This retro surface is making a comeback - providing layers of texture and interest to contemporary kitchens.
Watch out Hamptons – traditional surfaces and European influences are returning to kitchens as homeowners rediscover the beauty of texture and detail in their cooking zones.
Moving away from the starkness of minimalism and into earthier, textural tones, designers are embracing the concept of using terrazzo-style surfaces in benchtops and splashbacks.
One of the biggest trends to emerge in the last year, terrazzo is Italian in origin, traditionally made with marble chips embedded in concrete floors. It was popular in the 1950s and 60s, and was often featured on outdoor areas such as front and back porches.
Interior designer James Treble says that while the Italian take on terrazzo is timeless, it is also perfect for people looking to create the on-trend Palm Springs look.
“It creates a dynamic floor that can run inside the home and out into alfresco and entertaining areas, echoing the effect of crazy stone paving" he says.
“But the interesting patterns created with the chunky character of the terrazzo finish is also a reason why this look is becoming so popular for Australian homes, especially in surface materials for benchtops. It creates so many exciting options in our homes.”
Terrazzo-style surfaces from Caesarstone – Frozen Terra, Atlantic Salt and Nougat – capitalise on these trends. Frozen Terra features a robust concrete fused with translucent aggregate and embellished with fine black basalt. Atlantic Salt is a more intricate, sculpted design featuring white, taupe, grey and black in an abstract pattern. Nougat is made up of coarse grained and chunky neutral quartz chips on a white background.
Interior designer Suzanne Gorman of Studio Gorman often uses terrazzo surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms she designs.
“What we like about it is that it’s a man-made material, but it’s made from natural materials” she says. “You have the benefit of the natural stone look, but it’s more forgiving and a lot more versatile."
Design at the moment is quite textured and layered and terrazzo works quite well with this style.
“We use a lot of oak in joinery and floors, from limed oak to smoked oak and terrazzo is a great partner with the wood. Texture on texture is something we really like – it creates homely, warm spaces. I think terrazzo adds a lot of life into a family home – it adds interest and layers and textures.”
Gorman says that terrazzo also is a good choice for homeowners looking for a more understated look, to stop a space becoming bland or boring.
“For families who want a fresher, white kitchen, it also works well because it’s always going to add interest and texture. We have a kitchen we are currently doing and we are using terrazzo on the vertical surface of the island bench and on the splashback, with a white Caesarstone benchtop.”
James Treble says that while subtle from a distance, terrazzo finishes add complexity when seen up close.
“I always find the soft and subtle terrazzo look is timeless, but the chunkier larger format look is also popular as it makes more of a statement, which we are happy to do in our open-plan Australian homes” he adds.
“I love the character of the surface, it creates interest in a space, and successfully creates more block colour in cabinetry and wall finishes” he says. “I guess I have also been familiar with the finish for so long, that it feels comfortable to live with.”
James Treble @designerjamestreble and Suzanne Gorman @studiogorman