It's no secret that concrete is an incredible building material, and the fact that it's essentially waterproof explains why it's often used to make outdoor furniture and garden décor. But until recently, the stonelike material hadn't quite made its way inside the house. Thanks to some very clever and creative designers, the raw material is one of the greatest new trends in interior décor. With baroque details, throwback shapes, and utilitarian designs, concrete is making a comeback. Come take a look!
As part of the publicity tour for his new movie Source Code, leading man Jake Gyllenhaal posed with director Duncan Jones in a column-flanked garden in Rome. Want to get this old-world look in your own garden? Restoration Hardware's your go-to source for columns, benches, fountains, and more. Plant some acanthus in the Longwood Capital Planter ($100), then flank it with one of these charming Whippet Staturaries ($270 each). Shop the rest of the look by clicking on each image.
If you played my Guess Who about this gray chesterfield sofa earlier this week, then you probably figured out that it's actually made of concrete! Now the seat has me seriously intrigued by all of the unusual things you can do with concrete. A material that's made from broken stone, sand, cement, and water and poured into molds of any shape and size, there's basically no limit to what you can build with concrete. It can even be colored or mixed with glass for a much prettier, less industrial effect. Check out these 10 ways you can decorate with concrete in your home.
Bay Area landscape architecture firm Studio Green creates gorgeous garden elements for its clients, like these patio squares that have been seeded with colored glass. I love the unexpected sparkle to these simple patio steps. Making patio stepping stones isn't too difficult, and by adding colored glass tiles, you can get the same special sparkle without all of the work of sanding down the broken glass pieces.
Summer is an ideal time of the year to make these pavers, since hot, sunny weather will help them dry more quickly. This project takes a few different steps and requires a period of one to two weeks between making the steps and using them to let the concrete steps cure.
- Concrete mix
- Concrete paver mold, like these, or you can simply use shallow plastic containers that are the right size for your project
- Concrete trowel
- Glass tiles, in whatever size you like
- Mold release product, such as canola and safflower oil
- Wheelbarrow or large pail
- Dust mask if you are working indoors
Find out the steps when you read more
While running on the sidewalk offers some serious safety features, like no cars, Cool Running has ranked it as the worst surface for running. Rock-hard concrete is hard on your joints since it provides zero shock absorption. Ideally, we should all run on grass or dirt trails, which are more gentle on our joints. If you're an urban runner, finding these surfaces for your regular runs can be a challenge. Asphalt is considerably more forgiving than concrete, which is why running in the street is preferable over the sidewalk. Remember if you run in the road to go against traffic, so you can see oncoming cars. I suggest mixing up your surfaces and searching for tracks in your area for at least one run a week. Tracks are great for interval practice too. Where do you usually run?
In 2001, Hungarian architect Aron Losonczi invented LiTraCon, the first light-transmitting concrete. Since then, it's been utilized for pavement, walls, design elements, and in art installations around the world. While just as strong as traditional concrete, an embedded array of optical glass fibers allows residents to see exterior elements such as the silhouette of trees, houses, and passersby. LiTraCon can be produced as prefabricated building blocks and panels and used for a variety of building needs.
The embedded-glass fibres lead light by points between the two sides of the blocks. Because of their parallel position, the light information on the brighter side of the wall (usually the exterior wall) appears unchanged. However, the darker side of the wall highlights a sharp display of shadows on the other side of the wall.
While I love the playful, artistic element of this new building material, I also love its practical uses as well. When a solid wall is imbued with the ability to transmit light, it means that a home can use fewer lights in their house during daylight hours. Since the insulating capacity of the wall is unchanged, the result is a net energy gain.
Recent projects that have utilized LitraCon include the main entrance door at Museum Cella Septichora in Pécs, Hungary, and the Ein Haus fuers Leben (House For Life) in Sittensen, Germany.
Xin Yucai, 50, of Shenyang city in the Liaoning province in Northeast China, has built a home out of two cement pipes. Although his daughter invited him to live with her in her apartment, he turned the offer down, since he loves living in his home so much.
"He bought two cement pipes from a construction company and turned them into a real house, with windows, door, and even a chimney," says Xin Yucai's daughter.
Even though they moved, Xin took the cement pipe house with him. The house has become something of a city attraction, with visitors taking their pictures outside of the structure.
via What's the Crack
Welcome to the second half of this week's Room Therapy, the CasaSugar feature where users submit questions and you, the readers, along with myself, help answer them. Casa reader Azduring13 wrote to me saying, "My sister told me about using stained concrete for floor finishing and countertops. Do you have any information on this? Thanks."
You can read this week's first Room Therapy post here, where we learned about concrete floors. For the second half of the question, where we'll find out all about concrete countertops, and view a gorgeous gallery, just read more
Welcome to this week's Room Therapy, the CasaSugar feature where users submit questions and you, the readers, along with myself, help answer them. Casa reader Azduring13 wrote to me saying, "My sister told me about using stained concrete for floor finishing and countertops. Do you have any information on this? Thanks."
I'm going to answer the second half of that question in a post on Wednesday, but for now let's look at the floor finishings portion of the question. I happen to know that Casa reader and TeamSugar member Mosspink actually has gorgeous concrete floors in her surprisingly bright and sunny basement apartment. Let's see what she has to say.
"I inherited this floor from the previous owners, who'd bought this house as a fixer-upper. When they moved into this place, all the concrete was covered in linoleum and vinyl flooring tile. When they pulled it up and did what they could to remove the old adhesive and gunk, there was a residual grid pattern left from the tile."
To see more photos of Mosspink's pretty concrete-floored abode, and to learn about living with those floors, just read more