Terrazzo floors, invented by ancient Venetians, loved by mid-century-modern designers, fell out of favor in the 1990s. The past few years have seen it become a popular flooring material once again. Not sure what terrazzo is? Once you start looking for it, you’ll see it everywhere. Michaelangelo used the material in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican

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photo credit: Harshlight

City. You can find it in George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon. And you might have seen the black terrazzo covering the sidewalks on Hollywood Boulevard, home to the famous stars of the Walk of Fame. A simple way to describe it is it’s made from stone fragments, crushed glass, shells or even onyx and mother of pearl are embedded in concrete and polished until smooth.

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Photos by Curbed editor-in-chief Kelsey Keith

As curbed.com writes, “Terrazzo as we know it has its roots in 15th-century Italy. Terrazzo—the word means terrace, or place of encounter—was allegedly developed when mosaics craftspeople realized that marble chips became a resilient surface when trodden into the ground.” Those chips became embedded in the surface and smoothed over with wear. Eventually, artisans learned better ways to embed the chips and used more stable materials as a base. As a result, terrazzo became prized in its own right.

Even though terrazzo is often associated with large public buildings, homeowners love the fact that there are a lot of pros and very little cons when it comes to terrazzo. The fact that it lasts for centuries speaks to its longevity. It’s considered a “green” building material because it’s all-natural, and is often comprised of recycled materials. And since it’s stone, it’s easy to clean and doesn’t need any pricey special cleanser. It is cheaper than similar surfaces, like marble, but the custom nature of the designs can eat up savings.

If you’re interested in custom floors, or are looking for ways to incorporate terrazzo into your design KFD can help you. Terrazzo can be used on floors, backsplashes, and even furniture. Let one of our design experts show you the best way to use terrazzo in your home.