So, what is terrazzo?
Terrazzo is a custom flooring that originated in Italy. Venetians developed terrazzo floors, because they wanted to reuse leftover or broken marble chips from large, marble slab and/or tile projects. These chips of marble are laid in a pattern, then a concrete or epoxy resin is poured on top of the marble pieces. After the resin dries, the floor is ground down, polished smooth, and sealed to expose the marble pieces. Terrazzo floors are both beautiful and extremely durable, so it’s not surprising that they are in public spaces all over the world (refer to photo on top left, courtesy of Ca’Cerchiere Loredan:Venice). Artisans learned the craft in Italy, then many moved to other countries to design, install and teach others the unique craft. If you can’t make it to Venice, check out the floors in many of our U.S. airports, like O’Hare and JFK.
My father-in-law was a terrazzo contractor who flew to Chicago from Italy in the 50s. He recently moved out of his home, and I was in charge of renovations, so he could sell it. He installed marble terrazzo floors on the entire first floor (refer to photo of dining on top right). I was excited to incorporate these beautiful floors in my designs throughout the house.
I specified marble in other areas of the house to complement the floors. The kitchen countertops are cut from a slab of Arabascato marble. The marble balances the floor and the cherry cabinets (refer to photo of kitchen on bottom left). The upstairs bath has a Carrara marble hexagon floor, a cast iron clawfoot tub and white subway tile on the walls (refer to bathroom photo on bottom middle). In the basement bathroom, I specified a porcelain tile that looks like Carrara marble for both the walls and floors. The porcelain tile is durable and makes the smaller bath appear larger (refer to bathroom photo on bottom right).
The house is now for sale, so if you know someone looking for a house in Oak Park, Illinois, check this out.