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  • A concrete floor stenciled with swirls of color is one of the main attractions in Chef Mike Isabella’s new Kapnos restaurant in Washington, DC.
  • The floor is located in the main dining room, which wraps around an open kitchen and features eclectic chandeliers made from wineglasses.
  • Two colors of stain were used to evoke wisps of smoke. The swirled motif was created using 117 stencils.
  • Another view of the floor.

The Kapnos restaurant, which opened in July 2013 in Washington, DC, has become an instant hot spot. The 160-seat restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Northern Greece and is the third DC restaurant owned by Mike Isabella, a former contestant on television’s Top Chef. Part of its appeal, aside from the fabulous food, is the décor, which is inspired by the rustic mountainous regions of Greece. Chef Isabella worked closely with the interior design team of Streetsense, Bethesda, Md., to develop the concept for the 6,000-square-foot space, which includes a 38-seat private dining room, bar, main dining room, a recessed dining area, a 10-seat communal chef’s table, and an open kitchen showcasing whole animals roasting over open flames.

The stunning décor is a mix of earth tones and lush jewel tone accents in eggplant and burnt orange. Because Kapnos is the Greek term for “smoke,” swirls of color evoking wisps of smoke are stenciled onto the concrete floors.

“Isabella and the architect wanted a design that connected the whole space and had the look of natural fading. The architect came up with the unique swirled motif, aiming for something that wouldn't easily be copied in the DC market,” says Devin Leach of Hyde Concrete, a contractor specializing in decorative and architectural concrete work.

The stenciled footprint covers 1,650 square feet of floor in the restaurant’s high-end dining area. Because the concrete was new, Hyde’s crew went over the floor with grinders to create the right surface profile for staining, stenciling and sealing. After grinding and cleaning the concrete, they began the painstaking process of applying the stenciled design.

“We used a total of 117 stencils that were on average 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide,” says Leach. “We worked closely with Modello Designs in California to make sure the stencil was scaled to fit the floor while honoring the design.”

Because the swirled motif was created using two different colors of stain, the stencils were applied in layers. The crew then used an HVLP sprayer to apply the stains. To produce the desired faded effect and to speed application, Hyde used H&C semi-transparent water-based stains, which require no rinsing, mopping, or neutralizing. After all work was complete, the floor was protected with two coats of sealer.

Materials used Stencils: Modello Designs
Concrete stains: H&C Semi-Transparent Decorative Stain, in Obsidian and Henna
Concrete sealer: National Polymers Water-Based Epoxy (as a primer) and National Polymers Polyaspartic Coating (as a topcoat)

Concrete contractor Hyde Concrete, Annapolis, Md.

Architect Streetsense, Bethesda, Md.

See other projects completed by Hyde Concrete:
Divine Intervention in Concrete Overlay Design
Concrete Pavement Features Multi-Colored Stamped Arches

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