As the trends for customizing and personalizing homes grows, builders are turning to concrete as an element for design and stamp of differentiation. More than just flooring material, concrete is being used to create one-of-a-kind countertops, walls, fireplaces, doors — and even houses.
Enter concrete specialist Vince Schrementi and architect Grant Currier, who have hewn an entire home out of concrete. Schrementi built this 4000-sq. ft. residence for himself. Located outside of Chicago in Crete, Ill., the house took almost three years to build. With no real road map in hand, "I designed the house as I went along," says Schrementi, adding that, "we had the longest housing permit in the history of Crete."
Drawing from his 17- year career as a concrete specialist, Schrementi, proprietor of Everlast Concrete, utilized many techniques, including multi-layered hand-troweling, sculpting and inlay and stamp patterns to craft this concrete masterpiece.
The infrastructure of the home provided the framework for this "work in progress." The exterior structure was fabricated from Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), which are polystyrene hollow blocks, stacked on top of each other. These ICFs were then filled with concrete. The ICFs stay in place and double as insulation. "They are very efficient as far as holding heat and coldness," says Vince.
Using nature as a design inspiration, Schrementi and his three-man crew fabricated walls, stairs, countertops and doors that brought the outside in. Drawing from his main source of inspiration — nature and texture pictures from National Geographic — Schrementi tried to replicate or expand on those textures in his house. The main wall adjacent to the staircase was crafted to resemble rice paddy fields that are found in Thailand. The fireplace was fashioned to resemble rock formations that are found in caves. "The strata walls, the white walls with the different textural things going on — came from years of seeing different excavation sites and looking at the strata of the ground," said Schrementi.
With the exception of the floor, all of the concrete poured in the home was a bag mix variety. Working with the concrete, retarders, fibers and additional cement were added based upon the special effects they were trying to achieve. Internal and topical colors were combined with various patinas to achieve the finished look. According to Vincent, "a lot of people don't realize the finishes that can be achieved (with concrete)."
The house has also received awards, including "Best Project Worldwide" given by Bomanite. Everlast Concrete used 6,000 sq. ft. of Bomanite architectural concrete product to create the bedrock living environment.