the story

Crawfish boil at Uptown Custom Concrete.


Uptown Custom Concrete is Douglas Kistler, a full time concrete artisan from Urbana, Illinois. I have been on this concrete journey since 2004.

Previously, I was a remodeler, working on home, kitchen, and bath remodels. Before that, I started a downtown luncheonette and was the cook, creating and developing recipes and menus.

With Uptown, my two inspirations combined.

Today, my days are filled with creating spaces that both function efficiently and are pleasing to the senses, and that help to bring together friends, neighbors and colleagues for food, drink, and conversation.

At a dinner or cocktail party, or even just a family meal, the kitchen is most often where people gather. It’s like a magnet. The countertop is both visually and tactilely, the most accessible surface you come in contact with- often the very focal point of the gathering. With concrete, I could see the potential to make countertops that were perfect for the space and the individual owners’ personality, with a remarkable beauty and versatility I had not seen before.

Inside the Uptown Studio.

I began researching and mixing concrete in a bucket – 5 ingredients (gravel, sand, portland cement, water, and water reducer), blended with a hand mixer. The process contained many trials, lessons, collaborations, and training, and had me continuously trying new and different additives, always learning and improving. Today I use about 16 ingredients along with advanced mixing, reinforcing, forming, curing and sealing technology to make concrete that will be as timeless in its beauty as it will be in its service.

In addition to creating countertops, I began experimenting with concrete and mold making to make sinks, fireplaces, furniture and other one-of-a-kind objects that are inviting and hopefully contribute to a more interesting and enjoyable life.

I believe that Uptown Custom Concrete has barely scratched the surface of what can be created with concrete. My customers have inspired Uptown to grow and create, inspiring me to bring new concrete concepts to life.

“We love our countertops. Douglas displayed the utmost professionalism and skill. It was a pleasure in choosing Uptown Concrete Countertops.”

-Sharra Vostral and Ray Fouche, Urbana, IL

see photos…