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  • Featuring sloping sinks, warm earthy color tones, and clean lines, this custom-cast concrete vanity brings the right touch of Zen to a sushi restaurant bathroom.
  • Custom molds were created for the ramp-style sinks and placed upside down in the forms, along with a foam knockout for the disposal opening.
  • The form was filled halfway with concrete, and then a ladder grid for reinforcement was inserted before placement of the rest of the concrete. The integral color is a blend of walnut and red oxide pigments.
  • To give the illusion of thickness, a 3-inch-tall reveal was created on the front of the vanity, extending about 3 inches back. The rest of the vanity top is 1 ½-inch thick.
  • Labor-intensive hand honing and sanding reveal the variegated color tones and texture of the concrete.
  • Supported by 2-inch-wide angle iron attached to a rectangular frame screwed into the wall, the vanity top appears to be suspended in air.

The challengeFor a new sushi restaurant in Bellaire, Texas, designer Palmer Schooley Design of Houston wanted to create an upscale Asian theme that carried over into the bathrooms. The sinks were an important element in mirroring that style. Clean lines, warm variegated color tones, and natural textures were desired to create a Zen-like atmosphere.

Design goals"The designer liked the idea of using concrete because he recognized the freedom concrete allowed him in creating nontraditional countertops and sinks. Plus, he liked the idea that we could create countertops of any color and texture to match the style he was planning on creating," says Daniel Haley of C.S.W. Creations, which specializes in casting artisan-quality, custom-made concrete countertops and vanities. C.S.W. came up with the design based on a rough computer sketch the designer submitted showing how he wanted the vanity and sinks to look as a completed piece. "The ramp-style sinks are what make this piece really stand out," says Haley. "We also had to take into consideration during the templating phase that the client wanted the piece to appear to be floating."

Secrets to success

  • The molds for the unique sinks were custom created for C.S.W. by Crete Molds to the exact dimensions needed. Haley and his crew built forms around the templates and placed the two sink molds upside down in them. High-density foam was used to create a square knockout for a built-in disposal opening between the sinks.

  • To give the illusion of thickness, Haley created a 3-inch reveal that only extended about 3 inches back. The rest of the vanity top is 1 ½-inch thick.

  • To achieve a variegated look, Haley placed palm-sized concrete "meatballs" into the form and around the sinks and vanity face. "As we smashed the balls, they would tear, creating the irregular voids that we later filled with a gray slurry mix," he says. The gray contrasts beautifully with the earthy walnut brown and red oxide pigments used in the rest of the piece.

  • After the pieces were demolded, they went through a labor-intensive process of honing and sanding. "First, we wet honed them to remove the 'butter' layer of concrete, and then proceeded to fill the voids with our slurry mix. After three rounds of slurring and honing, the pieces were ready to be sealed. Because of all the corners and angles, a lot of the surface areas had to be hand honed and sanded," says Haley.

Materials usedCustom sink molds: Crete Molds
Concrete pigments: Blue Concrete
Custom concrete mix: The base mix contained 3/8-inch rock aggregate, sand, and equal parts of gray and white portland cement. Additives included a superplasticizer and metakaolin, from Concrete Countertop Supply by Fishstone.
Sealer: Kinloch UV Stone Cure, from Surface 519

Staying ahead of the trendAttracted to the material's quality, practicality, and artistic potential, Haley began building concrete countertops in 2009. "We are able to offer our clients an item that they will be able to use for years to come, and if they so choose, they can add a bit of their own flair to the piece to make it uniquely theirs," he says. Haley's clients, which include both residential and commercial customers, are quite interested in concrete but not very familiar with the material. Haley sees this as an opportunity to educate people and open up their minds to concrete's potential. "We see our company as being ahead of the trend in regard to concrete countertops being widely accepted in the Houston area. This is a position we are happy to be in. As our tagline says: Realize the Beauty of Concrete."

ContractorDaniel Haley
C.S.W. Creations
Katy, Texas

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