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  • This basement entertaining area, with a wine room in the background, is the perfect retreat for sipping and savoring. The rustic concrete table mimics rough-cut wood planking. The 5 x 12-foot size allows for ample seating, including cozy lovebird settees at each end.
  • Custom integral bar sink, with a cream finish and integral backsplash.
  • The concrete serving counter was given Fu Tung Cheng's signature "torn-paper edge" to mimic water and a shoreline, giving the illusion that the swan is floating on a pond.
  • A close-up of the 4-inch table edge with bark detailing. The satin hand-waxed finish gives the table subtle light reflectivity to minimize glare.
  • A view of the overall back bar, with symmetrical work areas flanking a center serving counter.
  • Concrete plinths were added to raise the height of the table to 36 inches.

When the Porfidos wanted to create a unique basement entertaining area in their New Jersey home, they had some stringent demands. They wanted the space to function as both as wine cellar and tasting room, with ample seating for guests and a serving bar. They also planned to clad the entire basement in reclaimed wood, and they wanted to use materials and colors that would harmonize with the rustic décor. Their interior designer, Dean Zisa of Sage Design Studio, Chester, N.J., knew that in the hands of a creative contractor, concrete would be the perfect material for the room’s wine tasting table, bar sink and countertops. And that’s how JM Lifestyles, a company that specializes in unique concrete applications, became involved in the project. They worked closely with Sage Design to execute the homeowners’ vision.

“Dean is an excellent designer and works well in concrete,” says Jeff Kudrick, project manager of JM Lifestyles. “The color scheme he chose was a muted gray/brown. It went well with the reclaimed barn wood the client wanted to clad the entire basement in. They wanted a product that allowed a fluid transition between their standard materials.”

The focal point of the room is the large 5x12-foot concrete wine tasting table, which looks exactly like rough-sawn wood planking with hand-hammered iron dovetails. The concrete serving bar and integral sink were cast in a dark cream color and given a subtle matte finish. “The whole room has continuity of color and balance for entertaining, with a well-crafted color palette of all the accessories and finishes,” says Kudrick.

For the tabletop, JM used their proprietary WoodForm mold system and coloration process to mimic random-size wood planking with bark edge detailing. WoodForm was developed to create a product that looks and feels just like wood, but offers the superior performance of concrete. “This process was created during three years of research and development and is very involved, from the mold production to the coloration and sealing process. All these components are vital to having a system that is durable yet very repairable,” says Kudrick.

The table legs also feature a unique concrete design element, inspired by a salvaged antique plinth block from a 200-year-old barn that was on the property. “The best part of this table is that the height was a mistake. The client ordered chairs for a 36-inch table height, and the table was spec’d for a 30-inch height. We decided to add a concrete plinth block as a new element to support the steel table legs, and it transformed the whole design,” says Kudrick.

The concrete sink and drop front is cast as one piece in a custom mold with a removable face panel so the face mix could be sprayed on for color continuity. The concrete serving counter was given Fu Tung Cheng's signature torn-paper edge to replicate water and a shoreline, giving the illusion that the swan centerpiece is floating on a pond.

For the concrete finishes, JM used a combination of a water-based polyurethane in a matte finish and hand-waxed surfaces. “This combination allows for superior stain resistance, low maintenance and ease of repairability,” says Kudrick. “The waxed finish gives a tangibility and realism over using a plain sealer."

One of the reasons concrete was chosen for this project is that it could be customized to interface seamlessly with the wood cabinetry. “The best part of Dean’s designs is the creative layering of the cabinet spaces. No continuous surfaces or boxy continuous lines. The standard cabinets are stacked and staggered to look like fine furniture and creative spaces,” says Kudrick.

Materials UsedGFRC concrete casting mix and face mix: Surecrete Xtreme Series Precast Mix and GFRC Face Mix
Polyurethane sealer: Surecrete XS-327
Coloring agents: Surecrete integral pigments, Surecrete Eco-Stain, Surecrete powder release
Custom sink mold: Infinicrete
Table mold: WoodForm, JM Lifestyles

Concrete Contractor Jeff Kudrick
JM Lifestyles LLC, Randolph, N.J.


Interior Designer Dean Zisa
Sage Design Studio, Chester, N.J.

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