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Hand Poured Concrete Counter Tops

We are getting closer to the completion of The Franklin House. The finishes are going up. The floors have been put in. We just have to wrap up a few details.  It is so exciting! I can’t wait to share some more of the bits and pieces with everyone.

I love hand poured concrete counter tops. They are durable, earthy, and cool. I have been telling Pete that I want them in our kitchen for years now. Concrete was perfect for this project because the use of natural and man made materials plays into our industrial vibe.

After some research online I found some great forms from Z Counterforms. These forms were pretty easy to use and created a great smooth edge. The white form you see in the picture below was the rigid form and the black you see is the curve form. They just screw into the concrete board and once the concrete has cured they snap right off! We will definitely use these forms again.

 

Kitchen Counter Top Form

Once the forms were off the counters had to be diamond ground…sanded…and sanded…and sanded…and sanded some more.

Kitchen Counter Top Poured

The sanding exposed the tiny aggregate in the concrete and created and really organic finish. The edges have tiny little voids and holes that show the handmade nature of the product. This is more beautiful to me than any perfection.

Kitchen Counter Sanding

After all the sanding the counters have to be sealed with several coats of concrete sealer to protect them from staining, though I personally like the way the staining and mottling that occurs over time. I can’t wait to have concrete counter tops in my own kitchen!

Kitchen Counter Top Finished

We also poured a trough sink for the master bath. This was a little more labor intensive since there was no easy peasy forms to be had from the internet. Pete had to build a form from melamine from scratch. It took a whole bunch of math and lot of measuring!

Master Sink Form 1

Both the kitchen counter top and the master sink had to have mesh reinforcement in the concrete to prevent cracking.

Master Sink Form 2

Because of the difference in the type of form we used on the sink, it needed far less sanding and therefore did not expose the aggregate in the concrete. The sink is much shallower than a traditional sink.

Master Sink Unmolded

The sink is installed and will have 2 faucets. Perfect for the master bath!

  • Master Sink

Wrapping Up the Exterior

We are so close to wrapping up the exterior of the Franklin House! The front porch needs stained and a little landscaping and that will wrap up the exterior. Whew!

Original Front

New Front

We wanted to really bring back the historic Queen Anne details on this home. It originally had a wood clapboard siding on the exterior. The old paint job had all but peeled away leaving the wood to rot. Peeling paint makes for some very artistic photos but does not protect wood from its arch enemy, water, very well.

Peeling Paint

Because we wanted to preserve the historic look of the home we first looked at wooden siding. We could only find one local supplier for clapboard and the cost was astronomical. It was overwhelming to think that we were looking at least $25,000 for the materials, installation and the cost of painting on top of that!

Pete’s Mom suggested that we look into Hardie board which is a pre-colored concrete board.  (thanks Kathleen!) The material cost was in line with the wood but we saved a ton by not having to paint it. It maintains the historic look but with modern ease of upkeep! Yay for less work!!!

Original Side

Mid Side

Finished Side

We also knew from the very beginning of this project that we wanted to add a modern feel to the addition on the back of this home. We went with a charcoal colored metal barn siding and I love the way it looks! It is a great juxtaposition to the ornate Queen Anne front! The metal siding that we chose has hidden fasteners for a really clean look.

Original Back

Finished Back

This place has really gone through some changes! Now on to the finishes on the interior! Flooring is going down, tile is in, finishes are on their way. I will share some of those pictures soon. Our time with this house is almost over. I can’t wait to meet the next house!

As always guys, THANK YOU for reading!

Burned out… but have to finish strong!

I am sure everyone who has had a small taste of success has felt this way. Anxious, inspired, confused, determined, in your own head constantly, a little insane, positive, struggling, and invested in an idea. I guess they would say there is beauty in the struggle. There is also a realization that it is one thing to have a good idea, and it is another to turn the idea into reality. But, what if that idea was your dream. Not just one of those strange dreams that happen one night after one too many, but one of those reoccurring dreams that sticks with you.

Roof Garden Installation

When I was younger I heard about the land bank dollar property program and was insistent that I would find an old house and fix it up. Some how at that time I knew what I wanted to do… fix up old houses and build new ones. What are the steps that have to be taken to fulfill this desire? What must one do to achieve a goal? Although we did not buy the Franklin House through the land bank, we bought the property and I was officially living the dream! The dream then turned into reality… design, logistics, expenses, scheduling, hiring, firing, systems, construction, lead time, competition, headaches, questions, alcohol, sobriety, coffee, hard work, Whats Next? “Do, don’t try.” Make a deadline. That will help!

As much as I like to rant, there must be a point to this post… ? … Oh yeah I am feeling a little burned out and I am now able to admit it. I don’t think it is because of the project, or the social implications that I now realize, or the connections that I have made with everyone involved and everyone impacted, or the fact that there is probably going to be zero monetary ROI or possibly a loss… I think it is more the angst from the unknown.

What positive impact will the result have and what opportunities lie ahead. I have a couple potential clients interested in my design capabilities, we are looking for the next house to fix up and a vacant in-fill lot to build on. But is it enough to fill the void after seeing the dream to fruition? Do I have to take time to dream more? Should I go back to school so I can actually call myself an architect? Can I afford that? Will any of this pay off? Does anyone understand? ” Hold it together man…”(slap)

The mind is an amazing piece of the puzzle that we all take for granted at a given point in time. Sometimes we become so self involved that we cut other people off in their journey through life. It is a hard truth about the human condition… but other times we care deeply about an idea, cause, and other people… look now he is a philosopher.

What is a house?

We started the project of the Franklin House strong and I intend to finish it the same way. What ever comes next will happen in due time. I have to tell myself every morning to “Roll with time” it is a saying of patience (the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, thanks Google). I hope that my work spreads a positive message of sustainability and love. I want people to see beauty in reality… maybe that is the dream?

It’s Been Way Too Long…

It has been quite a while since I have shared any updates! It was WAYYYYYY back in November! Too long…. way too long. One of the reasons that I have not been updating as much was the holiday season. I swear it gets busier every year! Then I discovered the white screen of death due to a bad plug-in on the website. Luckily Peter is MUCH more computer savvy than me. He was able to fix it (three times). Third time was the charm!

 

Queen Anne Exterior FrontIt was mid-January when we hit our one-year anniversary with the Franklin House. Which is both scary and amazing to me.  Scary because we misjudged how much time this project would take. Amazing because we have done SO much to bring this house back to life.

We have had some major ups and downs in this project and we are preparing to do an extensive analysis to figure out what we did right and what went wrong. We know that framing and rebuilding the structure took way longer than anticipated, so much rotten wood… Also every aspect of the project took longer and cost more than we originally thought. But that same down is also an up, because it has been an amazing learning process. That kind of sums up this last year in nutshell…

We are getting closer and closer to the completion of the project. One of the biggest wins from this past year have been the friendships and acquaintances that we have made. That is definitely one of the biggest things that we will miss about this house, the neighbors! Everybody that we have met loves the Olde Towne East neighborhood. There is such a sense of community in this area! I hope that the new homeowners love these people and this area as much as we do!

Front With Siding

 

I have a TON of updates to share with you so keep your eye out for those. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and Peter posts all kinds of fun stuff on Instagram! We are Larsen Dwellings on all social media.

As always guys…THANK YOU!

Progression

 

 

The interior of the Franklin House is getting close! It has seemed to be a slow progression but I have heard before that the days are long but the years are short. We have almost completely rebuilt this house. Replaced rotten wood, main beams, awkward staircases, all the mechanical elements and we rearranged the floor plan. It is a new old house. It is a historic home with a modern life. We love this old girl and are excited to get her dressed and ready to meet her new family.
Living Space Before

Remember this space? This past January we walked into this sad, neglected, saggy room and we saw the potential. “This could be amazing!” we said. The light…..it was the light that attracted us to this space. The south facing windows let in the most beautiful winter light.  And it was cold in there! Those first few days that we measured and wandered around the crazy chopped up space I have NEVER been so cold. It was 10 degrees out and felt even colder inside.

Living Room Demo

Pete and George demolished the lath and plaster. They took everything down to studs. We really got a good look at changes that various owners had made through out the years. We could see where a single family home had been made into a duplex. We could see where a duplex had been brought back to a single family home. It was a rebirth for this place. And we saw more progression…

Living Room Rebuild

We moved a staircase, removed a staircase and rebuilt a staircase. We cleaned and repaired brick. We installed two HUGE beams. We created an open inviting floor plan that takes advantage of the light. We had good insulation put in. Never again will we freeze inside! We had drywall installed and all of a sudden…..it was a house again!

Living Room Drywall

We are really proud of how this space feels. It is open but cozy. After being a dark unfinished area for so long the reflective light in here now that we have drywall is really cheerful. When writing this post it was pretty crazy to go through all the old pictures to really see the progression of the space.

Keep your eye out for a pieces parts post soon! And as always…..thank you for reading!

Big News! I am a Real Estate Agent!

I am so excited to finally share my big news with you! I got my real estate license!!!! I am now a real estate agent!

Cue hilarious picture….Geri's Business Photo

Haha! All joking aside though, I am really happy to have made this professional leap forward. As most of you know Peter and I are really passionate about houses. Actually, we are really passionate about HOME. We love that the sense of home creates so many amazing and positive feelings. Warmth, comfort, safety, love, health and happiness are the words that come to my mind when I talk about home. I can help other people find their perfect homes now. I get giddy thinking about it!

I Have joined the team at Carleton Realty here in Westerville, Ohio. I am very happy with this choice. Carleton Realty is a locally owned family business which is important to me. They have top-notch training and a super support system. I couldn’t be happier.

I am still VERY involved here at Larsen Dwellings, Inc. but now we have more services to offer you! If you know someone who needs a real estate agent’s help or even just advice on their building or home please don’t hesitate to call me! You can E-mail me at gerilyn.larsen@gmail.com or call my dedicated real estate phone at 614-975-2487.

Thanks for reading about my big news guys! YAY! HOMES!

Starting On the Exterior

The Franklin House is slowly but surely coming along. We are finally starting on the exterior! After the hiccup with our plumber (fired) we are making big steps forward this week! Our new plumber is an old friend and is rocking right along. We will be having our plumbing rough-in inspection on Friday. Our electrician, who is also a very good friend, is ready for his rough-in inspection also.

Exterior repair

While our awesome subcontractors are getting things done on the inside Pete and George are getting things done on the outside. The entire front of the house was rotten and needed to be replaced. Since this place is so old none of it has vapor barrier. That is definitely something we are going to remedy. Before everyone starts to worry, with all this replacement going on, we are going to take it back to where it was historically. We will be putting the fish scale siding back up as well as the clapboard.

Putting up scaffolding

The guys are using rented scaffolding (safety first!) to reach the top of the house. The best part is seeing the openings for the new windows and door. The space is going to be so light and bright!  We have made some color choices for the exterior and we are looking forward to showing you those. The mason will be working on our four chimneys soon and then it will be time for the roof.

Exciting things around here! We will keep you updated as things move along. And as always…thanks for reading!

Interview with Budget Dumpster!

Guys! We did a really fun interview with our friends over at Budget Dumpster. Go check it out hereRemoving Porch

 

We have been using Budget Dumpster since the start of this huge project and we can’t say enough nice things about their service! We ordered several dumpsters from them to contain everything from old plaster to the concrete porch. The customer service has been great. The delivery and pick-up drivers have been awesome. We really recommend this company! Columbus locals please find their page here!

We want to thank Budget Dumpster for featuring us on their blog!

We were in no way paid or compensated for this post. All opinions are our own.

Pieces/Parts #4

Progress at The Franklin House has been slow and steady. We will have some more posts soon showing the progress on the inside but in the meantime here is a quick update on the happenings. So here are our pieces/parts #4.

 

Removing Porch

Pete and George removed the ugly porch. They did it when it was hot and humid. I thought that they were going to melt away. That porch was a layer of concrete over another layer of concrete. Yikes! I am excited to get a period correct porch back on there!

 

Porch Pile

 

The Porch leftovers. We filled TWO thirty yard dumpsters with the concrete and wood bits of that horrible thing!

 

Between Houses

I was really impressed with this space when I saw it! It used to be over super overgrown and had a layer of debris. The brick chimney was covered in ivy and that is gone too! It looks so much better now.

 

Window Framing

 

The guys have been hard at work to prepare the house for the new windows. The place is going to look so great with all new windows in! We also have the masons in doing work on the chimneys and foundation. They are doing a fantastic job!

 

Electrical Box

 

 

Just a teaser for what has been happening on the inside. After a hiccup with the plumber we are getting all the important bits in. The electrical, HVAC and plumbing is on its way!!!

The Best Garden Tool Ever

Winged Weeder 1
GO BUY THIS RIGHT NOW!!!!

This is the best garden tool we have ever bought. My parents got one and spread the word to us. This is the Winged Weeder. As someone who HATES to weed this thing is the best. No more bending over to pull difficult weeds.

Winged Weeder 2
It is as simple as it looks.

This tool is really just a sharp bit of metal on a stick. It is brilliant in its simplicity. This tool just slides underneath the top layer of dirt and either pulls up shallow rooted weeds or clips off the tough ones. A quick raking takes care of the debris. We had a serious grass problem in our veggie bed about a month ago because of all the rain we have had. This tool took care of it and we have not had to weed since! The key is definitely raking up the weeds after.

Winged Weeder 3
See ya later weeds!

This is not a sponsored post. I have not been paid to promote this product. I just really love this thing! Go buy one now!