Terrazzo - a Modern Classic
by Carlisle Homes
This beautiful Italian material is experiencing a renaissance in residential design, bringing its timeless appeal to contemporary homes.
There’s been a big move in interior design over recent years towards warmer colours, natural textures and materials that have a crafted or handmade quality about them. Prominent in this movement has been the return of terrazzo, not only in its traditional role as a flooring option, but in new forms, applied to everything from benchtops, splashbacks and wall tiles, to furniture, lighting and homewares. Its infinite patterns and textures retain a timeless appeal, but also work seamlessly with contemporary interiors, and for that reason, it’s well worth considering for your own home.
What is terrazzo?
Terrazzo gets its name from the Italian word for “terrace”. It was first produced in Venice in the sixteenth century, from scrap marble offcuts set in clay and sealed with goats’ milk, and is thought to have been developed as a durable and affordable alternative to mosaic flooring. These days, it’s made using more conventional methods, by blending a medley of materials, including marble, but also granite, quartz and glass chips, with a binder such as cement. Once set, the material is ground down and buffed, exposing its beautiful, and always unique, aggregate of colours and shapes.
A large part of the appeal of terrazzo is its incredible design versatility. As Shaynna Blaze, judge on The Block, said recently, “I love terrazzo. Terrazzo fits in with anything!” And we couldn’t agree more. Depending on the size, density and colour of the chips, and the colour of the concrete base, it can be bold or subtle. You can use it to add vibrant pops of colour to an interior, or supporting texture to a neutral palette. And while traditional terrazzo comes with some downsides – it’s expensive, it can be difficult to keep clean, and it’s porous, so not ideal for use in wet areas, even when it’s sealed – technology has come to the rescue, with new engineered surface materials that deliver the visual beauty of terrazzo in more affordable and practical ways.
How to bring terrazzo into your home
These engineered terrazzo products come in different forms, most notably as ceramic tiles for kitchens and bathrooms, and engineered stone for benchtops and vanities. They are non-porous, boast properties such as heat and stain resistance, and are highly durable and easy to maintain. And thanks to two of Carlisle Homes’ trusted suppliers, Beaumont Tiles and Caesarstone, they’re now available as finish options in our new homes.
Beaumont Tiles offers a wide range of terrazzo tiles, from subtle grey, brown and beige colourways to more colourful options. One particularly beautiful tile is Marmette Bianco, a glazed porcelain tile featuring clusters of exposed marble chips amongst a sprinkling of finer aggregate, made for floors but equally well suited to laundry splashbacks, shower recesses and bathtub surrounds.
Caesarstone’s Frozen Terra benchtops and vanities, meanwhile, put a modern spin on the classic terrazzo look, with a subtle mix of translucent aggregate and fine black basalt spread quite sparsely through a white base. To enhance the authenticity of its appearance, it comes in smooth Concrete matte finish, making it a great match for on-trend cabinetry and tapware, as well as timber furniture and accents.