DeGraff Bloom Custom Builders
DeGraff Bloom Custom Builders has built a reputation for fine-quality Craftsman homes in upstate New York.
By Angela Forsyth
Founded in 1998, DeGraff Bloom Custom Builders just celebrated its 20th anniversary. The upstate New York company focuses solely on building residential housing and has acquired a reputation in the area for its top-quality Craftsman style.
Mark Johnson, who joined the firm two year ago as co-owner, says it’s a great time to be in the housing industry and he is excited about his firm’s current and upcoming projects. “Whether you’re on the building side, vendor/product side or the design side, it’s a great industry.” Johnson says. “I don’t think people realize how much opportunity is available in the construction industry. Kids think you’re just digging a ditch.”
To debunk that theory, Johnson and his business partner Mark Bloom are actively involved in local builders’ associations to attract more people to the world of construction. They want young people to understand the business side of the industry. Johnson would like them to see that for each project built, there’s a sales agent, a manufacturer, a finance person, an architect and more.
For this purpose, DeGraff Bloom is associated with Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association, NYS Builders Association, National Business Association, National Association of Home Builders, Energy and Environmental Builders Alliance and the Saratoga Builders Association.
It’s easy to see Johnson’s love for the world of homebuilding through the work of DeGraff Bloom. The builder has two major projects it’s been working on for the last few years, both of them nearing completion, and another large project on the horizon.
On Park Place
Six years ago, Park Place at Malta was started. Minutes from Saratoga, N.Y., the single-family neighborhood features 58 lots designed to be walker-friendly with rear load garages and sidewalks on both sides of the houses. The Craftsman-style houses come with two, three or four bedrooms and are between 1,600 and 1,800 square feet. Each home is finished with different detailing and color in the front to make it unique.
Featured in the 2017 Parade of Homes, the neighborhood includes a clubhouse with an indoor pool, an exercise room and a tennis court. A few specs were made, but most of the houses were presold with only 15 lots left to sell. Johnson expects to be fully done with this project within two years.
In the East Greenbush, N.Y., area, DeGraff Bloom has another Craftsman-style neighborhood it started more recently. Witbeck Preserve at Wyatt’s Circle is in an up-and-coming town that is growing with new businesses and an award-winning school district. It is five miles from downtown Albany and strategically situated near the Warehouse District, shopping, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, SUNY’s East Campus and the future Albany-Hudson Electric Trail Shared Use Path. DeGraff Bloom is the developer and builder for 54 single family lots with houses of various floorplans including ranch, first-floor master and colonial. The homes range between 1,600 and 2,200 square feet and start in the low $300,000s.
DeGraff’s next building project is a housing development in Colonie, N.Y. It’s still in the early planning stages and it yet to be named. The neighborhood will include 44 lots with Craftsman-style single family homes. These houses will be a little bigger since the area tends to be a family market. House sizes will range between 1,800 and 2,500 square feet and the lots will average approximately a third of an acre, whereas the Witbeck and Park Place lots range around a quarter of an acre.
Johnson credits DeGraff’s long-term subs for helping the company stand apart from the competition. The company has six internal employees with the majority of the construction work being done by subs who have worked with the builder for 10 to 15 years and follow its high quality standards. “They’re very loyal,” Johnson affirms. “We work with them. They work with us. We’re a high-quality production builder and we build a very high-quality production house.”