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Can a fire pit add value to your home?

Solus Hemi 36 Firebowl Photo credit: Houston Landscaping
Solus Hemi 36 Firebowl Photo credit: Houston Landscaping

About 3 million outdoor firepits/fireplaces are installed every year in North America according to the Hearth Patio & Barbeque Association, as part of an overall trend toward more extensive outdoor living spaces”

Reinforcing this growing popularity is the results from a recent Residential Landscape Architecture trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, which found that fire pits are the 3rd most popular outdoor feature after lighting and dining.

“Homeowners know that designed landscapes add value to their lives as well as their property values,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “They’re interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth friendly.”

When considering a firepit you can expect to see a range of costs – from a few hundred dollars for a small portable fire pit that will last for a few years, to a few thousand for a luxurious fire pit that makes an architectural statement and will be a permanent feature of your home. There are also several fuel options for your fire pit – such as natural gas, propane or ethanol (bio fuel).

The convenience of natural gas or propane gas fire pits are well known. In many communities wood burners are either not allowed or banned during many parts of the year that you would probably want to be outside by a fire. The mess a wood burner creates can be substantial.

Other considerations include non combustible clearances to overhangs, the amount of heat you may or may not need and how your outdoor seating may interact with the firepit.

Like fireplaces, there are numerous questions about firepits and a Solus Decor Design Consultant would be happy to assist you with your project.

Give us a call at 1+ (877) 255-3146 or visit our firepit gallery at www.solusdecor.co.uk/photos/

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Shipping Fire Pits To Moscow with Love…

… and to LA, Montreal, Zurich, Sydney and many points in between!

Crated FirePit heading to Moscow, Russia
Crated FirePit heading to Moscow, Russia

Solus fire pits of all shapes, sizes and colors are being made, packed, crated and shipped to the far corners of the world. Finding the perfect gas concrete fire pit or fire table- in a standard production unit – is worth the cost of shipping for many designers and home owners all over the world over. Solus is proud of the care that we take in preparing a product for shipment.

In fact, as much care is taken in packing and crating our fire feature products as is taken in their creation. After curing and finishing, each fire pit is carefully wrapped and placed in a purpose built wooden crate.

A liquid foam is placed in between the wood form of the crate and the wrapping that protects the product.

Liquid foam sprayed into crate
Liquid foam sprayed into crate

This foam “hard forms” around the fire pit as it dries, taking in its unique shape as well as the way it is sitting in the crate. This hard form now helps to secure the product in place and helps to reduce movement and vibration of the product within the crate, while it is being moved and handled in the shipping process.

Whether shipping down an interstate corridor, over a continent by rail, or across oceans by ship, Solus products get to their end destination unscathed and as beautiful as the moment they were packed and crated.

Liquid foam drys and hardens around product to prevent vibration and movement in crate
Liquid foam drys and hardens around product to prevent vibration and movement in crate
Stacked fire pit crates ready to ship to long distance destination.
Stacked fire pit crates ready to ship to long distance destination.

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Backyard Blogger Design Party includes a Solus Firebowl too!

We are very happy to read that Tracey Ayton’s dreams of backyard party bliss have come true!
Her final renovations include a Hemi Firebowl in Cinder

Hemi Firebowl in Cinder with FireStone overlay
Hemi Firebowl in Cinder with FireStone overlay

and it looks fantastic!
Read Tracey’s blog about her design journey and blogger party that will be featured in the May issue of Style at Home Magazine. Read the article and view some more terrific pictures that Tracey, a professional photographer by trade, has taken of her beautiful backyard space here.

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Professional Design & Renovation on the rise – Houzz & Home 2013

We really love what we are reading about the findings in the second annual Houzz & Home report. Their 2013 Houzz & Home survey is the largest ever conducted in the remodeling and decorating categories and includes responses from the USA, Canada and around the world.

Highlights include:
• Significantly more homeowners are moving forward with renovation projects compared to last year
• A majority of homeowners surveyed believe now is a good time to remodel (53 percent)
• 58 percent of those planning projects in the next two years will hire professional help
• 81% of Houzz homeowners say reviews are “very important” when it comes to hiring a professional for their project, only 8% said “lowest cost option.”

This is positive news for interior and landscape designers as well as all design lovers. Design-economics! A healthy design industry means that unique, quality products and services can be kept alive for everyone to enjoy.

It’s interesting to note that the survey revealed that we spend the most money to remodel the rooms that we spend the least amount of time in, i.e. the bathroom!

What are your plans to renovate? Are you ready to re-fit your outdoor room or deck and make every day a “staycation”? Is a beautiful, contemporary gas fire pit part of your plan?

Solus Halo 36 - Sustainable bio-ethanol fire pit .
Solus Halo 36 – Sustainable bio-ethanol fire pit .

Here are the links to Houzz press release and the full report.

Happy reading and planning!
Read the press release
Download the full report

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Spring home shows; Solus Fire Pits come to the planes!

Spring Home shows are in the air for two of Solus Decor’s fire pit resellers.

Fuel OptionsJack Wills Outdoor Living of Tusla, Oklahoma (Jackwills.net), will be displaying a Solus Hemi Firebow at the Greater Tusla Home and Garden show, March 7 to 20, 2013. Click here for more details. .

Paradise LeisureScapes will also be lighting up a Solus Hemi Firebowl at the Regina spring Home Show, March 21 to 24, 2013.

Home shows are a great way to see Solus’ beautiful, contemporary fire pits up close and personal. Visit these fine Solus dealers and learn how they can support your purchase with their delivery and set up options.

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Fire Pits – Light One Up and Relax, We’ve Got you Covered!

Are you curious about how to light up a fire pit? Wondering how a custom fire pit cover gets put together? Solus Decor has quite a few “how-to” videos posted on our web site video page. We’re currently working on a new series of videos. Here’s a preview of two items that we’ll be posting very soon.

Lighting a Gas Fire Pit

firepit_with_poolLighting a “match-lit”, liquid propane or a remote start natural gas fire pit can be a pretty simple procedure. With a bit of practice you probably won’t think twice about it… though we suggest you always stay mindful about safety. We recommend that you read the manual and safety tips that come with each fire pit. Once you’ve read the “book” so to speak, be sure to view the video accompaniment. Here’s a link to the preview

Fire Pt Covers

A smart and practical accessory, a fire pit cover helps protect your contemporary concrete creation from the elements. Solus has designed two different custom cover styles. The “pop-up” cover actually creates a mini tent to provide separation between the flat surface of the table top style fire pits and the material itself. With room to breathe, the concrete table top remains unblemished from condensation build-up. The Hemi FireBowl family uses a fitted cover that is placed right over a cooled down fire pit, or even an hardwood table top. Preview our new cover video to show you how it’s done!

Stay tuned for more videos including fueling up and lighting an ethanol burner version of our fire pits.

So you can say when it comes to Fire Pits, Solus has got you covered – now you can light one up and relax!

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Solus Lighting Up February 2013 Events!

Solus fire pits are helping to light up two fabulous and informative events for design fans in Vancouver and Toronto this month.

Solus with friends at the BC Home and Garden Show:

We can’t wait to see what our friends at Beneath Your Feet Landscaping and Design will come up with this year at the 20BYF 2012 Halo and Circle gate13 BC Home and Garden Show. They’ll be using a Solus fire pit in Dream Garden #6, February 20th to 24th at BC Place Stadium.  The design and logistics of just setting up landscape displays at this show alone are impressive.

We loved how they used the Halo Fire Pit in their garden oasis last year.  Here are a couple of photos to from the 2012 show.  Rest assured that if you can’t make the show in person, we’ll be sure to post more shots from this year’s landscape extravaganza!DSC_0054

Solus and Eternit paired up at Designer’s Walk in Toronto, Canada.

Solus concrete fire pits paired with Eternit pressed fiber cement chairs and planters have been a big hit with designers, hospitality venues and home owners alike.  All are on display at the Landmark by Crozier show room at Designer’s Walk Resource Centre in Toronto, where you can view and experience the Solus Hemi 36 Firebowl  in the Eternit setting.

36 Hemi Firebowl at Landmark DW TO Landmark is holding a lunch and learn presentation about Eternit on February 14th.  Designer’s Walk is located at 148 Bedford Road.    Click here for more information.

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Solus Showcases New Releases and New Trends Part 2

As we mentioned last blog, the heart of Solus’ design philosophy is you.  We are constantly reviewing customer feedback from home owners, designers, landscape architects, associate dealers and commercial establishments.

Our new releases for 2012 /13 are a reflection of our collaboration with you – our design community and customers.  This is also reflected in the addition of specialized accessories to help customize and enhance your  fire pit experience.

HARDWOOD TABLE TOP on 26″ Hemi Firebowl

HARDWOOD TABLETOPNew for Fall 2012 – For those days when you don’t need the heat or you need the fire pit to be a little more functional we introduce a table top made of the hardwood. This wood is incredibly hard wearing and of course beautiful.  Available for the 26 and 36″ HEMI FIREBOWLS and the 30″ firebox.

Crystal Teal FIREGLASS in Firetrough with bio-ethanol burner

For those customers who want to make their fire pit just a little more contemporary our new FIREGLASS offering adds a little more glitter. Solus introduces a choice of three different colors of FIREGLASS that work very well with our contemporary fire pits.

Crystal Clear FIREGLASS with Natural Gas flame. 

Black FIREGLASS in 26″ Hemi Firebowl with Natural glass flame

The glass is in addition to the fire rocks which we introduced last year.

CUSTOM Sunbrella Fire PIt cover (lg) for Fire table.

Of course we have our Sunbrella (marine grade ) fire pit covers –  If you are going to invest in the best fire pit on the marketplace you will need a cover  meant to withstand the most brutal climates, extreme heat and extreme cold – just like our Solus fire pits.  Custom covers are made to fit each Solus fire pit shape.

Please contact us if you want more information our current product line – or if you have any more suggestions that we can take to our Solus heart.

Solus Decor Inc. [email protected]www.solusdecor.co.uk     1 877 255 3146

1445 Powell Street      Vancouver, BC            V5L 1G8

 

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Solus Showcases New Releases and Trends Part 1

Solus Decor had a very busy trade show season last fall!  Very much like the fashion business, the fall trade shows allow us to announce and display what’s new for the next season of fire pits.  The shows even gave us a chance to have some fun with our concrete fire place surround models.  Here’s a picture of the popular Fraser fireplace surround –  displayed as a 4 sided TV surround!

What we are really showcasing here is our design philosophy – and at the heart of the Solus design philosophy is YOU.  We are constantly reviewing customer feedback from home owners, designers, landscape architects, associate dealers and commercial establishments.

Your suggestions about how to modify or improve our products are taken to heart – then to the drawing board, R & D and then into production.

The new releases for Fabulous Fall 2012 are a reflection of our collaboration with you – our design community and customers.

We’ve already introduced you to our new bio ethanol Fire Pits that allow you to Take the Fire Inside! Now here’s a rundown of our newer contemporary concrete fire pits products.

In production since Spring 2012 the 48” ELEVATED HALO gives you a lot more table space – and even room for drinks and dinner.  It is now available in either a natural gas (ng), propane (lp), or bio ethanol burners.

FIRETABLE.  Also introduced in early 2012 this long linear table has the elegance and sophistication which was demanded by our clients.  It is now available in either a natural gas (ng), propane (lp), or bio ethanol burners.

 THE FIRETROUGH – New for Fall 2012 – A simple, clean and effective linear design.  Available in natural gas (ng), propane (lp) or bio ethanol burners.

48” HEMI FIREBOWL – New for Fall 2012 – This big boy was in demand well before we were able to produce it.  It is absolutely enormous!  Producing 120,000 BTUs this burner comes with a remote start – Available in natural gas (ng) and propane (lp) only.  It is definitely the King of fire!

Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll run down our new accessories that are sure to enhance your already beautiful fire feature.

Please contact us if you want more information about our current product line – or if you have any more suggestions that we can take to our Solus heart. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Save a Date – Calling all Buyers, Landscape Architects and Design lovers!

Wow! One of the busiest trade show seasons that Solus Decor has ever seen in its 16 year history is now upon us!

We have Four Fabulous shows that we’ll be participating in over the next few months, most in places and spaces that we have never been before and we’re looking to make friends and business relationships everywhere we go!

We’ll be heading to the Windy City of Chicago for the 2012 International Furniture & Accessories  Market – affectionately known as the Casual Market.  This is our first time exhibiting in the historic Merchandise Mart building in downtown Chicago  – an icon for the furniture business since early in the 20th century.  Those in the trade can come see us in the new product area on the 8th floor.  We are right in the middle of it all in suite 8-6088A.  We are introducing our upgraded Fire Pit Dealer program, showing off our 26” Hemi Firebowl and our new Elevated Halo with ethanol burner.  You can also get a first look and try out  the new Prana Chair that will complement our outdoor setting beautifully! We are looking forward to meeting casual product buyers from all over the world!  www.casualmarket.com Booth 8-6088A. September 20th to 23rd.

Then we load up our gear and hit the road through the heartland of America, almost Route 66 really, toward our next stop … Phoenix, Arizona!  We’ll be exhibiting our fire pit products at the American Society of Landscape Architects –ASLA 2012 Meeting & Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, September 29th and 30th. http://www.asla.org/2012meeting/  Come see us at booth 1762.

Meanwhile back at the ranch… well if you call Vancouver, Canada a ranch, we’ll also be showing and launching our new products at our home base trade show – IDS West!  This fall, we are introducing an array of fire pits in new shapes and sizes, with more accessories and more fuel burning options for you to choose from … And you’ll read more on these fire pit releases next week… so if you are in the Pacific Northwest, USA or Western Canada, this is the design show for you.  Stay tuned to this blog and  QMFM and learn how to enter a contest to win a Solus Firetable, valued at $6,500! http://www.idswest.com IDS West runs September 27th to 30th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Next, and as the song says, we’ll be heading down the Mississippi down to New Orleans!

We’re excited and ready to get all decked out and fiery for the International Pool/Spa/Patio Expo to be held at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana – NOLA in our hearts.  Come see us at The Backyard Experience area at booth 2474 from November 6 to 8th. http://www.poolspapatio.com/

Stay tuned for more show and product information.  See you all out there!

 

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Making the Case for Sustainable Concrete Design

At Solus, we take a very practical approach to sustainability, specifically working on how we can use as little energy and materials as possible while minimizing waste and still doing what we need to do.  For us, the process begins, and ends, with concrete.

Concrete is the second most consumed substance on earth (after water). The production of cement, one of the key constituents of concrete – from the mining of raw materials, to transport to the super heating required to give cement its unique properties – is very energy intensive.

However, concrete is widely used for a reason. It is incredibly versatile, extremely durable, and composed of materials that are often locally available.

So how does Solus reconcile these two faces of concrete, and make sure that we are utilizing it in a way that minimizes its environmental footprint?

The Formula: There is much that can we can do in the manufacturing and handling of concrete to ensure that we are best utilizing our energy and our resources:

Local Materials – All of our main ingredients come from within 100 kilometers of our plant, as well as the bulk of our forming and mold materials. Virtually all of our manufacturing processes are done under our roof by local people.

Recycled Content – Over half of the electricity in North America comes from coal burning. A byproduct of these power plants, fly ash, has cement-like properties and we use it to replace some of the cement in concrete. This has a three-fold benefit: we recycle an industrial waste product, we reduce the amount of cement (the highest energy component) required in concrete, and overall, using fly ash results in better, more durable concrete.

 “Recyclability” – It’s no secret that concrete can last a long time and put up with a lot of environmental abuse. When its service life does eventually ends, concrete can be recycled, usually pulverized and turned into aggregate or fill. All of our waste concrete is recycled in this fashion. (see our Concrete Elephants blog for more information).

Embodied energy – In interior design applications like fireplace mantels, concrete compares favorably with other materials such as wood and particleboard, especially when recurring embodied energy is taken into account, (i.e. energy of maintenance and refinishing), rot-proof, bug-proof, uv-proof concrete.

The Design: Overall, concrete’s sustainability as a decor material is defined by “appropriate design”. Specifically, this means choosing applications that take the greatest advantage of concrete’s natural characteristics.

Durability – By far, concrete’s greatest asset is its durability. Properly maintained concrete structures can last for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In interior design applications concrete products have a virtually unlimited life span.

No off-gassing. As concrete contains no harmful chemicals, it off-gases only water in its lifetime. As concrete looks best “au naturel”, without paints or coatings, and ages beautifully with its environment, the need for maintenance and refinishing is kept to a minimum.

Thermal Mass – Concrete has excellent thermal mass properties which means that it can store heat or cold effectively. This is why concrete basements can be oases of cool in hot summer months and why radiant flooring works best when it is poured into a concrete slab. Likewise, a Solus concrete fireplace surround will store and radiate heat, and Solus concrete tile will enhance the performance of radiant heating applications.

Beauty – Although a subjective measure, beautiful design is more sustainable than the alternative. There is no use in making something that lasts if it needs to be updated or replaced for aesthetic reasons every few years. Timeless, trend-defying design helps to ensure that concrete’s natural durability is thoroughly utilized and that it remains a beautiful and sustainable part of our designed spaces for years to come.

“this article re-purposed from a previous Solus Publication”

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Solus Recycling Series – Part 2 – Everything Else!

Last recycling news blog, we got pretty dramatic and compared recycling our Hand Cast Concrete with a herd of elephants! Pretty visual!

And like a herd with a mission, we don’t stop at recycling just concrete.  We also take care of a variety of other waste streams. Our recycling contractor, called Happy Stan (believe it or not), is a pioneer in the Vancouver recycling world.  Recycling day at Solus looks like a science experiment gone mad, and he takes things and finds a way to recycle things that no one else would know what to do with!

One again our summer student Sam became a super sleuth.  Sam tracked down and digitally recorded our recycling efforts and came up with the following:

At Solus, other waste streams that get recycled include plastics, wood pallets and wood scraps, metals, paper and cardboard, electronic bits and bobs.  Here is what they get turned into.

PLASTIC:  Is separated into types and sent to appropriate recycling depots.  It will either be consolidated with more plastic of its type so it can be sold to a recycling facility that handles that specific plastic. Recycled plastic is formed into little plastic pellets that can be sold to various plastics manufacturers for a variety of applications – depending on the plastic and manufacturer e.g. bottles, containers, carpet, fiberfill for clothing, pillows, sleeping bags, lumber, pipe, park benches, railroad ties.

WOOD: Clean wood will be delivered to a wood recycler and can get ground up into mulch and sold for various applications such landscaping, or fuel.

METAL: Metals are separated and sent to various metal recyclers, who then consolidate it, and then it is sent to various smelters. The smelter will in turn be able to sell the metal to manufacturers, who can produce various products with this recycled metal.

PAPER AND CARDBOARD: Paper and cardboard are separated and delivered to a paper recycling facility. Materials are consolidated and sent it to a paper recycling plant to make recycled paper and cardboard.

We don’t have any mathematics to determine how much we have recycled beyond concrete over the last number of years, but it is significant.

We do take some solace that even small manufacturing company like Solus can make a difference on our environmental footprint.

Next time we’ blog about the concrete we use, and how designing with concrete is sustainable in the long run.

Researched by Sam Carpenter, edited by Martes at Solus.

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Solus Decor Recycling Series – Part 1 – Concrete Elephants!

Since its inception 16 years ago, Solus has been conscious of its waste stream.

Background

Six years ago, we started to seriously consider our recycling streams and our carbon footprint.  We had conversations with a group at UBC who were just launching a program for companies called Offsetters, a carbon footprint management program.   They came to our plant and gave us some very valuable instructional tips.  This led us into a full on attack on our waste streams.  We had just moved to a larger production facility and built spaces and recycling depositories to accommodate our recycling program.

We found that as we became larger, we started to produce more waste.  Our customer base was also increasing and we began  to ship all over North America.  This was an exciting development, as it allowed us to create even more fabulous concrete products, like our line-up of outdoor fire pit products.

Yikes!  There’s a concrete Elephant in the room!

Having been around for 16 + years, we have literally poured thousands upon thousands of batches and therefore, our approach to production is quite scientific. Our formulas and mathematics when it comes to producing our concrete is accurate within 2%.  We minimize the waste whenever and wherever we can, but even at 2%, it adds up over time!  We had to address this.

It began to feel like the “ elephant” in the room.  And it was made of concrete!

Another use for a concrete Elephant!

After studying our recycling history and the countless recycling depositories, bins, crates, odds and sods that we now have at Solus one of our summer students, Sam, posed an interesting question.   How many concrete elephants (in weight) have we recycled since our program went into place over six years ago?

So this became a project for our fresh faced summer student.  How much concrete has been recycled and what does happen to the contents of the Solus’ recycling bins after they are taken off site? … this is what she found.

When there is any excess or reject concrete at Solus, the concrete gets put into a bin and gets picked up by a 1-800 Got Junk.  They take it to a Sand and Gravel company, and gets broken down.  Recycled concrete is used for a variety of construction purposes.

–         Aggregate base course (road base)

–         Untreated aggregate used as foundation for roadway pavement (under pavement surfacing) forms structural foundation for paving

–         Soil stabilization – the incorporation of recycled aggregate and using it in soil to stabilize and change the water susceptibility

–         Recycled concrete can be used as a foundation to lay on the ground around pipes as, is used as an alternative to virgin aggregate

–         Landscape materials

With 3,500 – 4,000 lbs of concrete recycled every 5-6 weeks, there has been an accumulation of approximately 220,000 lbs of concrete recycled since Solus first started recycling concrete in this manner. An additional 60,000 lbs was recycled when a thorough “house-cleaning” was conducted in 2010, giving us these rather grand totals,

280,000 lbs, or

127,000 kg, or

140 tons of concrete recycled!

To put that in perspective, the African Elephant, one of the largest land animals on Earth, weighs on average 9,500 lbs.

= almost 30 Elephants!

Or a herd of elephants!

All of this concrete was diverted from our local landfill.

Our next blog will talk about all the other waste streams and where they go.

Stay Tuned for Part II on the Solus Recycling Series.

 

Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_10883639_cute-little-elephant-cartoon-character.html’>teenbull / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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Solus Helps – Filling an Empty Bowl.

Solus Decor is truly proud to support Project Empty Bowl 2012  in support of A Loving Spoonful!  This year  Project Empty Bowl will take place on Friday, June 22nd in Vancouver, BC. It will raise critical funds ensuring that A Loving Spoonful continues to deliver free meals and nutritional education to men, women and children affected by HIV or AIDS in metro Vancouver and surrounding areas.

Upon arrival, patrons of the Project Empty Bowl event, will each pick an individually wrapped bowl, handcrafted and donated by a local potter.  Guests use their bowls and enjoy a variety of food in the reception hall, where they can participate and enjoy a Live Auction.

We hope that participants will bid high for the Solus Gift Certificate, which can be applied to buying any product in our hand cast concrete product line… perhaps to buy a Solus Hemi Fire Bowl, keeping the theme  of this amazing event!

To find out more about this incredible organization and event, please go to www.alovingspoonful.org .

Good luck Project Empty Bowl!

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Mi Casa, Mi Concrete Casa!

“Every Home is A Castle”, or at least one would hope that one would feel that way about where you park your body, mind and soul each day.

Happy at home by the Fireplace

A sense of happiness and security is a wonderful balance to achieve in your own home.

It’s also lots of fun to take a look into other people’s ‘castles’ – especially when they build and live in a modern day version of them. We’ve come across a couple of fascinating concrete versions of this style of domain to share with you.

 

The Contemporary Castle:
The many levels of interior and exterior walkways and walls create moat-like definitions, courtyards and “hanging” rooms in this contemporary ‘castle’. A secluded and secure living space impresses the writer in this article

http://dornob.com/concrete-fortress-contemporary-home-as-castle-design/

The Concrete Castle Compound:
And for something truly fascinating – especially for those who love concrete – here is a former concrete factory that has been converted to a castle-like compound over the past 25 years. The before picture will give you a sense of size and scope of this incredible and on going project.

http://dornob.com/25-year-refab-concrete-factory-converted-to-castle-home/

What about you? Do you feel your home is your castle? What makes you feel this way?

Castle Fireplace reminiscent of Solus Arch surround

Citalopram

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Concrete Basics – The Curing of Hand Cast Concrete

Concrete Basics : Concrete is one of the most ubiquitous construction materials on the planet – and for good reason. It is incredibly durable and versatile, and is composed of materials that are readily available and often local. The production of concrete is a relatively simple process: the ingredients are mixed together and, through the ensuing chemical reaction, solidify.

Concrete is formed when hydraulic cement reacts chemically with water and binds with a blend of aggregates. This reaction, called hydration, causes the concrete mixture to harden and continues as long as there is free moisture to react with the cement.

Solus hemi fire pit in halva colour, lit near green pool at duskThis hydration stage is called “curing”. Curing can continue on a minute level for months, even years, but most concrete substantially cures in 28 days. During this time concrete gains the bulk of its strength and loses most of its moisture content to the chemical reaction and to evaporation.

For aesthetic concrete (such as fire pits), the initial 28-day cure is of particular importance as this is when the concrete will undergo a change in appearance – from a darker, wet-looking surface to a lighter, dry one.

This is also the time when the concrete’s true color, with all of its nuances, reveals itself. Concrete cured for at least 28 days is not only stronger than younger or “greener” concrete, but it is more aesthetically stable.

Proper curing depends on the application of consistent and appropriate temperature and humidity and is crucial to the performance of the final, hardened product.

Keep in mind that proper cure time is essential to the creation of a quality hand cast concrete product.  Your patience is part of the recipe for a lifetime of function and enjoyment from your hand cast concrete fire feature.

Edited from a previous Solus publication.

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Fire Pits & Outdoor Rooms Can Increase Real Estate Value!

Fire Pits & Outdoor Rooms Can Increase Real Estate Value!

We all know, or can at least imagine, the comfort and relaxation that comes from being able to relax outdoors in our own patio, deck or outdoor oasis setting.

Being able to prepare a meal outdoors, dine “al fresco” or entertain around a fire pit is one of life’s many pleasures.

Now it seems that adding an outdoor room can also be a boon to our bottom line.

Hemi 26″ Firebowl in deck and stone setting by With Impact Landscaping

New home builders, realtors and renovators are taking note and starting to write about the positive return on investment that outdoor living spaces are offering home owners.

Here is a link an article published recently in Professional Builder on-line magazine.  Well over half of the respondents said that outdoor living was more important today than two years ago.  And fire pits ranked number two, with only decks surpassing them as a best selling outdoor feature.

Real Estate companies through out North America are recognizing the added value a beautiful outdoor space offers.  Here’s an example of the kind of articles we are seeing pop up.  This article is from a company in Illinois – Optimizing Outdoor Spaces for Enjoyment and Value”.

Halo 36 Fire Pit with water, rock and “zen” landscaping by Beneath Your Feet Landscaping

This article on Bob Vila’s site suggests that “Landscaping in general is a good investment and can add 20% to the value of your property…with Outdoor rooms, terraces, and decks being also high-yield structural or hardscaping investments.”

If you are thinking of investing in an outdoor living space and need some more great ideas, take a look through our site’s fire pit images.  There is a lot of information on line and you can also plan to visit some of the many Home and Garden shows that are run through out North America.

Solus Fraser Surround in Outdoor “See-Through” Fireplace by Houston Landscaping

The pictures shown here are of the beautiful Outdoor rooms that Friends of Solus displayed at a recent Home & Garden Show.  We hope you will have fun and enjoy planning your Solus fire pit investment!

Solus Block Surround in Outdoor Living Room “See-Through” Fireplace by Houston Landscaping

 

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4,000 Concrete Relationships with more to come at #IDS12 !

4,000 Concrete Relationships with more to come at #IDS12 !

It is thanks to many referrals from designers, contractors and homeowners that Solus is now in it’s 15th year of business and approaching installation 4,000!

That’s not just 4,000 projects and products, that’s 4,000 happy relationships.  And that’s before Facebook and Twitter came about.

Finishing a Firepit for a Solus Customer

 

Our products are not mass produced. Every single Solus product is poured, made and finished with a customer in mind. Whether it is a direct order, or through one of our value added, full service resellers,  a family or project name goes on every shipment that leaves our facility.

 

 

Crated and Ready to Go!

As Brad Carpenter says, “We are a little bit ‘gob-smacked’ (a good British expression – even though he’s not British)  at 4,000 installations! And with time and a little luck we will approach 5,000 Solus installations by the end of 2013”.

That being said, if you are in the Toronto area next week, you can see us at the International Design Show 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  We’ll be in booth 534, with our friends The Fireplace Specialists.

It’s great to be looking forward to cement another 1,000 concrete relationships!

 

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Solus – 15 Years of Success and Growing Stronger!

Well, there hasn’t been that much fanfare, but we may as well blow our own horn … to the tune of Happy Birthday to Solus!

Cake supplied by digitalart

Our company is 15 years old!

Thank you to our loyal customers from all over North America and the world!

Whether you are a home-owner, designer, developer, contractor, landscape architect, or one of our valued dealers, thanks to you we are growing stronger every day!

And how are we celebrating our 15 years in business? Simply – by continuing to do what we do best – making beautiful hand cast concrete products!

Cheers from all of us at Solus!

Looking forward to another 15 great years of manufacturing beautiful concrete products for our wonderful clients anywhere, and everywhere that you may be.

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TWO New Solus FIRETABLES were Introduced at IDS West!

TWO New Solus FIRETABLES were Introduced at IDS West!

The Interior Design Show (IDS) West , recently held in Vancouver BC was extremely successful for Solus Decor Inc.

Solus introduced TWO brand new firepit table designs to join our already spectacular line up of hand cast, high performance concrete products.  Each one is hand finished to meet our exacting standards of form and function.

They are not only beautiful to look at but can withstand the elements and weather gracefully.

The 48” Elevated Halo Firetable is the third edition of our popular Halo series.  Answering the call for more table space, the surface area of this serene, “floating” firepit design has been increased to 48” x 48” square.  The beautiful, sculpted concave central “halo” remains the same, along with a choice of 40,000 BTU propane or natural gas burner.   Match-Lit Start SRP $6,500.

48″ Elevated Halo in Cinder at IDS West 2011

The FireTable  Now you can take the popular linear fireplace design outside with this 51” long x 27 ”wide Firetable by Solus Decor.  The 24” long burner, set inside a signature Solus style inlay can output up to 50,000 BTUs with its propane or natural gas burner.      Match-Lit Start SRP $6,500.

Firetable with Guhl chairs at IDS West 2011