Updating white cabinets with oak trim
Aaron then put another of his skills to work making the concrete counters—pouring them into a plywood mold and then turning them out like a cake—a technique he had mastered in previous renovations.
"The key is having a number of large, strong friends who can help you turn the mold over and carry the countertop into place," he says.
And he could deconstruct and remove the warren of small bedrooms and bathrooms that the previous owners had created to rent out rooms.
Having done plenty of tile work on previous renovations, he could do the tiling that the new baths would require.
Shown: Base cabinets in the mudroom hold tilt-out recycling bins.
Handcrafted and installed by the homeowner, the drawers and random-pattern slate floor continue from the adjacent kitchen.
And he had mastered the art of low-cost concrete countertops.
But the two things Aaron wanted most would stretch his skills and his budget: a big, airy kitchen with plenty of storage, natural light, and traffic flow for entertaining; and a second-floor master suite with ample closet space and a spa-like bath.
"I wanted a twist on the traditional slate floor," he explains.The crown molding was the last one to be installed.It wasn’t that bad this time (we had installed it before in our daughter’s bedroom and it was a pain for us to install it that time).To start the cabinetry, he bought a jig and a router, setting them up with his old reliables—table saw, miter saw, sanders—in a makeshift workshop under a tent-pole cabana in the backyard.Relying on books and online tutorials, he went through "lots of trial and error" to make the first full-inset dovetail-drawer prototype.
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Shown: In the foyer, original elements blend with updates.