Fu-Tung Cheng, Author, Eric Olsen, Author with Eric Olsen. Taunton $32 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56158-682-0

Cheng (Concrete Countertops ) brings his skill and creativity to the rest of the house, exploring the design and building of floors, walls, patios and fireplaces as well as kitchen counters and sinks—all using concrete. Not one to stick to basics, he offers suggestions for conceptualizing and integrating artful elements—columns, fountains, inlays—into nearly every room. Copious close-up photographs show Cheng and his team at work as they frame, pour, shape and finish concrete-centric projects for various clients. The books breaks down projects into manageable pieces, while detailed instructions and diagrams lead readers from idea through preparation to execution. Finishing touches and whimsical elements are important, and this detailed manual "contains a healthy respect for the discipline of the basics plus a twist of attitude from the artist." Readers possessing both skill and moxie will do best with this volume; since timing, measurements and other considerations are so important when working with concrete, the best approach would surely involve a thorough reading—or two—before deciding which one to undertake. And with a bit of thought and creativity, a wide variety of found objects (bits of coral, even a bowling trophy) can add personality to a piece. Cheng manages to infuse a DIY book on a nontraditional subject with personality, and his dry humor and offbeat approach to home design come through nicely. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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