Be Thankful

Thanksgiving this year will look different for most of us this year. After a long year of the pandemic, we have found ourselves still here. While many of us would love to gather with loved ones, and overindulge in Thanksgiving dinner, that’s not possible for everyone. It’s a hard truth. As we add the holiday season to the long list of things that won’t be the same, we can still be grateful for the home we have.

kitchen stove, viking range with subway tile

While not everyone has endured the same hardships, this year has been challenging for all of us. But we adapt. We can mourn the loss of our loud and chaotic holiday, and move forward. Not cooking a meal for 20 people this year might give you an opportunity to try some recipes or make room for new traditions. It also means you won’t have to pretend to enjoy the jello salad your great aunt twice removed makes every year.

Dining room with chandelier

While the holidays may not look like they have in the past, it’s important to take this time to find gratitude in the things we do have. To take a deep breath and moment to be thankful. This is an opportunity to focus on the core pieces of our lives, stripped away from all the distraction. Just as we acknowledge the loss of holidays as they have been, perhaps we can find hope and gratitude for more time spent with the people closer to the center of our lives.

Grand Banks Team

Monica Banks


Living Small

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The world may be full of endless possibilities, but houses are a finite space. You may want a huge kitchen with an open space floor plan. One might dream of a den, workshop and mudroom. But you might also live in a small 2 bedroom home with just enough space for the day-to-day. Tiny homes are great on instagram, and often more difficult in real life. They force you to focus on the things you want, and let go of the rest. This little home in Ipswich is a great example of how living small can be exactly what you need.

medallion kitchen cabinetry small kitchen turquoise backsplash tile exposed beam

With a small space you only have so many choices, and that does not have to be a bad thing. Knowing that there wouldn’t be much wiggle room in the design, we chose to focus on cabinetry accessories to make the space more functional. All the base cabinets here have rollout trays, which means you aren’t losing items in the back of your cabinetry. The island isn’t large, but there is a seating are in the kitchen with room to hangout, leaving the island free for extra prep space.

small medallion kitchen cabinetry shaker style island prep space exposed beam

When it came to design, there weren’t many options. The space is limited, and as much as we would like that to be different, it doesn’t matter. The space is the space. You can fill it with all kinds of dreams and things. You can control the parts that flow through the space. However, you can’t control the space. It will always be a small kitchen, you can’t change that. Once you know what your parameters are, you can work within them. You can figure out exactly how to move forward.

small kitchen medallion cabinetry seating area exposed beam shaker style

It’s easy to dream big. It’s hard to dream big in small spaces. Hard, but not impossible. With a little acceptance and creativity, you can make any home right for you. Not every home requires a grand entryway with a guest bedroom and office. Often the right size is what you already have. With a growing family, it’s unknown how long this house will be able to contain all the love, but they will be squeezing every last drop out of it.

small kitchen medallion cabinetry shaker style exposed beam

Monica Banks


5 Ways to Get Your Home Holiday Ready


Throughout most of the year, our homes are a private space. A place shared by our immediate family, with guests every once in a while. Maybe you are one of those people who keep everything super organized except for the bedroom. Or maybe you are one of those people whose lives thrive on organized chaos, except in the kitchen. Everyone has their own home habits, but all of that changes when the holidays come around. The holidays have a way of putting your home on display for all to see. So why not take advantage of it? You’re going to be decorating anyway. 

home holiday improvements

1.  Finish the projects you started, or never started

We all have those projects, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. These are the projects our friends and family ask about in jest. To test us, to try our patience. Why not give them a surprise this year and finish them? Maybe you’ve been talking about finishing the basement, attic or addition to create more living space. It’s a sure way to impress your family and improve your home at the same time, a total win-win.

hardware home interior

2. Change your Hardware

 Hardware is easy and much more budge friendly than larger projects. This is an easy way to give your home a quick facelift without making a big mess. Looking to make a bigger change? Try adding a barn door somewhere in your home. It looks greats, is highly functional and your friends will surely be impressed.

bathroom vanity cherry medallion

3. Cabinetry

Often when we think of cabinetry, we think of huge projects with large time and money invested. This doesn’t have to always be the case. You can add a hutch or vanity to a room of your house outside the kitchen. This can actually help create space through organization. Cabinetry can come with drawer organizers, wine racks and more to help de clutter your life. Looking for some bigger? Consider sanding and repainting a cabinet or table in your home. There is something fulfilling about doing the work and your people will be impressed. All you need is a sander and some paint, it’s easier than you think.

plants artwork home

4. New Rugs, Plants or Art

Holiday decorations are wonderful, but while you are changing things up, why not consider something that will last past January 1? Plants can bring life to any space, and if your thumbs are more green than black, try something like Jade that will prosper with neglect. A new rug or piece of artwork can really add to your environment too. Plus they can be great conversation pieces.

moulding millwork chair rail wainscotting

5. Moulding + Millwork

If you didn’t quite get around to the baseboards in your living room or always dreamed about putting some crown moulding in the dining room, why not now? It can help make a room feel more complete. Don’t forget to consider chair rails or wainscotting. They can really help break up a space to create some contrast and design.

Monica Banks


We’re Hiring! Warehouse + Delivery

Grand Banks Building Products, located in Gloucester, MA is currently hiring a full-time team member for Warehouse Sales & Delivery. We specialize in high end building product sales including cabinetry, windows, doors, millwork, hardware and more. Grand Banks has been serving our local community for over 30 years and is a family owned, family run business who values their employees.

The right applicant should be organized and detailed oriented with a outgoing personality. Day to day responsibilities will involve customer service, accepting deliveries, making deliveries, placing orders, stocking products and more. You must be able to move heavy objects and work well with a team. You should have an entrepreneurial attitude and the desire to be part of a positive working environment.

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6 Scariest Surprises

Owning a home is not all roses and butterflies with white picket fences, it can be quite scary.There are any number of hidden nightmares lurking just below the surface or behind the walls, and you are the person responsible for all of it.

Most of the issues will be caught in a home inspection, but it’s hard to know all the secrets of a home. Often, the only time a home is inspected is when it is bought or sold. However, structures grow and change over time regardless of ownership. For regular maintenance and routine care of your home, follow our DIY Home Inspection. Picking up on these problems sooner than later can help you time & money. Many of these hidden horrors only show their true selves when the renovations start, wreaking havoc with your budget.

mold home renovations

1.  Mold

This is the silent killer that can invade your home. There are of course different degrees of mold. It may just a bit of mildew thats ruining your stuff, or it could be toxic black mold that’s harmful to your health. Home test kits can help you with early detection and tell you what type of mold is growing. Once you know what it is you are dealing with, you can then figure out what the best course of action is. Clearing out what you see, fixing leaks and airing a space out can solve smaller issues. If the mold is a larger issue, you may need to start breaking into wall space.

cracked paint exterior home

2.  Lead Paint & Asbestos

These outdated and dangerous materials can be hazardous and expensive to remove. Lead paint and asbestos, if kept in good repair, can be sealed, covered up and avoided, especially if there are no small kids in the home. These materials become dangerous when they fall into disrepair and can be costly to remove. Having it removed requires a Lead Certified contractor or a Department of Labor Standard asbestos certified professional. Be sure that you’re using a HEPA Dust Vacuum whenever dealing with lead paint. 

wood rot

3.  Rot

Anything made from wood has the potential to rot. Humidity, condensation or wherever water come into contact with wood can contribute to this. It’s not always easy to spot and can spread if not properly taken care of. Window sills, exterior doors, and the area around dishwasher/washing machines are good areas to keep an eye on. Anything that looks wet or soft is a potential problem area. As with everything, catching this problem early on can save you big time.

home renovation

4.  Flood Damage

Floods can cause major damage to a home, and it not typically covered under the standard home owners insurance. It’s costs extra, but it may be worth the money if you live in an area known for flash floods.  It’s scary how much damage a couple inches of water can do. 

windows vines

5.  Foundation Issues

Everything is based on the foundation. If there are cracks, missing supports or any other issues with the base of your home it’s going to be a big deal. Sealing up cracks when they first appear can prevent water from getting to the interior of the foundation material and making matters much worse.

filament bulb

6.  Knob + Tube wiring

As much as we love the old school filament bulbs, the old school electricity system that used to power them is a scary beast. If your home was build in the early 20th century, and still has it’s original wiring, it’s a system called “knob + tube wiring.”  This is an outdated, ungrounded electrical system that is dangerous and needs to be replaced. This comes across in the outlets of older homes, that are missing the third hole, or ground plug. It is expensive to replace, but if left in place it poses a big risk to both your family and property.Monica Banks


Designing Your Kitchen

Renovating your home and kitchen is always a challenge, and a little harder with a global pandemic. But at Grand Banks, we are committed to offering our design services now more than ever. Everyone deserves good design. It’s not just about being fancy, it’s about creating a home and space that functions well for you and your family. A place that makes you feel comfortable and inspired. A place for you to come home to at the end of the day and find refuge from the worries of the world. 

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Window Replacement Guide

Our homes are important, now more than ever. They provide the backdrop for our lives. They are the safe place we run to. The cozy blanket you wrap yourself in after a long day. It’s just as important for us to take care of our homes as it is for our homes to take care of us.

window sash weights

Replacing your windows is not usually a straightforward process. Depending on the window opening size, you may need to order a custom window. The first thing to know about replacing your window is whether you want new construction or a replacement window. New construction means that you will have to do some exterior work to your home and involves removing siding, and may require re-framing the opening. However if you are only looking for a replacement insert, you can remove the trim from the interior and leave the exterior unchanged.  This style of window offers the same benefits of a new construction window, with less installation costs.

barn window small square

With new constructions windows comes a lot of options, and it’s important to educate yourself about them before making your choices. There may be a better window for your space to help maximize light and space. Check out our Window Guide to see what other styles may work for you. We also have a glossary of parts if you have questions about some of the terminology. 

If your windows aren’t closing properly, you may need new hardware (a much less expensive fix). Remember that window performance and energy ratings are for when they are in the fully closed and locked position. That means that even though your windows are closed, if they aren’t locked properly you could still be losing more heat than necessary through them. Every little bit counts in the middle of February and you haven’t seen a double digit temperature in weeks.

kitchen window

Cracks in your storm windows or tears in your screens can also be problematic. Again, you are not maximizing the insulation or protection of your windows in these circumstances. Find out what brand of window you have and measure its size. These can usually be easily replaced, unless you have a custom window, but even if you do, there are solutions.

When you see condensation on the inside of the glass in your windows, that means that the insulation seal is broken. What this means is that you are not getting the most out of your window insulation here. Many windows carry warranties that can last 10-20+ against seal failures. If your windows are still covered under warranty you can contact the manufacturer. If you aren’t sure if your windows qualify or what the warranty is, please contact our team.

marvin double hung next generation

Windows are an integral part of your home and it’s important to make sure they don’t allow air and water to leak into your home. Leaking or trapping moisture in your home that can lead to rot and increased energy bills throughout the year. Replace problematic windows or parts now to avoid more expensive damage later. Take care of your home, and your home will take care of you.

If you have any questions about your windows, please feel free to contact us at or 978-281-2421

Monica Banks


The Fall Checklist for Your Home

One of the first signs of fall is when the windows start to close. As New Englanders, it is a nearly universal point of pride to keep them open for as long as possible. Generally speaking, October 1 is the earliest acceptable date to turn on the thermostat. When the days get shorter and the wind gets colder, the windows start to come down. Closing the windows sets off a chain reaction. It’s a signal that there is more work to be done around the home with the changing of the seasons

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