Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#GrazianoBungalow - The Master Bathroom (Before)

Welcome back! Our kitchen was ALMOST finished and ready to show you guys when we hit a major snafu this week that is going to delay that reveal for quite some time. Luckily we have found the root of the issue and everything is under control now, but our first couple of months of home ownership have certainly not been as pretty as the photos you see on this blog! We're hoping that after this is behind us, it is all smooth(er) sailing from here...

So I'm stepping away from our kitchen a bit today to give you a tour of the next room project we're tackling....our master bathroom. This is the place we both get ready and wrap up each day together, so was another space that we wanted to feel like home right away. I'm one of those people that sees their bathroom as their "sanctuary." It's kind of my place to just relax and escape (and get pretty), so I wanted it to feel pretty too. Luckily it already had pretty great bones, so only needed a little TLC (and scrubbing) to get it there. This is how it looked before we moved in:

Listing photo:
Move in shots:
And in terms of our design plans for the space - I love modern bathrooms and definitely want to go more modern in our guest bath, but for our master I wanted to keep the style more traditional/farmhouse. We plan on painting it in a soothing color (Tranquility by Benjamin Moore), updating the mirrors, and adding shiplap to one of the walls and in the toilet room that's behind the door. Then we'll just add some other natural elements (a rustic towel ladder, woven laundry hamper, natural rug, candles, a plant and maybe one of our stump stools) and we'll be done! At least for now.
The shiplap is up and we are very close to being done painting, so stay tuned for updates very soon! In the meantime, I'll leave you with some beautiful bathrooms I was pinning as inspiration for this space. xx

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Choosing Wide Plank Flooring for the Kitchen

We are making major progress in our kitchen! As i mentioned in my last post, installing hardwood floors in the #grazianobungalow kitchen was the most daunting "to do" on our project list for that room. The existing gray tile that was in the space wasn't terrible, but something about the tile made the kitchen feel so cold. I knew that hardwoods would really warm up the space and give the whole house a better flow. I mean....just look at these kitchens that I was swooning over as inspiration!

We decided it was best to tackle the hardwoods sooner rather than later, given that we were already sanding/staining the existing hardwoods in multiple other rooms. If your whole home is going to be a dust storm, it's definitely better to weather the storm all at once! And given how the few items that we moved into our kitchen looked after the floors were complete (completely white from dust), I'm so glad that we did this before moving the majority of our kitchen possessions in.

And now for the hardest part of the process...choosing the actual wood! Given the fact that there are thousands of options out there for floors, they are a big commitment financially, and that hardwoods are pretty permanent,  this was a BIG (and somewhat stressful) decision. Here were the things we knew we wanted which narrowed down the search:

  1. Wide Plank. I've always loved the look of wide plank floors so I knew that if we were going to spend the money to replace the tile, I wanted to go wide. We only looked at floors where the planks were at least 7 inches wide.
  2. Light in color to flow well with the adjoining family room, where we stained the hardwoods in a very faint coat of "Weathered Oak." We wanted to stay in the light brown/gray/white-washed range of colors. 
  3. Oak. The rest of the hardwoods throughout the house are white oak, so we wanted to stay in the oak/white oak/french oak family.
  4. Visual Interest. If I could have taken old reclaimed barn planks and used them as floors, I would have! I really wanted floors that looked slightly distressed, where you could see the knots/grains/irregularities that I love oak so much for. 
  5. Inexpensive. The kitchen's square footage is fairly large and we are on a new homeowner budget. We really wanted to stay under $8 per square foot!
Here are some examples of the types of floors we were looking for:
Given the cost, we knew right of the bat that if we wanted wide plank floors, we would have to go with engineered hardwoods vs. real hardwoods. Going with real wide plank hardwoods automatically puts you above $10/sqft, which was out of our budget. Engineered hardwoods have come a long way - to the point that we really couldn't even tell the difference between what was real and what was engineered in the samples we looked at. Plus, engineered wood is so much more durable and easy to clean! After a lot of research, here were our main contenders:

^ Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1. Palladio Wide Plank French Oak floors: These floors are wire brushed with a lime wash, which gives them a beautiful "washed" look. I had seen them in person in a friends apartment and fell in love with them immediately. The only issue was that you have to be a contractor to get them! Josh literally made up a company (Graziano LLC) to call around and get a wholesale quote - $7.49 per square foot. Within budget! 

2. Floor & Decor Montpellier Oak floors: My dad first spotted these on Pinterest, and after reading this blog post about them, they seemed to fit exactly with what we were looking for. They looked gorgeous in photos and at $5.95/sqft for over 9 inch wide boards, you really couldn't beat the price! However, with no Floor & Decor location within driving distance of us, sadly the shipping would have cost us almost the same amount as the floors themselves. The samples we ordered were also slightly darker in person than we wanted. 

3. Veneto White Oak floors: The entire Design Group 47 showroom in Peabody is done with these engineered wire brushed floors, and they are insanely beautiful. They evoke the feeling of walking through an old barn and have so many interesting details in each plank, yet look so sleek and modern against a white kitchen. When we finally got these prices out they came in at a little over $10/sqft, which was sadly a little high. 

4. Wayfair Engineered Oak Flooring: The obvious first place for me to look was Wayfair, where we ordered samples of #4, #5, #6 which were all wide plank floor options that were reasonably priced. I love how on Wayfair you can sort by wood type (oak), plank size (wide), price and even installation type. That made it super easy to narrow it down to exactly the options we were looking for! 

Our final decision? Drum roll please....we went with the Palladios! At the end of the day, we weren't in love with any of the Wayfair options, and the Montpellier & Veneto floors would have been too expensive. We chose the "Whiskey" color and ordered them through Wood Pro in Salem, NH, who were great to work with. These floors were my favorites from the beginning of our search anyway, and we are so, so happy with the decision. Here are some down & dirty photos of the process...
^ tile demo
^tiles gone! 
^Here you can see the difference between the wide plank floors and the regular hardwoods in our family room. So happy with how the colors flow together!
So the kitchen floors are officially complete and we are so happy with them. Sometimes I just stand there and stare at them, or sit down with Mac and rub my hand over them to feel how smooth they are (I'm pretty obsessed). This kitchen is slowly turning into my dream kitchen, and we've loved spending our first few nights cooking and eating dinner here. We have a few things left on our kitchen to-do list (we are hanging the floating shelves this weekend!), but then can't wait to share the finished space. Stay tuned! 

Kitchen Project list:
1. Remove tile and install hardwood floors
2. Install pendant lights over counter
3. Install open shelving on either side of the sink
4. Swap knobs, pulls, and faucet to brass
5. Paint walls white
6. Choose new counter stools
7. Potentially add a backsplash

Friday, January 6, 2017

#GrazianoBungalow - The Kitchen (Before)

Welcome inside our new home!!

I'll be sharing progress posts and photos as we begin updating every room in the house, and today I'm starting with the kitchen. The kitchen is truly the heart of any home and where we knew we would spend the most time, so it's the space we wanted to tackle first. Out of all the rooms in the house I also think it was already the most "complete" upon moving in, which made it a bit less daunting as our first focus.

The kitchen has great bones, and is the largest room in our entire home. This was a major selling point for us when we originally looked at the house, given that kitchen renovations can be very expensive and the majority of the houses that we had been looking needed extensive ones. It already had great light, high-quality white cabinets, granite counter-tops, newer appliances, and more counter space that we could have asked for, especially coming from our little galley kitchen in the city. The french doors leading out to the patio and the large bay window over the sink didn't hurt either - overall it just had such great vibes! Here are what the listing photos looked like as well as what it looked like the first week we stepped inside:


Listing Photos:
Move in shot:
So much potential, right??

The list of changes we want to make in the kitchen are below! The majority of these changes were easy and are actually already underway, with the largest and most major project being installing engineered hardwood floors. The current gray tile isn't awful, but there is just something so warm and welcoming about having hardwoods in the kitchen and I think they will drastically transform the space. We just barely made a decision on the type of wood (which was SO HARD), and I will share more about that process soon.

Project list:
1. Remove tile and install hardwood floors
2. Install pendant lights over counter (you can see a sneak peek of the ones we ordered in the photo above)
3. Install open shelving on either side of the sink
4. Swap knobs, pulls, and faucet to brass
5. Paint walls white (currently they are a yellow/cream color)
6. Choose new counter stools
7. Potentially add a backsplash

In the meantime, here is the mood board I created that will be serving as inspiration to finish the space! As you can see, the goal is to incorporate lots of white and natural wood tones and add a fun vintage rug for a pop of color. I call it "modern farmhouse" - something that blends my love for country kitchens but also my love for more modern decor. We can't wait to share the "after" - stay tuned!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Happy Holidays - And Big News!

Happy holidays everyone! This year we have one more thing to be thankful for...and that's our FIRST HOME! If you were wondering what we've been up to for the better part of the last year, we've been house hunting. And between work, travel, and open houses every free weekend, there sadly wasn't much time to dedicate to this little blog. But with our home search coming to an end and a long list of renovating/decorating projects to tackle, I really do hope to get back to sharing here more regularly.

Between all the houses we've looked at over the past year, I feel like I could write a book. I actually wish I had kept a journal and taken notes on all of the good, bad and the ugly after walking through each home! We saw a lot of houses, but this part of the process was so important in learning what we wanted, what we definitely didn't want, and what we weren't willing to compromise on. Here were the three things that were most important to us:
  1. Space: We absolutely love our current apartment, so to us there was really no point in moving if we weren't going to get more space. We've been eager to finally have enough room for all of the amazing wedding gifts we received, so we narrowed out anything that wasn't at least 2,000 sq ft or didn't have any storage space like a garage or basement. 
  2. Location: To get more square footage and stay in our price range, we quickly learned we wouldn't be able to find anything in the city or the immediate surrounding areas. Due to Josh's family being in Vermont and the amount we drive up there, we also eliminated any towns south of the city as options. So from there we were left with west of Boston or north of Boston, and at the beginning of our search we did look at a few homes in towns west of the city. However, since we have no affinity there and know very few people in those towns, we found it pretty hard to get excited about moving outside the city to a place we knew so little about! Because of this, the majority of our search was spent on the North Shore, where we cast a wide net across Beverly, Danvers, Hamilton, Wenham, Manchester, Marblehead, Ipswich, and Essex. This summer, as we got into the thick of our search, it became more and more clear that the North Shore made the most sense. We could afford a home with more space, we had so many friends and my family in the area, and we found ourselves up there almost every weekend anyway. Plus, through growing up there and through this home search, Josh and I know the North Shore area and communities well, and all of the traffic patterns that come along with them. ;) Proximity to the train and the city were also key given our jobs, which made towns like Manchester, Essex & Ipswich a bit more daunting. 
  3. Land: Being from Vermont, Josh associates having a house with having land. He quickly learned that we weren't going to to be able to get a 10 acre farm in Massachusetts, but he couldn't really get excited about anything that had less than an acre. This was one part of the home search that we really had to compromise on, and there were several houses that I fell absolutely in love with but that we passed on simply because the land piece wasn't there. Whereas the interior of the home was the most important thing to me, the exterior was the most important thing to him, and so it took a lot of looking to find that perfect mix (and some slight heartbreak on my end in walking away from all those charming little right-in-town homes with no yard). It a way it was helpful though, in that it narrowed out A LOT of properties in our price range, including almost everything in Marblehead. Manchester-By-The-Sea or Beverly Farms. 
So this seems like a very vague must-have list, but those were the major things we were looking for! We are both fairly creative and handy people, so we knew that as long as we had the space, location, and the land, we could turn any home into our dream home. Of course there were a million more specific things on my wishlist (hello farmhouse porch, wide plank floors, and reclaimed wood beams), but those are all things that could really be added anywhere. When Josh and I sat down and really talked about what constituted our "dream home", these were the houses I was pinning that fit that description! After growing up in Hamilton (horse country), I have always had a soft spot for charming farmhouses with lots of surrounding green space. And given our location in New England, I have also always loved the shingle-style houses that line the streets of places like Westport, Nantucket, Newport and Cape Cod. Aren't these dreamy?
And this is our where we settled! After a long search, we found the perfect compromise in this farmhouse/cottage/ranch (we aren't sure what to call it) in Hamilton/Wenham. It has almost 2 acres of land and a huge barn/garage for josh, and a charming blank canvas of a house for me. And of course we can't forget about the most important member of the family - there's a big yard, tons of nearby beaches, and beautiful walking trails across the street for Mac! We can't wait to make this house our own.
And finally to get to the question I know the question you are all asking: "WILL THE BLOG NAME STAY THE SAME WITHOUT MARLBOROUGH?!?" And the answer is YES! Marlborough will always be where this blog started and I'm so glad to have captured the city chapter of our lives documented here. If anything, Mac & Marlborough is only going to get better as we start making this new space our own. I'll be sure the share a peek inside our house (as well as our detailed future project lists for each room) very soon. Let the decorating/renovating begin! xx

Friday, October 14, 2016

1 Year Anniversary

This post is long overdue, but I still can't believe that it's been over a year since #joshandlusayido! Our first year of marriage was filled with our fair share of ups and downs, but overall life together just keeps getting better. Marriage continues to be the ultimate test when it comes to patience, compromise, and selflessness, and there's no one on earth I would rather be figuring it all out with.

For our wedding, two of my bridesmaids gave us such a special gift: a gondola ride on the same boat that josh proposed to me on. Our year anniversary was the perfect opportunity to take them up on this, and we spent the entire boat ride reminiscing about how incredible and emotional that day was, and with josh answering all the unanswered questions I still have about how he snuck that proposal by me. And since we barely took any photos on the night of our engagement (I didn't even have my phone!), we invited the amazing Ruth Eileen to come along with us this time. If you can't tell already, I'm a huge fan of pictures and think they are so important to capture important times in our lives. This is the same reason we did an engagement shoot, hired a photographer during our family trip for my Dad's 60th, and why when we eventually have kids you better believe I am going to take 1,000 photos of them. :) I love how photos can bring you right back to how you felt at that time in your life. And especially since we may not be in Boston that much longer (more on that later!), I'm so glad we'll have a little piece of our Marlborough chapter documented forever.

Thanks as always for following along! I hope to get back to more regular blogging very soon.

Right after these photos were taken, we broke the year old piece of wedding cake out of the freezer. We didn't even get to eat our cake at our actual wedding because we were too busy dancing, but we did save a piece to celebrate this tradition. And I must say... it wasn't bad!!