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Specializing in the design and fabrication of high quality concrete living surfaces and facades, Pourfolio Custom Concrete in San Diego, Calif., was the perfect match for homeowners, Pat and Janet Hoy who wanted to design and install a concrete fireplace in the family room of their Rancho Bernardo home. "Having no experience with concrete, we were uncertain of the possibilities and relied completely on the expertise of the Pourfolio staff," recalls Janet Hoy.

Brandon Cohen, of Pourfolio, submitted photos of the finished fireplace. "We worked with the Hoy's designer, Shonda Dawson, to examine the space for the fireplace and to come up with some ideas," says Cohen. Pourfolio lead designer, Zachary Alan collaborated with the homeowners and Dawson, contemplating a yin-yang design for the fireplace, and finally deciding upon a completely custom hearth and mantel combination.

Creating the FireplaceThe colors for the fireplace were specified by Dawson using paint swatches. The red of the fireplace mantel was custom matched exactly to the color of the front door of the Hoy's home. The gray for the mantel and side panels is a stock color that was, likewise, custom-mixed using integral dry pigments.

The fireplace pieces were precast in Pourfolios 5,500 square foot shop. "We prefer to pour everything face down," explains Cohen. "That way we can get the smoothest surface, and don't have to rely on hand troweling. The hearth was poured 9' 9" long x 25" deep x 6" thick."

For the textured, vertical side panels, Cohen explains, "we created a box at the specified dimensions, 23 1/2" long x 18" wide x 2" thick, and lined the bottom with textured acrylic. Then we poured the concrete into the box." The result was a perfectly sized, textured piece. The red mantel was poured 57" long x 29 1/2" high x 12" deep x 6" thick.

"We apply two hardening treatments, as well as, four sealer treatments using a penetrating sealer," says Cohen. "The client shouldn't have to reseal for a couple of years."

InstallationTo install, the new design required removing built out cabinets, and stripping the drywall down to the studs in the wall. Cohen says, "We teamed with local metal worker, Aaron Durand who came to the site and helped us figure out how to hang it." Sistering another set of studs next to the existing studs, Pourfolio's crew reinforced the wall and bolted brackets, made of 3' x 3" x 3/8" steel flatbar and 1 ½ " square tubing, to the studs. When installed, the tubing stuck out horizontally from the wall.

To hang the pieces, the hearth and mantel were designed with an open space on the inside which slipped over and rested on the tubing from the brackets. The red mantel was also supported by the gray vertical piece below and two extra brackets toward the far end. During installation, the red mantel was positioned above where it needed to finally be set, and was carefully slid into place to set on top of the gray textured piece below it.

"We put cushioning materials between the seams where two pieces of concrete touched together, which helps prevent chipping of edges while the pieces are sitting on each other," says Cohen.

As evident in the images, the fireplace transformed the Hoys family room. Zachary and Brandon were able to design a one-of-a-kind fireplace that balanced expert engineering with a unique artistic look and approach. The fireplace is the focal point of the room and is both an art object as well as a completely functional fireplace, beams Janet Hoy.

Pourfolio Custom Concrete
4149 Cartagena Dr Ste A
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 287-7687 Office
(619) 286-7687 Fax

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