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. He also installed the backsplash and the floor—cutting 16-by-16-inch slate tiles into a pattern he created using Illustrator. "I wanted a twist on the traditional slate floor," he explains.
Shown: In the foyer, original elements blend with updates. The existing stairway, wainscoting, and box-beam ceiling were cleaned up with paint and the stair treads refinished. New oak floors were stained a dark English chestnut.