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  • A concrete bartop, with curves formed by custom-cut foam, looks like a large, L-shaped puzzle piece. A glass top permits full view of the base while contrasting beautifully with the concrete.
  • A Venetian-plaster-like mixture accented with metallic and pearlescent additives was applied to the base to add depth, richness, and a reflective sheen.

The challengeThe owners of an older, outdated house wanted to transform it into a modern, customized home. They enjoyed art, and had many abstract pieces on display throughout the house. For the bartop, they wanted something that would go with their artwork, but be functional as well.

Design goals"The homeowners wanted something modern, but with a strong feel to it. At the same time they didn't want it overpowering the limited area that we had for the project," says Curtis Cloos of Cloos Effects LLC, which specializes in cast concrete moldings, countertops, water features, synthetic stonework and other custom products. "For the base of the countertop, we came up with a design that looks like a large, smooth puzzle piece, but in an L-shape. We finished off the top with an abstract-shaped piece of custom-cut glass, supported by angle iron. This allowed it to be used as a bar, but you would also be able to admire the smooth shapes of the concrete base."

Secrets to success

  • By making the bar in an L shape, Cloos was able to securely anchor the piece to two walls as well as the floor. The long leg of the L is about 11 feet and the shorter leg is 4 ½ feet. The height is 36 inches.

  • Expanded-polystyrene foam, cut using a CNC machine, was used to form all the edges and lower curves of the concrete base. Then drywall was used to shape the form. "This allowed us to fine-tune the top shape much easier than just using plywood," says Cloos. "We backed up the drywall with plywood, but only to give the form strength while curing. Foam and rebar were then added to the core for support." Anchors set in the top of the form were later used to secure the glass.

  • After pouring the concrete and allowing it to cure, Cloos ground the entire piece and sanded it down to a medium finish. Then a custom mix of cement, integral pigment and acrylic was applied as an overlay to give the base the appearance of Venetian plaster. To add visual depth, he used a metallic, pearlescent, and clear-acrylic cream mixture. "This mixture was trowel applied to add depth and later burnished with a stainless steel trowel that gives it a very reflective and rich look," says Cloos.

Making decorative concrete easy on the budgetCloos has noticed that the poor economy has made homeowners more frugal with their money, and he is doing what he can to make decorative concrete easier on the pocketbook. "Because of the economy, it really pushes us to be more creative with the budget allowed for each project. We are able to make pieces that homeowners and designers just love, and within a smart budget. The pieces become the focal point of any area where they are installed."

Cloos also stresses that decorative concrete is a value-added product that makes it well worth the investment. "For their hard-earned dollar, people want something that adds value and character and is long lasting," he says.

ContractorCloos Effects LLC
Rock Creek, Ohio

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