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More Is More, On The Floor!

Interiors

Patterned floors have definitely been having a moment over the last couple of years, and we’ve seen distinctive floor treatments take centre stage in all rooms of the house. While flooring is one of the most permanent changes you can make to a space, if you go all-in… you can be guaranteed on a WOW-factor outcome!

Here, Lauren Li shares some of expert advice and stellar examples where more is more, on the floor!

13th November, 2020

This home in Melbourne utilises distinctive timber blocks on the floor, for a tile-like effect. Architecture – Bayley Ward, interiors and styling – Larritt-Evans, Photo – Eve Wilson.

Lauren Li
Friday 13th November 2020

A flooring selection alone can evoke any feeling that you want to in a space’ – Lauren Li.

Lately I have noticed a revival of patterned floors in interiors, and I am here for it! Over the past ten years in Australia, we’ve been drawn to quite plain blonde timber, or dark timber floors that lean towards a Scandinavian aesthetic. But more recently, we seem to be moving away from minimalist spaces and into more expressive and individual designs. And that includes the floor!

Don’t get me wrong, perfectly smooth wood or concrete floors will never go out of style… but it’s also well worth exploring different flooring materials, to bring more variety into the home, and inject real personality into any space. 

We’re now open to something more textured and characterful on the floor. Using a patterned floor can instantly conjure an atmosphere; the rustic handmade terracotta tiles of a charming country homestead, to the romance of an Italian loggia with a well-worn checkerboard marble tile. A flooring selection alone can evoke any feeling that you want to in a space.  

Of course, patterned floors are anything but new. From the mosaics of ancient Mesopotamia to the oak Parquet de Versailles; we’ve long held traditions of embellishing the floor beneath us. But, we must ensure we select a floor that is not just #trending in this moment – flooring is a permanent element in an interior, and not something that is quick to swap out.

Flooring can have a huge impact the way a space looks and feels, but it also has an important function. It needs to be durable, and suit the usage of the room and the lifestyle of the occupants, so material selection is key. 

But don’t be dissuaded! If you’re looking to create more than just a beautiful space, but create an atmosphere too – then injecting some character into the floor is a guaranteed way to do it!

Subiaco House by Vokes & Peters. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

Byron Bay House by Vokes & Peters. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

Subiaco House by Vokes & Peters. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones.

Colour Blocking

Colour blocking your flooring allows you to delineate zones within a room, without partitions or barriers. Varying the flooring in this way creates a feature in the space, but it can also be very functional, allowing hard wearing materials such as a tiles to be used where needed (entryway or kitchen), giving way to softer flooring in less high traffic areas.

In Vokes and Peters Subiaco house, and also their Byron Bay house (both pictured above), the delineation of the flooring creates interest, and marks out zones in these richly detailed interiors. Meanwhile in the stunning Melbourne home pictured above, interior designer Claire Larritt Evans has used timber endgrain flooring  under the dining area, to soften an otherwise concrete floor, and add warmth to the dining area.

Sarah Ellison’s collection with Teranova Tiles. Photo –Dave Wheeler.

Distinctive patterned tiles at Slow Beam by Hearth Studio. Photo – Lauren Bamford.

The Belmont House by Kennedy Nolan. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Project by Joanna Lavén, a Swedish designer that embraces pattern in her work. She designed a range of products for Vanitas, including these sublime patterned floors. These sophisticated natural stone designs will sway over those a little afraid of pattern. Photo – Johannes Lindqvist

Is there a more classic floor than the black and white check? This timeless pattern is contantly re-energised in this kitchen by F3 Studio. Used against concrete, timber and black stone, it delivers the perfect combination of ‘timeless’ and ‘now’. Photo – Damien Kook.

Pattern

Using a pattern on the floor gives a space movement, creates excitement and interest and never fails to result in an amazing space! There are patterns out there for everyone; from conservative checkerboard, or a subtle change in texture on a tile; to a custom designed cement tile and just about everything in between.

A floor tile with a pattern really can transform a space from ‘nice’ to ‘WOW’, and make any space come alive. The patterned floor is the main event, taking the pressure off the furnishings to create an atmosphere.

 

Custom terrazzo flooring on show in the new Jardan Perth Showroom designed by IF Architecture. Photo – courtesy of Jardan.

Home of David Humphries. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Incredible custom terrazzo is the defining feature of this warehouse home in Sydney, belonging to artist David Humphries. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

For a more accessible option than custom terrazzo flooring, consider the variety of polished concrete floors now available. In this West Brunswick House by Taylor Knights architects, polished concrete flooring has been tinted green, with black and white flecks, to lend character to this interior and give the appearance of terrazzo. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

In this West Brunswick House by Taylor Knights architects, polished concrete flooring has been tinted green, with black and white flecks, to lend character to this interior and give the appearance of terrazzo. Photo – Tom Blachford. Styling – Ruth Welsby.

The incredible large-scale custom terrazzo flooring in this apartment in Lithuania by DO Architects features marble, granite & travertine. Photo – Norbert Tukaj.

The incredible large-scale custom terrazzo flooring in this apartment in Lithuania by DO Architects features marble, granite & travertine. Photo – Norbert Tukaj.

A custom terrazzo flooring plate sits directly beneath the fireplace in the stunning Whitlam Place apartments in Fitzroy by Freadman White and Marcello Donati (aka Anon Studio). Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Doherty Design Studio’s Malvern Residence 2 uses terrazzo tiles on the floor in the main entry hall and through to the family rooms, with unexpected shapes breaking up the tiling layout. Photo – Derek Swalwell..

Terrazzo 

To say that terrazzo has had a comeback is the interior design understatement of the decade. Whilst we may have grown up seeing terrazzo floors in our favourite pizza place on Lygon Street, in recent years we’ve seen it everywhere, from handcrafted ceramics to bespoke kitchen bench tops. This composite material made of marble, quartz, granite and glass chips is used in furniture, décor objects and of course, floors.

There is a long history of terrazzo that can be traced back to the ancient mosaics of Egypt, and later Italy, where it gained popularity in Venice around 1500-1600. Unbelievably, it was originally a low-cost flooring material, consisting of clay and discarded marble chips.

Today, Terrazzo flooring is an artisanal finish usually consisting of a concrete or epoxy-resin base, and suspended shards of stone, glass, mosaic tiles and other decorative details.

Custom terrazzo requires a specialized tradesperson and is a highly bespoke floor treatment – however there are many ways to get a similar look. If custom terrazzo is out of reach, consider a polished concrete floor, which can be tinted in almost any colour, and embellished to resemble terrazzo. Terrazzo tiles are another great option – try Signorino or Fibonaci in Melbourne for a great range of terrazzo tiles.

Portsea House by Studio Esteta. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Textural brick and terracotta floors in the incredible home of Emma Lane in the Byron Bay hinterland. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Textural brick and terracotta floors in the incredible home of Emma Lane in the Byron Bay hinterland. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Via Porta deli and cafe by Studio Esteta. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Internal paving at Slow Beam by Hearth Studio. Photo – Lauren Bamford.

Polychrome House by Amber Road (now YSG studio). Photo – Prue Ruscoe.

Texture

Character isn’t just about adding colour and pattern – texture lends so much to a space, and especially when it’s underfoot.

We’re seeing a lot of brick flooring, terracotta tiles and earthy, antique-style tiled floors in Australian interiors right now. Some great examples include Emma Lane’s spectacular home in the Byron Bay hinterland, and Georgia Ezra’s stunning Melbourne home, featuring the designers own signature tile range.

Another fabulous floor treatment is an internal ‘crazy paving’ look, utilising stone or slate pavers inside the home. This treatment has become a hallmark of Melbourne interior design studio Studio Esteta, and is executed perfectly in their Portsea beach house project, and also, Via Porta deli and cafe.

When it comes to bringing texture into the home in this way, the main thing to remember it to embrace irregularities and imperfections. We want to see and feel real materials in the home, and it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net