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Wondering If The Terrazzo Tiles Trend Resurgence Might Make Its Way To Nashville
by TJ Anderson
Photo: Steve Snodgrass
If you tend to keep an eye on home-design trends, you’ve likely noticed the return of terrazzo, both in its traditional flooring context and in a bunch of other uses, from backsplashes to furniture.
For those who are less familiar: Terrazzo — a poured composite material, usually mixed with bits and pieces of stone and resins — became particularly popular in the U.S. around the Art Deco boom in the ’20s, and stuck around well into the ’70s as a floor material of choice. But it traces back way further — 18th century Venice, and at least tangentially, even back to ancient Egypt.
Probably the most famous use of Terrazzo in the U.S.: the dark, speckled Hollywood Walk of Fame.
More recently, from the boom of wall-to-wall carpeting to the more recent years of stripping out that carpeting and refinishing the floors underneath, terrazzo was kind of left behind as a flooring option. But as with all things home design, it’s coming back around. “The Forgotten Flooring Material is Back, and Better than Ever,” Apartment Therapy proclaimed, a full two years ago.
There are some good reasons for its re-emergence.
— Terrazzo is super durable: It's hard to damage, and barely shows wear over years and years of heavy traffic (you’ll often find contractors pointing out that terrazzo flooring tends to last longer than the building it’s installed in)
— It’s cost-effective, since it’ll likely never “need” replacing (unless you want to replace it)
— It’s a green building option, since terrazzo is made of renewable materials
— And it can be manufactured in a huge number of colors, giving homeowners lots of options for personalization
Some home-design lovers are, understandably, not down with the return of terrazzo. It’s one of those polarizing design choices, like original midcentury-modern bathroom tiles. Some people think they’re a stone-cold classic, others think they’re a mistake that’s best erased.
Will terrazzo make its way to Nashville?
Most home-design trends do tend to make their way to Nashville, and these days, with less of a lag than in the past.
Maybe an early indication that we’d be cool with embracing the return of terrazzo: The arrival of Nashville's first LEED-certified high-rise, the Terrazzo in the Gulch, in 2009, pictured below. (Sure, the name is Italian for “terrace,” but let’s go with this theory.)
I look at Nashville home listings just about every day, and still, even as the terrazzo resurgence is a few years in, I rarely see terrazzo incorporated in renovations or new builds. It happens, on occasion (and if you ever catch a condo in the historic Bennie Dillon building, units there have unassuming, original terrazzo tile floors too). But terrazzo remains an outlier here in Nashville in 2019, and that may or may not change.
A few points toward the “may” side: Commercial design trends can often be the harbinger of shifts in home-design trends, and terrazzo’s definitely making its way into commercial spaces here in Nashville. The baths in the upscale Hotel Indigo downtown feature sleek terrazzo, and the Shelton Grand Nashville’s recent $35 million renovation included terrazzo tile in the arresting new lobby.
As go the hotels, goeth the Nashville homes? Who knows. Hey, we love quartz, and they’re of the same ilk, really.
I’ve been on the fence, myself, but if you tool around Instagram (follow us at @tjandersonhomes while you’re at it?), you’ll see terrazzo incorporated into modern homes in really interesting and exciting ways.
Below, a few uses that I like:
If I were to incorporate terrazzo into my own home, this would be the context: bold kitchen backsplash with a more muted countertop. The durability factor would be immensely helpful, and you can pull all kinds of accent colors in, to bring your space together.
A lot, I know. And I don’t tend to find myself drawn to pink and gold. But the way this super-bold terrazzo was used on horizontal and vertical surfaces is pretty hard to forget.
When we’re talking showers, “super durable” is a trait I really prize as a homeowner. And here, in this subtle gray paired with brass fixtures, the terrazzo really looks elegant too.
We’re used to seeing tiny tidbits of stone in terrazzo. But this big, chunky terrazzo is really cool, particularly since the designers of this commercial space paired the big terrazzo look with some simple and sleek geometric lines in the furnishings.
I love tiling a bathroom wall floor to ceiling — it’s so functionally effective, making your wet space so much easier to keep clean. Using terrazzo in a simple, modern bath like this for that purpose: functional and beautiful.
A big part of me hates this — with those big bursts of bright color, the space kind of feels like a candy shop. But I also can’t deny that it has an appeal, especially if you’re drawn to delicate, feminine, glam aesthetics. Not terrazzo-related: The mix of the Tulip table and the lines of the light fixture and seating are a total design win.
Terrazzo tiles to pair with a historic fireplace? Into it.
When you really, really, REALLY like terrazzo.
So what’s your verdict: Intrigued by the resurgence of terrazzo, or more than happy to just ignore it? I’d love to read your thoughts.
Whatever your preferred flooring/tile materials might be, if you’re looking for a new home in Nashville, I’d love to help you find the right place. Call or email TJ Anderson Homes here, and in the meantime, take a look at some homes for sale in Nashville here.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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