Category Archives: LivingRoom

Renovation Recap: The Living Room Reveal

There are those moments in life when something happens and you look back on it and realize the work to get there was worth it, and that is exactly how I felt when we finished our living room 99% and moved into it this weekend! It was such a surreal moment. I came home tonight and immediately walked into the living room, sat down and just enjoyed everything about it. I can’t wait to show you the reveal, but I will because there were a few steps before we moved in and a few photos you just need to see first.

This is a pine trim which Andy milled from strapping he received with the delivery of another product. It was clear, it was perfect, and it was free. I married well.

DSC_3909-01The baseboards are also a beautiful routed pine. It’s a fairly traditional style but that’s right in line with our craftsman/shaker/farmhouse preferences.

DSC_3896-01 Once Andy finished putting the Danish oil on the trim, we let the room air out and did the final cleanup consisting of cleaning windows, scraping the windows, vacuuming and in general relishing in the room before we moved furniture in.

DSC_3966-01 DSC_3969-01Then we took all of our furniture junk, and moved it into our really nice new living room. Actually, only the couch can be referred to as junk as all other furniture pieces are handmade and are actually quite nice.

DSC_3975-01The photo above sums up how we’ve been living for months, so let me just say I’m a little more happy that view now looks a lot more empty.

DSC_3998-01Someday I’ll look back on this photo and be like, “ahg, I can’t believe it used to look like that, and I was totally cool with it.” Truth though, I honestly don’t care.  I am just so darn elated with this accomplishment which was no small task, considering this room from the other direction used to be a falling in porch which I once power washed an old toilet on.

pictures1 327Now, that old fallen in porch is long gone and our new living room is a cozy, warm, friendly, loving space.

DSC_3986-01DSC_3992-01It might look a little plainly decorated in photos, but in person it’s so nice. I love the layering of woods, the neutral walls, the open and airy feel to it. There are obviously still some interior design type things we need to do like get a light shade for the center of the room, upgrade the lamp on the table, add some art, maybe some window treatments, and get a new sofa but I don’t even see those things at this moment. They just don’t even matter. No interior design is going to really matter until the house is complete and we can see it in one piece. We have a few sentimental items up now, and I brought in my baskets of yarn, but besides that we’re good as is.

DSC_3991-01You can see my kindle charging next to the sofa, which brings me to another awesome thing Andy did in this room for convenience purposes. He put outlets on either side so we could each plug in our electronics without always tangling them around each others stuff. For Andy this simply meant a laptop. For me, it’s a laptop, my camera battery, my phone, my kindle, the lamp—you get the point. So needless to say I have a double outlet on my side and he has a single on his. On my side two of the plugs are also operable by switch. If you walk into the room from the kitchen area, you have the option to either turn on the dimming overhead lights or flip on the lamp. It’s definitely not a “need” and it never was, but when Andy mentioned the option without a lot more work it was a no-brainer. It’s a nice convenience to have, and it means I have three other outlets I can leave my other chargers plugged into if I want.

DSC_3990-01The other “design element” I did in this room was to re-organize the bookshelf so it was more visually appealing. I know what the books look like I use the most (i.e. cookbooks and gardening references) so I can grab them quickly. I hesitate to call this a “design element” only because it was more of a “dust your shit once in a while and make things look nice”. I did this by organizing every book by color family. I used to do this with my clothes in my closet in high school sometimes and I loved it. Turns out, I now love it on a bookshelf. I think this was a thing like two years ago. I seem to remember seeing people organize things by color on some design show a while back. Consider me up to date and totally hip to trends (*nods head in a sarcastic “yeah, that’s it” manner*).

DSC_3977-01 DSC_3979-01What, you didn’t think we’d be highlighting a hand turned vase, a chainsaw book and a sawmill book on our bookshelf? Come on now. Oh, and to the far left is a book called American Brassiere. It’s a cook book that I don’t work out of a lot but I still thoroughly enjoy none the less. Just throwing that out there.

DSC_3981-01Andy and I were both wowed and loved how the bookshelf looked in the room for the sheer fact that all of the natural light made the wood grain glimmer. It never looked like this in the darker room before so we’re happy to see the fine grain in all of the glory it deserves. Well played natural light, well played.

At the end of the day, we are incredibly happy with this room and how it turned out. It’s so nice to have one room you can come into and not have to look at the items that still needs to be done. At this point, window treatments, etc. don’t feel like things that need to be done. Finishing the flooring in the other rooms are on the need to be done list, so as far as I’m concerned right now this room is done. OH and as it turns out, when you have nice things you want to take care of them. Guess who’s going out to get felt pads to put on the bottom of the coffee table? I guess I’m officially that adult. At least I’m not putting tennis balls on the legs. Did anyone else have to do that to their chairs in elementary school or know what the heck I’m referring to?

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads this post and/or as followed my blog. I know there are a lot of people who read and never comment and that’s totally okay (though I would love if you said “hi!”, I’ll say “hi!” back!). This blog really is a cathartic place to get some of my feelings and thoughts out and I absolutely love sharing our little life with you. I wish you could all just come and sit in here and feel how relaxing it really is. Then again, if ALL of you were in here it wouldn’t be relaxing at all, so let’s just do it one at a time. I’ll put on some tea for you.

xo,

Heather

P.S.) I’ll be back within the next week or so with an update on the other parts of the renovation we’re still working on! There’s also been some talk up at the farm, and some gardening underway so I hope to write about all of that soonish too. Have a wonderful day everyone!

What Warms You Three Times, In Three Different Seasons?

I just thought you should know that as I write this, Rosie is up on the pillow behind me with her face smushed against the side of my head, and Winnie is laying down my legs. I might be quite cramped at the moment but it’s pretty much the cutest cramped ever. Not to be mistaken with the cutest cramps ever. Those are never cute. Ever. This is not up for debate.

With your just-started-snorning-in-my-ear dog update complete, let’s discuss the riddle posed in the title to this post. What warms you three times, in three different seasons?

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Firewood! We got our 10 cord delivered (lasts for years) and Andy and Casey have been at work, among everything else, cutting and splitting it. Firewood warms you when you cut and split it in the spring, it warms you when you stack it in the summer, and it warms you when you burn it in the winter.

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DSC_2908-01What also warms you up? Standing in the peak of a cathedral roof sealing beams. This is just one of the many things we’ve continued to work on over the last week. You knew we installed lights, and layed flooring, but I thought it would be nice to give you an update on where each item is as none of them really merit a full post of their own.

One of the things we’ve been working on this weekend is sealing the exposed beams in both of the upstairs bedrooms. We had already sanded them, but they needed to be sealed before we could lay flooring. We went with a satin water based sealant, and used two coats. It gave each beam a nice protection and brought out a little bit of color without going overboard. It was important for us to keep these as natural looking as possible to keep them light looking, or, as light as heavy wooden beams can look.

DSC_2899-01 DSC_2906-01We still have to do the beams in the master bedroom, but I’ve included a picture so you can compare unsealed to sealed beams. As you can see in the photo above the beams have a slight sheen to them when they have a sealant on them, and are very dull when just bare wood (as in the master bedroom photo below).

DSC_2903-01The other updates include better quality photos of the lighting we installed, as well as one new light that we actually bought. We really broke the bank on it too, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The first light is the one in the upstairs extra bedroom. I really love the upper metal part, but will definitely be replacing the shade down the line. It’s not horrible, but it’s way too small for the room. Aside from the size, the style isn’t my cup of tea. It was free though, so I’m cool with it for a while.

RenovationRecap_040313 (22)The master bedroom light is still my favorite. While the post on lighting showed the upper part well, it didn’t really show the underside, so here you go. It’s just a unique light and I absolutely love the design of it.

RenovationRecap_040313 (18)We also have one more new light now in the stairwell. This is the light we actually bought, which is a big deal in it’s own right considering it’s the first light we’ve ever bought for the renovation. I should first say we looked at a lot of options. We had some criteria:

  • Can give off enough light to light the entire stairwell very well (how’s that use of the English language)
  • A little industrial or rustic looking without looking either too modern, or primitive country
  • Large enough for the space (16″+ in diameter)
  • Simple enough it’s not the focal point, but still looks good when focused on (we’re adding art to the walls eventually and I didn’t want too many competing items).

Andy and I both gravitated towards these industrial simple shop looking lights, but they were still fairly costly everywhere we saw—including one for over $300 dollars. Yikes!  Large lights were straight up expensive and I was starting to get a little discouraged. Then one day when we were at Lowes looking for a simple flush-mount light for the living room we came across a simple industrial light for about $30.00. We decided to get one to see how it looked but unfortunately it was out of stock with no ETA on when it would be in. A little defeated but still optimistic I went home and found almost the exact same light, and a little larger, at Home Depot. I ran down the next day and picked one up and we never looked back.

It’s the best $30.00 in lighting I’ve ever spent. We honestly weren’t sure if we were going to keep it there at first but once it got put up we absolutely knew it was staying. We both love it.

RenovationRecap_040313 (14) RenovationRecap_040313 (15) Searching for lights and making decisions on the details has also made us realize our style as a couple a little more; and it turns out we seem to both really like an eclectic mix tied together with industrial/rustic pieces. Andy definitely still leans towards more masculine traditional pieces, while I lean towards lighter brighter cleaner lines. It seems like these two preferences has so far created a really cool balance between anchoring pieces and light pieces.

One of the best examples of this is our reclaimed flooring. While it’s both rustic and charming, the new finish we just put it on it made it very dark and masculine. It’s absolutely beautiful and shows the perfect mix between our two styles. When you last saw it, the flooring had just been laid and was lighter.

DSC_2842-01We knew we needed to somehow seal the floor so we tested a water based sealer, danish oil and tung oil on sample pieces. The water based sealer just wasn’t a great option to hold up on a floor, and the danish added an odd yellowish tint to the floor which we absolutely didn’t want. So we decided on the tung oil. It was natural and brought out the colors in the floor in the richest way.

Before we were able to get started Andy had to thoroughly clean the floor. Once that was done he sanded very rough spots, and planed down the high spots between boards so, “the baby won’t stub her little toes”. He was referring to the baby we not only don’t have, but aren’t even trying for yet. It was incredibly endearing my husbands mind was on the well being of our hopefully future child.  Back off ladies, those overalls are mine.

DSC_2851-01 DSC_2855-01Are you ready for the reveal? Keep in mind this is only one coat, and it was still soaking in when I took this photo. There will likely be at least two more coats going down.

In the words of Rick Savage, BOOM BAAAABBYYYYY (there has been far too many references to this in our house lately.)

DSC_2888-01Let me show you a progress photo which really shows how different the floor looks with tung oil.

DSC_2883-01Finally, the other big thing I wanted to show you was the reclaimed pine flooring in the stairwell. This flooring isn’t quite finished yet underneath of the stairs so it hasn’t been tung oiled yet, but it will be.

DSC_2895-01DSC_2894-01

There has been quite a lot going on and the wheel keeps on moving: To get this addition “move in” ready, so we can rip apart the original house, we still need to:

  • Do two coats of sealant on the beams in the stairwell and in the master bedroom
  • Finish laying the reclaimed pine flooring in the stairwell
  • Finish applying the tung oil on the reclaimed pine flooring in both the living room and stairwell
  • Install the flooring in the three bedrooms
  • Install the stair treads, balusters and rails.
  • Apply a finish to the flooring in the three bedrooms
  • Do a second coat of paint in each bedroom
  • Paint the accent wall on the back of the stairwell
  • Put all the face plates on the switches and plugs
  • Install doors
  • Put the trim on the windows

There are other things we’ll need to do to “finish” the rooms, like get a real light (instead of a bulb) for the living room ceiling, install a shelving system in our bedroom, hang a rod or shelving system in each of the other bedrooms, install the wood stove in the living room, install the monitor heater in the living room, install a door to the storage space underneath of the stairs, and finally finish the bathroom in our bedroom which is still currently in disarray and will stay that way for a while (money speaks).

RenovationRecap_040313 (11)I’m pretty sure I missed things that need to be finished, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, here’s a peek at the two trims we’re looking at (the final choice will likely be the left trim), and the beech flooring for the rest of the house.

image3026What have you guys been up to? Are you starting any outdoor activities? Have you been working on your house? Tell me about it!

xo,

Heather

Reclaiming Our Living Room

We’re in the mountains of Maine today reclaiming our sanity, which has given me some time to edit some photos and catch up on some posts. I have to tell you guys how relaxing this is. I’m sitting in a rocking chair, in front of a wood stove, in a stream of sun, with a mug of hot tea. To say this is nice is an understatement. So while we reclaim a sense of balance and relief at being away from renovations for a couple days, let’s talk about our reclaimed southern pine floors we put down in our living room.

Flooring (22)These floors are my dream floors. The beautiful variation, the saw marks—count me in. They are the type of floor you see on Houzz and keep as an inspiration piece. They are floors you look up price wise and, when you’re on a budget like ours, gasp and fall over sideways when you see the cost. They are also the floors which my husband managed to divert from the waste stream.

Because of how this floor is laid, when all is said and done there’s a decent amount of waste. When Andy saw this he realized there was enough to do the floor in our living room, floor the small space in front of the new stairs and maybe, just maybe, build a someday farmers table for our someday porch—and keep these extra pieces out of the dump. So of course, it came home.

It was his first wedding anniversary gift to me and to say I was delighted would be a gross understatement.

We had been keeping this flooring in our barn for months on end, so it was important to bring it into the house to acclimate before we laid it. It was a little more organized than this (the day we started laying it) but more or less there were piles of flooring everywhere. My shins are direct proof of these piles. You would have thought at some point I would have learned to step over or walk around the piles instead of directly into them. Lesson not learned.

Flooring (5)When it came to laying this flooring it definitely took time. Unlike regular flooring, with reclaimed flooring you have to match widths, sometimes you have to fix splines, and in general it can be a little frustrating to line up. To make it easier for us I decided we needed to pile all of the flooring by width so we could easily grab what we needed. The boards ranged from 6″ to 12″ so there was definitely a huge amount of variation. It was much more efficient versus our original layout kind of seen above and below. In other words it was not the most efficient method.

Flooring (13)To start laying the floor we needed to make a border around our concrete hearth. Andy took two of the shorter and narrower width pieces, put a 45 degree angle on each and laid them on either side of the hearth. They were held together in with biscuits and secured to the subfloor with construction adhesive and finish nails through the face (top) of the flooring. One of the advantages of a floor like this is that you either will never notice the finish nails, or they look like part of the original product.

Flooring (4)Laying the first course of flooring was pretty much like any other flooring—start in the center. To do this easily we found the center on each wall with a measuring tape, marked it, and use a chalk line to connect the two center marks.

The next step shows why this flooring takes longer than other types. With most flooring you can grab whatever works and lay it, as they are all the same width. With this type of flooring it was vitally important for us to lay every board for our rows out ahead of time for two reasons:

  • We needed to ensure we had enough of the same width to create the entire row.
  • We needed to ensure the great variations in the wood would look visually appealing when put together. A very clean red piece of wood could either look great, or horrible, next to a darker very marked up piece of wood. In floors like this they don’t need to perfectly match because in the end we wanted a varied look. There were a few times however we swapped pieces out because they just looked wonky.

Once test laid, we had to ensure the butt ends (where the two boards meet up end to end) would sit flush so we cut the ends off to make them square.

Once we had a chalk line on the floor we followed that line with our boards while making sure the flooring was centered, and not to the left or right of the line. To secure this type of flooring we glued it down and biscuit jointed on the the butt ends.

Flooring (3)After the floor is laid and we were sure it was centered, we braced it on one side. We did this with scraps screwed into the subfloor firmly against the non-tongue side (but not so tight it bowed the flooring). This is so when we installed one side we didn’t throw the flooring off kilter from the original straight row. Flooring (11)From here it was a matter of laying everything. Some of the boards weren’t perfect on the edges so they needed to be planed down a little, some needed to be stood on in order for them to slide in easier, and some of them worked perfectly. It was important not only to lay down our rows prior to securing it, but to also test fit the pieces too.

Flooring (6) Flooring (8)With the test fits complete, we banged each piece into place (using a scrap piece of wood, not hitting the actual flooring) and nailed it securely. Andy used his pneumatic flooring nailer, but there are plenty of just fine regular ones too—you just have to hit them harder.

Flooring (10)Once we finished a few courses we removed the blocks we initially secured against the first course and kept on going in the other direction.

Flooring (12)With the easier of the two sides done (to the left of the hearth from the direction in the photo above) it was time to tackle the right side. It wasn’t particularly harder, but it did require just a little more work.

Flooring (14)The first row we laid on this side was the most complex. We had to both secure it to the hearth, and attach it to the original course. To tie into the hearth side, we used the biscuit jointer to pull everything together. The issue was the original course had the groove where we needed a tongue. Why was this a problem? This meant only one thing—a spline.

A spline is a thin piece of wood inserted into the groove of flooring to turn it into a tongue. Since we needed our center board to have two tongues, a spline was the only way to do it. I didn’t get any great picture of a spline, but if you look in the photo above there is a thin piece of wood sitting on the concrete hearth—that’s a spline. They can be bought, but Andy made ours on the table saw with some scrap wood. To put in the spline we glued it into place and then finish nailed, and then set the nails, to secure it and to make sure the nails were flush so the next piece of flooring would actually fit.

After this part I didn’t get many more photos of day one. We were getting to the final courses laid on this side, we were hungry, and we were in the last push for the night.

The next day however, we got up early and started again. Andy’s friend stopped by with his black lab and while they chatted they laid the last course. His buddy is also in construction and builds furniture too so it was great to have him stop in to inject some energy, and help, into the final push.

Flooring (19)When all was said and done, and a day and a half of work later, we had a beautiful floor.

Flooring (20)There was much rejoicing and dancing.

Flooring (21)

We’ve had this floor laid for about a week or so now and it grows on us more and more each day. There was something off though and we weren’t sure what it was until it hit us. The thing with our house is that we’re going to have a lot of different flooring. We’re keeping the oak in the original house, we’ll have beech upstairs as well as beech on the staircase and in the downstairs bedroom, and we have the beautiful reclaimed floors in our living room. When we stepped back we realized the reclaimed floor just wasn’t tying together. It looked great, but we needed it somewhere else so it looked like it was on purpose and not just an after thought. That’s when we realized we had enough to lay in front of the stairs and how well it would bring everything together.

While we are going to finish the staircase first, we laid a few boards and I’m happy to say it totally fixes the balance issue. With the wide living room and the small amount in front of the staircase it looks great together and looks purposeful.

Flooring (1)We’re very happy with the floors so far, and frankly, everything. The house is pulling together so nicely and we love it.

I’ll be back next week with an update of all the little things we’ve been doing including higher-quality photos of the lighting we installed, new lighting we’ve put in since, paint in the staircase and more.

With all that said, I’m checking out and am going to head out into the woods. We’re going to go tap some trees to try and get a little more maple sap before the season is over, cut some wood, and spend the day with family cooking over a fire outside and having fun in the snow.

xo,

Heather

Sand Sand Sand Senora, Sanding All The Time

Sometimes you just have to throw a little Harry Belefonte out there. Especially when you’re doing a ton of sanding and the song keeps getting stuck in your head with “sand” instead of “shake” because you’re especially weird like that.

Weirdness accepted, we making more and more progress on the house and my arms are oh my God so ripped now—if by “ripped” I mean “weak and sore”.  With the bedrooms painted we needed to sand down the exposed beams before sealing them. We are keeping them au natural instead of gussying them up like so many people do (so many jokes to be had about keeping things au natural). Jokes aside since my grandma reads this, before we started sanding the beams were kind of dull and had a little mold on them, which happens (it’s no big deal, there are literally mold spores everywhere). Instead of painting them which would make it almost impossible to undo, we really wanted to sand them to a bright wood tone in order to bring out the grain.

Before we dry-walled, we sanded each beam on the ends but saved the rest of the sanding until we had finished painting. In order for you to see the before and after, I sanded the closest beam below and the others are all sanded on either end but un-sanded in the middle. See how much prettier the wood is where it’s sanded?

DSC_2381-01 DSC_2383-01Using rolling staging (sort of seen in the photo above) I used an orbital sander and 100 grit sandpaper. On the tougher spots I used 80 grit sandpaper to remove more material. Because we’re not staining them and because they are up high it’s almost impossible to see any marks left by an 80 grit paper from regular standing level (they’re almost impossible to see when you’re right up close to them too). I would be hesitant to sand with anything below 120 grit however if you’re going to stain, unless you do a low-grit sand paper followed by a high-grit. Sanding the sides wasn’t difficult but oh my muscles was the bottom to each of them tiring. Instead of holding the sander over my head, which is also dangerous, I found the easiest way was to almost hug the beam from the top and hold the sander. Instead of pushing from the bottom, I was pulling from the top which made it easier to hold for long periods of time. When all was said and done each beam looked light, airy and you could see the beautiful wood grain patterns in each beam.

DSC_2395-01 DSC_2394-01We still have seven more beams to sand (two in the stairwell and five in the other bedroom, but we’re happy with the progress. Everything is definitely pulling together.

Since it’s somewhat obvious in the photos, we finally painted the master bedroom! While we have to admit the color is pretty, it’s so close to white that when it’s sunny in there you can’t tell it’s painted until you notice the ceiling is bright white. We really thought it was going to be a soft gray but it’s one of those colors that’s very malleable (more than most) in different lighting. In our bedroom with all the sunlight it looks like a white with a hint of beige and gray.

DSC_2379-01It’s odd that the paint on the walls looks slightly different than the paint on the chip and yet, the paint when on the chip dries to look just like the chip. Believe it or not, the first chip of the center strip above has the paint on it. The strip is clearly a gray, while in our room the walls look like a milky white.

All of that said, we’re okay with it for now. It’s definitely a pretty color but we’re planning on repainting down the line (maybe a couple years) to give it a little more saturated color. Then again, we might completely love it as is once we decorate around it! If we change, we’ll be sure to let you know. In the mean time—more sanding!

xo,

Heather

Our Dyed Concrete Hearth & Lessons Learned

When it came to a wood stove hearth in our new living room we knew we wanted something that would hold up but was also sleek. Oh, and it had to be affordable and easy. We simply didn’t have the money for a big slab of granite, slate, or anything similar. We also really didn’t want tile. We had been eying dyed concrete for a while for the kitchen counters but decided to give this a go first. Though Andy had poured huge slabs before, we had never poured a small slab…in our house…dyed…in winter.

I’m going to be up front when I say ours didn’t turn out perfectly. We had a dusting issue, which admittedly kind of stinks but things happen, you know? I’ll explain more below. This issue had to do with after it’s poured though, and not how we mixed it. All said, this was a good “test run” so to say about what we can do better if we do concrete counters.

The first thing Andy did was mark out where we wanted the hearth on the floor so we could assess if it fit our needs. We always prop our winter boots next to the stove, and like to stand next to it too on the hearth, so we knew it had to be big enough for more than just the stove.

DSC_2094-01Once we had a general idea of the layout, Andy cut the wood a little longer than we drew out just to make sure we liked it. We decided we really didn’t want it any longer so he cut the wood to length and adhered a construction grade plastic to one side of the wood to make a concrete form. The plastic would allow the form to release later on, instead of have the concrete adhere to it during curing.

DSC_2125-01DSC_2127-01Once we had the form in place we put some painters tape in a level line to the form. Side note here: You will want to keep a wet cloth on hand. As you pour the mix, it may splatter. We had no issues with it dying our wall which was pretty great. Score one for the Sherwin-Williams eggshell paint, it was super easy to clean. If however you are concerned, I would recommend taping up some thin plastic above your pour line to minimize splatters on the wall. No matter what, you should expect some bleeding up the wall. You may be able to wash this right off, you may have to touch up that area of your wall with paint.

DSC_2139-01When it comes to concrete you need to follow the directions for mixing, and curing to ensure it turns out properly.

DSC_2073-01For our dye we decided to go with a black from Direct Colors, Inc. in hopes it would turn out dark gray.

DSC_2090-01We used a scale for weight, versus a measuring cup because it’s important to ensure each batch has the same ratios to have a uniform color. To get our ratios we just followed the directions that came with the dye for how much per pound of cement, and measured it out in a container that I tared to zero before each weighing.

DSC_2136-01After mostly mixing the cement and aggregate you want to slowly sprinkle in the color while you finish mixing. It was hard to get photos, but the mixing/dying process looked something like this (one of the mixing photos is after we poured a few batches already, ignore that).

DSC_2172-01 DSC_2176-01 DSC_2132-01 DSC_2138-01 DSC_2217-01 DSC_2218-01 DSC_2219-01 DSC_2145-01Once you have everything mixed pour slowly. We didn’t put a protective plastic sheet up so instead once we realized there were splatters we improvised. As Andy poured I held the cardboard at a few inches back from the tip of the wheelbarrow and a few inches off the ground. Success.

DSC_2220-01To make the slab itself we poured a few batches, followed by re-bar, followed by a few more batches.

DSC_2179-01 DSC_2189-01 DSC_2192-01 DSC_2195-01 DSC_2199-01 DSC_2207-01 DSC_2213-01Then came smoothing everything out and running a level over the top to get the water off the top while ensuring a level surface to the slab. Once everything was level we took a sander, minus sandpaper, and vibrated the form and the floor to release any air pockets throughout. This process will also bring water to the surface.

DSC_2226-01 DSC_2234-01This is where we may have hit our snag. Once we finished vibrating we troweled the surface smooth. The only thing we can think of to cause the dusting was we troweled the water back into the surface layer. There are a few reasons dusting can occur, but the only one that made sense in our setting was excess water being worked back into the surface. Lesson learned.

As the slab cured (concrete is cured through a chemical reaction, not drying the water out) it wasn’t just dark gray, it was black. I mean really, really, black. It sort of grew on us and we really liked it with the flooring we would be putting down.

DSC_2239-01As it kept curing over the next 48 hours it started getting lighter and lighter. Eventually it cured to a medium gray. While not the dark gray we intended, or the black that we ended up really liking, the medium gray was still darker than a natural concrete slab and will still be nice against the reclaimed pine floors we’ll be laying.

DSC_2348-01It was about this time we started seeing an issue. When we ran our finger across the top it came up with a dust (hence the name, dusting). Once the dust was blown away we were left with a patch of rough material. Womp womp.

DSC_2369-01We put some spray sealer on but realized this wasn’t going to fix the rest of it from dusting. So that said, we’ve come up with a solution. We are going to take a concrete grinder and grind it down. Instead of looking like a slate slab, it will have smooth exposed aggregate which will give it a salt and pepper look. Overall it should still look nice when done, and I’ll definitely blog about it once we do it. In other words, we’re still turning it into something still nice—and we’ve learned something valuable for our kitchen counters if we decide to go with concrete.

When your cake comes out broken, mash that cake in with frosting, roll them in balls, put them in chocolate, put a stick in them and call them cake pops. Just like you intended.

Who wanted a smooth slab anyway?

xo,

Heather