Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

Niagara Falls: One More Reason Living in the Rochester Area is Great

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Apr 1, 2017 @ 20:04 PM

Niagara-Falls-One-More-Reason-Living-in-the-Rochester-Area-is-Great.jpgOne great advantage to living in the greater Rochester area is that we’re just 85 miles from one of the most spectacular natural sights in the world. Nature lovers, honeymooners, daredevils from all over the world travel to Niagara Falls to experience the thundering roar of 600,000 gallons of water falling right before their eyes.

Because of its close proximity, it can be easy for those of us in the area to take the Falls for granted. But here are a few fun facts (courtesy of that you may not be aware of—even though the Falls are in your own back yard!

  • Niagara Falls is comprised of three waterfalls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls.
  • Niagara Falls' vertical height is over 176 feet in some sections.
  • The American and Bridal Veil Falls were turned off in 1969 by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers to study the effects of erosion—and will be turned off again soon to allow the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to rebuild two, 115-year-old bridges.
  • The first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel was 63-year-old school teacher Annie Edson Taylor.
  • The Cave of the Winds attraction at Niagara Falls is torn down and re-built every year.
  • Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest State Park in the United States.
  • At one time, P.T. Barnum wanted to turn Goat Island (inside Niagara Falls State Park) into a circus ground.
  • Energy from the Niagara River has been harnessed for hydro-electric power generation as far back as the mid-eighteenth century.
  • More than eight million people visit Niagara Falls USA every year.
  • Fish travel over Niagara Falls and most of them survive because of their ability to flow with the water and fall into the pool at the base of the Falls (most people aren’t so lucky!).

There is much more to do around the Niagara Falls area than just gaze at the incredible sights. Along the lower banks of the river (beneath the Falls) you’ll find the Niagara Wine Trail, USA where you can explore and sample a delightful variety of New York wines. There are wine tours and events year-round that provide opportunities for wine tasting. You can even opt for a limo or bus tour package. 

And while Niagara Falls is a great day trip from the Rochester area, you may want to linger a while for some adult fun at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino. Spend the night, visit the casino for some gaming, enjoy a fine meal, or catch a show. And you can still catch one more glimpse of the fabulous falls on your way back home!

Easy access to Niagara Falls is just one of the things that people love about living in the Finger Lakes region. I invite you to click here to check out the homes we’ve created for families in the area to help them enjoy life in the Rochester area more fully—for years to come!



Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding/remodeling, Niagara Falls NY, why Rochester is a great place to live, things to do near Rochester

Is Natural Wood Flooring The Only Way to Go For Your Rochester-area Home?

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Mar 26, 2017 @ 12:03 PM

Is-Natural-Wood-Flooring-The-Only-Way-to-Go-For-Your-Rochester-area-Home.jpgThere was a time the only acceptable option for wood flooring for a Rochester- area home was to install real, solid wood plank flooring. Man-made wood flooring looked awful and just didn’t hold up. But is 100 percent solid wood flooring still the only way to go if you want the look and feel of wood for your Rochester home?

There are two main things to take into consideration as you answer that question. How do you feel about the material; and how do the different types of flooring compare when it comes to appearance, performance, installation, and cost? One is obviously subjective and the other has data behind it. Both are valid considerations.

Let’s begin with the comparison between natural wood flooring and engineered wood flooring. The flooring experts at Armstrong Flooring sell both, so they tend to be fairly objective in their comparison. Here are a few key points from their comparison (you can dig into more detail here if you like).

Similar But Different: It may surprise some homeowners to know that engineered and solid hardwood floors are both made from 100 percent real wood. How they are constructed, however, is different. Solid hardwood floors are solid wood with each board made from a single piece of hardwood. Engineered hardwood is comprised of a core of hardwood (or plywood) with a layer of hardwood veneer affixed surface on the top.

Both Look Great But Behave Differently: Solid and engineered floors are designed for beauty and durability. Solid wood has a tendency to expand and contract. That’s why installers generally leave a small gap between the floor and the walls that can accommodate this movement. It’s normal. That expansion and contraction, however, means that solid wood is less desirable in areas that experience high humidity—or changes in humidity (basement areas, come to mind). Engineered wood floors are generally more resistant to moisture. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can be installed over concrete under the right conditions.

Cost Comparison: There is an assumption that natural hardwood flooring is more expensive, but that really depends on the kind of hardwood that’s being used. Some exotic hardwoods do tend to cost more. Popular strains (such as maple) can also be a bit more costly. Engineered flooring is also faster and easier to install, so that can affect pricing. But in some cases, there’s just not much difference in the cost.

What about the subjective side of things? If you simply prefer the look and feel of 100 percent natural hardwood (and there are a lot of people who do), that’s probably the direction you should go. Both types of flooring are extremely durable. Engineered flooring may hold up somewhat better against some kinds of wear (dog toenails, for instance!). But it’s not as if your natural flooring will wear out over night—and it can be refinished.

If humidity and moisture aren’t issues, and if you simply like the look and feel of completely natural wood, and you’re happy with the price—100 percent natural may be the way to go. On the other hand, don’t be afraid of engineered flooring either. The quality, durability, and performance you require will still be there.

By the way, here’s a quick look at how we use wood flooring to enhance the warmth and beauty in one of our Ontario, NY homes. Enjoy the virtual tour!


Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding/remodeling, natural versus engineered flooring

Is Open-Plan Living in the Fingerlakes Region a Fad?

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Feb 11, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

Is-Open-Plan-Living-a-Fad.jpgThere is no mistaking the popularity of open-plan design in the homebuilding and home remodeling industry. And if you scour sites such as and a lot of the homes you see reflect how widespread this style has become. But is open-plan living just a fad? Is it still something you want to consider for your Rochester-area home?

First of all, there’s a difference between a fad and a trend. Fads come and go quickly and tend to be a bit more superficial. For instance, a color that’s “hot” at the beginning of 2017 may not be all that popular by the end of the year. A genuine trend, however, tends to reflect changes in design that are based on how people actually live.

Years ago, the trend was to have rooms in one’s home that were distinct and set apart for specific purposes. That was particularly true of the kitchen. It was a room that was devoted to food preparation. It simply wasn’t a place where guests would congregate. Living rooms were more formal spaces for entertaining guests. Family rooms were less formal, but generally devoted to the family and close friends.

As we’ve gotten less formal and more casual in our lifestyles we’ve also embraced design that is more open. People don’t have to be cut off just because they are in the kitchen or in the family room. There’s simply more access. And on top of that, open-plan design allows much more natural light. There has also been a movement toward blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors—with homeowners wanting to bring the open spaces of outside into their homes.

Not everyone has fully embraced that style, however. Some individuals feel the open-plan homes are too open and that they can feel cavernous. Some miss a sense of privacy or coziness.  There are those who want specific spaces to be more defined.

If you look at the image of this open-plan home, you’ll notice how it does indeed let in lots of light and makes access to different rooms (kitchen, dining area, family room area) easy and unobstructed. But you’ll also notice how those individual spaces are defined and set off by items such as area rugs, lighting, furniture, and even built-in features such as a fireplace. Some homes use screens or half-walls or bookcases to break up the space and provide some privacy.

It would appear that open-space design isn’t a fad, but a design trend that is here to stay for a while. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re living in a warehouse! You can use other elements to warm up the space and to define specific areas within that open space to make your home warm and comfortable while making access to various common rooms in your home easy.

It’s also important to remember that your specific decision about your home doesn’t have to be dictated by what others do. That’s one reason we offer such a wide variety of floor plans for your new Rochester-area home. Whether you’re looking for a Colonial style home, a 1st Floor Master Bedroom plan, a Patio Home, a Ranch home—or even a home that features an In-Law apartment that provides security and privacy in a multi-generational setting, you’ll find it with Gerber.

The Benefits  of Moving to Greater Rochester

Topics: Rochester Area homebuilding/remodeling, open-plan design, pros/cons of open-space design

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