pantry Wall: Having a good-sized pantry wall (on your inside walls where you can’t have windows) gives you lots of space for storage and it also helps to consolidate a variety of items. Instead of searching through various cabinets, you’ll have everything in one place. And if you like the idea of seeing things at-a-glance, you might consider a glass front to the pantry so you can see what you’re looking for before you open the door. 
  • Water Without Hands: This may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference. Consider putting in a hands-free faucet. Some you can turn on by touching anywhere on the faucet. Others have a built-in sensor that responds to movement. If you’re working with raw meat or messy sauces, you can still turn the water on without having to wipe down the faucet and handles all the time. 

Those are just a few things to think about as you begin planning your new kitchen. What would you put in your dream kitchen?



Topics: Kitchen remodeling, ideas for dream kitchens, Home remodeling in Rochester Area

Rochester-Area Remodeling: Which Projects Make the Most Sense?

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 19:12 PM

Rochester-area-remodeling-which-projects-make-the-most-senseThe winter months are a great time to think about remodeling projects for your Rochester-area home. Normal outdoor construction tends to slow a bit and that means quality builders are more available for indoor projects.

But which projects make the most sense for your home? There may be some projects you have to take on simply because your needs have changed. If you have kids that have gotten older and need more space, a home addition may be the obvious choice. But if there are other areas of the house you’ve been thinking about, which one’s will give you the most bang for your buck? 

The 2014 Cost vs. Value Report ( provides an overview of what a variety of home renovation projects in the Rochester area cost—and what kind of return they provide on the money you invest (the money you’ll get back out if you sell your home). They cover a wide variety of projects, but let’s look at just a few midrange projects here. Bear in mind that these are average figures.

Project Type  Cost                Resale $         Recouped
Attic Bedroom Remodel $48,792 $25,545 52.4%
Family Room Addition             $79,500 $34,667 43.6%
Major Kitchen Remodel $54,231 $31,667 58.4%
Minor Kitchen Remodel $18,587 $10,500 56.5%
Home Office Remodel             $27,596 9,045 32.8%
Two-Story Addition $152,978 $ 63,636 41.6%

As you can see, there’s a fair amount of variety in costs and in return on investment (ROI). But the ROI is only part of the story.  What it doesn’t reflect is the comfort and enjoyment you receive from living in a newly remodeled home. And while a project such as a home office remodel doesn’t generate as much money at resale, if it allows you to work from home efficiently, it can be worth a considerable amount.

These are just a few of the projects you might consider. You can check out Gerber’s remodeling services that include kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, home additions, in-law additions, and more. And if you’re concerned about remodeling during the cold winter months, rest easy— we’ve developed an approach that allows side, back, and second-story additions to be completed while your family remains in the house throughout construction process!


Topics: Kitchen remodeling, Remodeling in Rochester Area, Family Room remodeling, cost vs. value, additions

Is Your Rochester-Area Home Changing With Your Needs?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 @ 07:10 AM

Is your Rochester area home changing with your needsOver time your family’s needs change. Children come along. Then those children grow. The activities that your family engages in change, too. Your house, on the other hand, stays the same. Sure, you may redecorate the rooms and move some furniture around. But the basic structure of your house doesn’t change.

Then one day you realize that the house that was perfect for you just a few years ago no longer fits their needs. And while you can’t stop your kids from growing, you do have some options when it comes to your home.

An addition to your Rochester-area home can be a great solution. But don’t just settle for a bigger house when you can actually get a better house at the same time. And while more space is something that a lot of families look for, what really makes a significant difference is when you put on an addition that delivers the right kind of space—and makes your home the comfortable and inviting place you’ve always wanted.

So before you simply expand the square footage of your house, think about what kind of space you really need.

  • Bedrooms: How many rooms do you want to commit to bedrooms? Does each child need his or her own room? How long will they use that space? Think ahead. What will you do with that space when the kids are gone? Will it be a guest bedroom? How about a home office, or maybe a craft room? Talk to your builder about creating space that can have multiple uses.
  • Bathrooms: A lot of parents don’t relish sharing their bathroom with their kids. Simply adding bedrooms doesn’t solve that problem. Depending on how your home is laid out, maybe the kids can “inherit” your old bathroom, and you can build a new one with features that you really want. Maybe you want dual sinks. Or perhaps you want an over-sized shower (or even a steam shower). Your builder can help you create a new bath that makes getting ready for work in the morning a whole lot more pleasant.
  • The Kitchen: When your children are small you can make do with a smaller kitchen. As they grow, they take up more space—and they bring their friends over to hang out. And guess where they often end up? In the kitchen. Consider a kitchen remodel that turns your kitchen from a utilitarian workspace into a comfortable, convenient place to prepare meals and entertain friends.
  • A Great Room: A great room is a natural extension of the kitchen. Opening up you kitchen to a great room allows you to have plenty of space to work and entertain guests (your kids aren’t the only ones who have friends!). Nobody gets stuck alone in the kitchen because one room flows naturally into the other. And the open concept makes the existing space feel bigger.

Those are just a few ways that your house can be changed to meet your family’s growing needs. For more ideas, download our free Create Your Dream Home eBook. It’s backed with helpful information and ideas to help you create the home you’ve always wanted—even if you never change your address!

Dream Home

Topics: Kitchen remodeling, Additions-Rochester Area Home Additions, whole home remodeling, Bedroom remodeling

Rochester-Area Kitchen Remodeling: Beyond Cabinets And Countertops

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 @ 07:01 AM

describe the imageIf you’re thinking of remodeling the kitchen in your Rochester-area home, you’re not alone. Kitchens and bathrooms are still the most remodeled rooms in the house. But what’s the first thing you think about when you consider remodeling? A lot of homeowners start thinking about what kind of cabinetry they want—what kind of wood, what kind of hardware? Others focus on the kind of countertops they want. Should they go for granite or some other natural surface? And what about a backsplash to tie everything together? Then there’s flooring to consider. Should it be tile? Stone? Maybe something exotic like bamboo?

Those are all fun ideas to wrestle with—even if the sheer number of options can sometimes be a little overwhelming. How your kitchen looks is extremely important. Chances are that you’ll spend a lot of time there, so you want it to look right. But there are some basic things you need to consider first: Things that go beyond cabinets and countertops.

Before you get too wrapped up in the finishes your kitchen will have, you’ll want to revisit why you’re remodeling in the first place. Most homeowners tackle a kitchen-remodeling project because they’re not entirely happy with the way the kitchen works. That’s a bigger issue than just how the kitchen appears.

How do you want to be able to use your kitchen? Are you planning to do a lot of gourmet cooking? Will it be a place where you entertain? Are you planning to eat family meals in the kitchen? Are you a “make-meals-from-scratch” kind of family, or do you tend to pop something into the microwave?

The way you answer those questions will shape how you want to organize the space in your new kitchen. It will also affect the kind of appliances you install and even the work surfaces you put in.

Even if a big reason for remodeling was cosmetic, you’ll want to think about exactly what you wanted to change. Was the kitchen too dark? Are you after more natural light? Did the kitchen feel too cramped? Did it feel cut off from where people tend to gather and eat? Is removing a wall to expand your space an option? By the way, don’t plan on moving a wall until you talk to a builder or an engineer. You need to make sure that the wall you’re planning to move isn’t a load-bearing wall!

Once you figure out how you want to use your kitchen, then you can move on to figuring out what you want it to look like.  We’ve got a great guide that can help you design your kitchen to fit your personal style—and get what you really want out of your kitchen. Download our free Optimal Kitchen Designs and Layouts here, and you’ll also pick up tips on best practices for usability and some pointers on how to plan for your kitchen remodeling.

Then the cabinets and countertops you pick out will really make a difference!

Dream Home

Topics: Kitchen remodeling, Rochester area remodeler, use of space in the kitchen, kitchen design

September Is the Season For Learning: Increase Your Kitchen IQ

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 20:09 PM

September is the season for learning increasing your kitchen IQMost of us equate September with the start of a new school year. We’re always telling our kids how important education is, but our kids aren’t the only ones who need to keep learning. If you’re considering remodeling the kitchen in your eastern Rochester home, increasing your “Kitchen IQ” before you get started is a good way to make sure you get the kind of results you want.

There is much more to a successful kitchen remodeling project than just picking out new cupboards and appliances. Sure, you’ll want to make cosmetic changes, but the kitchen is far too important a room in your home to just re-touch the surface. You really want to ask yourself how you want the room to be used.

The “before-and-after” pictures of the kitchen at the right are a good example. The homeowners could have asked us to simply make a few cosmetic changes to the kitchen at the top. Instead, they did their homework and asked us to take out a wall and open the kitchen to the adjoining dining room. That change altered not only the appearance of the kitchen but the entire flow of the house. It’s much more open, inviting and social.

One good way to educate yourself is to visit sites such as and to see some of the great ideas others have come up with. Some of the ideas may not be in line with your tastes, but you’ll get a sense for what can be done. You can also check out some of our other “before and after” kitchen projects to get an idea of the dramatic difference a well-planned and well-executed kitchen renovation can make.

Another way to improve your kitchen IQ is to download our free Optimal Kitchen Designs and Layouts design guide. In addition to providing you with great ideas for your kitchen, it will walk you through how to design your kitchen to fit your personal lifestyle. You’ll learn to identify what you really want from your kitchen, and you’ll find out how to work with your builder to get exactly what you want.

Now that you’ve got the kids back in school, further your own education! Take some time to learn the impact a remodeled kitchen can have on your entire home. And bring yourself up to speed on what it takes to make that happen!

Created on 05/18/12 at 13:26:28

Topics: Kitchen remodeling, Rochester Area Home Remodeling, getting the most out of your kitchen remodeling pr

How Do You Know It’s Time To Remodel Your Rochester-Area Kitchen?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 07:08 AM

describe the imageThe kitchen is arguably the most remodeled room in the home. It’s easy to understand why. So much happens in the kitchen. Years ago it may have been Mom’s domain—a place devoted to preparing food and little else. Today it’s the “heart of the home.” It’s a social center for family and friends. Families eat there. Kids do homework there. And if you happen to have a party, just try to keep people out of the kitchen!

As a result, homeowners expect a lot from their kitchens these days. And that’s why so many people remodel a room that’s so critical for the whole home. But how do you know if it’s time to remodel your kitchen?

The impetus for kitchen remodeling can vary quite a bit, but essentially it boils down to two key things: form and function. Homeowners either don’t like the way their kitchen looks (and feels), or they don’t like the way the workspace is set up. It’s just not conducive to their lifestyle.

FORM: Kitchens in the Rochester area (like everywhere else) are subject to changing trends. Trends come and go. Some have more staying power than others, but sometimes it doesn’t take much for a kitchen to feel dated. And what seemed so trendy a few years ago can make the most important room in your home feel like an exercise in time travel. Here are just a few examples:

  • Hanging pots and pans: This was a big trend not very long ago. It was a nod to gourmet cooking and showcased that the kitchen was all about that. But many homeowners value open space more than hanging pots and utensils they never actually use. 
  • Appliance colors: The “hot” colors seem to change regularly. Although we’ve certainly moved back the avocados and browns of previous decades, other colors seem to peg a kitchen’s timeframe. Black was big for a while, but you don’t see it much anymore. Some designers keep trying to kill stainless—but it seems to have more staying power.
  • Built-ins: For a while designers were building in all kinds of things into kitchens such as built-in desks (until designers realized that nobody ever sat at them). There were also built-in cubicles for phones and other appliances. Fewer homes even have landlines now. And homeowners don’t want to take up counter space with cubbies. 

There are other things that can date a kitchen, but you get the picture. Sometimes you don’t feel comfortable in your own kitchen simply because it feels dated. 

FUNCTION: Sometimes a kitchen doesn’t feel right because the kitchen’s design doesn’t accommodate daily family activities. Even if your kitchen serves multiple purposes, its primary function is food preparation. And good kitchen design is built around what some call a work triangle. If you feel like you’re running back and forth—or around things—when it’s time to prepare meals, you’re going to be frustrated. And if you have a hard time reaching appliances and utensils, that’s not going to help you enjoy the time you spend there.

Our design experts can guide you through the kitchen remodeling process so that you end up with a kitchen that looks great and works the way your family needs it to. And if you’d like some advance help in thinking through just what you want from your new kitchen, you’ll want to download our free Designing Your Idea Kitchen guide. It will help you create a kitchen that fits your personal style and identify what you really want from your kitchen.

If your kitchen doesn’t look the way you want it to, or if it doesn’t work the way you think it should—it’s time to think about a “do-over!”


Topics: Kitchen remodeling, Rochester Area Home Remodeling, reasons to remodel your kitchen

Is Moving the Only Way To Get the Rochester-Area Home You Want?

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 07:06 AM

Is moving the only way to get the Rochester area home you wantWhat do you do if you’ve outgrown your Rochester home? Or what if the floor plan and traffic flow of your current house no longer fits your lifestyle? Or what if you simply want a completely new look and feel that will make your house feel more like “home?”

Sometimes when people are looking for dramatic changes in their living situation, they feel like the only option they have is to pack everything up and move to a brand new place. That’s certainly one choice, but what if you don’t want to move? What if you like your Ontario, Victor, Perinton or Webster neighborhood? Maybe you don’t want to give up all your favorite local places to eat, meet others and enjoy the community. And what about the folks who live next door? Good neighbors are hard to find.

Another option is to look at remodeling the home you’re in. You can dramatically change the look and feel of your home—without moving. Maybe a brand new kitchen is what you need to put some spark back into your home. Kitchens today are truly the heart of the home–where most of the social interaction (for both family and friends) takes place. And you’d be amazed at the impact a kitchen remodeling will have on your whole home.

Maybe turning your boring master bathroom into an exquisite escape is what you have in mind. There are lots of things you can do to create a beautiful bathroom in your existing home.

Or maybe you simply need more room. It could be that your kids are getting older and need more space of their own. Or maybe you have an older family member moving in and you need space to accommodate that need. It can be a lot more reasonable to add a room than to sell and move.

If you’re looking for information that can help you decide if building a new home or remodeling your existing home makes sense, download our free e-book, Building a House, Creating a Home. It also contains plenty of ideas on how to make the most out of the space you have.

When it comes to creating the home of your dreams, you have options!

Created on 05/18/12 at 13:26:28

Topics: Kitchen remodeling, Rochester Area Remodeling Tips, Bathroom remodeling, room additions, remodeling ideas

Want to Hate Your New Kitchen? Follow These Three Steps

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @ 08:09 AM

kitchen remodeling rochester ny sept1Nobody deliberately creates a kitchen that they hate. But if you’re not careful your dream kitchen can turn into a nightmare. And sometimes it’s the things you don’t think of that cause the problems. It’s easy to get excited about the “sexy” parts of the kitchen, but here are three practical areas you can’t afford to ignore.

1. Make it Up As You Go Along. While designing your new kitchen is definitely a creative process, it won’t be successful without a predetermined plan.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to experiment with color and materials, but you need to start with a plan that meets your functional needs. Good design, after all is based on the assumption that form follows function. Perhaps more than any other room in your house, your kitchen needs to be designed as a room that works. So think through how you plan to use your kitchen. Do you plan to entertain guests there? Will you be doing gourmet cooking? Will it be the place you hold your family meetings? Once you determine those things you can make decisions about things such as how much counter space you will need, etc. It’s important that you design your kitchen around what you do 95 percent of the time—not five percent of the time.

2. Don’t Even Think About It—Space That Is: If we’re honest, storage space isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when planning a kitchen. Most of us get a lot more excited about things like countertop materials, what sink to put in, what the floors will be like, and what new appliances to order. Those are all important things, but (again) your kitchen needs to be functional. If you constantly have to move things around to create a place to work, your kitchen won’t be the comfortable, inviting place you want it to be.  So, in the planning stages make sure you allow plenty of space for storage of food, utensils, dishes, and books.


3. This Little Light of Mine.  When it comes to kitchen design, lighting isn’t a little thing that you add on at the end. It’s really one of the most important elements in your kitchen because it directly affects how your kitchen looks and feels—and how well it functions. Performing intricate cooking operations without adequate lighting is really frustrating.  Plan your lighting before you install your cabinetry.  And take into account the different kinds of lights you’ll need. Ambient lighting (with dimmers, perhaps?) can set the tone and mood of your kitchen. Task lighting of specific areas for particular tasks (cutting/food prep) is crucial as well. And accent lighting allows you to highlight interesting features such as artwork, or collectables.

Don’t end up with a kitchen you hate. Take these three things into consideration before you get too far into the process.

Topics: Kitchen remodeling, rochester ny contractor, home remodel

Four Things to Remember When Remodeling Your Bathroom

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 08:09 AM

kitchen remodeling rochester ny septRemodeling your bathroom can have an amazing impact on your home. That’s probably why bathroom projects are so popular. But there are four things you need to remember when jumping into a bath-remodeling project if you want it to be successful.

Storage Space is the Final Frontier. Many homeowners forget to take bathroom storage space into consideration when they remodel. It’s easy to get excited about faucets and color schemes—but if you don’t account for it, you’ll regret it later. Make a list of the things you want or need to keep in your bathroom, and then make sure you’ve allowed enough space to accommodate those items. Don’t forget about space for cleaning supplies and other things that you don’t want in your hall closet. This is important to keep in mind when you select your vanity. If it doesn’t provide you with enough storage space, you’ll need to find it somewhere else.

Oh, the Vanity of it All! Since we’ve already brought up the topic of vanities, make sure you consider the size of what you plan to put in. If everyone in your family is “standard” sized, you should do fine with a standard vanity. There are other options if you’re taller or shorter than average. Don’t be frustrated by the size and/or placement of a standard vanity. Also, if you’re remodeling a bathroom for smaller children you may want to consider downsizing to accommodate them—or building in a step stool that makes it easier for them to reach the sink.


Light up Your Life. Proper lighting is absolutely critical for your bathroom. Many bathrooms are considerably smaller than other rooms. In some cases they don’t have as much natural light because of smaller windows (or in some older homes the absence of windows). But you don’t have to settle for a dark and dingy room. Make sure you have adequate lighting above the vanity (for applying makeup or shaving). But beyond that, you may want to consider installing recessed lighting to make the room to make the room more inviting.

Let Yourself Vent. This is probably the last thing that people think about, but adequate ventilation is a critical consideration when remodeling a bathroom. You want to have good air circulation to help keep humidity down and to reduce the potential for mold. While newer homes generally have adequate ventilation built into the bathrooms, older homes often don’t.  And in some cases, when you remodel local codes may require you to install adequate ventilation that meets current codes.

Want more ideas about how to plan a great bathroom? Download our free 5-page Design the Ultimate Bathroom guide.

Topics: Kitchen remodeling, rochester ny contractor, home remodel

Remodeling Your Rochester Kitchen: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:07 AM

kitchen remodeling building ny julyThere is probably no single remodeling project that can add more of a “wow” factor to your home than a kitchen remodel. And as the hub of your home, you probably get more out of a kitchen remodeling project than any other renovation you might undertake. It’s no wonder that the kitchen is the most remodeled room in the home—or that it pays the best return on investment.

At the same time, there are five common mistakes that homeowners make when remodeling their kitchens that can turn a dream kitchen into a nightmare. Let’s take a quick look.

1. Reality vs. TV: Maybe you like to watch those gourmet cooking shows on television. The things they are able produce in those TV kitchens make you want to try the same thing at home. And if you’re really serious about gourmet cooking, that’s fine.  But before you dive in and turn your home kitchen into a top-of-the-line commercial kitchen, make sure it fits your real lifestyle. Remodeling your kitchen isn’t cheap, and you’re not going to want to re-do it in six months.

2. Being Too Timid:  Believe it or not, being too timid in your remodeling plans can be every bit as bad as going overboard. Don’t think too small. If something about your kitchen really bothers you, the time to think about changing it is NOW. Maybe the workflow of your kitchen feels wrong. Change it when you remodel.  It may cost you a little more, but it will never be cheaper or easier to do than it is right now. Take your time and think through how you want your kitchen to work.

3. Not Thinking Ahead: This is a little bit like being too timid. Family situations change. Take a look at how your family uses the kitchen now. Will you still use it the same way in three years? And if not—will you be able to make small, easy changes to adapt to your new situation? And don’t forget that your physical capabilities could change over time. How long are you planning to stay in your home and use your kitchen the way you currently do?

4. Fads and Fun: It’s always fun to try new ideas and experiment with new trends. But there’s a big difference between a solid trend and the latest fad. Bear in mind that some trends and fads can be easily changed. Others you may be stuck with for a long time (or you’ll have to pay the piper to have them changed). You can repaint a wall pretty easily, but chartreuse kitchen cabinets are a bit more problematic.

5. Confusion of Responsibility: This is your house and you are the boss But if you’re reading this post there’s a good chance that you’re not a professional builder. We want you to tell us what your expectations are. And we want you to be very specific about them. But some homeowners cross the line and try to tell the builder how to do his job. Tell us what you want done—and then let us figure out the best way to do it. You’ll end up with a better result.

If you can avoid these five common mistakes, it will go a long way toward making your dream kitchen a reality.

Topics: Kitchen remodeling

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