Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

Looking for Fun Around Irondequoit?

Posted by John Graziose on Mon, May 15, 2017 @ 13:05 PM

Looking-for-Fun-Around-Irondequoit.jpgIf you’re like a lot of people in the Rochester area, you’ve had enough cabin fever to last you for a few months! It’s time to get out and enjoy the area. But what’s there to do around the Irondequoit area? We’re glad you asked! Here are a few things you and your family can enjoy without having to go too far.

Visit the Zoo:  Explore the world of animals at Seneca Park Zoo. Click here for more information and online ticketing.

Amuse Yourself at Seabreeze: With more than 70 great attractions, Seabreeze Amusement Park offers fun for the whole family. Check out thrill rides such as the Time Machine, the Jack Rabbit Rollercoaster (the oldest continuously operating roller coaster in America!), the Whirlwind, and more.  There are rides for the whole family, such as the Great Balloon Race, an old-fashioned carousel, and Twirlin’ Tea Cups. There are also rides that little ones can enjoy on their own that include the Bear Trax roller coaster, Barnstormers bi-planes, and T-Birds car rides. And the whole family can enjoy a world of water with the six adventures in the Seabreeze Water Park. Click here for more information!

Make Learning Fun: Just a short drive south will take you to the Rochester Museum & Science Center where you can immerse yourself in the incredible world of science. Follow your curiosity from the depths of the oceans to the edge of the universe. Push the limits of your imagination to create never-before-seen inventions. All at the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. During the summer months, there are even “Curiosity Camps” that offer hands-on fun for children aged 2-15. Click here for additional information.

Hike, Bike, and More: If you really want to enjoy nature that hasn’t been overdeveloped, you’ll enjoy hiking and biking at Tyron Park. The park’s 82 acres are largely undeveloped and afford great opportunities to take in some spectacular natural scenic areas. Located off Tryon Road off of North Winton Road between Browncroft and Empire Boulevards, Tyron Park is great for Birdwatching; Fishing; Geo-caching; Hiking/Running; Off-road Cycling; and

Cross-Country Skiing (on ungroomed trails), and Snowshoeing (although we recommend you wait for the winter months for the last two activities!) Click here for a view of the trail map and other information.

If you’re wondering what there is to do in and around Irondequoit, this is just a sample of what’s in your backyard!


Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, Things to do in Irondequoit, Rochester homebuilder

New Construction Communities: How to Foster Community

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Apr 22, 2017 @ 07:04 AM

New-Construction-Communities-How-to-Foster-Community.jpgThere are a lot of benefits to buying a brand new home. You get to pick the floor plan you want. You select the finishes that fit your sense of style. Everything in your new home is new. That means it should function flawlessly—and if there happens to be an issue it’s going to be under warranty. There is, however, a challenge when you move into a new construction community: how to foster community.

Developing a sense of belonging is crucial if you want your new house to truly feel like home. That’s one reason why choosing your community is important when choosing a home. What can you do to build relationships and a sense of community when your new home is being built in a new construction community—where everybody is kind of starting from scratch?

Here are a few things to think about before you move in. Some may appeal to you and some may not be your style, but these are things that can help you get to know your neighbors and build the kind of relationships that make your neighborhood where you and your family will feel at home.

  • Organize Community Events: Sure, people are different, but a lot of us have some common interests. A great way to get together will neighbors (and get to know them) is at community events that appeal to a broad range of interests. Many neighborhoods organize outdoor concerts in warmer weather. You could have a “Jazz in the Park” series and invite talent from around the area. It doesn’t have to be 4-star quality. It’s more about getting people together with the music as a backdrop.
  • Small Group Events: Chances are good that there are people within your community who like to play bridge, or would love to be in a book club. You really don’t need a lot of resources—other than your home and a willingness to have people over. And if you rotate where the groups meet, everyone gets the opportunity to show off their new home!
  • Community Improvement: It could be that you notice areas that need some improvement. It could be planting a community garden or improving access to a local hiking trail. A lot of neighborhoods will organize community clean-up projects in the spring. It gets everybody outside and interacting with one another.
  • Volunteer as a Leader: While not everyone is comfortable taking on responsibility for a community, it’s a great way to find out about the issues your neighbors really care about. Whether you have a formal HOA or a more informal group, you can get to know people and have a positive impact on their lives—and your own living situation.

Those are just a few simple ways you can get to know the other members of your community and begin to build an environment where you—and those around you—feel more at home.



Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, new construction communities, building relationships in new communities

Financial Reasons Why Remodeling Your Rochester-area Home May Make Sense

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Apr 9, 2017 @ 07:04 AM

Financial-Reasons-Why-Remodeling-Your-Rochester-area-Home-May-Make-Sense.jpgIf you’re Rochester-area home no longer fits your family’s needs—you may be wondering what your next move should be. Does it make sense to sell your existing home and purchase something bigger? Or does remodeling your Rochester-area home make more sense? There are a couple of things that could influence your decision.

You may have followed the news that interest rates (for borrowing) are creeping up. It’s not a big surprise (The Federal Reserve has been hinting at it for a long time). The New York Times reported that In December, the Fed raised its benchmark rate for just the second time since the financial crisis, to a range of 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent, and predicted three increases in 2017. And on Friday, March 3, 2017 the Fed chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, said that the central bank was likely to act at its next policy-making meeting. Ms. Yellen added that the Fed still expected to raise rates twice more later in the year.

While that doesn’t directly affect the cost of new houses, it does in fact mean that borrowing the money to buy a home costs you more—even if it’s a very small increase. 

However, if you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably also picked up on the fact that housing prices have been edging up again. And one big reason is that the cost of land has increased. Since the cost of the property you build on makes up a considerable percentage of your overall cost to build (the amount will vary, but 20 to 30% isn’t unusual), an increase in land price can make a big difference.

When you combine rising interest rates with increasing land prices, it can put purchasing a home in a different light. The good news is that building isn’t your only option. With careful planning (and of course excellent execution of the plan!) you can remodel your existing home so that it meets your current needs and provides you with the comfort and convenience you want.

Our free Home Design Guide eBook (click here to download it with no cost or obligation) is packed with ideas, suggestions, and answers to your questions about remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, living room, or bedroom so that your home is more comfortable and livable.

To be honest, financial concerns aren’t the only things you need to think about when deciding whether to move into a new home or stay where you are. What if you have great friendships where you are? Will you be able to maintain those if you move? What about school for the kids? Will they be able to stay in the same school or will they have to adjust to a new system? And then there’s the hassle of the move itself (not to mention the wear and tear on your furniture and other belongings).

If you’re wondering if buying a new home is the right move right now—whether it’s for financial reasons or because of other concerns—I invite you to take a look at some of the home remodeling projects we’ve completed for clients in Rochester and the nearby suburbs. We’d love to help you turn your existing home into a home you’ll love for years to come!


Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, rising interest rates, increasing land costs, reasons to remodel

Why A Laundry Room on the 2nd Story Might Make Sense

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Mar 18, 2017 @ 06:03 AM

Why-A-Laundry-Room-on-the-2nd-Story-Might-Make-Sense.jpgFor a lot of homeowners, it’s almost automatic that the laundry room is on the first floor—or banished to the basement. However, that may not be the best option for you—depending on how your family likes to live. Having your laundry on the second story may actually make more sense for you.

The Radcliffe is a prime example of how that might work. This 2,395 square foot home hosts all common/social rooms on the main floor, such as: the dining room, kitchen (with pantry), great room, study, and foyer. There’s also a mudroom entry off of the 3-car garage with built-in benches and lockers (great for kids!). Some families would prefer not having their laundry on the same level where they entertain guests.

That’s why the laundry is tucked away in a corner location on the second floor of the Radcliffe. There’s another reason this location makes sense for a lot of families. Think for a moment about where the vast majority of your laundry originates. Clothes and bed linens come out of the bedrooms, and dirty towels have to find their way from the bathroom. All four of the bedrooms (and two main bathrooms) in this four-bedroom home are on this second level.

Why-A-Laundry-Room-on-the-2nd-Story-Might-Make-Sense2.jpgThat makes it a lot easier to collect dirty laundry—and redistribute it after it’s been washed. By the way, there are two linen closets on the second level to accommodate clean sheets and towels. Plus you won’t have piles of laundry in the areas where your guests gather. 

Of course, the choice is ultimately yours, and depends on what location best fits your specific lifestyle. We offer a wide range of floor plans from which to choose (click here to check them out!). Some have the laundry located on the first floor and others have it on the second level. And of course, there are even plans that are designed around single level living.



Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, home design for Rochester homes, laundry room placement

Going Beyond the Basics: Take Advantage of Your Rochester Builder’s Expertise

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Mar 12, 2017 @ 22:03 PM

Going-Beyond-the-Basics-Take-Advantage-of-Your-Rochester-Builder’s-Expertise.jpgWhether you’re considering a remodeling project for your Rochester-area home or, thinking about building a brand new home in the area, selecting a capable, reliable, experienced builder is an essential(By the way, here’s a post that talks about how to find a builder you can trust). But it’s important to keep in mind that your builder isn’t just good with a hammer and saw. Sure, you want somebody working on your home that has skill with the tools of the trade, but experienced builders have another tool that many homeowners neglect to take advantage of—and it may be the most important tool of all.

I’m talking about your builder’s expertise.

Many homeowners never get beyond the basics with their builders or remodelers. They ask them about what the project is going to cost, how long it will take, and maybe even go so far as to ask recommendations regarding finish materials. Your builder, however, has a lot more to offer—and it’s to your benefit to take advantage of it.

It’s probably a bit of an overstatement to say that experienced builders have seen it all. Things do keep changing. But builders who have been around for a while have seen a lot. They’ve seen different ways to solve construction problems. They’ve discovered ways to get maximum space out of a room in your home. And they’ve seen some of the common mistakes homeowners repeatedly make when building or remodeling their homes.

That’s why it makes so much sense to tap into your builder’s experience before you get too far into your project. You builder can draw on past experiences to share ideas with you that can deliver more comfort and convenience—and maybe even save you money.

So how can you tap into your builder’s experience? It’s fine to begin with a floor plan that represents what you think you want (and we have plenty from which to choose!). But don’t stop there. Tell you builder exactly what it is you want—and what parts of the home are most important to you. Ask him or her what he’s done in the past for people in similar situations. Ask if the plans and ideas you have are realistic.

Go beyond the basics of cost, time frames, and essential building materials to ask about ways to turn a house in to the home of your dreams. There’s a lot more in your builder’s brain than nails and screws, and nuts and bolts. Take advantage of your builder’s experience to come up with great ideas for your home.



Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, homebuilder experience

Will LED Lights Really Make a Difference in Your New Rochester Home?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

Will-LED-Lights-Really-Make-a-Difference-in-Your-New-Rochester-Home.jpgIt’s pretty obvious by now that energy-efficient homes are much more than a passing fad. We’ve been building and talking about green homes for years.But how much impact does the lighting in your new home have on the amount of energy you use (and on the amount of money you spend on electricity)? Will LED lights really make a difference in your new Rochester-area home?

At Gerber, we (along with another Rochester-area builder) were part of a solid-state lighting demonstration project conducted by Newport Ventures on behalf of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Here’s how the project was conducted.

After construction was completed on two Energy Star certified homes, professional lighting designs were developed using a 100 percent LED lighting package. Both homes were then monitored for 9 months to track energy and cost savings related to lighting.  The energy use in the homes was then compared to a code-built home and a home that used exclusively incandescent bulbs for lighting. Here are the results:


As you can see, there’s a pretty big difference in the cost between an all-LED solution and one that relies on incandescent lights or even a mixture of lighting options in a code home. In Fairport, the difference between LED use and incandescent is more than $290 a year. In Canandaigua the savings amount to more than $240. Click here if you’d like to learn more about this test.

When LED lights first came out, some homeowners weren’t crazy about the light they gave off because it tended to be a little on the cool side. Today’s LED bulbs however produce a much warmer, more natural light. And you can even change the hue and color of LED bulbs with kits from Phillips and other manufacturers. That makes them not only energy efficient, but quite versatile for decorating.

As one of the first builders in the Rochester area to be certified as an Energy Star builder, we care about giving you the best products built, using smart, innovative and energy efficient construction techniques that add value to your home while saving you energy—and money. And that’s the approach we take to every aspect of the homes we build for our clients.

If you’re looking for ideas for your new home in the Rochester area, I invite you to download our free Home Design Guide. It’s packed with ideas to ensure that your new home will be not only energy-efficient, but comfortable and enjoyable for years to come.


Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, lighting for Rochester homes, LED lights for new Rochester homes, Greater Rochester area remodeling

3 Little Mistakes That Can Have a Big Impact on Your Canandaigua Home

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Jan 15, 2017 @ 05:01 AM

3-Little-Mistakes-That-Can-Have-a-Big-Impact-on-Your-Canandaigua-Home.jpgMost of us know that when you’re looking at an iceberg, what’s below the surface matters more than what you see above the surface. It’s the hidden danger that presents the real problems.  The same principle holds true when you’re planning a new home in Canandaigua. Sometimes little things can have a big impact on your building experience—and on your enjoyment of your new home.

Let’s take a look at three things that may not seem that big at first, but which can have pretty serious ramifications down the road.

  1. Setting an Unrealistic Budget.Setting a budget for your new home may not be the most fun part about building a new home in Canandaigua, but there’s no denying its importance. The thing is, there are actually two ways this small choice can have a big impact. If you plan on more home than you can really afford, it can cause a lot of stress. Some of that can come during the building process when you want to make some relatively minor modifications that would make your home more comfortable. If you’re maxed out to the last dime you won’t be able to make adaptations. Or you may not be able to handle unexpected expenses that come up. On the other hand, if you try to cut corners on a home (when you can realistically afford it) you may get the “bargain” you were after, but you’ll very likely be unhappy with the features of the home. And if you make changes later (to get what you really wanted) it will actually cost you more.
  1. Selecting a Floor Plan That Doesn’t Fit: Make sue the floor plan you choose really fits your lifestyle—and will continue to meet your lifestyle for years to come. As you look at plans (and we have plenty of options from which to choose) take into consideration how you like to entertain. Think about how your family may change in five years or so. And keep in mind that it’s not just the amount of square footage that matters, but how the rooms are configured. If you want a home that offers you the option for main level living down the road, plan ahead for that now.
  1. Settling for the Wrong Builder.Not all floor plans are created the same and not all builders are the same. You want to deal with a builder that has experience, a good reputation, and who has built the kind of home you want. Perhaps the most important thing you want to look for is a builder you can trust. Obviously, you’ll want to see examples of what your prospective builder has done and you’ll want to check references. But trust is built on more than that. In many ways, trust is built by knowing that you have a builder that will listen to you and take your ideas, dreams, and questions to heart. Here’s a helpful post that talks about the importance of finding a builder who will earn your trust by listening to you.

Those three things may not seem monumental when you’re beginning to plan your new Canandaigua home, but ignoring them can have a huge impact on the home you’re planning to live in for years to come.

Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, 3 important choices to make before building, Avoid 3 pre-building mistakes

Building a Rochester-area Home That Pampers Your Pet

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Jan 8, 2017 @ 07:01 AM

Building-a-Rochester-area-Home-That-Pampers-Your-Pet.jpgFor a lot of people living in the Rochester area pets are a big part of family life. Wouldn’t it be nice if the new home you built in the area made your pets feel like pampered members of your family?

There are some innovative (and fairly simple) custom touches you can add to your new home to make it a truly pet-friendly environment. Let take a look at some examples of some things we did recently to help clients create a “Fur Baby-Friendly” place for their pets.


Building-a-Rochester-area-Home-That-Pampers-Your-Pet2.jpgA Pet Portal: If you have a pet that likes to go in and out multiple times during the day, you may get a little weary of constantly opening and closing the back door. Here’s a clever solution that let’s your pet go in and out whenever it wants (without having to ask you first). This custom pet entrance allows pets to go out anytime through a swinging door that seals out heat, cold, and moisture. It provides a ramp to let animals access the yard easily.


Building-a-Rochester-area-Home-That-Pampers-Your-Pet3.jpgA Window on the World: Both cats and dogs love to perch in a comfortable place where they can survey their domain and keep an eye on happenings in the neighborhood. This pet window seat is perfect for that. It’s low enough that pets can easily access it. It’s even a nice window seat for children! You can cover it with a washable pillow in order to keep it looking nice. And it may just help keep pets off the furniture!


Building-a-Rochester-area-Home-That-Pampers-Your-Pet4.jpgA Custom Retractable Pet Gate: Often families will want to keep their pets contained in a particular room or area of the house. But many people aren’t fans of those clunky-looking portable gates that you can buy at pet stores. They often don’t fit well and they aren’t the most attractive things in the world. Here’s a much better solution. It’s a custom, built-in, retractable gate that looks like it was actually made to be part of your home (because it was!). This stylish gate operates smoothly and then disappears into the wall when you don’t want to use it. You never have to find a place to store it (or look for it later) because it’s right where you left it. Plus, it’s much more solid and stable than those portable gates from the store.

Building-a-Rochester-area-Home-That-Pampers-Your-Pet5.jpgA Custom Pet Spa: Anybody who has ever struggled to give a dog or a cat a bath in the family tub knows what a struggle that can be. And when you’re done, there’s pet hair all over the bathroom in the drain. This custom pet spa solves that problem. Install this pet shower/bath in your basement, mudroom, or laundry room. There’s plenty of space to get your pet in and out without having to life it into a tub. And it saves wear and tear on your family bathroom.


If pets are a big part of your family, we’ll help you take care of them and make them feel at home in their new house. And don’t worry . . . we won’t forget about you, either. We have dozens of great floor plans for you to check out in order to find the perfect fit for the two-legged members of your family. And if you need customization of features on these plans, we’re here to help!


Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding, pet features for Rochester-area homes, pet-friendly additions for Rochester-area homes

A Visual Walk Through the Homebuilding Process in Rochester

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Dec 3, 2016 @ 07:12 AM

A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester11.jpgAt Gerber, we’ve been building quality custom homes in the Rochester area since 1981. Naturally that means that we’re well versed as to how a house comes together. There aren’t a lot of things that surprise us in the homebuilding process! We realize, however, that for many of our clients, this is the first time they’ve been involved in this fascinating process, and we’ve discovered that having an understanding of what goes on when, can make the whole experience a lot more fun and exciting for them.

With that in mind, we’d like to take you on a visual walk through of the homebuilding process, using our Magnolia model as an example. So buckle up and enjoy the ride through the building of a Gerber home!


  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester3.jpgSite Development: This is where your builder makes sure you have access to important infrastructure such as water, sewer/septic, electrical, gas services—and even a driveway that leads to your garage.



  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester4.jpgFoundation: Every home has to have a solid foundation upon which to build. But there’s more involved. Your builder needs to cover features such as: egress (for windows and doors), waterproofing of the foundation, drainage (both inside and outside the foundation) and insulation.


  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester5.pngFraming: This is the step where your house actually starts looking like a house! Part of the framing includes weather wrapping to protect and insulate the house and the installation of high-efficiency windows.






  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester6.jpgMechanical: During this phase of construction you’ll see the installation of electrical systems (wiring and circuit breakers), HVAC systems (including high-efficiency furnace and the accompanying ductwork), and plumbing.






  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester7.jpgInsulation: The foundation isn’t the only thing that gets insulation. Walls, ceilings, and basement walls are all insulated to keep your home comfortable and energy efficient. And we always do a blower-test on homes to ensure the insulation meets muster.


  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester8.jpgInterior Finish: This is the time when the drywall goes up and your rooms really start taking shape. It’s also when the cabinets are installed (It’s starting to look like a home!).
  • Finish: During this stage your electrical wiring is completed, your plumbing fixtures are installed, your countertops are put in place, and painting is done.


  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester9.jpgFlooring: Now it’s time for the flooring to go in. This could include prefinished hardwood, ceramic tile for bathrooms, carpeting for bedrooms (or other rooms), or even resilient vinyl for some bathrooms or laundry rooms.






  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester10.jpg
    • Bathrooms: Whether you’ve got a first floor powder room, a master bath with a ceramic tile shower, or a main bath with a fiberglass tub and shower, this is the time for their completion—including the installation of his-and-hers sinks in the master bath.





  • A-Visual-Walk-Through-the-Homebuilding-Process-in-Rochester11.jpgExterior: This is when vinyl shake accents are added, stone garden wall accents included, insulated overhead garage doors (with windows) are installed, and vinyl window lineals and shutters are added.


Some of these things may take place at the same time, but this “walk-through” gives you a sense of what goes into creating the dream home you’ve always wanted.



Topics: homebuilding process, Rochester Area homebuilding, visual of Rochester homebuilding process

Doors: Adding Character to Your Rochester Home, Both Inside and Out

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, May 25, 2016 @ 12:05 PM

Doors-adding-character-to-your-Rochester-home-both-inside-and-out.jpgYour doors may not be the first thing you think about when you’re considering building a new custom home in the Rochester area. Your front door, however, will very likely be the first impression guests have of your home when they visit for the first time.

If you’re building a custom home, why would you want to have a generic front door? The entrance to your home is your first chance to make a personal statement of style. And the options are nearly endless. You can choose between a single or a double front door. You can opt for a traditional squared-up front door with simple, straight lines. Or you might select an entryway door with decopage windows to add a little flair. Perhaps a door with a transom and sidelight windows will give you the look you’re after (and let extra natural light into your entryway).  Or you could use color to make an impression.

Doors are more than passages from the outside of your home to the inside. Interior doors inside your home also add character and interest to rooms. Interior french doors allow you to separate spaces inside your home while still allowing light to pass through. They afford privacy without making your home feel “boxed in.” Sliding doors can also provide privacy and muffle sound when closed, and they have the advantage of not taking up space when the door is open. By receding into the walls, these “pocket doors” create an open passageway between rooms and allow you to move freely back and forth.

You even have options in the kitchenwith pantry doors. You can have a glass door that allows you to see into the pantry without having to actually enter it,or, if you prefer, you can have a solid wood door that provides a nice contrast (or complement) to your cabinets. We’ve even seen homes that use a chalkboard surface on the pantry door for keeping shopping lists and writing messages to family members. If you’re building a custom home, you can use your imagination to come up with a solution that’s practical for you and fits your sense of style.

We invite you to check out a few of the doors we’ve built into homes in the Rochester area. Maybe theses images will give you ideas of your own about the interior and exterior doors you’d like for your new home.

download amenties that go in every home

Topics: Finger Lakes Region NY, choosing doors for new home, Rochester Area homebuilding, interior doors, exterior doors, Greater Rochester

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