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Tasteful Friends, am I a philistine for not 'getting' Terrazzo floors?

I saw a mid century modern house earlier today and the owners were raving about having the original terrazzo floors restored. They seemed thrilled, so I'm happy for them, but am I a philistine for not 'getting' why it's so exciting? Intellectually, I understand that terrazzo is VERY expensive to install so I can appreciate why it's a "get" to find a house with them already installed. But, aesthetically? Visually? The first thing that comes to mind when I see them is hospital and airport floors. Am I wrong?

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by Anonymousreply 3506/28/2020

Was it a kitchen floor or the entire house?

by Anonymousreply 106/27/2020

R1 - entire house, though they use very large rugs in the living and dining rooms. It's an open-plan MCM home with a large wall of windows throughout the entire back half of the house.

by Anonymousreply 206/27/2020

This is in Palm Springs, Mary?

by Anonymousreply 306/27/2020

I just don't know if I should say more, but in really warm humid climes like southern Florida where my mother and her relatives grew up and mostly still remain, Terrazzo was the IT girl of the season for a good part of the sixties and seventies. It's a resinous pourable substance that sets up harder than concrete, and you can pour a wide variety of chips as color accents before it sets. Then it's polished down, and it lasts forever. It's for climates where there's no need for basements, and most houses only have concrete slabs for a foundation. but there's no work to it once that's done. I don't really know what magical ingredient you expect ground level floors to be made from in warm humid climates, but terrazzo is the very least worrisome. The extra kicker was, at the time anyway, only licensed trained pros with a franchise could install it, so altho it costs more, it's absolutely guaranteed. What did you want, some form of marble or hardwood on the ground floor? Not cost effective OR advisable.

by Anonymousreply 406/27/2020

R3 - No, Florida.

R4 - Good information! But, the owners weren't so excited because of terrazzo's durability, but because of the aesthetic appeal...which I'm just not seeing. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the house is gorgeous and I LOVE the MCM look and feel (open floor plan, floor to ceiling windows in the back, functional but beautiful design... I'm into it)

Since I know terrazzo can come in endless varieties... it was this style/look... which really screams "hospital/airport/school hallway floor" to me. Am I wrong?

(this is not an actual picture from the house... I just found a similar looking one online...)

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by Anonymousreply 506/27/2020

You’re not wrong. Really a question of taste. In my co-op, the lobby was carpeted until we renovated. We tore up the carpet and found the building’s original, ornate terrazzo floor. We designed the lobby around it, but obviously a previous board decided to cover it up

by Anonymousreply 606/27/2020

It really depends on what the terrazzo looks like - the beige /brown that you posted at R5 looks ugly to me, but I've seen lots of terrazzo that I like - I prefer color.

by Anonymousreply 706/27/2020

I don’t think it’s good for one’s body, long term, to walk on hard surfaces like that for years.

by Anonymousreply 806/27/2020

Tasteful Friends threads are about homes, not about some rando anon's opinion of flooring types.

by Anonymousreply 906/27/2020

The photo at OP is not a good representation of terrazzo. It’s not necessarily a hodgepodge of cracked pieces glued together like that.

by Anonymousreply 1006/27/2020

R10 - click through to read the article for a lot more examples, though, I agree they chose an unusual representation of terrazzo for the main pic.

by Anonymousreply 1106/27/2020

R10 - click through to read the article for a lot more examples, though, I agree they chose an unusual representation of terrazzo for the main pic.

by Anonymousreply 1206/27/2020

OP, I completely agree with you about it looking very "public municipal building." I've been in dozens of Palm Springs homes with terrazzo, and the (mostly older, gay) occupants have covered them with nice rugs in the common areas. Which is nice, but who wants to be slipping and falling on something so hard as that? I was told once that terrazzo kept the homes cooler, but I don't know and don't care to research it.

by Anonymousreply 1306/27/2020

Trilogy of Terrazzo

by Anonymousreply 1406/27/2020

It's a matter of taste; if you're "not getting it," it's not right to your eye.

I like terrazzo, but with qualifications, that's to say I like terrazzo about 25% of the time; 50% of the time it's ,"well, I wouldn't change it, but I wish it were a better color/aggregate/design"; and another 25% I just dislike for the choice of material, it's quality or aesthetics, or it's application.

Most people know it as such an industrial or institutional or public lobby flooring, yet it was an ancient material for domestic and other forms of architecture. It's typical in Venetian palaces and grand houses.

Where I like everyone has marble floors, or ceramic tile, or, less commonly terrazzo floors or (budget version) terrazzo tile floors. Houses are masonry construction, it's hot or warm the year round, and it's been these materials have been traditional for centuries; wood and other materials are very much the exception.

To my eye I like darker terrazzo floors, less speckled/,mottled in color variation, and with brass (not stainless) seams. I think if you have terrazzo floors it should be the whole house, or thought the whole ground level, or in some logical series of rooms. Having just an entry hall and corridor, or just one room bothers me a bit.

An MCM house can be bolder with the variation in aggregate colors, but hopefully has an overall aesthetic that I like. A whole house of "Turkish delight" nougat colored terrazzo could be a bit much depending on design and color, or it could be great. It down to how it works with the architecture. Some really strong floors work well in a low sprawling glass-walled house but would look out of place in another.

The fist design in your link, OP, makes me think, "Pity there's this great floor with a speckled monkey shit brown design; I'll never love it could I learn to like it enough?"

The example at the link is from a 18thC house in Milan but owned by a family in the stone products trade so the floor is modern in design and execution, but rather beautiful I think because it fits so well in the space, and has a sensual quality that you imagine walking across barefooted in socks, on a hot day or a cool day, in leather soled shoes: it literally grounds you by being so important an aspect of the space. The colors suit it, the pattern too; the rhythm echoes the ceiling, as if a reflection in a rippled pond.

Sometimes the stuff is a great success, sometimes not. A lot of admirers swoon any time they see the stuff; for me it's very specific whether it works or not.

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by Anonymousreply 1506/27/2020

Uff. Auto-correct fucks me in the ass and unkindly with false "it's" yet again.

by Anonymousreply 1606/27/2020

R15 - usually, a post that long deserves a "get a blog, Mary!" response, but I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. And, yes, that's a pretty striking floor at R15.

by Anonymousreply 1706/28/2020

You've been surrounded all your life by terrazzo in exactly the places you mention, so it makes sense that you'd make that association. Not everybody makes the association or if they do, they either don't care or they like it. Maybe people who love terrazzo once stayed in a hotel or hotels with filled with the stuff and subconsciously they're longing to return.

by Anonymousreply 1806/28/2020

R15, very well put.

by Anonymousreply 1906/28/2020

Not domestic architecture, but it gives an idea of how surprising and gorgeous terrazzo can be, here in the Taschen bookstore in Milan.

Each space in the shop has a different flooring; it's featured very prominently on their website for the Milan location.

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by Anonymousreply 2006/28/2020

And here a company that does excellent new work and restoration in Venice and vicinty. I love the fine grey with the big chunks of reddish brown, but the home page shows samples of new work and restoration:

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by Anonymousreply 2106/28/2020

Thanks R17 for the kind words. The curse of writing very fast is sometimes to write too much—and also forget to look over what I've written.

by Anonymousreply 2206/28/2020

I love that r20.

by Anonymousreply 2306/28/2020

I grew up with terrazzo floors and love the look. I recently had some flooring redone and would have loved to do my entire house in terrazzo but it’s expensive.

by Anonymousreply 2406/28/2020

I don't care for them at all. They look cheap, as if someone couldn't afford proper stone floors so they bought all the broken cast offs from some stone supplier before they took it all to the dump.

by Anonymousreply 2506/28/2020

Kind of reminds me of "stained glass" Jell-O.

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by Anonymousreply 2606/28/2020

I spent a good part of my youth in Florida and all the cheaper houses had terrazzo. It was inexpensive, undesirable and considered dated by the mid 60s. Though they keep cool they are very hard on legs and feet - and anything you might drop on them. Most people covered over them. My parents laid down cork floors over them.

If they are now expensive then something has happened - either it's a different tile altogether or they've just hoodwinked people into thinking they are fabulous. People with children also worried about kids falling on them.

by Anonymousreply 2706/28/2020

Not desirable if you wear contact lenses.

by Anonymousreply 2806/28/2020

I might like a terrazzo in different shades of gray only, with a uniform-ish appearance (not too chunky-looking).

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by Anonymousreply 2906/28/2020

Like any flooring material; tile, hardwood, carpet etc. if it suits the style of the house, is the right color and is installed correctly it can be beautiful. I've seen beautiful and I've seen awful terrazzo floors. Commercially, the Jacksonville, Fl. airport has gorgeous terrazzo floors, done in shades of blue and turquoise in a pattern that looks like waves. Really stunning.

by Anonymousreply 3006/28/2020

Just how can terrazzo be any harder than Tile? And Vogue doesn't think it's low end, in fact, they say it's high end and expensive to put in and very desirable. People with shitty children are always worried about the little cunts falling.

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by Anonymousreply 3106/28/2020

R30, you made me look. Those are some fancy floors with great designs. Dallas and Tallahassee airports also fabulous. That isn't quite what most homes had though. LOL! I want that mermaid on my floor.

R31, Vogue? They think Kim Kardashian is "high end". And I have no doubt its cost has been jacked up today. The problem is having such a hard, unforgiving surface throughout your house.

Babies, schmabies. Try slipping on those floors and not breaking something.

by Anonymousreply 3206/28/2020

It's awful. it's the sort of something you really have to love because once it's in there, it'll take a demolition team and a small bobcat with a chisel attachment to get it out. Worked for a demolition company several years ago and Terrazzo was always a nightmare. Especially for folks who would buy older houses thinking they could just rehab and rip it right out. It doesn't rip right out. It's expensive to put in. And just about as expensive to take out.

by Anonymousreply 3306/28/2020

And I repeat is tile actually softer? I think not and the wood look tile is very popular now. Are you old and in pain dear?

by Anonymousreply 3406/28/2020

Yuck! I didn’t even know this stuff had a name. Totally agree, this says “institutional flooring” to me.

by Anonymousreply 3506/28/2020
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