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  • This curved concrete wall for a beachfront home features a multihued wave design detail that flows horizontally around the room, creating a sense of movement and serenity.
  • A close-up view of the wave design
  • Building the wall required templating and casting over 65 curved pieces. The use of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete reduced the weight. After demolding, the pieces were diamond polished, then sealed.
  • Assembling the wall sections required accommodating wiring for the sound system, a flat-screen TV, and recessed lighting behind concrete nosing on the walnut shelving.
  • Concrete countertops with integral glass-front sinks and cabinet surrounds add elegance to this remodeled master bathroom, which also features acid-stained concrete floors.
  • The bathroom’s concrete soaking tub has a poured-in-place raised deck that was stained to match the floor. The stones on the wall flow like a dry mountain streambed to the drain channel around the tub, which is filled with the same stone. Designed for two people, the tub features a contoured back and armrests.
  • An overall view of the bathroom countertops, tub and stained floor. Although the room incorporates a variety of materials and textures, strict adherence to a limited color palette tied all the elements together
  • A close-up view of the glass-front sink and concrete cabinet surround. The sink has angled dados formed into the sides to allow the sheet glass to slide into place.

In the kitchen, it may be possible to be both the chief cook and bottle washer, but when it comes to producing great decorative concrete, it's difficult to wear the hat of both designer and executor. The best decorative concrete work is often a collaboration between an interior designer who understands how to optimize the aesthetic versatility of concrete and a skilled contractor who is able to execute the designer's vision.

That perfect pairing of talents is demonstrated in these two residential projects, featuring the design work of Alicia Brewin and the artistry of Todd Crouch of Crouch Concrete. In one, concrete was used to create a beautiful curved wall that evokes the ocean's waves, and for the other, concrete was used for the tub and countertops in a luxury bathroom. Both projects were created using glass-fiber-reinforced concrete.

"Alicia really enjoys using concrete in unexpected ways, achieving an elegance and refinement that you might not expect from a humble material like concrete. She seeks input from the craftsmen that work for her, is open to ideas and suggestions, and allows a fair amount of leeway when it comes to execution. One of the nice things about working for her is that you feel like you are a part of the design process but, in the end, the project achieves her vision," says Crouch.

Wave wallThe curved concrete wall was custom made for the living room of a beachfront home overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Originally, the wall was going to be built of stone, but Brewin wanted to use a material that was less rustic and would create the feel of understated elegance. "Alicia wanted the concrete to embody an organic quality that captured some of the feel and movement of the water just outside the home's large picture windows. At the same time, the concrete needed to have a restraint and elegance in keeping with the rest of the home's interior,” says Crouch. “She asked me to come look at the project and discuss whether or not concrete could achieve the look she was after. Knowing she is always looking for something fresh and new, I created a sample I thought might intrigue her, with flowing waves that ran through a textured surface.”

By creating a multihued wave design detail that flows horizontally around the room, Crouch was able to create a sense of movement and serenity and tie the interior to the stunning location of the home. However, the project proved to be one of the most challenging he had undertaken to date. The curved wall is approximately 28 feet long and is composed of 65 individual pieces, with the concrete sections interlocking with dark walnut. The wave detail was created using sandblasting stencils and different colors of face coat. For each piece, the starting and stopping points for the design were carefully transferred to the next piece so that the pattern would appear to flow continuously. In addition to the wave design element, the forms for the curved wall sections were sponged with baking soda to create a corral-like texture and broadcast with silver-coated glass dust to create a bit of sparkle.

“The whole project is a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle laid out on a curve. In addition to the design complexity, the fact that wood and concrete move differently had to be taken into consideration,” says Crouch.

Since the cabinets and shelving were of walnut, working closely with the furniture maker was vital. In addition, wiring for the sound system, a large flat-screen TV, and recessed lighting behind the concrete nosing on the walnut shelving added to the complexity of the design.

“The layout and design of all the details was very much a collaborative effort between me and the furniture maker, Anton Schmidt. In my mind, this project really highlighted for me the value of maintaining good working relationships with other tradesmen,” says Crouch.

Luxury master bathroom The other collaborative project, which involved remodeling a master bath in an architect-designed, home in Port Townsend, Wash., presented its own unique challenges. The home already featured acid-stained concrete floors and a board-formed concrete fireplace surround, so the goal was to create an enlarged, luxurious master bathroom that felt like it belonged. The work entailed the casting of a custom concrete tub with integral heating elements and a pair of concrete countertops with integral glass-front sinks and cabinet surrounds. In addition, Crouch poured a 1 ½-inch-thick concrete floor over the existing subfloor and acid stained it to harmonize with the acid-stained floors throughout the rest of the house. The tub also has a poured-in-place raised deck that was stained to match the floor and incorporates a functional and aesthetically pleasing overflow trough filled with stones.

“As concrete was already a defining element, its use in the bathroom made perfect sense. Alicia had to give it her own twist, of course. Rather than going with a rough, highly textured, raw look, she chose to take the tub and countertops in a different direction, creating a very elegant look,” says Crouch.

The geometry for the tub was designed on a computer, and a foam concrete mold was produced from these files on a CNC machine. “Since the outside of the tub would be below the tub deck, we were able to spray a face coat on the mold and follow with fiber-rich backer coats. This process enabled us to achieve a very clean, uniform appearance while keeping the thickness to a minimum, greatly reducing the overall weight,” says Crouch.

The vertical surfaces of the cabinet surrounds, although left with unfilled voids, is polished concrete. “Using concrete to surround the cabinets, I think, was a stroke of brilliance. The overall effect is an unbroken rhythm,” says Crouch.

Read about another project completed by Crouch and Brewin: Concrete Vessel Tubs and Embossed Wall Express Concrete's Full Potential.

Materials used Mix design raw materials: Delta Performance Products
Concrete sealer: ICT Counterhard and FirstSealZ, Blue Concrete
Integral pigments: Davis Colors

Concrete contractor Todd Crouch
Crouch Concrete Inc., Sequim, Wash.

Interior designer Alicia Brewin
Alicia Interiors, Port Angeles, Wash.

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