Blog posts for August 2011
Installing the beast: the 500+ lb master bathroom countertop with integral sink. Our plan involved building a platform on top of a dolly, and then getting some strong men together to maneuver the sink on and off the dolly into place.
Once inside the master bedroom, we raised the countertop on 2x4s so that it could be slid onto the supporting studs nailed to the master bathroom walls. Then we could knock away the supporting pieces and let the sink hang.
All went surprisingly smoothly. No cracks so far!
For the bathroom countertops, we were interested in preserving as much of the raw concrete look as possible. We did minimal sanding with an orbital and 60/120-grit paper--enough to smooth the top surface and sink and expose a tiny amount of aggregate. We filled air holes in the top surface with Rockite, but left the sides exactly as they were poured--we like that the open air pocket texture really emphasizes the materiality of these pieces.
The Rockite fill is substantially lighter than the Quikrete, so we also rubbed a diluted white stain over the surfaces. This didn't change the overall color noticeably, but it did even out some of the texture by filling in tiny imperfections in the surface with white.
Then, after we caulked the vanity surfaces, two fellas lifted these pieces into place (the vanities below them will be painted white).
Overall, we're pleased with the results. We love the look of these big block of concrete, and since we weren't aiming for a completely polished look, the imperfections (many of which are at corners and edges) add great character. When we make the kitchen and utility countertop pieces, we'll potentially test out more aggressive sanding methods and staining the fill color to achieve different effects.
The central room in the house (kitchen and living areas) has a bigh sloped ceiling, ranging from 13 to over 20 feet tall. For general lighting in these areas, we are suspending tracks from the ceiling, which proved tricky for us and for the electricians. We had to prepare threaded rods with toggle bolts at specific heights so that the tracks could hang parallel to the floor. The electricians had to get these toggle bolts into the ceiling drywall, run the cord down, and tweak from there in order to get the tracks level. We got a couple days behind schedule because of this whole process, but we're excited to see the results.
Also suspended are pendants and ceiling fans, with more typical light installations in other rooms.