Downtrodden floor? Here's some ideas to try when things look up
Best in Class: Floors can weave a story of their own with colourful tiling and cut marble
Villa Borsani in Varedo, Italy from Gestalten’s House of Glam. Photograph: Tinko Czetwertynski
1. CATCH THE NEW WAVE OF GLAM
Give your home a new lease of life with a fancy floor like this design at Villa Borsani in architect and designer Osvaldo Borsani’s home town of Varedo, which is one of several outstanding homes in Gestalten’s The House of Glam. Now a museum,the property features furniture by the Italian and a swirling cinnamon-patterned hall, which featured in a Zara Home campaign by the Campbell-Rey consultancy. Ballymount-based Fossil Stone suggests matching Rojo Alicante, warm brick red, with Rosa Portugues, a warm, dawn white that has a touch of pink and laser cutting the marbles to get the wave effect. Fossil Stone MD Sonya Watsham says you could also mix two tones of green together or go for a black-and-white pattern or black and pink, a liquorice allsort effect that is currently trending. Prices per sq m start from €616 including VAT but may rise as there’s a lot of prep work required on floors to lay such an intricate pattern.
2. HOPSCOTCH THROUGH THE MAIZE
London-based textile designer Neisha Crosland has worked with lots of brands, adding her style to Crate & Barrel, The Rug Company and John Lewis. She’s also designed a richly hued encaustic tile collection, Jigsaw, for Ca’ Pietra. Available through Tilestyle, it includes a tonal interlocking design with a darker colour overlaid atop a colour called hopscotch pink that costs just over €8 per 20cm by 30cm tile, and Mac Maize in ochre, an eye-catching scallop design that creates a spectacular wave effect, which is similarly priced for a similar-sized tile.
“A good pattern is one that people can connect with – it must have a sense of familiarity about it, but at the same time the design must surprise them with its freshness,” Crosland explains. Either will look great in a hall, a guest WC or in a larger, open-plan space and will work on walls and with underfloor heating.
3. A NEW TAKE ON TERRAZZO
Fornasetti, the heritage Italian firm, is one of the many luxury houses to set up shop within Harrods’ interior floor. The shop features fragrances, trompe l’oeil furniture and furnishings, and a talking-point floor. It features a conglomerate tile – a tile made from large pieces of marble grouped together in resin. The tiles are then ground and polished to bring out the marble pieces to the top. Italian manufacturer Quarella is one such producer. This type of floor could also be replicated in a seamless terrazzo effect, eliminating the need for joints, explains Marc Barrett of Cork-based Solido. The latter will cost from €350 per sq m supplied and fitted. The tile version will cost from about €300 per sq m.
4. THE JOY OF HEX
International style editor Carlos Mota, who has worked at Architectural Digest and Elle Décor, has an eclectic eye that loves a fresh approach, like this multi-coloured hexagon tiled kitchen floor, in a home on the Greek island of Mykonos, one of many in his new book, Beige Is Not a Color, published by Vendome Press. It shows real personality and verve. If the punchy primary colours put you off, try something more tonal. For a selection of softer shades head to Dublin-based Best Tile, whose range of Moroccan encaustic cement hexagons features gorgeous greyscales that cost from €0.62 per unit to a wide palette of fashion shades that include aquamarine, dusty pink, burnt orange and russet red. Just be sure to sketch out how you want the pattern to repeat before you buy, as there is a lot of skill involved in making the colours work together. Ask your tile expert for help in doing this.
5. ITALIAN INSPIRATION
The swirling curves of the raspberry ripple floor at Lenehan’s Bar & Grill in Rathmines, Dublin 6 is inspired by old Italian villas and repeats the discreet curves of the eaterie’s bronze windows and curved bar. The design was drawn in brass trim, explains Terry Fegan of Newry-based T&D Fegan Terrazzo who fitted the floor, working closely with Odos Architects. “We were given a rough plan by the architect and did it all onsite. We had to measure the curves and how they would work within the space.” It took three or four attempts, he says, which goes some way to explaining the cost, which starts from from €200 per sq m and includes installation with brass trim. It can also be done using an aluminium or mosaic trim.
6. WEAVE SOME MAGIC
As a floor pattern herringbone has been trending for the last few years, to the point where it has almost become ubiquitous. You see it in timber parquet, in shower stalls and on kitchen splashbacks. For those of you looking for something fresh, the new pattern making waves is basketweave. It will work on all the same surfaces and creates an optical illusion, giving a sense of texture, especially when used in a two-tone fashion like this black-and-white mosaic porcelain floor from Original Style, €90 per sq m and available through National Tile. This tile is suitable for use on floors but not in a wetroom set-up.
7. GO WITH THE GRAIN
Copper has been a big trend for the last few years and its warmth has helped to turn up the heat in rooms, especially all-white kitchens. Oxidised copper is a gorgeous material that you see on church domes and the exteriors of other public buildings. That gorgeous grained look is now available in an easy-to-install porcelain tile format, which means you can bring this natural look into bathrooms, kitchens and living spaces. The pattern comes in silver and black, rose-coloured copper and the oxidised green pictured. The large-format porcelain tiles from Spanish manufacturer Apavisa cost from €72 per sq m from Italian Tile & Stone stores. The textured hexagons, also pictured, in a similar pattern and used on the walls and desk front here, cost from €90 per sq m.