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Concrete at Home: Innovative Forms and Finishes [Paperback]

Fu-Tung Cheng , Eric Olsen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2005
Fu-Tung Cheng's surprise bestseller Concrete Countertops paved the way for a fresh look at a familiar surface. His new book moves beyond the kitchen and transforms this commonplace material into an elegant medium that can be used throughout the house. Combining cutting-edge design with helpful how-to information, Concrete at Home offers ingenious ideas for planning and building walls, fireplaces, mantels, hearths, and exterior and interior floors, as well as tips on incorporating architectural elements such as counters, sinks, columns, and water pieces into the project. The construction of forms, footings, and ties is detailed in clear, easy-to-follow instructions, and special attention is given to finishing techniques, including adding color, texture, and inlays.

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Concrete at Home: Innovative Forms and Finishes + Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bathroom + Easy Concrete: 43 DIY Projects for Home & Garden
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press Inc (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156158682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561586820
  • Product Dimensions: 27.5 x 23.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good for inspiration 18 Dec 2009
Numerous interesting examples that will help anyone, not just designers, interested in refurbishing and/or extending property in a modern and relatively inexpensive manner.

I have deducted one star because a surprisingly large minority of what is shown is unattractive in colour, texture and/or design.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative Concrete! 1 Mar 2009
Creative, imaginative & as a designer perfect inspiration which was what I was looking for.
I wish I had bought the other two books in the series. This book has kindled an excitement to use concrete, it's use has unlimited possibilities & amazing potential.
The content has a exciting combination of ideas & techniques put together in a modern graphical format.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Marketing Deliverable 3 Mar 2005
By Johnny Concrete - Published on
Author Fu-Tung Cheng has opened up the idea that concrete isn't just something you skinned your knee on when you were a kid. His first book "Concrete Countertops" was a great instructional book, aimed obviously at amateurs, on how to use the massive substance and form it into any desired shape. Albeit, it leaves you learning from your own mistakes on a few things left out in the book, but all in all, it introduces the reader to concrete and gets them pointed in the right direction.

With his sophomore release, "Concrete at Home", Cheng has assumingly done it again. However, what appears to be an instructional book on how to take your concrete forming ideas to the "next level", just isn't quite up to par. The book shows off over a 1000 pictures of Cheng's work, and while the work is phenomenal in design, the summarized procedures that go along with them, are hardly enough for the reader to mimic the process. Granted, it is safe to say that Cheng doesn't want to give away all of his secrets, but his procedures skip important areas. For instance, he tells the reader that they inserted rigid foam into their countertop to drastically lighten the weight, but what he fails to mention is how exactly they form rounded angles with it, and how they place it in the mold for the pour. Rigid foam isn't the easiest of materials to manipulate into a rounded shape if you're not familiar with it. Another example is Fu-Tung shows you a rough blue-print for a fireplace surround designed to go around a zero-clearance firebox. However, what he neglects to mention is whether or not you are supposed to strip your walls to the studs, insert bolts into the studs that will protrude out into the surround, and then put up green board before you pour your surround, or if you proceed based on what he shows you, assumingly pouring against your existing textured wall, with nothing to anchor it to the wall. Timber!

"Concrete at Home" is a great photo-filled marketing deliverable for Fu-Tung Cheng's business. He purposely sends the reader in the direction of creating something extravagant, but intentionally leaves out key issues so that the reader will become frustrated and in turn, give up and commission Cheng's services.

If you are a professional in the field of concrete, this book is a great visual addition to add to the rest of your concrete books.
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more... 7 April 2005
By Scott Knudsen - Published on
I expected a bit more out of this book than I got out of it. It seems to touch on a little bit of each aspect of using concrete for floors, walls, countertops, etc. But really doesn't go into too much depth, which leaves it up to the reader to do lots of their own experimenting. I would like to have seen the book about twice as thick, with a section more devoted to all the different colour variations and textures that the author has come up with.

People tend to buy books like these so they don't have to spend a bunch of money on trial and error testing. And I think this book could have been a whole lot better in that department.

There is some really nice concrete work in this book that will get the imagination fired up. And there is also some pretty corny concrete work, that may turn some people off. Lots of photo's of some of the kitchens the author has done. Not exactly Johnny Grey work, but quite nice.

Even though I only gave it 3 stars, I would still recommend it.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good pictures but short on how-to 9 July 2006
By Elta Wilson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The pictures were great and the book needs more of them. The technical side of how to create the looks needs much more material and better presented.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concrete at Home book 3 Jan 2007
By Michele - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We used this book along with Cheng's other book and DVD when making our own concrete countertops. It was very helpful to us because we did a "pour in place" countertop where you build the molds right on your existing cabinets and pour the wet concrete in the molds for a seamless finish. Cheng's method for countertops focuses mainly on building molds in your backyard or garage, pouring the concrete, and then flipping the finished pieces over so you start with a smooth finish. This book has a lot of good examples of poured in place projects, so it was helpful to use this in conjunction with Cheng's countertop book.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a pity.... 29 May 2005
By Art for Art's sake - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
That people expect to have the years of knowledge and experience Mr Cheng possesses handed to them on a platter in this book. Any true craftsman wouldn't ask for that, and any novice shouldn't expect it (and particularly not for $22!). This book is a wonderful overview of the amazing qualities and possible applications of concrete. It's designed to get your mind working, and the creative juices flowing. Not as a "Concrete for Dummies" (and how flattering are those books to the average intelligence anyway?). Buy this book for inspiration, for some tips and tricks, and prepare yourself to be amazed. If you want further insight into the methodology, buy the first book as well. And despite another reviewers claims, most of Cheng's work is NOT poured on site, but in the shop, and the pictures on the website are gorgeous! Professional jealousy perhaps, but even as 'just' a coffee table piece, this book is really beautiful.
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