Our main purpose here is to produce a floor that both pleases and represents our client. Some floors include art or other graphic elements, but most are simple… however, even the simple floors can titillate and provide surprises! Most often, these are surprises that don’t “hit you over the head.” In other words, they are there, but somewhat hidden in the layers. All of our floors are nuanced and multi-layered. These are surprises that provide opportunities for discovery, for our clients and their guests, over the lifetime of the floor. Our floors are both tough and timeless! Sensory concrete, by the concretist, is something you’ll never tire of! Also, we often produce floors that are seamless… where inside runs out, and visa versa. Our floors and paving both wear and weather well!
The project started as a simple stain job for a 600sqft multi-purpose recreation space floor in a family’s Sun Valley, Idaho home. One of the color references we gave the client was the background greens and browns in a small abstract watercolor painting which happened to be in the studio when we met. The client loved the background colors but also asked if we could transfer the whole painting to the floor. The graphic elements worked well with the space, and we enhanced the original design with textural details in skimcoat and scoring. Small details from the main design were spread discreetly around adjoining areas of the house to provide continuity.
The floor of this Miller+Hull designed Seattle home is an important plane, a composed block of form and color integral to the architecture and the art that composes space.
“Part of what’s so great about concrete is wanting to see where it, and its place in the construction process takes you. It’s about the surprise!
– Sharon C., homeowner / designer
This home, designed in the spirit of a Native American hogan, is round, its living spaces radiating out from a central hearth to the outdoors, and to expansive views of the Mayacamas mountains.
The living room floor above transitions to the outdoors, to a preexisting patio with a rigid, saw-cut grid pattern, but also to the central core of the home and a preexisting, organically conceived floor reminiscent of rock strata. To reconcile the two, we developed a design based on simple leaves, that we heavily stylized, reduced to basic geometric forms, and placed in a radiating grid. The forms and grid undulate, surfacing in areas, dropping from view in others. The shapes change in color and intensity relative to the angle in which they are viewed.
When asked why they chose concrete as a prominent material, Ace Architects David Weingarten and Lucia Howard referred to its historical significance in California architecture. Great examples of board-formed concrete show-up between the teens and the thirties, and concrete floors were common in homes by Bernard Maybeck and in bay regional architecture in general. It’s the historical connection to those kinds of places that prompted David to include exposed concrete as a material in his own home. “A lot of people wonder when you are going to put something on top of that and finish that. They don’t make that kind of connection, but I make that connection. The design of this place in general is to make those connections.”
They contacted the conctretist regarding a cover-up of a poorly installed slab with both excessive cracking, and tooled control joints that were very noticeably askew. We were able to make sense of the jointing issue by filling them and turning them into broader skimmed decorative borders, correct and perpendicular, at 90 degrees. As for the cracking, we helped the David and Lucia see that they were really a natural expression of the concrete. They embraced it as a gift, and we, in fact, filled the cracks with a grout colored with powdered bronze, making them a feature.