Green Design: Concrete Is an Option for Upscale Homeowners

PHILADELPHIA, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- "Concrete has a bad rap. It's so common we barely notice it. It has industrial connotations. It's also the thing you skinned your knee on as a kid when you fell off your bike," says Philadelphia Interior Designer Donna Hoffman, ( "Speaking in the most 'concrete' terms, concrete may deserve a second look -- especially for upscale homeowners who are asking 'how to be green.'"


Mixed to a color and artfully applied, concrete can be used to create truly astonishing finished effects, looking nothing like its name and even less like that concrete sidewalk of childhood wound memory. Concrete applications for home design today are so varied that it has become an interesting choice for flooring in a variety of home and commercial spaces, including those that are below grade level, like a basement.


"Beautiful custom flooring applications can be applied and fashioned to a smooth, satiny sheen and in designs and patterns you cannot even fathom," she said. "It can also be made to look like stone or tile. Add a perfect area rug over the top and the look and foot feel can be terrific."


Concrete can also be engineered to create stunning and spectacular countertops as an alternate to laminate or stone.


"The even happier news on how to be eco-friendly is that many landfill-bound materials can be used as filler in the production of concrete," Hoffman said. What is otherwise trash or industrial byproducts - such as blast furnace slag, recycled polystyrene and even something called fly ash, which is a byproduct of coal-burning electric plants - are commonly used in making concrete.


As early as 7,000 years ago, both the Egyptians and the Romans were using cement in construction. 


"They were no dopes. They recognized the easy accessibility of the ingredients needed to produce it, which included readily available water, aggregate (sand and gravel or crushed stone) and cement," Hoffman said. 


Considering the length of time concrete has been in use, one can frame it as a somewhat inexhaustible resource that we can use in building construction with little fear of depleting our supplies.


While the continued and exhaustive consumption of any natural resource is not "good" for the environment, concrete is a nearly inert material. Thus, it can be recycled in order to create more concrete for the future.


About Interiors by Donna Hoffman

In-demand Philadelphia interior designer and former QVC show host Donna Hoffman has been featured in Family Circle, Real Simple, Country Accents and Additional information can be found at


SOURCE Interiors by Donna Hoffman