MEET PAUL AND FRAN NEALL, THE OWNERS OF CONCRETE CRAFTSMAN – CREATORS OF INNOVATIVE CONCRETE DESIGN
SVT: What does your company do? What makes it so unique, so special?
P&F: We, at Concrete Craftsman, create beautiful and functional concrete for both residential and commercial settings. What sets us apart from others is we are a small family run business. My hands form, mix, cast and seal every piece of concrete that leaves the shop.
SVT: What do you do? Who or what inspired you?
P&F (Paul): I am inspired daily by both form and function. Not only does it serve a purpose, it looks good doing so. I gain inspiration by working closely with each client to address their needs, whether it’s a simple drain board or an integral fruit bowl. I am limited only by imagination, both mine and the client’s.
SVT: For the residential client, what are some of your specialties?
P&F: What sets concrete apart from other solid surfaces, is our ability to form and create complex 3-D shapes. One thing we specialize in is one-of-a-kind handmade sinks for both kitchens and bathrooms. Sinks can be a custom size and shape to fit any space. Whether you have a small corner unit sink or a very large space, concrete sinks can be customized to fit anywhere.
SVT: For the commercial client, what are some of your specialties?
P&F: Concrete excels in commercial applications due to its limitless possibilities in size, shape, color and design capabilities. Size and length are not limited to standard “slab” lengths of typically 8’. For example, the last bar installation was a 12’ seamless counter. Incorporated into the bar top was stainless steel lettering of the company’s logo.
SVT: What are some of the most requested things by your clients that you think I would like?
P&F: As of late, the most requested item in concrete is integral backsplashes on counters and sink tops. An esthetically pleasing option, eliminating grout or caulk joints. A nice detail, that when paired with an integral sink, makes a seamless counter.
SVT: What do you love most about what you do?
P&F (Paul): I love to create! I also love to work with my hands, concrete is my medium of choice … as it can be molded, shaped and sculpted into any shape imaginable.
SVT: You are located in Santa Cruz and you serve the entire Bay Area … How do people like me, like us, find you and connect with you?
P&F: Concrete Craftsman is based in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA. We service the entire Bay Area and beyond. Pieces can be created and shipped nationally and internationally. People can find us online at www.concretecraftsman.com, as well as the social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Yelp. We also won Best of Houzz 2014.
SVT: What is the most asked question that people like to ask of you? i.e. Can you do “This” for me, too? … What is the “This” that they most often ask you about or for?
P&F: The most common question is how concrete compares to granite. Concrete is a
completely customizable, hand-made, one-of-a-kind product. Granite is everywhere these days. People seek me out for a unique alternative to the mundane. I relish in the clients that want to break from the norm, have vision and appreciate a hand-made product.
Paul: I was drawn to building at a young age. Since childhood, I have been around people that created things with their hands. As the son of a great craftsman and builder, building is in my blood.
As I grew up and put in my dues building custom homes, I became bored with the “standard” options for one’s home. I sought out alternatives and fell in love with concrete. The last five years of my life have been dedicated to the pursuit of perfecting my craft, Concrete Design.
Fran: I have been around since the beginning of Concrete Craftsman (established in 2011). I was a main supporter of Paul starting this business. I knew that he wanted to do something more creative and different.
I help the company by handling the business matters, as well as building and
maintaining the website. Any way I can to help Paul out … even get my hands dirty at times!
Paul: We are excited and looking forward to our getting married. Fran has had many ideas for incorporating concrete into the wedding. Hand-made concrete planters with succulents as the table decorations is only the start.
P&F: We are happy that we can make others so happy. They are often surprised how beautiful, creative and functional concrete can be … and become passionate about it, similarly, as you can imagine we became and are.