It’s the retro cousin of Italian granite and marble, with a little Palm Springs thrown in. Terrazzo is a tough and practical surface with great detailing and perfectly suited to wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
It was used to great effect in the urban cool kitchen of Tim and Mat’s Melbourne home, because it works well with dark cabinetry and slick tapware. It also provided an added layer of interest to the entry/mudroom.
House Rules judge Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen says he thought adding terrazzo as a House Rule to the Melbourne renovation was a great idea.
“We were very excited by the design rules because I felt they were using a lot of very contemporary, very Italian solutions,” he says. “I feel that there's a new style around the corner, which has a lot of what everyone loves about Scandi, but actually is much more elegant, more continental and effectively, more Italian.”
He praised the colour palette chosen by the contestants. “It was all darker, richer colours, and darker, richer finishes. And the design is much more fashion orientated.”
Judge Wendy Moore also felt that terrazzo worked well in the kitchen. “I loved that island bench and I just thought it looked fantastic,” she says. “It was so beautiful and it just added exactly the right amount of texture to that space.”
The Cheat’s Guide to Terrazzo
What is it?
A man-made material, terrazzo dates back to Egyptian times and consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other material mixed with a binding agent to create a detailed, intricate surface.
What does it match with?
Because it has Italian heritage, terrazzo is a great match with rich dark colours and textures such as leather and timbers to create a modern European look. It’s best paired with slick cabinetry rather than doors with added detailing so that it doesn’t look too busy or messy. Alternatively, mix it with white-washed walls to create a Palm-Springs/1950s vibe.
What are its strengths?
Terrazzo is incredibly tough and resilient. Easy to clean, just needing a regular mop, it is great used on floors either as a single surface or in a tile format. Modern engineered stones often have terrazzo-style products that work well as kitchen or bathroom benches and splashbacks.
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