This story initially featured on Domino.
For Cristy Lee McGeehan, no room in her dwelling in New York’s Hudson Valley is full and not using a DIY mission (or two). The design maven has documented her quite a few hands-on tasks on Instagram, even teaming up along with her husband, Colan, in 2020 to construct an complete log cabin on the property of their 200-year-old Ulster County farmhouse, named the Bruyn Property.
Although almost each nook of the primary residence has a little bit of that Cristy magic, the kitchen remained largely untouched for a number of years, receiving solely a “mini beauty makeover” when the pair first moved in additional than eight years in the past. “This home was sufficiently old that it didn’t initially have a kitchen,” explains Cristy. “The house we all know now because the kitchen was not even constructed till the 1990s.” It wasn’t till a copious quantity of free time (created by pandemic stay-at-home orders) collided with a GE Café Home equipment partnership that Cristy determined the time had come to overtake the house as soon as and for all.
Cristy and Colan had beforehand put in a concrete countertop within the petite guesthouse kitchen and liked the look a lot they determined to problem themselves to make one once more, this time with nearly double the floor space and a waterfall island. “Had you requested me earlier than this, I don’t know that I might have mentioned I wished concrete counter tops in our dwelling, as a result of I exploit a kitchen actually arduous—cooking is my ardour,” says Cristy. “However in the long run I couldn’t move them up, as a result of I understand how lovely they’re.”
The pair dove in head first, mixing greater than ten 50-pound baggage of concrete by hand and turning to firm Z Counterform for molds to assist them pull off their dream cast-in-place floor. Listed here are the hard-earned classes they realized alongside the best way.
Cheat in case you can (no disgrace right here!)
To create the island base, the duo (who describe themselves as “positively not carpenters”) retrofitted two IKEA field cupboards earlier than constructing the framing for the countertop and sink. “My entire factor about DIY is, take shortcuts that make sense the place you possibly can,” says Cristy. “We had been actually nervous about constructing an island from scratch, as a result of it needed to help lots of weight and lots of use—these cupboard bins made it work.” That wasn’t their solely hack, although. To realize the gravity-defying waterfall edge, Cristy turned to not concrete however Ardex Feather Flooring End, a claylike materials that allowed her to coat the facet of the island and make it look like concrete, as an alternative of going via the logistical trouble of pouring the actual factor and making an attempt to put in it vertically.
Discover your good shade
To assist obtain the sunshine and ethereal vibe they envisioned for his or her kitchen, Cristy and Colan tinted their concrete combination with a mineral powder to skew the shade lighter and nearer to a real sandy white than your typical grey. “What you are able to do now with concrete is superb—you can also make it appear to be nearly something,” says Cristy.
Give it a home made contact
As an alternative of chasing perfection and making an attempt to easy out each lump and uneven edge, Cristy leaned into the DIY high quality of her counter tops (they had been in a centuries-old house, in any case). She completed the perimeter (in addition to wherever the fabric touched an equipment) with a hand trough and sander, making certain that each edge—and the counter tops’ floor—had the visible curiosity of true stone. “Ultimately, you wish to run your arms over it to really feel the feel,” she explains.
Defend your funding
Cristy’s preliminary considerations about sturdiness proved unfaithful, thanks largely to the end they selected. “It’s 100 % price it to spring for one of the best sealer you could find with any sort of countertop mission, particularly when utilizing a fabric as porous as concrete,” she notes. “I used to be so anxious about ruining all of our arduous work inside per week, however the professional-grade epoxy we selected labored so effectively. It was positively a course of and took nearly as lengthy to use because the counters themselves, however it was worthwhile.” An oversize John Boos butcher block slicing board on prime is additional insurance coverage, to allow them to prep with out stress.
See extra images and strategies over at Domino.