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  • Natural, unadorned concrete walls and floors give this contemporary home a clean, sophisticated look. (Photo courtesy of Zephyr Partners.)
  • The concrete floors throughout the home have a natural, light-reflective sheen produced by light polishing. No integral color or stain was used. (Photo courtesy of Zephyr Partners.)
  • The home’s concrete masonry walls were left a natural gray and sealed with a water-based sealer. Hand-held grinders were used to smooth the rough surface. (Photo courtesy of Zephyr Partners.)
  • Disappearing door systems connect the interior and outdoor living spaces, creating a seamless transition. (Photo courtesy of Zephyr Partners.)
  • The intimate outdoor living area features concrete garden walls with integral planter boxes, a bench, and an 8-foot-tall concrete fireplace, all given a rough board-formed finish.
  • A closer view of the garden walls and their board-formed finish.

Some of the most stunning concrete projects we've seen on The Concrete Network have taken a “less is more” approach by embracing the beauty of natural concrete. This project is certainly no exception. Located in the beach community of Luecadia, Calif., this newly built contemporary home features polished masonry interior walls and concrete floors throughout and an outdoor living space created with natural board-formed concrete. Disappearing door systems connect the home’s interior and outdoor living spaces, creating a seamless transition.

“We were originally contracted by the architect — Zephyr Partners — to grind and polish the new concrete foundation slab,” says concrete contractor Andy Espinoza of Envision Concrete. “After establishing a relationship with Zephyr, they wanted us to perform more work at the residence.”

Along with the concrete flooring, Zephyr decided to use unfinished concrete masonry walls to establish a luxurious, modern, industrial feel. “Zephyr wanted a finish that would be easily cleaned and wouldn't collect dust. Because the natural finish of the block walls was very porous and rough, we ground and honed the walls with hand-held grinders and polishers. Our initial cut was done with 50/60 metal-bond diamond abrasives followed by a 50- and 100-grit resin-bond diamond abrasives,” says Espinoza. After the honing process, the surface was left a natural gray and sealed with a water-based sealer.

The beautiful, unadorned concrete flooring was chosen for its natural sheen and low maintenance. No integral color or stain was used. “We did a wet grind with 30/40 metal-bond diamond abrasives as our initial cut. We then followed with 60/80 metal bonds and 100 to 1500 resin-bond diamond abrasives, along with two applications of densifier/surface hardener. After the last pass of 1500 resins, we applied three coats of a stain-protectant sealer and then burnished the floor with a 3000-grit polishing pad,” Espinoza explains.

The use of natural concrete extends to the outdoor living space, which was designed by architect Mark Gross and Associates and Gillespie Moody Patterson. Envision Concrete created an intimate outdoor room featuring concrete garden walls, planter boxes, an integral concrete bench, and an 8-foot-tall concrete fireplace. “Since the house is located across the street from the beach, they wanted to go with a more organic approach. Zephyr Partners asked us to give the outdoor concrete a board-formed finish. The process was long and tedious and involved a lot of detail work,” says Espinoza. (Learn more about board-formed concrete.)

To produce the rough-sawn finish, Envision Concrete used CDX plywood forms and a natural gray concrete mix, but Espinoza admits that they encountered some problems with the planter and fireplace sections. “After stripping the forms three days later, some of the finish came off with the form panel. To remedy the situation, we used a stampable overlay mix and applied it vertically to the surface and then stamped it to match the existing board-formed finish,” he says.

Equipment and materials used
Water-based wall sealer: PowerGuard 818 semi-gloss sealer
Floor polisher: Scanmaskin Combiflex 500
Concrete densifier: Diteq Di-Hard
Floor sealer: Ameripolish stain-protectant sealer
Stampable overly mix: Concrete Solutions Stamp-Top

Concrete contractor:
Andy Espinoza
Envision Concrete, Escondido, Calif.

See another project completed by this contractor: Concrete Microtopping Transforms an Old Horse Barn

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