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Concrete Kitchen with a Granite Island

Kitchen with a countertop made of concrete and an island.
Another Honorable Mention winner from the 2010 Concrete Countertop Design Competition.

Sculptural Effects Unlimited, Hurst, Texas
Project: Renick Kitchen Replacement, Colleyville Texas

The artisan says: This was a complete kitchen replacement. As with most of my projects, I was both the contractor and the designer.

Right at the start, we decided that the focal point of the kitchen would be the island. At that time we were unsure about what material we would use for the island top, so we went on a quest. We spent several days visiting virtually all of the natural stone distributors in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We talked about concrete too, but we weren't ready to make that choice at that time. Finally, we were in a warehouse full of slabs and there it was!

Everything progressed smoothly. I designed the island to fit the granite slab and then the rest of the kitchen to fit the island. We now arrived at a new problem -- what to do with the rest of the countertops.

We had already seen all the natural stone in the area, and we knew there was nothing that would work with the island the way we wanted, so the answer was relatively simple: Concrete.

The difficult part was that I needed to design a countertop for the rest of the kitchen that would compliment the island but not overpower it. With that in mind, I have created a concrete top that is reminiscent of the island but more pastel in nature, using the same colors, but having enough of its own identity to keep it from looking like a bad copy.

I poured the tops directly on top of the cabinets. The backsplash was poured outside and then installed later. I inlaid scraps from the island alongside the sink and the stove, and used some landscape gravel I picked up at Home Depot to help frame those areas. For the rest of the mix I used some integral color along with three different grades of marble aggregate.

After it was poured and cured, I ground down the surface, beveled the edges and polished the surface. After that came the concrete dyes. Those were new for me -- very much like watercolors once you start to work them on the surface.

After the dyes there was more polishing, then sealing etc., and it was done.

It seems strange to me to be entering an artistic competition when the piece I am entering is so restrained. One of the most difficult things for me, when I was working with the dyes, was to hold myself back. It is so easy to be bold with the colors, but it was necessary to make the concrete tops more subdued than the island. I am very pleased with the final result, the way everything seems to work well together. The continuity of the colors and the lines and shapes in the concrete and the granite compliment each other very well.

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