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Residential Concrete Project Mimics River Water and Starlight

To compliment the river, Womack installed a piece he calls “the raining tree.” This piece utilized a raw cedar tree trunk running ceiling to floor that was then coated with a glow-in-the-dark (blue) pigment that can’t be seen with the lights on or in day light;

Mark Womack of Monster Constructors in Fort Worth, Texas, inadvertently became something of an expert when two back-to-back clients asked him for concrete work that included fiber optic lights.

For the first of those jobs a residential kitchen, home to wine connoisseurs, was fitted with the couple’s favorite wine bottles that had the center sections cut out and placed in the backsplash areas along with the bottom punts as if stacked. These were then affixed with fiber optic lights shining throughout the backsplashes and countertops.

Running Water and Starlight A “Runaway” of the imagination river through concrete

The second project, which Womack calls “Runaway Bay,” is just that, a runaway of the imagination. Womack and his crew stepped into this job when a remodel contractor’s work just wasn’t quite coming together. He was originally brought in by the owners for concrete countertops, and eventually took over the entire job, which included all the cedar flooring, custom cedar woodwork and redoing work that had been placed previously. For this high-end residential kitchen, the residents said they wanted something “different, fun, crazy and wild” says Womack; “Something that has a “WOW” factor and makes a statement”. Once we identified their mind set we took artistic license and simply got it on and made it happen!

The countertops and backsplashes include fiber optic lighting embedded in them. This couple lives on a lake, so Womack created a flowing river coming in from the back door into and around the kitchen area. This home has a wood subfloor rather than a concrete foundation. Womack laid a plastic mesh down to accept a self-leveling compound then hand-laid it with a concrete micro-topping. “We created a river scene through it with what looks like gorges and rushing water,” says Womack. “When we were staining and sealing it we mixed in a very fine glow-in-the-dark pigment powder and created the river running through the house. When the lights are out they can turn on their fiber optics lighting up like a galaxy of stars, and then when you look down they have their own glow-in-the-dark river scene running through the kitchen.”

To compliment the river, Womack installed a piece he calls “the raining tree.” This piece utilized a raw cedar tree trunk running ceiling to floor that was then coated with a glow-in-the-dark (blue) pigment that can’t be seen with the lights on or in day light; around a timber beam

To compliment the river, Womack installed a piece he calls “the raining tree.” This piece utilized a raw cedar tree trunk running ceiling to floor that was then coated with a glow-in-the-dark (blue) pigment that can’t be seen with the lights on or in day light; 2

For the countertops, concrete was poured around the fiber optic cables that had been placed throughout the mold. Fiber optic cables are small plastic lines with a light source at one end and projecting that light to the opposite end of the cable. “We insert them when we build the mold for the countertop,” explains Womack. “We drill small micro-holes into the melamine board that we’re going to cast on. We’re placing the fiber optic terminations into the little drill holes that we put throughout the concrete countertops and also placed them in the cedar wood bar tops, when we flip them over we have fiber optic ‘whiskers’ that we trim off and then finish the countertops.” The fiber optic lines run inside as well as underneath the countertops and feed into an illuminator that can be configured with a single or multi-color wheel. When the wheel spins, it sends the various different colors to the end terminals. This project had two separate illuminators with multi-color wheels so the effect is different light colors ever changing in different areas of the project as a whole. A total of 720 end light terminals made up this project.

To compliment the river, Womack installed a piece he calls “the raining tree.” This piece utilized a raw cedar tree trunk running ceiling to floor that was then coated with a glow-in-the-dark (blue) pigment that can’t be seen with the lights on or in day light; in a kitchen

LED lights in a concrete countertop

To compliment the river, Womack installed a piece he calls “the raining tree.” This piece utilized a raw cedar tree trunk running ceiling to floor that was then coated with a glow-in-the-dark (blue) pigment that can’t be seen with the lights on or in day light; When the lights are turned off, that glow-in-the-dark pigment lights up and looks like a water fall running down the tree and feeding the glow-in-the-dark river on the floor. “It was a unique project and one that I really liked because they gave me complete artistic license and said ‘go for it,’” Womack says. “When they did that they got the full boat! All the bells and whistles.”

Womack says that when the clients walked in and saw the house with the lights off for the first time, they were speechless. "At first I thought to myself, 'they're not happy!'" he recalls. "But after walking around in silence for a few minutes that seemed like an eternity, they spoke and said, 'WOW, This is totally amazing, we absolutely love it.'" For Womack, these moments are the true rewards. "We get the complete satisfaction of delivering a finished project to a client that totally exceeds any and all expectations, something that money cannot buy," he says. "And that is what we are all about!"

Vibrant red concrete countertops in a kitchen

Vibrant red concrete countertops sporting LED lighting

Red kitchen countertops cast in place with LED lights

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