Design & Decor

How To Use Self Leveling Concrete.

Oh, my aching back.


That’s all I can really think about as I write this.  This morning I had my first every “Self Leveling Concrete” attempt.


The project in question is the concrete floor of our work-in-progress basement bathroom.  We had a serious hot-mess in the worst possible ways:



  • Out of Level by 3/4″ over 10 feet
  • Countless peaks and valleys
  • Three different types of concrete from previous trenching and patching

I researched every website I could find on how to use self leveling cement (SLC), and started to get an understanding on what the heck I was supposed to do.  The only SLC I could get my hands on was Custom’s Level Quick RS.


All I really knew for sure was, I needed to move fast!


I assure you, I was fast.  I mixed and poured four 50lb bags of SLC in 20 minutes flat.  It was like a terribly messy crossfit workout that involved buckets, cement, and a power drill.


It was a success. Here’s how it went, in case you have a floor that needs a similar treatment:


Prep The Space

Dam It:  SLC moves like pancake batter as it “finds it’s level”.  That means you need to corral it, block it, and stop it from going anywhere you don’t want it to go.


I used Gorilla tape to build a dam around the bathroom perimeter, around the existing toilet flange, and in the thresholds.


Prime It:  Since our existing floor was such a disaster, there was no way I would skip this step.  The primer looks like nonfat milk when it goes on.  I didn’t roll it on, I mixed it equal parts with water, dumped it a little at a time on the floor and worked it in every direction with a stiff bristled brush.

Primed Concrete

Primed Concrete

The primer dries clear, and kind of shiny, in about 2 hours.  I let ours dry overnight since I was so generous with the application.



Preparation is key when doing a project where time is of the essence.  Each batch of the SLC will begin to set within 10 minutes, so there’s no a lot of wiggle room to dilly dally.


Since I was working alone, I treated this like an assembly line, getting all of my supplies ready to go before the first bag was mixed.

  • I had 4 buckets of water ready, each bucket had 5.5 quarts in it.
  • My corded drill (not battery operated) with the mixing beater was ready.
  • I pre-cut 3 of the 4 bags of SLC, so I didn’t waste time opening the bags in between pours.
  • My trowel was in the bathroom near the area I was pouring first.


Custom's LevelQuick RS

Custom’s LevelQuick RS

Suit Up

  • Goggles
  • Respirator
  • Wrist Watch
  • Heavy Duty Gloves 


say cheese!

say cheese!


The SLC gets mixed with a beater in a bucket of water (5.5 quarts), for a total of two minutes. It becomes apparent at just about the 2 minute mark that it’s all mixed together.

  • Drag and dump the first bucket of SLC in the lowest corner of the room.
  • Use a trowel to help push the SLC into every nook and cranny you want it to go in.


Once the first batch is down and looking good (which you have 3 minutes to determine), mix the next bucket.


Pour your next pre-measured 5.5 quarts of water into the mixing bucket and get going again.


The second batch of SLC should be poured very near, and feathering into, the first batch.  And keep repeating this until you’re done.


Then you get to clean up the very big mess you made- if you’re anything like me.


Yes, these are my “work crocs”.



Rapid Setting SLC will be walkable in 4 hours, and ready to tile on in 12.

The ridges aren't really ridges.

The ridges aren’t really ridges.

It dries with wavy movements of sand, looking like it’s got ridges, but it’s an illusion- the finished result is very flat and smooth.

Ready for tile.

Ready for tile.


And that’s it.  Now I get to relax, ice my back, and get ready, because over the next few weekends I’m going to be finishing this bathroom of ours.

New Project.

It’s no longer all quiet on the eastern front… we have a new project!


Mr. Heatherland and I spent most of the Fall scheming and dreaming about our pending basement renovation.  I’m obsessively pouring through Houzz for ideas.  If you aren’t using Houzz… you really need to be.  Google it.  You’ll thank me.


Basement Renovations are a little out of my comfort zone.  California homes don’t have basements, they have crawl spaces, so for the majority of my life I never had a basement to re-invent.  In my opinion basements are dark, dank, dirty, creepy, filled with spiders, and prone to flooding.  But, they are also valuable real estate that is chock full of un-tapped potential (or so I hear).


So for the last few weeks I poured over inspiration photos for our basement:

Weaver Custom Homes- Houzz

Weaver Custom Homes- Houzz

This was tough.  When we were planning the renovation of our home, I was johnny-on-the-spot with opinions and design choices because I knew what I wanted.  But this has been more of a challenge.  The first thing I learned was- everyone has basements on the east coast… and they call them cellars.


And the second thing I learned was: “Down the cellar” means “it’s down in the basement”.  Good to learn new things, right? But none of that helps me with my design.

Wentworth Inc. -Houzz

Wentworth Inc. -Houzz

Honestly, the more fabulous basements I saw on Houzz the more amped up I became to transform ours.  I think I have gotten most of the design inspiration from there.

E/L Studios -Houzz

E/L Studios -Houzz

Plus, I have about 6 months of New England winter to get through, so this will be a happy distraction for me.


The real question is:  What the heck do we want to use our basement for?  Maybe the peeps on Houzz can help me figure that out, too!

Take A Seat.

The hunt is afoot, and I have my sites set on getting a new chair.  More specifically, something made by Lawson Fenning.

Thin Frame Lounge Chair


thin frame lounge chair


I love this chair!  I have poured through every possible resource, and I haven’t found anything else that I am even remotely interested in.  I am only obsessed with this one.



photo credit: lawson fenning


The interesting thing is Lawson Fenning prices the chairs without the fabric because they offer a COM (Customers’s Own Material) option on their upholstered goods.  Which means it’s fully customizable, and how awesome is that?


On this hunt of mine, I haven’t found any other design that offer such a minimal, androgynous, and angular look.  Well, there’s one other Lawson Fenning:


The Box Chair

photo credit: ByBlye Interiors

photo credit: ByBlye Interiors


And for a smaller home like ours, both of these chairs takes up very little visual space but don’t sacrifice comfort.

credit: Catherine Kwong Design

photo credit: Catherine Kwong Design

Yup.  I’m in love.  The only question is which do I love more, the thin frame lounge chair or the box chair.


Decisions, decisions.

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