Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

What’s Your Kitchen Personality? How to Match Your Rochester Kitchen to Your Persona

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 10:09 AM

Whats-Your-Kitchen-Personality-How-to-Match-Your-Rochester-Kitchen-to-Your-Persona.jpgYou hear all the time about how the kitchen is (arguably) the most important room in your home. Heck, we’ve talked about it, too in posts like this one that talks about what a dream kitchen can look like. Whether you’re building a new home in the area or looking to remodel your Rochester-area home, your kitchen is one room that demands a little extra attention.

There are tons of opinions about what goes into the perfect kitchen. But how can you make sure the kitchen you end up with is one that really fits your lifestyle? Is what’s perfect for someone else going to be perfect for you?

It’s important that your kitchen matches your personality. I’m not talking about introverted or extraverted personalities; I’m talking about having a kitchen that matches the way you live and how you like to use that space. It might be helpful to think in terms of a persona like the ones described here.

  • Cindy the Casual Hostess is all about convenience and making guests feel welcome in her kitchen. She’d rather spend time with her guests than spend time preparing meals and trying out exotic recipes. That’s why herkitchen appliances and design focus on ease of access and ease of use. Her kitchen has lots of space for family and guests to linger while food is being prepared. It’s open to the Family Room so that everybody feels connected. Cindy’s family also eats most of their meals in the kitchen area so she might opt for a built-in breakfast bar at the center island or even a breakfast booth right off the kitchen.
  • Gourmet Ginais really into gourmet cooking. It’s not just something she tries occasionally—she’s passionate about it and the layout of her kitchen reflects that. She designs her kitchen space to enable her to do the kind of intensive cooking she and her family enjoy. It’s all about efficiency and preparation in Gina’s kitchen. She still likes to host meals and have friends over, but her guests enjoy their special meals in a space adjoining the kitchen—not in the kitchen itself.
  • Emily the Entertaineris a true social character. Her kitchen is where she hosts friends and guest—for a glass of wine or for conversationwhile she prepares a meal or a snack.That’s why she wants a kitchen that’s spacious and gives guests room to mingle without worrying that they’ll get in the way of the preparation. Entertaining and doing food preparation in the same space means that Emily wants/needslighting that will enable her to easily complete tasks such as chopping, cutting, washing, and stirring. But then, when the prep work is done, she can switch over toambient lighting that makesguests feel comfortable.
  • Thoroughly Modern Melissais a big fan of modern design using clean, sleek lines. Countertop clutter is one of her pet peeves. That means she has a kitchen that allows plenty of storage space to keep things off the counter. It also shapes her selection of cabinets, counter tops, back spalsh and flooring—and she gravitates toward simple colors with bold accents.
  • Carol the Country Girlis a fan of warm, inviting, country style décor. She wants her kitchen to be a place where friends enjoy a relaxing a cup of coffee or tea while talking about anything (or nothing). Her kitchen is a relaxing place so she likescabinets, counters, sink, furniture and colors that are warm and comfortable. She does have a preference for natural materials such as reclaimed wood and metalthat give her kitchen a comfortable “lived-in” feel.


Topics: Rochester area custom homes, kitchens in Rochester-area homes, kitchen personality and Rochester new homes

Take the Stress Out of the Homebuilding Process by Hiring a High Quality Rochester Homebuilder

Posted by John Graziose on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 @ 07:08 AM

Monitoring-Your-Rochester-Area-BuilderHow-Much-Is-Enough_.jpgIf you’re doing your homework about building a new home in the Greater Rochester area (and we hope you are!), you’ve probably run across an article or two about keeping an eye on your builder once construction starts. Is it really as big a deal as some homeowners make it out to be?

Sadly, there are too many homebuilding tales of woe to ignore this issue. How much is enough when it comes to monitoring your Rochester-area builder?  Are you going to have to micromanage every single step of the homebuilding process?

It doesn’t have to be that way. You really can get the house you want without driving yourself (and your builder) crazy by watching every move he makes. But it does require some work up front on your part. The real way to lessen your stress during the building process (and still get the home you want) is to make sure you choose a builder you trust, respect and feel comfortable with.

Here’s an article that talks about what to look for in a quality local homebuilder. These pointers can be a big help in making sure you end up with a contractor you can trust and work with. It’s really worth it to take the time before you sign a contract to make sure you’re comfortable with your builder; it will ensure your peace of mind throughout the building process.

So does that mean you walk away from the project once you sign a contract? Not at all! It’s still your home, and one of the great things about building a custom home is that you get to make choices about how your home is built. That means talking with your builder and making decisions along the way.

The smart way to do that is to make sure you and your builder are on the same page from the beginning. Once you’ve decided on a builder, you’ll also want to talk about how to communicate. That should include agreeing together about how often you need to meet or talk on the phone. Your builder will want your input. What he or she doesn’t want (or need) is to have you “supervise” the actual work. Your job is to educate yourself about what you want in your home and clearly communicate that to your builder. Then you need to let him or her do the job. Will you want to be kept abreast of progress? Of course! But you and your builder should talk about the best way to do that so the arrangement makes sense for both of you.

Here’s a helpful, free e-book that can give you an overview of the process and prepare you for making the right design choices (and even help you select the right builder). The main thing is that if you take your time up front to choose the right builder, you simply won’t need to spend hours monitoring every step of the construction. You’ll be able to relax—and then enjoy your new Rochester-area home.

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

Topics: Rochester area custom homes, coordinating with custom homebuilder, checking progress on Rochester-area new home

Is There Such a Thing as a Standard Cost for a Custom Home in Rochester?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

Is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-standard-cost-for-a-custom-home-in-Rochester_.jpgIf you’re considering building a new home in the eastern Rochester area, you’ve probably given some thought to what that is going to cost you. If you’re like most people, you wonder what the right price is for the home you want. Is there such a thing as a standard cost for a custom home in the Rochester area?

You can go to a site like for an overview of prices in the region. They even offer price-per-square-foot information and the median rent per month for the area, so you can compare the cost of renting versus buying. You’ll notice there is a disparity in pricing as you move from Rochester itself to areas such as Webster, Ontario and Marion.

All that information, however, is of limited value if you’re considering a custom home. By definition, a custom home is unique. How can you attach “standard” pricing to a home that offers much more than the standard features and quality?  And how do you arrive at the right price for the home you want to build?

It’s helpful to start with a floor plan, finding the layout and amount of space that truly matches your lifestyle. Click here to check out dozens of plans in a wide range of styles and sizes. Then discuss with your builder the location you have in mind and the particular features you want in your home. It’s more productive to speak in specifics than broad generalities.

Another important step is to establish a realistic budget for your new home. When we talk about a realistic budget, it means taking an honest look at your finances to determine exactly how much home you can afford. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender before you get too far into the process so you know exactly how large of a mortgage loan you qualify for. That will help you narrow down your choices. It’s pointless to look at homes you can’t afford.

The flip side of this is setting a budget that’s unrealistically low. If you do that, chances are, you’ll be disappointed with the home you build. Here’s a post that goes into a bit more detail on both of those issues.

There is no standard cost for a custom home in the Rochester area. But that doesn’t mean you have to be in the dark about what your home should cost. Set your budget and talk to a trusted builder about exactly what you can get for your budget before you start building your dream home.


Topics: Rochester area custom homes, housing costs in Rochester area

Does It Matter Where You Put Your Bed? Pros and Cons of Master Bedroom Locations in Your New Rochester Home

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 @ 16:06 PM


When you’re planning a new home in the Rochester area, you want to get everything right. You want the right location, the right square footage and the right floor plan. Part of achieving the “right” floor plan is having important rooms positioned where you really want them.

Does it really matter where you locate your master bedroom? After all, it’s not like the Design Police are going to pay you a visit and tell you that you’ve got it wrong.

But choosing where you put your master bedroomis important. And the “right” place to put it depends on your specific needs and desires. Here are a couple of scenarios to illustrate what I’m talking about.


In a Home with Younger Children

If you have younger children, you may want to choose a floor plan that puts your master bedroom close—or at least on the same level—as your children. Bad dreams and illnesses are pretty common occurrences with little ones. It’s nice to be close to your kids—both for their sense of security and for your convenience. The Stillwater floor plan (one of our newer plans) puts parents on the same level as the kids. Even with ease of access to the kids, the parents can still enjoy the peace a separate master bathroom affords.

In a Home with Older Children

If you have older children, they may want to be a bit more independent and have their own “space” (and there will probably be times when you’ll be happy to let them have it). The Danbury floor plan, for instance, puts parents on the same level of the house as the children—but still provides plenty of privacy. You can be close enough to keep an eye on things without intruding too much into the space your older children want.

In a Home Where You Plan to Stay in Maturity

What if you want to build a home where you can stay comfortably as you get older? That’s when a home that offers a master bedroom on the main level can be very attractive. The Sinclair floor plan provides spacious single-level living. Everything you need is located on the main level, including the kitchen, family room, dining room, laundry and more. If you have children, their bedrooms are on the same level, too—but not right next to the master bedroom. It’s also an ideal setup if you plan to have guests visit.

Those are just a few of the scenarios that might apply to you and your specific needs. We offer a wide variety of floor plans,ranging from two-bedroom plans of about 1,000 square feet to 3,600-square-foot plans that include in-law apartments. We invite you to check out these plans and find one that meets your particular needs.

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homes, choosing floor plans for Rochester-area homes, master bedroom location in Rochester homes

How Do You Know If You Can Trust a Rochester-Area Builder? Ask His Clients!

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, May 3, 2016 @ 11:05 AM

How-Do-You-Know-if-You-Can-Trust-a-Rochester-area-Builder_-Ask-His-Clients.jpgBuilding a custom home in the Rochester area takes an amazing combination of attention to important details and focus on the big picture. Choosing the right builder is arguably one of the biggest decisions you can make as a future homeowner. Interestingly enough, it can also make your decisions about the details a lot easier.

So what should you look for when evaluating builders for your new Canandaigua, Perinton or Webster home?Here’s a helpful post that outlines key factors, such as experience, a track record, location, options, helpfulness and a commitment to the community.

Those things are all critical traits for any builder you’ll want to consider, but there’s one additional characteristic that makes an enormous difference when it’s time to build your home: trust.

For many homeowners,trustworthiness is the single most important trait of all. If you trust your builder, it takes an enormous amount of stress out of the homebuilding process. If you know you can talk to your builder and ask questions and get answers that satisfy you, everything goes so much more smoothly. But how do you build trust before you even start working with someone?

Start by hearing from people who have already worked with the builder you’re considering. When you do that, make sure you pay attention to what these people say about the process,as well as the home. Try to get a sense of how they felt about how things went. That may be subjective, but it’s an extremely important part of homebuilding.

We’re delighted to be able to share a few comments from clients for whom we’ve built homes. We hope it helps you get a feel for the relationships we build with our clients while we’re building their dream homes.

  • “We can truthfully say that we are happier with our new home now, a year later, than when we first built it. It is pretty rare that a purchase of anything gets better with time, but this house Gerber built for us does. Gerber was a great company to work with. They listened and designed the home we wanted. The building process went great and the house is fantastic.” —The Lamberts
  • “This was the first time that we have had a home built for us, and we were more than a little apprehensive having heard about the troubles some have had with their builders.We were pleasantly surprised at how easy [Gerber] made the process.From the first meeting with John to discuss pricing, add-ons and terms, through the site work with Norm and Bruce and the selection process with Debbie Smith, we found the experience easy. [Gerber] really go[es]‘the extramile’ for [its] customers!” —The Palmers
  • “It was certainly a pleasure doing business with people that cared about what the homeowner wanted, and it was great knowing that everyone involved with the building process were qualified people. We enjoyed watching from day one the expertise that all of [Gerber’s] workers showed in their jobs.”—The Harleys

We invite you tocheck out additional comments from our clients here, because we think that what our clients have to say about their experience with us is much more important than anything we can tell you ourselves. Choosing a builder you can trust makes the whole homebuilding experience so much more enjoyable!


Topics: Rochester area custom homes, trusted Rochester builder, choosing Rochester homebuilder, Greater Rochester, Fingerlakes area

What Do People Love About the Finger Lakes Region?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 @ 06:04 AM

What_Do_People_Love_About_the_Finger_Lakes_Region_.jpgA lot of people love to visit the Finger Lakes region because it has so much to offer. But if you live here, you can take advantage of so much more — anytime you like. So what is it that people love about the Finger Lakes region? Here’s just a small taste.

Wineries: Speaking of taste, the area is known for producing some great wines. You can tour wineries in Cayuga Lake, Skaneateles-Syracuse, Canandaigua Lake, Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake, among others.

Theater: There are many opportunities to take in great shows around the area. You can check out the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, catch a show at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca or explore options at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

Art: Want to expand your artistic horizons? The Corning Museum of Glass marries art with theater as gaffers (otherwise known as glassblowers) explain their craft while creating beautiful works of art. Or you can visit the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film or the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn.

Dining: There are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat — whether you’re looking for fine dining or casual fare. Two Canandaigua favorites are Nolan's on Canandaigua Lake and The Inn on the Lake.

Boat Tours: It would be ridiculous to talk about the Finger Lakes without mentioning getting out on the water.  There are a wide variety of options ranging from one-hour general sightseeing cruises to wine cruises and even full-course dinner cruises for you and your family.

Of course, you may just want to drive around and take in the sights, like the Eagle Cliff Falls at Havana Glen (pictured above)!

It’s no wonder people love to visit the Finger Lakes region! Some people, however, are lucky enough to call this area home. And if you’d like to make it your home, we build beautiful homes in several communities in the area. Why just visit when you could actually live here?

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

Topics: Rochester area custom homes, Finger Lake activities, things to do in Finger Lakes region

Surprising Places Your Rochester Custom Home Could Cost More--And How to Prepare

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 @ 19:03 PM

Gerber-Homes-Custom-Home-Builder-in-RochesterSome of us enjoy surprises, like when our friends throw a surprise party for us or our income tax returns are larger than we planned. Some surprises, however, aren’t so much fun, like when the custom home you’re building costs more than you expected. Nobody enjoys that kind of surprise.  

Here are a few areas that can sneak up on new homebuilders. Knowing about them ahead of time can prepare you. And sometimes you can avoid not only the surprise, but also the expense. 

  • Changes in Plans: When building a custom home in the Rochester area, you’re probably going to make changes to your original design. Some of those changes aren’t a big deal. Others can really hit you hard in the wallet. Often, it’s when you make the change that matters most. You may think that moving a wall a mere six inches isn’t that significant, but it depends on what else may have to be moved. One thing is for sure: if you ask the builder to move it in the design/planning stage, it’s a lot cheaper than having him tear out a wall he’s already built. It’s the same kind of situation if you want a door or a window moved. It can usually be done—but when you want to move it (and where) matters a lot. One of the problems is that these changes can kind of creep up on you before you’re even aware. Here’s a helpful article about keeping those changes under control. 
  • Upgrades: It’s easy to get caught up in upgrading finishes. Let’s say you budgeted for one kind of wood flooring, but then came across another flooring material that you absolutely love. The good news is that it’s only $4 per square foot more. At first glance, $4 doesn’t seem like much. But if you’re going to cover 750 square feet with that new material, all of a sudden you’re looking at an additional $3,000 in cost. That’s not a nice surprise. The same thing can happen with cabinets, countertops and appliances. What seem like small changes can add up quickly. That’s not to say you shouldn’t upgrade—but it’s an area that often catches homeowners off guard. 
  • Property: Some homeowners like to buy their own lot and then have a builder construct the home on the lot they’ve purchased. It’s a fairly common occurrence. But occasionally a homeowner will get a “great deal” on a lot he or she likes—only to find that it requires a lot of extra preparation (grading, etc.) before it’s suitable for putting in the foundation. Suddenly that bargain lot costs a lot more than expected. 

One way to avoid that is to contact your builder about the lot before you purchase a home site. At Gerber Homes, we’re happy to help you evaluate a piece of property. You don’t need to hire an outside consultant. We know the area and have years of experience in locating and evaluating land, and we can help you find the perfect location for your new home, surrounded by the amenities you desire.  There is no charge for this service, which includes locating the land, evaluating the site, making a recommendation for a suitable floor plan and checking septic or well requirements. 

Surprises are fine if they leave you feeling happy. Don’t let unexpected developments rob you of the joy of building the custom home you’ve always dreamed of. 


Topics: Rochester area custom homes, budget surprises when building a custom home

What Really Matters Most When Designing the Kitchen for Your Rochester-Area New Home

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 @ 06:03 AM

What-really-matter-most-when-designing-the-kitchen-for-your-Rochester-area-home.jpgTalk to virtually any builder, designer or homeowner who has been through the custom homebuilding process and they will tell you the importance of paying special attention to the kitchen in your new home.  One of the temptations homeowners face when thinking about their kitchens is to focus on style before substance. 

The look and feel of your kitchen is extremely important, but before you spend too much time on things such as appliances, flooring or even cabinets and countertops, you really want to do some thinking about how you’ll be using your kitchen—and what will enable you to use it the way you want. 

  • Space: If you’re really not planning to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and you don’t expect family and friends to congregate there, you can get away with a smaller space. To be honest, the trend across the country has been toward larger kitchens because they have become a social center for the home. Part of your considerations should include how the kitchen flows into other rooms—in particular the family room. That’s where open floor plans such asThe Waltonreally shine. This particular plan is open all the way to the family room and even includes a breakfast nook for casual family meals.  This allows the host or hostess to be involved with guests even while preparing meals. 
  • Storage: You can never have too much storage! And if you should opt for an open floor plan where the kitchen is in plain sight of other rooms, this is even more of an issue. So when it comes time to order your kitchen cabinets, pay as much attention to the amount of available storage space as you do to the finish on the cabinets.  Look for cabinets that have deep, slide-out shelving. That way you’ll be able to store even larger items at the back of the shelves and still be able to retrieve them easily. And you may want to talk to your builder about taking advantage of unused space for things like built-in spice racks or narrow cupboards for storing cookie sheets and pizza pans. You might even want a floor plan such as The Wainscott, which includes a corner pantry for additional storage. 
  • Layout: How do you want your kitchen to be arranged? Before deciding on a design, think through how you like to work in the kitchen. Some homeowners prefer an L-shaped kitchen design. Others favor a galley-style kitchen where the counters run parallel to one another. Kitchen islands are very popular (and convenient) because you’re never far away from a useable surface. But before you decide, try to mentally put yourself in the kitchen you see in your plans. Is the sink where you want it? Is the refrigerator positioned conveniently? Where do you want cutting surfaces? 
  • Light: Never underestimate the importance of adequate lighting in your kitchen. Will your plan maximize natural lighting? Where will you locate task lighting (for cutting and cleaning)? And don’t forget about ambient lighting. When you’re done cooking, there’s a good chance that family and friends will still be hanging out in the kitchen, so you’ll want to make it visually comfortable and inviting. 

Once you’ve tackled the things that really matter in your kitchen, you can move on to creating the look and feel you want with countertops, flooring and cabinet finishes.  


Topics: Rochester area custom homes, essential elements in new Rochester home kitchens, kitchens in Rochester custom homes

What Matters Most in Your Rochester Bathroom?

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 @ 19:02 PM

What-matters-most-in-your-Rochester-bathroom_.jpgResearch shows that in American homes the bathroom ranks right up there with the kitchen as the most remodeled room in the home. So whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your existing home in the Rochester area, that gives you a bit of an idea of how important it is to get this room right.

If you spend much time looking at home design online, however, you might get the impression that the bathroom (whether it’s your master bath or your powder room) is all about opulence and making a grand statement. But are chandeliers, gold fixtures, and gold-leafed stand-alone tubs right for the bath in your home? What really matters most when it comes to your Rochester bathroom?

First and foremost, how you design this very private room (especially your master bath) should focus on comfort. Some time ago, Professional Builder Magazine surveyed a number of homeowners and asked them to list their main priorities for improving their home. What homeowners said was their main priority might surprise you. They listed having a double sink vanity in the master bath as their top choice! The third highest priority on their list was to install a walk-in shower with no door.

That’s a far cry from gold fixtures, soaking tubs, and heated towel racks! But it does help to illustrate what’s really important. Luxury is great if you really want it and if it fits your budget. What most of us are really after is comfort and convenience.

Having enough space so that you can get ready for your workday in comfort, or prepare for a night out is something that almost everyone appreciates. And having the bathroom conveniently located (particularly for the Master Bedroom) is probably more important to most of us than having 16 jets spraying in the bathtub (although having a whirlpool tub like the one featured in our Walton model or our Danbury floor plan can really be a nice addition!).

If a soaking tub is what you really want (and will use) then you should make it a priority. The point is that what matters most in your Rochester Bathroom is what matters to you. So as you consider floor plans for your new home, make a list of “must-have” items, and “Nice-to-have” items. Then make your choice of plans based on your wants, desires, needs, and budget—not on what someone else posts online.

 Bathroom blog

Topics: Rochester area remodeler, Rochester area custom homes, bathrooms in Rochester area custom homes, priorities for Rochester bathrooms

Part of Shopping for a New Home in Rochester NY Includes Shopping for a Home Loan

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 @ 06:02 AM

Part-of-shopping-for-a-new-Rochester-home-includes-shopping-for-a-home-load.jpgWhen potential homeowners start looking for a new home, securing a mortgage loan is often way down on their list of things to do. That’s unfortunate, because if you don’t have your financial ducks in a row, it’s hard to move forward. There are even times when not having financing set up can cause a potential buyer to miss an opportunity to buy a great home they’ve found.

It’s understandable. After all, it’s a lot more fun to look at floor plans or tour a model home than it is to shop for a mortgage loan. The good news, however, is that new rules that went into effect last October have made the process faster and easier for those looking for a loan.

After the housing collapse of a few years ago, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created a new set of mortgage rules commonly known as “Know Before You Owe.” Officially, it’s called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (or TRID for short).

Due to TRID, loan estimates are now easier to read and as a homebuyer you’ll receive your final documents well in advance—giving you a minimum of three business days to review and understand the documents you’re supposed to sign. In the past, homeowners often had just a few hours for this. That takes a lot of stress out of the closing process.

There’s more good news. The new rules make it easier to shop for a new loan. When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will have three days to send you a written offer with lots of detail, including fees. And what makes it even nicer is that the new rules make it easier to compare “apples-to-apples” when comparing loans. The final page on each offer has a heading of “Comparisons” that shows the annual percentage rate (APR).

Click here if you’d like to read additional information about “Know Before You Owe.” There’s even a short (2 minute video summary).

What this all boils down to is that new regulations have made one of the least favorite parts of the home buying process much easier to understand and complete. And with this part of the equation out of the way, you can get to the fun stuff more quickly—finding and building your new Rochester-area home!

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

Topics: Rochester area custom homes, home mortgages, understanding home mortgage options

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