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  • A piece of natural walnut with a large knot serves as a rustic base for this concrete bathroom sink. The pattern for the sink was sketched onto walnut so it would follow the natural flow of the grain.
  • The drain for the concrete sink was positioned directly under the knot for view. “If you peer into the knot, you will see all of the water disappear into the drain,” says contractor Seth Taylor.
  • The second sink is also set in a piece of walnut, but this one is free of knots. The concrete for both sinks was left uncolored and sealed with a clear, water-based polyurethane. The wood was also sealed to help reduce expansion and contraction.

It’s not often that a contractor is asked to create concrete countertops big enough for a barn, but that was the challenge recently faced by Seth Taylor of Concrete Designs, when he was asked to fabricate more than 200 square feet of countertops and six custom sinks for a barn renovation project in Lenexa, Kan. “The owners wanted to convert the space to use for private parties, providing all the accommodations needed to host large gatherings while still maintaining a rustic vibe. The builder/designer wanted to use concrete to carry the rustic feel that couldn't be achieved as well with another material,” says Taylor.

The project involved making nearly 200 square feet of countertops in a black-wash stain with areas of exposed aggregate, a curved lower bartop with three apron-front sinks, a 10-foot-long cooktop with an oversized farm sink and flanking drainboards, and a 22-foot-long curved fireplace hearth that matches the counters and provides additional seating for large groups. However, the client’s favorite pieces are the two concrete bathroom sinks cast into large pieces of walnut.

“The builder and I worked together to determine the best design for the sinks,” says Taylor. “We freely sketched the patterns of the sinks onto the walnut, trying to follow the natural flow of the grain. The knot in the one piece of walnut had too much character to lose, so I suggested having the sink flow under it so that the drain could be positioned for view under the knot.”

Once the general pattern for the sink was sketched onto each piece of walnut, the hole was cut for the sink and the top edge of the hole was routed with a flange to hold the sink in place. “We then used foam and free sculpted the sink form to maintain a very organic flow. The sinks were then cast directly into the walnut pieces,” says Taylor.

To maintain a natural look, the concrete sinks were left uncolored and sealed with a clear, water-based polyurethane. The wood was also sealed to help reduce expansion and contraction. “The holes that the sinks fit into are larger than the sinks themselves to accommodate movement between the materials. The entire building has been finished with raw cedar, so the builder incorporated built-in humidifiers to keep the wood throughout the building from drying out,” Taylor explains.

Concrete Designs is now in the process of finishing the concrete floors throughout the entire 3,000-square-foot space. You can view more photos of the project here.

Materials used Concrete mix: An uncolored proprietary mix from Decorative Concrete Supply, reinforced with ¾-inch alkali-resistant glass fibers
Concrete sealer: Surecrete XS 327 water-based polyurethane

Remodeling contractor CHC Creative Remodeling, Lenexa, Kan.
www.chccr.com

Concrete contractor Seth Taylor
Concrete Designs, Kansas City, Kan.
www.concretedesignsks.com

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