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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

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!

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.

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!

The Franklin House Roof Cresting Before Repairs

Our awesome roofing company came out to remove the roof cresting off The Franklin House. This is one of our favorite architectural details on the exterior of this house. We are having it powder coated to preserve these original Victorian details for many years to come. Roof Cresting Before

 

These pictures show the roof cresting before we repair it. The condition of this stuff is not great. The metal is worn very thin in places and it has some missing pieces and damage. We hope that we can replace the missing parts but the rosette detail is going to be hard to replicate. If you have any suggestions for us about that please leave them in the comments!

Supporting the Structure

We knew when we bought this house that supporting the structure was going to be necessary. As usual, it was a can of worms. We got an engineer to take a look at our drawings to make sure that we were putting in enough support for this old house and he had some great ideas that really helped our entire design.  He suggested a combination of some 16″ LVLs (laminated veneer lumber) and some steel c channel to reinforce those old beams.

There were two problem areas on the first floor. One was towards the middle of the house. At some point in time a well-meaning soul had removed a support beam in the basement. Perhaps to install a furnace? They did not replace the column. The area above sank. It sank like a whole 3 inches. BUT we knew this the first time we saw the house. No biggie! We can just jack that back up and pop a new support column in!

Jacking up the first floor
Note the fancy equipment.

We also knew going in that we would have to sister some old beams with new to account for some cut out from HVAC installation. It is NEVER a good idea to cut any sort of beam in a house. Once the beams were sistered the floor started feel much sturdier!

Sistered beams
Sistered beams!

The other big issue with the structure became apparent once the guys had pulled up the sub flooring at the front of the house to show the engineer how the beams connect to the rubble foundation. We had a hint about water damage in this area after we had snow and then a thaw, then a freeze. Where the two gables meet in the front of the house there is a wacky gutter design that caused an ice dam which in turn caused water to run down the front of the house. The beams in the front of the house were rotten and needed replaced.

Floor removed
See you later rotten beams!
New basement beam
Pretty new structure. This place isn’t going anywhere!

The guys had to build temporary walls to take the weight of the house while they put these new beams and joists in.  It feels so much better in there now! But for a while they couldn’t open the front door! We tried to save as much of the good structure that was there so there is a ton of old meets new in the house. I think it’s pretty cool.

Old meets new
Old meet new. New meet old! ( I am not sure about the weird green basement wall treatment. I though it was mold at first)

Once the new beams were in the boys leveled the whole first floor. It was a lot of measuring and moving the floor up and down. Since this place is a balloon frame we could move the floors up and down with out the exterior walls moving!

Floor leveling
George is in the basement and Pete is doing the measuring!
floor leveling
Measure measure measure!

Once they got the structure level they put down new subfloor. The original dining room floor was just the 7/8″ thick plank. It has a great design to it but unfortunately was too damaged to save as finished floor. It is staying in the house as sub flooring though!

Original Floor
See the stripes!
Cutting Subfloor.
Subfloor. So you don’t fall through.

The guys had to add some more structure support for the second floor at this point since they removed almost ALL the walls on the first floor. Next they were going to put in a new LVL to support the second floor  and make it ready to put in the new staircase!

New LVL
New LVL for the second floor! So exciting!

I will show more of the second and third floor structure repair on the next post plus the building of our new staircase! But here is a bonus weird shot that I took standing in the basement looking straight up at the bottom of the stairs to the third floor. It’s art I tell ya!

stairs from basement
ART!!

Happy Earth Day!

The earth without art is just “eh”.

Moss Pods

We believe that what we are doing is green and sustainable. We are reclaiming, rebuilding, recycling and reusing. We are being mindful of what we put out into the world. Earth Day makes me remember why we are saving this home and how we are impacting our environment. We love our home planet and want to treat it well! Happy Earth Day!