Concrete is a beautiful and very durable material, super customizable with an incredibly long lifespan, concrete countertops are the perfect application for any kitchen. With a minimalist and sleek appearance, concrete fits perfectly into any home or loft, giving a contemporary or industrial feel. A little more edgy than other countertop materials, it can be very ideal thanks to its inherent properties of being easy to clean and very durable. The best thing about concrete is that you can DIY your own countertops, there are plenty of websites out there that will give you step-by-step instructions. Concrete looks amazing in a modern, open plan interior, integrating well with other materials from wood to silestone. If the look of raw concrete is too clinical looking for you, you can apply an acid wash or any color you wish to add more warmth to your kitchen. The average cost for concrete to be installed as your countertop material is $65-$135 (for standard 1.5 inch thick countertop). Have a look at some pros and cons to using concrete as your countertop material selection.
Pros: Concrete is a porous material and can be stained easily, which is why it needs to be sealed. Color options for concrete is endless, which makes it ideal if you are trying to match it with your interior design scheme. It can be cast in any shape or size and with custom edge details. They can be uniquely personalized by embedding items such as seashells, recycled glass and even pebbles. Its appearance enhances with age, developing a warm patina. Although concrete is heat resistant, if it is sealed, anything hot should not be placed directly on the surface, as it may damage the sealer.
Cons: If you have a large concrete countertop, there will be seams, but you can minimize this with the use of a filler that is color-matched. It needs to be frequently sealed to avoid staining. Small cracks may develop with time and settling. Concrete is a heavy material, so it will need extra support beneath. If you do any custom options such as edge detailing and inlays, the price tag can be greatly increased.
Have a look at the ideas below and find some countertop ideas for your kitchen project. Looking for more kitchen ideas? Have a look at one of our past articles on 47 Incredibly inspiring industrial style kitchens and 51 Gorgeous and inspirational kitchens.
Photo Sources: 1.Shake Design, 2. Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects, 3. Pinterest, 4. Weaver Custom Homes, 5. Kenneth Davis Lux International, 6. Ohashi Design Studio, 7. Platform 5 Architects, 8. Camber Construction, 9. Craftwork, 10. Pinterest, 11. Concreteworks, 12. Wright-Built, 13. Greenbrook Homes, 14. Venegas and Company, 15. S&W Home Builders, 16. On Site Management, 17. Scale Architecture, 18. Sabrina Rothe, 19. Saint Dizier Design, 20. -25. Pinterest, 26. Lake Country Builders, 27. COUPDEVILLE, 28. Livingston Interiors, 29. Reiko Feng Shui Design, 30. Silva Studios, 31. Knight Architects, 32. Cincopatasalgato, 33. Aquidneck Properties, 34. Walter Barda Design, 35. Ward-Young Architecture, 36. Renovation Design Group, 37. Kristina Crestin Design, 38. Marlborough Creative, 39. Artistic Designs for Living, 40. Divine Design+Build
Trama Apartment was recently designed for a young couple in a natural and neutral color scheme by Semerene Interior Architecture, located in Brasilia, Brazil. The apartment is comprised of 753 square feet of living space with contemporary interiors and a unique design plan that meets the needs of its owners.
Description from the architect:
The apartment of 70 square meters (753 square feet), located in a newly built building in a new district of Brasilia, was designed for a young couple. Originally, the property was distributed into well-defined environments, including living room, kitchen, laundry area, two bedrooms and a toilet in the social area.
The new design should address the residents’ needs for fluid multipurpose spaces and at the same time, should translate into the lifestyle and emotional references of the couple. Thus, priority was given to free areas, integrated and multi-functional, adaptable to different scenarios of everyday life.
Upon entering the apartment, the barriers between TV room, dining room, kitchen and service area, dissolve from a permeable central layout. The metal frame unfolds in different roles: bookshelf partition, desk, and dinner table. An element that embraces the kitchen island and becomes the heart of the project.
The kitchen and the service area had their functions reduced to the essentials and brought together in one volume arranged linearly. The service area is easily camouflaged and converted into a background panel to the dining room.
The desk acts as a reversible environment through sliding panels, and can open up to the living room to fuse with other environments, or remain closed for more privacy.
We chose neutral and natural materials such as concrete and wood. The central metallic element brings an industrial character, typical of large cities, which contrasts with the vibrant colors present in objects, furniture and walls of the living room. The result is the freshness of an urban beach, so present in the memory of the residents.
Photos: Joana França
ALD House is a contemporary weekend retreat designed by Juan Carlos Baumgartner from architecture studio SPACE, located in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. The home is projected on a land of little over 1,000 square meters and it is articulated in two main volumes: a prism into which another rectangular wooden prism is embedded.
Description from the architect: Since the very beginning, the purpose of this project was clear: to create a house in which a balance between modernity and coziness was struck. Therefore, we chose to use few materials in order to achieve a quick reading of the volumes.
The first prism consists of a black metal structure that ends on an exposed concrete staple. The two fronts of this volume are made of glass, which helps create a transparency to the interior area and gives a feeling of permanently being in touch with nature.
The second volume is a cantilevered wooden cube, under which a terrace is generated. Requirements for the design of this project included a swimming pool, and we fulfilled them by creating one and covering it with black venetian glass tiles. In this way, the swimming pool was turned into a water mirror that reflects the house.
For this project, we decided to integrate art into architecture so that the selected works became a part of the design instead of functioning as mere decorative items. With this principle in mind, we commissioned a hyper-realistic 2 x 6 m painting of a Porsche 78; which was placed in a double-height space. In addition to the painting, Juan Carlos Baumgartner designed a mural that works both as the visual end of the swimming pool and as the vestibule of the house entrance.
The house has four bedrooms, a double-height living room and an open plan kitchen that is integrated into the space. In the living area, a modern cast glass sphere chandelier hangs from the ceiling. By using few but carefully selected materials, we created delightful areas that met our clients’ expectations.
As in all the projects of SPACE, we followed sustainable design guidelines when designing Casa ALD. We used recycled content materials low in VOC levels and wood from certified forests. Furthermore, the lighting is almost entirely LED-based.
Photos: Luis Gordoa
Y Duplex penthouse apartment received a complete overhaul to its interiors in 2014 by Pitsou Kedem Architects, located in Tel Aviv, Israel. The project was a small yet complex renovation that was an especially challenging project for the architects. The living space was comprised of 1,722 square feet (160 square meters), including 50 square meters of balcony space.
From the architects: How would it be possible to install meaning and architectural values to a roof top apartment in a “standard” uninspired design multi-story building located amongst a row of similar structures in one of Tel Aviv’s bourgeois neighborhoods
The apartment was designed to integrate with the architectural language and characteristics of other projects by the architectural firm and thus, using modern architectural values, it combines modern elements by using materials in their raw form: exposed concrete wall, iron stairs and furniture, a terrazzo floor, poured on-site and unpainted wood.
The space created by the new stairwell, divides the movement and the axis of the existing space in a way that creates a dramatic architectural cross section through the apartment, links the different levels and allows natural light to penetrate the building through glass skylights inserted into the roof of the upper floor. The new cross section creates a double space with transparent glass and a system of moveable wooden slats that makes it possible to create a view between the spaces or to allow privacy and natural light control.
The restraint and scale of the apartment design avoiding the use of gimmicks make it into a “timeless architecture”.
The raw materials and the attempt to create an architecture that was both unfashionable and timeless is complemented by the books and pieces of art hung throughout the apartment including works by the artist Guy Yanai.
Despite the fact that the apartments has a small area, the spaces feel large and spacious. The wide and open views out to the scenery and in between the neighberhood buildings create the feeling of a light and airy space. The border between the interior spaces and the balconies is almost totally blurred by a thin glass panel system. The use of the same flooring, purred terrazzo, both inside and outside also contributes to this feeling of continuity.
Photos: Amit Geron
The arrival at House B+B – the access to the social area – is through an architectural trajectory, via an open ramp, located on the eastern side of the construction. This space is protected by hollowed-out concrete elements to the side, which create surprising effects of light and end up functioning as protection from bad weather conditions.
It is an interstitial space between the protected inside of the construction and the open garden. The ramp, long and smooth, extends the transition from interior to exterior creating the constant sensation of environment changing. This solution was vastly used by Brazilian modernism, which consecrated the radical use of ramps as a way of vertical circulation while reaffirming the Corbusian precepts of architectural promenade. There is an intentional uncertainty about the character of this space: internal or external?
The reference to modernism lies also in the wall of hollowed-out elements, renowned from the 30’s in Brazil, as a solution to be reproduced on large scale, very appropriate for the tropical climate since it allows for shading without blocking of the fresh breeze.
The social area of the house creates a sensation of coziness and comfort, in an open space, without any structural interference for the organization of the furniture layout. A 3.5 meters sliding door allows the kitchen to be completely integrated to the dining room. The counter used for food preparation is behind the window overlooking the ramp and receiving the ‘constructed’ light, filtered by the hollowed-out elements. Thus, the kitchen becomes a lit-up space and a pleasant ambient.
Different than the usual solution, the rooms are on the first floor – in direct relation to the garden – and can be also accessed internally via a staircase connected to the living room on the top floor. The wooden elements on this floor’s facade allow for the internal control of the sunlight and thus provides for a great thermal performance.
The use of ‘raw’ materials such as exposed concrete and wood give a lively aspect to residence, constantly changing over time. The architecture of B+B House sought to create a cozy, welcoming space, an intimate home as much for the daily lives of the residents as well as for the reception of friends in social gatherings.
Photos: Fernando Guerra
Warner House is a renovated apartment offering an open, loft-like living space by Inside Out Architecture, located in the Clerkenwell section of central London. The renovation was carried out on behalf of a couple, which entailed removing interior walls of the 2,583 square foot apartment.
From the architect: Following the success of a number of London refurbishment projects, Inside Out Architecture was appointed to redesign the interior layout of a unique apartment space in Clerkenwell, Central London, in early 2012.
The existing building has an intriguingly tactile industrial structure, with exposed concrete beams and columns throughout its interior. These original structural elements proved far more captivating than the apartment’s existing interior, and IOA’s subsequent intervention sought to enhance their prominence.
Work began by stripping the old apartment back to its basic shell and exposing the dramatic geometry of the concrete beams. A number of spaces – including a TV room, two bedrooms, separate family and guest bathrooms, a utility room and an adaptable guest bedroom – were then “inserted” into this hollow shell.
These inserts came in the form of numerous bespoke joinery pieces, designed with a light touch and simple smooth finishes to contrast with, and hence emphasise, the strength of the textured concrete structure. By stopping these joinery inserts short of the overhead beams, the architects expressed them as something secondary to the structure. It was then possible to step these partitions back at high level to align with concrete beam junctions. This enabled the creation of a suitable layout in plan while ensuring that full acoustic separation was achieved in a way that respected the complex soffit geometry. Despite their simple expression, the joinery pieces house a wealth of concealed functions including fold out beds, integrated radiators, storage units, kitchen appliances, glazed screens, curtain recesses, sliding partitions and the entire family bathroom.
In the living area a bespoke island kitchen was introduced to provide a focal point for activity within a large open plan space. A suspended aluminium profile provided functional downlighting while simultaneously uplighting the concrete soffit to create a comfortable warm atmosphere, giving the clients the flexibility they require.
In combination, the project’s lighting, tones and textures collude to create a series of tranquil domestic spaces amidst the bustle of central London.
Photos: Jim Stephenson
59BTP-House is an additions and alterations project on an existing home, carried out by architecture studio ONG&ONG, located in Bukit Timah, Singapore. The owner’s father built the original house and the building was in an awkward position on the plot.
From the architect: According to the brief, the client wanted to have two master bedrooms along with four bedrooms – this required additional floor area as the original house area could not comfortably fit in the extra rooms.
However, the architects resolved to make use of the existing structure and maintain its orientation by simply adding an additional volume to accommodate the extra bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms.
The finished work is a successful amalgamation of the old house – with its 1950s look – and the new wing that closely follows the original structure whilst suitably updating it according to modern architectural trends.
For example, a stonewall in the original house was replaced with a concrete wall to give it a more modern finish whilst still staying true to the spirit of the earlier design.
Wherever possible, the original material was retained, such as the plaster that forms the upper levels. Also, the designers tried to maintain a similar look, so the new structure replicates the design of the old house by keeping the top volume bigger than the first floor, which is recessed.
Visually, the house appears to be a new building, yet there are scattered elements that make the older house recognizable even within this newer build, and that was essentially what the client desired for his childhood home.
Photos: Derek Swalwell
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