Twenty years ago, the choices of what to use as a floor tile looked very different to today’s myriad options.
Stone, specifically Italian or Turkish travertine, was the most popular choice for traditional homes. Slate was also widely used for country homes to give an aged rusticity, with shades varying from pale green and rust through to black.
For a more modern feel porcelain was available, however, it was a simple choice of square or rectangle tiles in different shades of cream, terracotta or grey with varying degrees of machined produced patina.
After a few years some of these natural floors, which had been sold under the guidance that care and maintenance were required, were beginning to look a little worse for wear, literally. Inevitably, not all of the advice given was carried through the years and changes of property ownership, so that floors that started life full of charm were ending their lives full of stains and dirt. Renovation was a route many home owners took, but replacement was the other option, particularly so in kitchens where a full remodel tends to happen every 15 years or so.
During this period the technology in tile production had moved on significantly; producers’ ability to create more interesting designs matched consumer desire for floors that were decorative, and with enduring practicality. The price of most porcelain now compares favourably with other materials too.
The great thing about this innovation is the choice it creates. Many British homes were built in Victorian times where floors were generally tiled in quite intricate designs, particularly hallways. Geometric patterns and more vintage designs suit these properties perfectly. A great benefit of porcelain, especially in an entrance, is that it is so easily wiped and mopped. Pattern can also hide a few scuffs and scrapes so that the floor doesn’t need constant attention.
Bathrooms are not always the best place to use wallpaper, so decoration can be used on the floor or walls for visual interest and to add character and colour to the space. Blue and white or black and white decorative tiles in a bathroom always feel particularly fresh and enticing, and act as a visually pleasing counterpoint to the white porcelainware often used.
Sometimes it’s the shape of the tile itself that can transform a space. Hexagons or triangles are effortlessly fun and characterful in their own right. Using two or three shades together can be particularly effective in composing a decorative scheme. See our Zip Line, Semaphore or Hayek Hex tiles for striking shapes in charming colours.
Hayek Hex porcelain tiles
The feel of some of the designs available in porcelain have a genuine timelessness about them. The influence can be antique French floors in pretty pastel designs, or possibly ecclesiastical motifs like our Eglise series. Our gorgeous Vaporetto tile, for instance, was conceived on a trip to Venice where the centuries old floors proved an invaluable inspiration.
Eglise porcelain tiles
If the look of a natural product is the requirement there are a number of tiles that so closely resemble the real thing, one really has to get up close and personal to spot that they are actually porcelain. Our Chateau collection is a case in point; it is so entirely like actual stone we advise customers to obtain a couple of samples as it’s so natural looking and feeling.
Chateau porcelain tiles
Terrazzo, a quintessentially Italian commodity, has been held in esteem by those embracing more modern design during the last few decades. In mid-century homes of the 60’s and 70’s in particular, this exquisite material was widely used to create an almost painterly backdrop to interiors. It has also been having quite the resurgence in the UK in recent months. After a visit to the amazing Trousdale Estates in Beverley Hills California last year, we felt compelled to introduce our Trousdale Terrazzo collection after seeing original floors in some spectacular homes there.
Trousdale porcelain tiles
With a house style recognisable for its bold colours and vivid patterns, Claybrook will delight in showcasing further porcelain collections throughout 2020. With such impressive ornamentation, ideal practicality and value for money, what’s not to love about that?