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  • The concrete floors throughout the first level of The River Lodge on the Susquehanna were seeded with local river rock to replicate the nearby riverbed. Much of the stone was hand-picked by the homeowner.
  • To take full advantage of concrete’s thermal properties, the homeowner had the floor slab installed over an insulated foam panel decking system topped with radiant in-floor heating. This will save energy and dramatically reduce his heating costs.
  • Another view of the floor. The larger aggregate was placed by hand to help define pathways leading from one room to another.
  • A close-up of the decorative exposed river rock.
  • A spectacular view of the Susquehanna River can be seen from the home’s stamped concrete driveway, which features a rustic seamless stone texture.
  • Concrete with exposed river rock aggregate was used for the home’s patios and front and rear entryways.
  • Nothing went to waste on this project. The homeowner cut the 10x10-foot mockups made for the concrete floor into several pieces to build a picnic table (shown here) and outdoor countertop (shown in next photo).
  • The concrete countertop is installed on stone pillars made by the homeowner.
  • A closeup of the picnic table surface, showing the exposed river rock.

The Damgaard home, located in Harrisburg, Pa., just steps away from the Susquehanna River, seems to be a natural extension of the river itself. Its decorative concrete floors covering the entire first floor are teeming with local river rock, exposed by polishing to resemble the Susquehanna riverbed. The patios and front walkway are also exposed river rock. And the concrete driveway was stamped with a heavy stone texture to look like natural river-eroded stone.

Aptly named The River Lodge on the Susquehanna, the home uses environmentally friendly materials and construction techniques throughout and was awarded a LEED Gold certification, making it the first LEED for Homes certified residence in Central Pennsylvania. The use of concrete contributed significantly to achieving LEED requirements for green building construction. But it was the versatility and thermal properties of concrete that convinced homeowner Jens Damgaard to use the material for his home.

"He chose concrete due to LEED points and the custom creativity to replicate a river bottom," says Abner Peachey of Rosebud Concrete, a local contractor specializing in stamped and polished concrete. Damgaard hand-picked many of the stones embedded in the floor from the river running right in front of the home. The larger stones had to be laid by hand as the floor was being placed because they were too big for the concrete pump to handle. The floors were also seeded with recycled glass.

“We hand seeded the 3- to 6-inch river rock to achieve the pathway into the kitchen and living room. The concrete mix design also contained decorative river rock, using a blend of 3/8- and 1-inch aggregate," says Peachey. To mimic the murky color of a riverbed, Rosebud integrally colored the concrete with a liquid admixture in a pumpernickel shade. The aggregate was then exposed by grinding and polishing to bring the riverbed to life.

The home’s 1,900 square feet of exposed-aggregate patios and walkways also contain local river rock, as well as 50% recycled material, including slag and fly ash. The concrete was left a natural gray, and the decorative aggregate was exposed with a surface retarder, followed by application of a clear acrylic sealer. The 2,000-square-foot stamped concrete driveway was integrally colored with a Champagne pigment. During stamping, the stone pattern was topically enhanced with a coal-colored powdered release agent and a mocha antiquing wash to mimic natural river stone.

For more information about this unique LEED Gold home, visit The River Lodge on the Susquehanna website at www.susquehannariverlodge.com.

Materials used Integral color: Rheocolor L liquid coloring admixture, from Pennsy Supply
Insulated decking system: Nudura LiteDeck, from Manning Materials
Retarder: Aggresol-S, from Surface Koatings
Patio sealer: Kingdom Cure acrylic sealer, from Kingdom Products
Powder release: Kingdom Products release agent
Antiquing wash: EZ-Tique, from Proline
Driveway sealer: Clear Guard PRO 350, from Butterfield Color

Contractor James Peachey, owner
Rosebud Concrete, Myerstown, Pa.

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