Concrete countertops have become the rage in areas ranging from Malibu and Beverly Hills in California, to Omaha, Nebraska, and Boston, Massachusetts. From coast-to-coast these fabulous countertops are growing rapidly in popularity.
Why the interest in concrete as a countertop material?
There are many reasons buyers choose concrete countertops. But most of these reasons fall into two central categories. First, each concrete countertop produced is an original, a craft product. “Many buyers are tired of cookie-cutter mold countertops that you see at the home improvement warehouses, and in their friends’ and neighbors’ homes,” according to Bill Guthro of Distinctive Concrete.
Concrete’s creative possibilities are endless. Each concrete artisan approaches his or her craft personally, achieving a distinct look by building custom forms, developing special casting techniques, and using proprietary materials and coloring methods. “Where natural stone limits the customers to the patterns left by nature, concrete allows for a variety of custom finishes,” notes Craig Smith, owner of DEX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Adds Rod Woods of Patina Studios in Nebraska, “With concrete you have flexibility and an ability to be creative with design. You aren’t tied to color, shape, or style — your creativity is not limited.”
The ability to be creative with the design means the design process is an interactive one between the buyer and the artisan — and this interactivity is the second great attraction of concrete countertops. In the computer-pushing world, there are not a lot of creative outlets; concrete countertops gives buyers something they can put their name on, something in their house that they helped create. Buyers can pick from an endless array of colors and edge options. Some buyers want metals, glass, tiles, seashells, broken bottles, or other items embedded into the concrete. Drain boards and hot pads are popular options. Surface finishes are offered ranging from high gloss, smooth as glass, or with various texturing or veining.
According to Kaldari owner Gary Simpson, who works out of Laguna Beach in California, interior designers in Southern California say that granite and other stone has become common — even passé — in high-end homes. Concrete countertops are catching on because of the mushrooming trend toward building with natural materials: stone, rock, and concrete. With modern methods of staining and treating these materials, there is no sacrifice in beauty in selecting these products.
“People are after a different look. Something that has more character and craftsmanship, and is more of a natural component,” said Simpson in a Los Angeles Times article.
Many residents in California’s Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Francisco Bay Areas have always been known for putting their own unique spin on things — whether it’s the way they dress, the way they design their home, or the way they express their love of the nearby seaside.
So it’s no surprise that concrete is quickly emerging as the product of choice for high-end homeowners who want a countertop or kitchen remodel that symbolizes their own brand of individuality.
“After 20-plus years of doing concrete, I know what the material can do — it’s open to the imagination, it’s limitless,” says Dave Pettigrew of Diamond D Concrete in Capitola, California.
Homeowners throughout the Chicago area are striving for more creativity in the design and makeup of their kitchens and bathrooms like never before. One of the places they go to bring that innovative edge to life is Soupcan Inc., the area’s leading concrete countertop manufacturer.
Popular colors seem to change from year to year, says owner Gerry Santora. But Chicago homeowners frequently request dijon, charcoal, slate, and bone. Others go for bolder hues. “We’ve had a lot of requests for blue… People usually react when they see a color like that somewhere and want it for themselves,” he said.
Concrete Countertops: an original, craft product with an interactive design process. This is a combination that is sure to keep growing in popularity.