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  • Approximately 5 feet wide with ample leg room, this space-saving concrete island seats six comfortably. An inverse curve by the inset cooktop allows the refrigerator door to swing open, and a custom-made wood support base incorporates a concealed cabinet.
  • A combination of 9-gauge truss wire and 8-mm polyvinyl PVA fibers was used to reinforce the 450-pound island, which was cast face-side down.
  • The countertop was cast to accommodate an undermount stainless steel sink and to provide built-in drainage.
  • IThe unique edge profile for the countertop was created by placing a piece of poly quarter-round molding into the bottom of the form before the concrete was poured.
  • An open space under one end of the countertop is just large enough for a trash can, keeping it out of the way.

When you live in a 400-square-foot efficiency apartment with very little kitchen space and no dining room, you have to get creative to make it a functional yet family-friendly gathering place. That’s exactly what Chadd Yoder, owner of Reformed Concrete, did when he came up with the clever design of this space-saving concrete island, which also serves as his cooktop and a dining table that can seat up to six people.

“Our goal was to create a dining and gathering space that fostered fellowship and allowed the greatest open space possible,” says Yoder. Because his company specializes in decorative concrete, he knew he could make the island in any size and shape he chose. His unusual horse-shoe shaped design has inverse curves by the built-in stovetop to allow the refrigerator door to swing open freely without hitting it. “Now it has ½-inch clearance and follows the radius of the countertop perfectly,” he says.

Yoder also made the kitchen countertop, adding practical details such as built-in drainage for the sink and an open space below to slide in a trash can. He colored both the island and countertop using a combination of crimson-red and black water-based stain and sealed them with a water-based, food-safe concrete sealer in a satin finish.

“We used a mix from scratch with all-white sand in order to have a bright, white canvas to try out our staining techniques,” says Yoder. “We also inlaid pieces of geode stones in the surface of the island.”

Yoder cast the concrete face-side down, scattering baking soda in the form before the pour to give the exposed surface a mottling effect. After removing the form, he used a spray gun to apply two coats of the crimson-red stain. He followed with a light coat of black stain applied in the same manner, and then immediately misted the surface with water to cause a mingling of the crimson and black stains in a random pattern.

To support the odd, rounded shape of the island, Yoder installed ample reinforcing, using a combination of 9-gauge truss wire and 8-mm polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers. But the biggest challenge was getting the large, 450-pound concrete slab into his second-story apartment.

“As it would not fit in the front door, our only option was the sliding glass door opening onto a deck. We had to use multiple straps and lift it with a crane over the deck railing, all with two men,” he says. Once the island made it to its destination, Yoder installed it on top of a custom-made tongue-and-groove wood support base incorporating a concealed cabinet.

Making custom concrete countertops that can accommodate unusual space constraints is one of Yoder’s specialties and gives him a competitive edge in his local market. “People here in the Lancaster, Pa., area tend to be more traditional and seek out old-fashioned countertop materials. But concrete is becoming more of an interest for many,” he says.

Materials used
Concrete stain: Eco-Stain, from SureCrete
Water-based sealer: Stonelok E3/2K, from V-Seal Concrete Sealers

Countertop fabricator:
Chadd Yoder
Reformed Concrete LLC, Quarryville, Pa.

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