I had a pretty cool conversation with an old friend that I’ve known since before high school at the bar New Year’s evening that turned into the most awesome countertop I could have ever wished for! Funny how casual conversation can lead to a few pictures via e-mail, some collaboration using Google Sketch-up, and eventually a concrete countertop that is simply one-of-a-kind. The guy who made it happen, Brian Farley, local contractor, artist, and definite craftsman.
To start, we exchanged e-mail after e-mail to get everything just right in his Google Sketch-up model.
Look at the Sleek Lines of the Google Sketch-up Model
Brian suggested and I fell in love with a shallow, integral sink. The entire concrete countertop would be poured as a single continuous pour with the sink prepped and formed beforehand. Because the sink would be so shallow we wanted to find a bathroom faucet with at least a 4 inch spout height deck to aerator distance. I did some browsing around and found a faucet with some very neat handicap accessibility possibilities. The Delta Pilar single handle bar/prep faucet with their Touch20 Technology not only looks cool, but has the perfect form factor to work with my non-functioning hands, and will allow me to turn it on/off simply by touching it. No messing with hard to turn levers or knobs… just touch this thing and it works.
From there it was work, Work, WORK… so much work prepping the forms to get everything ready before the concrete was poured, then a humongous mess to take care of after it was poured, and then lots of grinding/sanding/sealing to get everything ready for installation.
The start and probably the most critical step is in creating the forms and making sure they are all true and smooth so that the concrete will release after it is poured and dried. I guess to make this happen Brian needed to bondo all the corners, coat the form with several coats of high-gloss paint, and then wax it with a special release formula so that the concrete will come off.
This was done to add bit of extra color, and sparkle.
Everything was allowed to set and cure for a couple days and then the entire combination was flipped over and the forms removed.
And then the grinder came out! Grinding away all the imperfections until the concrete was smooth enough that Brian could mix a separate, finer, “slurry” coat that he’d use to fill in all the small imperfections and bubbles. From there it was more grinding, sanding, sanding, sanding, I believe all the way up to a 1600 grit pad.
So there you have it, my very cool, totally unique concrete countertops that weight well over 600 pounds. Now we just need the cabinets to show up so that we can get this baby installed and my bathroom all finished up!