I've never seen terrazzo flooring quite like in this minimalist Italian villa – the perfect way to make a home feel more expensive
The designers of this European home have used terrazzo flooring throughout, creating an elegant space that celebrates the materials of the local landscape
Terrazzo flooring has been a big design trend for a little while now. Colorful and playful and oh-so-chic, it hits just the note we want for our homes. But I don't think I've ever seen it used in such an elegant and refined way, making this Italian villa look so....expensive.
Set in South Tyrol's wine country, it has been designed by MoDusArchitects for a young family new to the area - with a recent award for Italian Architect of the Year 2022 under their belt - there really is no better name in Italy to conjure up your dream European villa.
The pillars of this stunning minimalist home are local materials, artisanal elements, and an architectural mix of traditional and contemporary touches.
And it's the dreamy terrazzo flooring that runs throughout the home, bending and winding its way down sets of stairs, along corridors, and leading the eye with a distinct border that makes this space feel seriously expensive. We speak to one of the designers to find out more about this modern home's design and statement flooring.
The terrazzo flooring
The terrazzo flooring is a main theme that is present throughout the home, winding its way past each room, and elegantly around the living room.
The terrazzo brings a luxuriousness to the space, with two colorways - light pink concrete with white marble chips and darker pink concrete with darker chips for a border, bringing texture and interest to the hard flooring.
The terrazzo also works as a clever zoning device, guiding your eye along the corridor, drawing attention to the craftsmanship like the beautifully curved glass window, snaking its way along the curves of the window frame.
The choice in chip coloring also brings a warmth to this otherwise minimalist, sparse home. Where the flooring is hard, the pink brings a certain glow to the space. It helps to soften the minimalist living room floor, which is void of rugs or other soft furnishings.
The designers worked with a local artisan who learned the trade of terrazzo flooring from his father, a number of mixtures were tested out and made into a series of samples in order to find the right recipe that balanced the Veneto traditions of the flooring with local materials, directly connecting the construction of the flooring with the mineral material palette of the area.
It's a fitting nod to the local landscape, explains Sandy Attia of MoDusArchitects. 'The house is eclectic, as is the local geography: a cultural mix between the Germanic influences from the north and the Mediterranean influences from the south. The house celebrates many local and vernacular artisanal practices, and the terrazzo flooring is one example of this.'
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A chunky coffee table for a bargain price, I like this solid frame that is actually faux terrazzo but gives the same playful effect.
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The terrazzo continues to snake its way around a standout feature in the living room - the fireplace.
The fireplace integrates the latest technologies of wood-burning stoves with an organic, custom-built shape that grows outwards from the wall with an elegant spherical shape.
'The fireplace shimmers with a textured, finely granulated lime finish of mother of pearl aggregates and crushed, local “lasa” stone that catches the light over the course of the day with various effects,' explains Sandy.
'The lime-based interior plasterwork, the fireplace, or the metalsmith workmanship for the outdoor metal screens and other facade elements are other examples of local artisanal practices,' explains Sandy. This helps reflect the landscape, complementing the location instead of interrupting it.
The terrazzo flooring leads visitors down the stairs, opening into a terracotta basement where the light shines through and bounces off the walls
The terracotta walls in the basement exhibit a beautiful harmony between northern Italy while reminding visitors of the south. In Italian, terracotta literally translates to 'baked earth', and there is something warming and inviting about these lime walls in this piquant orange hue.
'The lower underground level is connotated by dark earthy tones and materials but also to reflect where you are in the house in relationship to the ground,' says Sandy.
The lower-level square terracotta pavers are ground up and mixed into the lime-based plasterwork on the walls. 'This creates an enveloping, earthy, terracotta environment at this lower level sunken within the groundscape.' The result is a glowy, cavernous, and almost monastic space and atmosphere.
Another material that features alongside the terrazzo flooring is glass, with the living room window amplifying the view and landscape beyond.
'The curved glass in the living room provides an uninterrupted connection between the main living spaces of the house with the outdoors,' says Sandy.
The dimension of the curved sheet of glass is kept to a minimum to sidestep the corollary distortions that curved glass may produce.'
A place of calm and tranquil home, the designer's favorite spot in the house is the wooden reading nook. 'It's in the gallery on the first floor; with its billowing upholstery, the soft inset bench is a quiet, special place where you can snuggle up to book and look out across the top of the stairs through the double-height space of the living room and out towards the landscape,' says Sandy.
The whole space gives me a feeling that is both intimate and vast.'
Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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