concrete counter

We’re nearing the end of an almost total restoration of our ~1860 house. It’s gigantic with many beautiful details but some aspects needed severe TLC, including the kitchen. We tore back ~100 years worth of previous alterations to expose bricks, uncovering large windows which had been boarded up(!). In order to work in some modern industrial design features whilst working with the rustic nature of the room, we struck upon using concrete for a large center island, referring to Cheng’s book for inspiration.

I decided to experiment a little, straying from the designs within the book, largely due to the weight issue. For instance a 2″ by 7’x3′ slab suitable for the island would be something like 600lbs and given the nature of the old joists, I didn’t fancing loading the floor to that degree. So for my design, I settled on a 2.5″x 2.5″ overhang, and used a blank to remove some of the volume; the majority of the counter is 1.5″ thick. I used quickrete mix with fibreglass in the hopes of reducing the threat of cracking given the thin slab.

Pictured is some of the detail of the mould, including water run off, fashioned from tin sheet and lumber, filled with car body filler. I made the corners by heating acrylic in a conventional oven on 250F for 5-10 mins and dropped them in the sink corners to capture the shape before cooling. Along the underside of the mold are 3″ strips of pine, ripped up on the table saw and screwed and glued edgewise to the mould back to keep it true. I used threaded re-bar with coupling nuts within the overhang for extra support, given that there is some cantilever action at the (unsupported) eatery end of the island. The sink is undermounted, for an undulating surface finish… more photos of the kitchen in ‘photos’




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