Faythe Willis of Lula, Ga., has a husband, three boys and three pets, so she wanted to install a low-maintenance and durable floor that would last. After all options were considered, Willis chose to install a concrete floor.
Throughout the years, concrete has been used for sidewalks and cold garage and basements floors. However, this material was once a unique, versatile and
Cement kitchen countertop designed by Cheng Design in Berkeley, California.
durable material for a home’s interior. Today, designers and homeowners are gradually being reintroduced to the benefits of concrete as countertops, fireplaces, roofs and more.
"The modernist architects and designers of the mid-century, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra, were proponents of the indoor-outdoor relationship between house and nature,” says Eddie Edwards, architectural designer and founder of the vintage architectural book resource, DigModern.com. “Concrete, a natural extension of the garden, was used extensively from the 50s through the 70s, indoors and out, as floors, planters, screen walls, benches, tables, decorative panels, mosaics and fountains."
Edwards says her customers are searching for do-it-yourself books from the 1940s through the 1970s to gain inspiration for concrete projects from small pots to large decorative wall murals.
Fu-Tung Cheng, designer and founder of the Concrete Exchange, is considered a pioneer in the concrete design industry and specializes in countertops, fireplaces and indoor water designs. Cheng enjoys the ability to color, texture and sculpt cement into any design he or his customers choose. Each piece is then a one-of-a-kind original that offers the same smoothness of marble and granite.
Staining and engraving a design into a hard concrete floor creates a long-lasting and easy-to-maintain area with extraordinary works of art. Reprinted with permission of Craig Adamson, Special Effex, Rockford, Illinois.
“Concrete has a way of bringing the practical into the home with the aesthetic,” he says. “Ergonomically, it works well and it’s pleasing to the eye. It also harkens back to the era when people did things in a crafted, appropriate way. We’ve come to accept a home for what it is, but now we can look to the past because homeowners are looking for an emotional connection to craftsmanship.”
If You Can Imagine It… And what’s old can be new again with a process called ‘acid staining’ in which stains are used to color or stamp new or old concrete, designing any possible pattern combination desired.
“No two slabs are ever the same,” says Craig Adamson, co-owner of Special Effex in Machesney Park, Ill., who explains that the concrete needs to be properly cleaned, diamond grinded smooth and sealed in order to achieve this exquisite result.