Grand Banks Building Products, located in Gloucester, MA, is currently hiring a full-time experienced Kitchen Designer. We specialize in high-end building product sales including cabinetry, windows, doors, millwork, hardware and more. Grand Banks has been serving our local community and beyond for over 30 years and is a family owned, family run business who values their employees. Our clientele includes architects, designers, builders and homeowners alike. This Summer 2021, we will be expanding and opening a second showroom in Waltham, MA.
For designer Sarah Sherman Samuel, staying inspired in a home office space means incorporating her two must-haves for creative bliss: plenty of natural light and a blank slate space where the color, materials, patterns, and finishes she works with can get all her attention.
Used to living and designing in sunny California, natural light (and lots of it) is integral to her professional process. When Samuel and her family relocated to Michigan and moved into a home in a beautiful nature ravine, she knew she wanted to build a space that would capture as much light as possible while celebrating the wooded backdrop. She ditched traffic-filled commutes and gave “working from home” a new meaning when she built a modern, streamlined office structure just steps from her newly renovated home
Nestled in a hillside overlooking her tree-lined site, Samuel’s workspace is long and skinny, modeled after a house with a single-gable roof. The exterior is painted Caviar Black to match her family home, giving the impression of a closed-off bunker until you round the side and see a wall of expansive Marvin Modern sliding doors and a 12-foot direct-glaze windowframing the ravine below.
“I’ve always wanted to build a ‘modern shed’ for an office, and when I saw the new Marvin Modern line, it all clicked. I designed the structure around its multi-slide door that goes from floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall,” Samuel said. “There is nothing superfluous in the design, just like the structure itself. The clean lines go hand-in-hand with the black metal roof that almost seamlessly transitions to the siding.”
In keeping with Samuel’s modern aesthetic, her home office boasts clean lines and a minimal color palette of black and white, letting natural materials, rich textures, natural light, and nature views take center stage. Since she spends a lot of time at her computer designing and envisioning spaces, Samuel enlisted her father to create what she calls the “infinity pool of desks” – a 12-foot custom desk built into the windowsill of her Modern direct glaze window. The desk helps save space and gives her a much needed opportunity to bask in the light and gaze into the forest to clear her mind
“Even when you’re sitting at the computer you feel immersed in nature,” Samuel said. “You only need to glance up to give your eyes a beautiful break from the screen. Focusing on something 20 feet or more away periodically while working at a monitor helps to avoid eye strain. It makes it easy to follow the 20-20-20 rule (which states that for every 20 minutes at the computer, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds).”
As a designer, Samuel has a knack for choosing art and creating beautiful moments in a space. In her home office, she did this with the windows – strategically placing solid walls where the views were not so desirable (her driveway) and placing windows and doors so when she’s in her office she sees nothing but forest views and the wooded ravine below.
“When taking a picture, you narrow in on the subject and crop out anything you don’t want to see. For example, showing the perfectly styled corner of your house, but cropping out the toy explosion produced by your toddler just off to the left,” Samuel said. “Windows are like photo cropping in real life.”
From the materials you choose to design with, the shape of a structure, and the creative ways you organize the space within it, Samuel believes that a person’s surroundings deeply affect how they feel. In a space designed around light and views, with creative and custom touches to accommodate her busy design business, Samuel has created an inspirational sanctuary (and she doesn’t need to go far to find it).
“Natural light gives me life and is my number one necessity for productivity. My brain often works overtime and needs a palate cleanser. I’m never not working or thinking, ideating or designing in my head, which can sometimes lead to burnout,” Samuel said. “Being able to take a moment to look outside and immerse myself in nature helps my mind to rest and sparks more inspiration.”
7am – 4pm Monday – Wednesday
7am – 4pm Thursday
7am – 4pm Friday Saturday
Sunday by appointment
7 Crafts Road Gloucester, MA 01930
From the mid-1700s up to the mid-1800s, Sag Harbor, NY was a prosperous whaling port. Today, the quaint village on the eastern side of Long Island is known more for its boutique shops, beaches, water sports, and compelling architecture. This home, designed by The UP Studio, features a smart, people-first layout and amazing attention to detail. The vision at conception was to create a home with an emphasis on privacy, an abundance of light, building strong connections with the outdoors, and accessing views of the water. It was an ambitious strategy for a home that’s on a corner lot and not located on the waterfront.
While working within constraints like budget, site limitations, and local building requirements, the aspirations of every project The UP Studio undertakes is to create a balance between aesthetics, environment, and performance. John Patrick Winberry, one of the partners at the architectural firm, explains the origins of this project, “We have worked with these particular clients on several other projects before they came to us with this Sag Harbor request. They trusted us and gave us plenty of design freedom, which of course is every architect’s dream job.”
People in the United States now spend almost 90% of their time indoors. Research has shown that increased exposure to light makes people more productive and improves their sense of well-being. It’s not surprising that we often look to designers and architects to help create positive home environments in the places where we spend the most time.
Winberry talks about how his studio thinks about light, “There is this big blazing ball of fire in the sky that effects everything, so our site strategy always starts with the path of the sun. Once we know how the sun will affect the build site, we design the placement of the home and the fenestration around that. It’s why all four of our facades are almost always different. On the south side of this home, a soffit projects beyond the facade to naturally shade the home from the high summer sun without blocking the warm, direct sunlight in winter months.”
In addition to making the best use of natural light and creating the desired aesthetic, managing privacy is a key ingredient in any successful fenestration plan. This particular build site posed some unique challenges.
Winberry explains, “The traditional instinct would be to design the new home to face the street, but since the property is located on a wide street corner, the orientation was flipped to face the rear corner of the yard and the first-floor facade was designed to act as a subtle privacy screen from the street. On the rear of the house, we have floor-to-ceiling glazing featuring Marvin Signature® Modern windows and doors.”
The team at The UP Studio understands the importance of nature and how it can have a positive effect on our moods. Whether a home is located on a small, in-town lot or situated on an expansive country estate, the team tries to leverage a site’s natural landscape.
“It’s important that we bring nature into our architecture,” Winberry says. “The abundance of windows and scenic Multi-Slide doors creates wellness for the family by strengthening connections with the outdoors. We also pushed the plunge pool right up against the home where the water seems to flow right indoors.”
When planning a compact home like this one, every square inch counts. One way to get the most square-footage bang for the buck is to take advantage of the flat roof design by adding a patio space on the roof. The relatively low cost for the additional usable space made sense but the real payoff came from the stunning views that the rooftop provided access to.
“The home is located on a land-locked site in a small harbor town without direct water views from the lower levels,” Winberry says. “However, by creating habitable space on the roof, we were able to reclaim the spectacular views of Sag Harbor Cove and Noyack Bay that were hidden by the neighboring homes, views that none of the other nearby houses have taken advantage of.”
“We chose the Marvin Modern windows and doors product line on this project specifically because of the clean and narrow sightlines and Modern’s ability to create huge expanses of glass,” Winberry says. “We have been using Marvin windows and doors for many years. The huge Modern Casement and Awning windows in this house are noticeably easy to operate. The quality is there. It’s like when you shut the door on a luxury car—It just feels right.”
Nate Boyd has been a carpenter for most of his life. It started as a summer job in college and grew into a career. After years of working for someone else, he decided it was time to go out on his own and establish Boyd Builders.
Like everything, it was a learning experience. “When you are working for yourself there is no one else to blame your mistakes on.” Boyd relishes the freedom and accountability that comes with running your own business.
One of the most important things has been finding the right people to work with. Boyd now works with his two brothers and a close family friend. “I trust them, and they trust me. When I’m not on site they act as an extension of me.”
Boyd enjoys working in the building industry and all the challenges and opportunities that it comes with. “There are a lot of things I love about carpentry. I like being able to start from nothing and have the vision to be able to build something from scratch. So you could start out with just a foundation at 8 in the morning and by 5 in the afternoon you could have something that you created with your own hands.”
One of the biggest challenges in the industry is that there are often no straightforward solutions. There are many ways to build a house, and each situation can be different. “I like the challenge of problem-solving. Building is just a series of problem-solving and I like having to figure something out. We have to be creative and adapt to every situation. And at the end of the day, you realize that you can achieve a lot more than you thought.”
December 30, 2020 3 min read
This year has been a challenge for us all. We’ve all read and written that sentence many times, in many ways, throughout this whole experience. We are looking forward to closing the door on 2020 and reaching towards a brighter future in 2021.
We are in one of the fortunate industries. A lot of people are working on their homes now that we are all spending so much time in them. Home improvement is thriving. While we wish it was under different circumstances, we are excited to be helping so many people invest in their homes.
We’ve been able to continue with our own renovations at Crafts Road. Outside, we’ve installed our handicap accessible ramp and new granite steps. We are so excited about how it’s all turned out. Bayview Builders & Cutting Edge have done such an incredible job!
Out back, we’ve been cleaning up the yard. Clearing space for employees to enjoy time outside and to show off our beautiful river view. Our rocky, uneven landscape has always been a challenge to work with. Beautiful in its own way, it presents a difficult space to work with. As a few of our team members have discovered a new passion for disc golf, we found that would be a great way to use our space. With a few baskets installed, we are working on our aim.
Inside, we’ve been hard at work on our Team Offices. We’ve (at long last!) ripped up the carpet and put down wood floors. It makes such an incredible difference. We’ve also finally gotten to work on our 3rd floor. We moved our break room up there, installed some cabinetry, and put down wood floors. This space will be used as a communal workspace and a place for collaborations. Eventually, our goal is to also use this as classroom space. We are looking forward to when we can get back to offering educational opportunities for everyone.
Where the kitchen used to be is now where our Cabinetry Team resides. We tore down a wall and combined the old break room with a storage room. Creating a separate space for them has allowed our Doors & Windows Team to expand, and to keep the conversations streamlined. We still have a lot of finish work to do, but we are really excited.
Over the years, our building and our company has transformed. From our little office on Grove Street with a small warehouse in 1988, to our building on Crafts Road. We now have a full warehouse on-site, with 2 remote locations. The past 30 years have held a lot of ups and downs. Our vision remains the same, helping homeowners and professionals alike bring their buildings to life.
And our journey continues. We are excited to announce that we are adding a second location! We’ll be opening in Waltham this spring! This showroom will be a smaller version of what we have at Crafts Road. It will serve as a hub for our sales team located in the MetroWest area and help us connect to homeowners in the area. There is still a lot of work to be done, and the pandemic has thrown more than a couple of wrenches into our plans. We are making our way through it all. Be on the lookout for more information and updates as we go!
We are looking forward to 2021. To putting the challenges of 2020 behind us and expanding into the new year. We are grateful to have you with us throughout all the changes we made, and we’re excited to share the future with you.
Last year we were able to partner with Wellspring House to bring the community together and collect donations for their Holiday Store. As we continue to adjust to the new normal, we’d like to once again come together to support our community. With current restrictions preventing Wellsprings annual holiday store, they are instead asking for gift certificates and cash donations. While we can’t have a party this year, we can still help by collecting donations.
From now until December 11th we’ll be collecting donations of gift cards or cash here at Grand Banks. We’ll have a box on the side porch by the warehouse for drop off. If you don’t have the time to get here, you can donate online here. All of the online donations will be used to purchase Cape Ann Gift Certificates, so you can support your community by supporting local businesses.
Donations received between now and Friday, December 4 will be matched by Grand Banks. Join us in supporting the community!
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.
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.
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.
For more check out our site: https://www.grandbanksbp.com/
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.
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.
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.
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.