Concrete Countertops Increase The Value Of Your Home
by Deborah Meyer, Cheng Concrete Exchange
From top-dollar homes in the San Francisco Bay Area to sprawling mountain homes in the Colorado Rockies, discriminating homeowners are demanding custom designs and finishes in their kitchens. In particular, they are looking to express their individuality and distinct design preferences with the fast-growing design material of choice — concrete.
In fact, concrete countertops have become somewhat of a status symbol for kitchens, rivaling granite and other high- end countertop surface options. Consumer Reports Magazine (August 2004) ranked concrete highest for its “customization” and “exclusivity” among high-end kitchen countertops.
Increasingly, homeowners are moving away from the monotonous, manufactured look of traditional countertop surfaces and choosing concrete for its earthy, timeless appeal. Plus, the options for personalizing concrete countertops are endless: one can color, polish, stamp and stain concrete or imbed personal objects like stones, seashells and fossils into the countertop's surface, adding sentiment and character. Functional features such as drain boards, soap dishes, and trivets can also be incorporated to suit the homeowners' own needs and lifestyle.
Concrete is slowly becoming demystified as characteristically cold and industrial. In contrary, this age-old material is warm and surprisingly tactile; people cannot help but touch their smooth, polished surfaces. Real estate agent Joy Rasmussen, who has recently sold her mountain home — a short-term investment property in Steamboat Springs, CO — recounts her visitors' experiences with concrete: “When I had open houses, visitors gravitated to the concrete countertops — many people around here have never seen them”.
“Concrete countertops are a unique offering to homebuyers who see the same finishes used in house after house they visit,” explains Joy, offering her observation as a seasoned realtor. “Having concrete countertops almost gives you bragging rights — you have something different from your neighbors.”
Breaking the mold
Another advantage of concrete is its adaptability in either modern or traditional settings, especially when coupled with other materials like varied metals, wood or stone. “Concrete adds so many [possibilities] to stone, and the combination with slate, which is hugely popular here, gives the mountain homes an overall warm, natural touch,” says Joy.
Joy and Ken have since built a much larger home (4,000 sq. ft.) that offers expansive views of the Steamboat Ski Resort and is meant to serve as a long-term investment for the couple. They've also expanded their list of custom finishes, including hand-troweled walls, elegant oil-rubbed bronze hardware, knotty pine doors that arch at the top, cabinets in a natural, knotty alder, and their favorite — concrete kitchen countertops.
Joy and Ken's respective backgrounds in real estate and custom homebuilding, and as investment homebuyers, have helped them realize that concrete countertops can add tremendous aesthetic and financial value to a home. Concrete's customization and “show-stopping” appeal is like no other countertop surface. Cheng is a proponent of emotional aesthetics and building homes that capture these emotions, as in the case of Joy and Ken Otterman. Cheng concludes: “People really want differentiation, something personal, something custom – and concrete can do that for them.”
Photos courtesy Joy Rasmussen