Concrete_Homewares4

Concrete finishing; accessories

Your concrete floor has cured and the furniture is back in place. But are you happy with the overall look? Homeowners and budding interior designers are more ‘on point’ with decorating trends thanks to home renovation television shows dominating the news. Concrete isn’t just for driveways, pathways, and wall rendering anymore. It’s the cement icing on your cake.

 

DIY art

If your concrete finishing includes a wall rendering, this is a great canvas to get creative on. Make sure you lay down a tarpaulin or some kind of floor covering you don’t mind getting messy. It would be a shame ordering a polished concrete floor and then you promptly spill paint on it!

 

Homewares

This gives ‘concrete finishing’ a new meaning! Topping off your redecoration with some matching cement accessories will help the house/office look worthy of an Instagram share. Industrial style accessories don’t look out of place when there’s an exposed wall and polished concrete floor in the mix. The industrial style market has exploded in recent years, offering homewares like:

  • Bowls
  • Terrariums
  • Vases
  • Tables (coffee, dining, bedside)
Check out stores like Etsy for concrete accessories to match your new look

Check out stores like Etsy for concrete accessories to match your new look

Outdoor furniture

Concrete finishing outside doesn’t have to stop at your patio. Cement furniture and accessories will add that something extra. Everyone needs a place to sit and kick up their heels. Concrete benches and chair frames are durable and stylish, just don’t forget the cushions!

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Another benefit is that cement has better weather resistance compared to traditional wood furniture. You don’t need to worry too much about leaving them out in the elements. Just a decent pressure hosing every few months will keep them clean.

Naturally, you’ll research concrete finishing options for your driveway, interior floors, and other areas before reaching out to your contractor. Options include exposed aggregate, polished, acid staining, coloured, and more. While we get pouring, you go shopping!

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Using concrete resurfacing and other tricks to revamp a tired space

Your home or office is looking dated and you know it’s time for an overhaul. But you don’t have the money for a full-on renovation. We have a few alternatives that will save you the cash while still giving you an amazing result.

 

Concrete resurfacing

This time tested method makes tired old surfaces look brand new. The surface layer is scrubbed/sanded and a new layer of concrete replaces it. The contractor can go through the options with you. A polished or acid-stained finish is a popular concrete resurfacing request. It’s a great neutral palette for you to dress the room up as you like.

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Modern home foundations are made of concrete. If you have a carpeted floor, that’s what you’ll see when it gets peeled back. Concrete resurfacing will brighten up the dull layer considerably and cost you less money.

 

Scrub-a-dub

Believe it or not, you don’t always need paint to improve your walls. The surface looks grimey because a layer of dust and dirt has built up over the years. A simple way to brighten things up is to break open the sugar soap and wipe down the walls. If you do end up painting anyway, this is a necessary step.

 

Homewares

After the concrete resurfacing, you’re left with a beautiful floor. Why not get some homewares to match it? The ‘industrial style’ trend has exploded in recent years. Think exposed brick/rendered walls, cement floors, and old metal pipes used in light fittings.

Check out stores like Etsy for concrete accessories to match your new look

Check out stores like Etsy for concrete accessories to match your new look

Concrete homewares are easy to find in an interior design shop or online. There’s so many to pick from it’ll be hard to decide. You can get shelves and coffee tables, all the way down to paperweights.

 

Declutter

This is one of the most inexpensive things you can do to revamp a tired space. You’ll be surprised at how much useless junk takes up the shelf/cupboard/garage. How long has it been since you used that tennis racquet or the surfboard? Get ruthless and start cleaning! It’s hard work but the satisfaction at all the extra space is worth it. The charity shop will appreciate the donation, too.

Clean up. Seriously.

Clean up. Seriously.

Get the professionals to put up the foundations

How to stay sane during your renovation

Before the renovation starts, you’re seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses because you’re so excited about living in a ‘new’ home. But reality will hit hard if you’re not prepared. Tasks that come with renovation like the heavy lifting, concrete cutting, and the noise the power tools let loose is enough to drive anyone to breaking point. That’s why we compiled this list on how to stay sane.

 

 

  • Plan A, B and C

We don’t live in a perfect world and there’s always going to be unexpected obstacles  during a renovation. This can be anything from busted pipes to uneven ground. This is going to stress you out if you’re not prepared.

Think of the worst possible scenarios, write them out and make contingency plans accordingly. Better to be over prepared than not at all.

 

  • Call the pros

Don’t attempt a DIY build unless you have the skills. You wouldn’t pour a concrete slab or erect a timber frame unless you know how to do it!

Get the professionals to put up the foundations

Get the professionals to put up the foundations

Some tasks you can do yourself but if you want to stay sane, let the professionals do theirs. You can help carry out debris, do some of the painting, and help them out by making decisions. Indecisiveness is a tradie’s worst enemy.

 

  • Make little goals

Take it room by room, week by week. Don’t stress out over the whole build, just focus on what you’re doing at that moment. That way you know you’re completing the task properly.

 

  • Stay accountable

Everyone documents progress on social media or blogging, whether it be weight loss or house renovations. The ultimate form of accountability? Reality television, but you’re not going that far.

Start blogging and show off your progress

Start blogging and show off your progress

You’re keeping yourself accountable as well as boosting your ego a little bit when showing your progress for the world to see. Before and after pictures will wow the world and you can take pride in saying ‘I did that’.

 

  • Keep your goals in view

You’ll ask yourself ‘why am I doing this?’ multiple times. Write your goals out and pin them up somewhere visible. People renovate their homes because:

  • They want to provide a better home for their family
  • They want to achieve something meaningful
  • The house is an investment/something to make money

Goals can even be an ideas board of what you want each room to look like.

 

  • Make a refuge

Find yourself a space in the house or somewhere you can decompress when the stress just gets to you. It’s natural to feel like you’re going to  to explode during the renovations at some point. The trades are late, the money is getting out of control, or the family  is just getting on your nerves. It’s just a temporary situation. Find a safe place for yourself and just breathe/read a book/have a coffee.

Coffee shop, finished room or some other place; make it yours to decompress

Coffee shop, finished room or some other place; make it yours to decompress

 

  • Do something for the trades

You’ll feel good doing something nice for others. And they’ll also appreciate the gesture. Tradies working on the renovation have laboured long and hard. They’ll get paid for it, but do something unexpected to say thank you. Have a sausage sizzle or just bring out tea and Tim Tams en masse. Things you don’t have to do, but want to, go a long way.

Hold a fancy sausage sizzle to say thank you

Hold a fancy sausage sizzle to say thank you

 

  • Be excited

You have the right to feel tired, cranky, frustrated and tired (again). But this is an exciting time because you’re building something meaningful.

 

Need more insight? Read these:

5 sure-fire ways to make sure your renovation goes to plan

10 stencilled concrete design ideas

Bedroom-4x3R

Set these in concrete before you build | Articles around the web

New home builds take commitment, patience and a clear understanding of what’s coming in terms of costs. Before you sign any dotted line, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

 

The most common building mistakes and how to avoid them by Domain

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Be clear, be realistic and don’t be afraid to get involved. These are only some of the points that the guys at Domain highlight. Thousands of dollars are wasted on builds because future owners don’t know what they’re in for. Nor do they want to step on anyone’s toes.

 

10 mistakes to avoid when building a new home by Fresh Home

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This piece focuses more on home design like room placement and how to utilise lighting as best you can. Once it’s built, you can’t take anything back and it’ll cost more to remedy. The article also makes a point about not letting anyone tell you what YOU want. Unless your builder or the designer is telepathic, it’s their job do satisfy your vision for the house.

 

The hidden costs of building a new home by Home Sales

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There’s a lot more to building a new home than quotes from the trades. Legal fees, stamp duty and inclusions are just some of the extra costs that building clients aren’t aware of (if they don’t do the research).

 

How to customise an off-the-plan home by Real Estate

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Buyer meets display home, falls in love, but wants to have a marble benchtop instead of laminate. This, and other customisations, will cost a lot of money that the future owners can’t spare. Real Estate takes readers through the variations and how much they cost, as well as the impact they’ll have on the home overall.

 

We have more advice about home building here:

3 areas you can spruce up with concrete work

5 finishes that add value, from polished concrete to modern art

concrete tadao

6 concrete masterpieces by Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando is world-renowned architect, famous for using concrete to create dazzling buildings. He’s designed everything from churches to apartment buildings. Besides concrete, he designs incorporate the use of natural light as much as possible. We list some of his top works here.

 

  1. The Church of Light, Osaka

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The Church of the Light was completed in 1990’s as part of a renovation to an existing church. The Church is famous for the cross facade. While it’s not particularly special from the outside, the cross cutout gives the chapel a whole new aesthetic. Almost haunting.

 

  1. Omotesando Hills, Tokyo

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The ritzy hills of Omotesando is full of designer shops, Meiji-era architecture and this fitting Ando-designed shopping mall in his signature glass-and-concrete combo. Tenants include Harry Winston, Chloe and Max Brenner.

 

  1. 21 21 Design Sight, Tokyo

21 21 design open buildings

This building was designed by Ando in collaboration with Issey Miyake. The museum’s structure is modelled after a flowing piece of cloth. Floor-to-ceiling glass allows the maximum use of natural light.

 

  1. Langen Foundation, Germany

Langen_Foundation

The Langen Foundation is a museum dedicated to Oriental and modern art. Ando wanted to create a tranquil space where visitors could admire the works in relative peace.

 

  1. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe

japan guide kobe art museum

Kobe was devastated by a 1995 earthquake, forcing the city to rebuild Ando designed this building with strength and security in mind. The museum is located next to the water and has a harbourside plaza for visitors to relax

 

  1. Glass House, South Korea

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This is a museum located on the grounds of the Phoenix Island Resort, with the surrounding landscape designed around it.

renovation

5 sure-fire ways to make sure your renovation goes to plan

Doing a renovation or general fixing isn’t as expensive or draining as the shows on television and your friend’s stories might lead you to believe. You can keep  everything on track, and survive it, if you prepare. There’s a lot of tips out there, but we’ve narrowed down the list to our top 5.

 

  • Get your budget in order

The renovation can’t get started if you don’t have the cash. You need to meet your accountant, and someone from your bank if you need to take out a loan.

Line up the quotes you got from the concreter, the carpenter, the plumber and any other  trades you need. Can you afford to pay them? You’ll also need extra cash, about 20% of the total budget, in case of extra costs from unforeseen circumstances.

 

  • Decide where to live

You can’t use the kitchen when the concrete floor’s getting polished, or take a shower when the screed is curing. It’s up to you whether or not to move temporarily, but if the whole house is getting renovated it’ll certainly make life easier. Trades start work early; do you want to wake up to the sound of a concrete truck pouring cement, or drills going at it, at 7am?

 

  • Clean and store

Most trades respect your space, from the concreter to the plumber, but sometimes accidents happen and things break. Make sure you move the valuables and fragiles out of the house until work is finished. Mess is a given in a renovation, so moving delicates and valuables will ease your anxiety. 

 

  • Go shopping

Look at display homes and interior magazines. Speak with your contractors, too, when getting a quote. Be transparent about what you want and the money you have to spend.

Just because you’re mindful of counting pennies doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice quality. Can’t splash on a marble benchtop? Get a stained concrete slab instead. Go to vintage shops and recycling stores for second-hand furniture. Reupholstering old furniture is cheaper than buying a new suite. You’re going to cut the cost of the renovation dramatically when you buy second hand instead of new off the shop floor.

When you’re looking at fixtures like taps and lights, favour the environmentally-friendly options. You’ll save a lot on your electricity/water bills.

 

  • Keep an open line

During the renovation, the builder is the boss, but that doesn’t mean you disappear. As a client, you want satisfaction guaranteed so it’s better to stay accessible. Builders have a good habit of sending progress reports, and that includes any problems they’ve encountered. This is why it’s better to have that 20% extra budget handy, though hopefully you’ll never have to use it.

 

Liked this? Read these:

concrete

3 areas you can spruce up with concrete work

Home and office improvements need to be done from time to time and concrete work is a practical, cost-effective solution.

 

  • The garage

It’s a place to park the car, and you mightn’t see it as much else. But the neglect builds up over time until all you’re left with is a space dotted with big oil stains and dust everywhere.

Homeowners honestly don’t think too much about their garage floor, but the final effect knocks people off their feet. Resurfacing and resealing the existing concrete floor, or even decorating it with an acid stain or paint chips, gives the room a whole new look. A white garage floor will reflect the natural sunlight and brighten the space considerably.

 

  • Your kitchen

Interested buyers and visitors judge homes by two rooms: the kitchen and the bathroom. The former is the heart of the home and the majority of people spend most time there.

Polished concrete floors will modernise the area without much effort. You can even use a concrete slab as a kitchen bench. Staining it will give it a ‘marble’ effect, or you can go for an exposed aggregate finish.

To put up with general wear and tear like spills, the floor is cured and sealed before anyone’s allowed to walk on it. That way any stains can easily get cleaned.

 

  • Home exterior

Concrete work like paving and pathways gives your home ‘curb appeal’, as the real estate people say.  The work you do will last for decades and boost the resale value when the time comes. Do a stencilled path or driveway in a unique pattern. You can also ‘define’ the exterior garden beds with a concrete boarder, giving the yard a sense of order.

Applying some finishes in these areas will brighten their appearance without too much effort. The options are endless, and luckily for customers, concrete work doesn’t cost the earth. Differents areas will need different treatment, like sealing and such, but your contractor will know what to do. 

 

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10 stencilled concrete design ideas

Stencilled concrete isn’t a new innovation, but it’s a popular option for homeowners wanting to renovate, and for investors wanting to put the finishing touches on an investment property. You might’ve seen some of these patterns before on someone else’s landscape and decided you want to ‘borrow’ one for your own.

 

  • Flagstone

This is one of the most generic stencilled concrete patterns available, but you can dress it up with bright colours to make it stand out.

 

  • Herringbone

Resembling the bones of the fish, this type of design is common with pavers  as it makes  use of their long and short edges. You can use this pattern in your pergola and barbecue areas.

 

  • European Fan

This design is made up of small square tiles spread in an arching fan pattern. It’s also called ‘fish scales’.

 

  • Wood/timber

Yes, you really can get concrete to look like wood. At least you’ll never have to worry about it rotting! Have this stencilled concrete design on the patio for a rustic feel.

 

  • Compass

This adds a touch of pizazz to an otherwise plain driveway. The compass comes in a variety of shapes and designs, just speak with your contractor about what you want. Get the creative juices flowing and pick out a few colours to make the design really stand out.

 

  • Diamond tile

This pattern comprises of octagonal tiles with square or ‘diamond’ tiles in between.

 

  • Interlocking diamonds

Placing this stencilled concrete pattern in the middle breaks up monotonous driveways. To get the diamonds to show up properly, choose contrasting colours.

 

  • Convict brick

This style mimics the crudely cut stone made by convicts back in the day when they were blasting rocks from quarries and cliffsides. You can find the real deal in heritage homes. In stencil form, it’s a cross between a cobblestone and a flagstone.

 

  • Patios and pathways

Having the patio connected can really tie a landscape together. You can go from one end of the yard to the other without having to tread a foot on the grass. This feature is good if you want to have a yard or garden for people to admire, rather than play in.

 

  • Driveways to front doors

Having an even pathway when your arms are loaded with bags saves you the worry of tripping, at least. A seamless path from the driveway to the front door will give a good first impression to visitors and potential tenants (if you’re a property manager).

 

stencilled concrete designs

polished concrete kitchen

5 finishes that add value, from polished concrete to modern art

You need to update your office, your home, or even one of your commercial properties to get ready for resale. Or you just need to renovate because the block was built 20 years ago and it’s TIME. Fenix Concreting has completed several renovation projects, both domestic and commercial, and we list here some of the five top touches that go well with your new polished concrete floor.

 

  • Polished concrete

Industrial style living and office spaces are the new vogue, just look at the Wool Stores in Teneriffe, now million dollar apartments and lofts. Rather than rip up the old floors, contractors were briefed to resurface them, creating a polished concrete look. This gives old floors a second chance at life.

There’s also ways to use polished concrete that don’t involve flooring. Customers order custom concrete benchtops in place of stone because a  cheaper price gets the same result. You can order polished concrete with aggregate through it, or even a stained finish.  

 

  • Neutral colour palette

Don’t depend on loud colours to decorate your home or business. It’ll be distracting for you and your visitors. Reds, oranges, and the like are ‘hype’ colours that rev up the brain.

Pale blues, pinks, beiges, and eggshells are great neutral options that interior designers will easily dress. They’re also good to use on a feature wall, if you insist on having a splash of paint somewhere.

 

  • Use accessories for colour

When you use a neutral palette, it means you let the accessories do the talking. With polished concrete floors, you can lay down a coloured or patterned rug. If you have furniture with grey or white fabric, invest in some cushions and throws.

Polished concrete walls in art galleries are great backdrops for the works on display. A plain backing forces the eye to focus on the art. Plus, it’s a classy touch.

 

  • Industrial-style fittings

Restaurants, galleries, and even some homes that go down the ‘industrial style’ road purchase light fittings to match the theme. Fixtures with exposed bulbs, such as ‘plumbing pipe lights’, have become increasingly popular.

 

  • Outdoor living

One extra living area equals a higher reserve price! Patios and alfresco areas are irreplaceable as part of the Australian lifestyle. It’s a place to wine and dine, or just sit down and breathe after a long day at work. In a commercial build, having an outdoor space is vital to employee health so they can get some much-needed sun and fresh air. You can use your polished concrete patio for informal meetings with clients, or leave it accessible to employees for some fun downtime after work.

 

concrete driveway

Get creative with your concrete driveway

Homeowners refresh their concrete driveway when they’re looking to sell, or just looking for a change. With property prices soaring and people becoming pickier about style, the driveway is the easiest outdoor area to take care of when renovating.

the average concrete driveway has come a long way from being a grey slab with exposed aggregate finishes. The latter is certainly a classic, but smooth finishes are favoured because they’re easier to walk on with bare feet and look ‘cleaner’.

Rather than single colours and plain finishes, driveways with a stencilled pattern are the new normal. This gives the property owner the chance to put their ‘stamp’ in stone, so to speak. Stencils are laid over the concrete before it dries and then lifted, creating whatever effect the owner orders. Patterns like stars, compasses, and pavers are etched in driveways around Australia, normally in a multitude of colours. The paver effect is popular because it’s cheap, and uses less time and materials than the real thing. Another common design is a single coloured path with a paver effect at the edge in another shade.

Concreters like Fenix work closely with the homeowners so the desired effect is achieved the first time. If the owner of the property has examples of driveways they’d like to emulate, that is certainly  helpful, though contractors might have some designs on hand. They’ll also have colour charts to choose from. Colours are finalised during the quoting process.

In a world of renovation shows, an expensive property market, and choosy buyers, homeowners and property investors are more concerned with  how their driveway looks. After all, the whole facade of the house is the first thing prospective buyers  see. An old, tired, and cracked concrete driveway doesn’t make a good impression. This is easily fixed with an experienced contractor, some design ideas, and a different colour…or two, or three.

concrete driveway

A driveway in Coolum