Back in 2017 Jim Sanguedolce got to the last page of his August/September issue of Concrete Decor and saw the Final Pour pictures of a custom stamped concrete dock. It looked like it was floating over a lake … and it made a lasting impression. Right then and there, the owner of the Concrete Engraving Co. in Huntsburg, Ohio, knew he had to build one of his own.
So, he reached out to Reuben Keim, the fellow concrete contractor in Ohio who built the dock along with his team at Keim Concrete. In turn, Keim invited Sanguedolce and his wife to see the dock and shared information on how to start the project and form things.
“He was extremely helpful with providing me with tips,” Sanguedolce says, “and even rented me some stamps for the project. He took my interest as a huge compliment.”
Which he should have, Sanguedolce adds. As in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Assembling the pieces
Sanguedolce began his concrete dock project back in 2018 when he poured the piers. In 2019, he built the dock and in 2020 finished up the lakeside pavilion.
One of the project’s challenges was its off-the-road location. To get the concrete where it needed to go, MG Concrete Pumping had to pump the ready-mix some 400 feet to reach its destination.
The dock’s circular area is 30 feet in diameter, with a 9-by-50-foot walkway leading to it. Sanguedolce stamped the circle with the Stones of Athens texture. This stamp comprises one of the more intricate patterns found in Brickform’s Paladiano “Wonders of the World” collection.
Accented on each side with Stones of Athens, the walkway that resembles railroad tracks features Butterfield Color’s Nickel Plate Rail Spur stamp. As for the dock and walkway edges, Sanguedolce went with Denali Hammered Edge, a reusable rugged edge liner from Proline.
Lakeside, Sanguedolce built a 20-by-30-foot pavilion he christened the “Dolce Lodge.” In Italian, dolce means sweet, which pretty much describes the outcome of this well-thought out home addition.
“Everyone at the Concrete Engraving Co., including my wife and three kids, put their heart and soul into this project,” that was built with 100,000 pounds of concrete and steel, he says. “A huge thanks to my team for making this a true piece of art that will stand the test of time.”
Building the beverage bunker
As impressive as the concrete dock on the water, the Dolce Lodge emulates the rustic industrial feel Sanguedolce wanted. “The steel was custom fabricated in our shop with real 1-inch-thick rivets welded onto ¼-inch channels placed precisely where saw cuts would have been,” he says.
The crew stamped the concrete floor with Proline’s Timber Plank pattern and textured it with seamless Travertine Coarse skins. They also used a Classic Stone Border from Matcrete to flank the riveted steel dividers and the Travertine areas outside the pavilion.
Originally, Sanguedolce had wanted an 800-pound foundry wheel from Wisconsin as the floor’s focal point. However, it posed too many tripping hazards so he nixed the idea. Instead, he had it mounted over the stone wood-burning fireplace. He needed something else, but what …
He got to thinking how close they were to the lake and how easy it would be to run a drain beneath the pavilion. While surfing the web, he came across Acudor, a company that makes a wide variety of access doors — including practically indestructible floor doors. Moreover, their construction included a pan with wire mesh on the face that could be filled with, say, concrete to blend in with the surroundings.
With that door in place, he could have a tight bunker for beverages, “my own little custom showcase piece,” he says, that would blend right in. And it didn’t disappoint.
“On an 85-degree day on Friday, we’ll still have ice on Sunday morning,” Sanguedolce says of his favorite pavilion perk. Everyone oohs and ahhs over the built-in cooler whenever they first see it opened.
At home and loving it
Above all, Sanguedolce says his biggest challenge was convincing his eight-man crew that they could create something of this magnitude. “We do a lot of flatwork and stamping but we’ve never done anything like this before,” he says. “My guys looked at me like I was crazy.”
Whereas they always take pride in their work, he says, this endeavor was different. “As good as it turned out, we are all pretty thrilled with what you can actually do with concrete.”
Consequently, he says the Dolce Lodge and dock are a welcome addition to his homestead. He enjoys hanging out with family and friends in his new space. Also, more importantly, he says, his kids want to be there and are having fun outdoors with the lake and the fireplace.
The timing for this project’s completion couldn’t have been better, Sanguedolce says. “With the world as crazy as it is now, we don’t mind staying at home.”
It takes a village
The Dolce Lodge and dock were made possible through hard work and supplies from:
- W. Sidley Inc., ready-mix concrete
- Brickform, Stones of Athens stamp
- Butterfield Color, Nickel Plate Rail Spur stamp
- Proline, Reclaimed Timber Plank stamp, seamless Travertine texturing skins and Denali Hammered Edge edge liner
- Matcrete, Classic Stone Border
- Deco-Crete, color hardeners, release and sealer
- MG Concrete Pumping
- Willow Leaf Signs, Dolce Lodge
- Joe Yeaglin of Yeaglin Masonry, stone fireplace and columns
- Acudor, floor door
- And of course, the crew of the Concrete Engraving Co.