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Concrete Decor August 2018 Cover

Stranded in California


Strands of fiber-optic lights in concrete countertopThe DeWhitts in Almaden, California, wanted lights in their outdoor kitchen's countertop so that's what Tom Ralston of Tom Ralston Concrete in Santa Cruz delivered - 300 of them to be exact.

To aid in installation, Ralston made a harness where fiber-optic strands were strung above the soon-to-be-placed 15-foot-long countertop. Below, the strands were fed through holes drilled into the form's bottom and connected to a central light generator complete with a timer.

Besides the flickering blue lights, the dyed vein that meanders across the countertop and dips into and out of the sink includes "trick stuff" like glass, aquarium rocks, sand and shells, all seeded after the pour. Ralston used a turkey baster filled with retardant to slow the setup.

He used a six-sack, 4,000 psi mix with 3/4-inch aggregate from Granite Rock Concrete and Eclipse super-plasticizer from W.R. Grace. He colored the concrete with a blue dye from Blue Concrete and a green acid stain from Kemiko.