Polished concrete sets a Mad Men theme in Melbourne’s Brighton
Polished concrete oozes Mad Men style
A Mad Men themed home in Melbourne featuring polished concrete and sleek modern lines has cemented itself as one of Australia’s top homes. Featuring on Channel 7’s Australia’s Best Houses, the house has won a place in its top ten themed homes.
Self confessed Mad Men fanatics, the owners used their favourite show as inspiration for supplanting their run down beachside cottage in Brighton with a stunning new house that captures the effortlessly seductive look that Mad Men is famous for.
The result is as bold and drool-worthy as Don Draper and his new wife Megan’s cosmopolitan New York city apartment.
A construction of contrasts, the sleek and structured lines of the concrete architecture are softened by warm walnut panel features, soft carpets and sensuous curtains. The house maximises its solar orientation with huge ‘self cleaning’ glass windows that flood the indoor spaces with sunlight. It’s an open and ultra modern design, but the interior also projects a feeling of protection and cozy warmth. It’s not difficult to imagine the owners sipping on scotch around the fireplace in their ‘grown up den’ complete with Don Draper posters and handsome Scandinavian-style furnishings.
Polished concrete a stunning feature
The entire ground level floor is polished concrete, adding a particularly sleek and sexy design element to the house. You can bet that if Don and Megan Draper were choosing a floor today they’d pick polished concrete for its luxurious and sophisticated finish.
Prior to building, the owners had been tracking the work of polished concrete specialist Paul Warner and his company Geocrete for some time, and particularly loved a project he had completed at Kangaroo Ground. They instructed the builder, JBuild, to recruit Paul to create the same look in their new home.
An unusual design palette
“The owners were very taken with the concrete design mix we used at Kangaroo Ground, which uses Creswick white quartzite with an off white base and white oxide tint,” Paul said. “That mix also happens to be my own favourite design palette.”
Paul said that most of his clients choose a general purpose standard grey base with bluestone or basalt, for its cost effectiveness. “But if you’re looking for a more unusual, albeit expensive, finish, white quartzite is an absolutely beautiful choice. White quartzite has become increasingly rare now that most quartzite is tainted with an orange tone that characterises a high iron content. We added white oxide pigmentation to the concrete mix to complete the look.”
Honed concrete a stunning outdoors feature
Paul’s work on the house continued outdoors, where he “honed” the garden’s concrete spaces to stunning effect. Honed concrete is a finish recommended for outdoor areas such as driveways, footpaths and porches. It gives an attractive matte finish and protects the concrete from staining and scratching. The area surrounding the swimming pool, the stepping stones that connect different areas of the garden, and the beautiful concrete sculptured seats are all honed. Tying the outside and inside together is an amazing six metre floating polished concrete step illuminated with LED lighting.
Paul said the job was “difficult but very satisfying”.
“A head-turning polished concrete staircase that links the upper and ground floors had to be vertically polished, which is a very detailed and time consuming process. Another challenge of the job was polishing all the edging with a hand grinder, which is a necessity for infill slabs.”
Icing on the cake
Paul said the owners were extremely happy with the results of his work, and winning a national design award was the icing on the cake.
“It was wonderful to hear that the clients really loved my previous work and specifically chose me to collaborate on their new home. And I was very excited to hear that the project won a national award. I had no idea they were entering the competition, so winning was absolutely brilliant. This project has inspired other home owners who ask me to recreate the same look for them.”
It looks like Don Draper’s love of modern lines and manly appointments is set to inspire a whole new era of construction design.
To check out other Geocrete projects, click here.