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Debbie Travis house to home: Concrete solutions inside and out

Concrete is a viable option for unusual, impressive entrance ways, walls and outdoor fixtures
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When considering how to decorate a wall, the solutions we think of first are generally paint or wallpaper. With today's creative products and digital imaging, wall murals and custom wallpapers are trendy alternatives that are easy to access and install. But there are more solutions for creative décor. Ceramic wall tiles aren't just for kitchens anymore; large scale tiles decorate full walls in dens and playrooms. Wood paneling is a perennial favourite with more and more good quality laminates available to cut the cost. In past columns, I've shown leather laminate wall panels too. There is always an exciting alternative that inspires the adventurous decorator to shake things up. 

Here, I have discovered another option for covering your walls that broadens the scope of interior design, and can be applied by DIYers as well as professional builders - Dekko concrete panels.

You may have found an old loft or factory turned into condos that come with original concrete walls, which you love and can't believe your luck. But that scenario is not always available, and if the down-to-earth, industrial look is right for you, don't be discouraged. Dekko has designed a unique, ultra-light concrete that is light enough to adhere to walls and can be cut with carpentry tools. These concrete panels weigh less than half that of regular concrete, about four pounds per square foot, so no foundation or structural modifications are required. Panels come in six natural shades, in standard panel dimensions, or you can custom order. Their site has an excellent video found under their cladding section that demonstrates how to apply the panels.

Shown here is a hallway with walls and ceiling that have been clad with different thicknesses of Dekko concrete panels juxtaposed against blocks of richly stained wood planks. It's a stunning example of how these panels can transform a space. Equally enticing is a bedroom or living room wall simply clad in large, flat concrete panels that fit together just like tiling a wall. 

Concrete is a common outdoor material, used for everything from walkways to slabs for seating. Concrete works well in both traditional and modern landscape designs. It is hard and cool and shows off best when aligned with flowers to brighten it up, or a wood deck to add colour and texture to the space. Traditional designs tend to use more rounded edges, with furniture that has nautical, chintz or country fabric styles for cushions sitting on the concrete slabs. A modern take makes the most of straight lines, squared off corners and furniture with simple lines and natural fabric coverings.     

Any fire feature transforms an outdoor space from average to awesome. There are many companies that offer fire pits that come in a choice of shapes and sizes, including some designed to fit inside a table structure. Dekko's fire pits are 100 per cent concrete, containing no resins. Because their concrete is light weight, their fire pits can be installed anywhere including rooftops without additional support. Shown here, three Dekko Serenade fire pits line an impressive entrance. The homeowners have utilized large stones, poured concrete, and stepping stones to demarcate the stairway. The pergolas at the top warm up the cool textures visually as do the fires, creating a large inviting area. 

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. You can follow Debbie on Twitter, and visit Debbie's new website



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