OK, our Maison may not be as grand and glamourous as this one on http://www.thisoldhouse.com , but we have old terrazzo staircases and we have discovered that under layers of dust, dirt and caked on cement, we do have some terrazzo skirtings (base boards) upstairs that I have finally started sorting and cleaning. Shock horror! these are rather gorgeous! Now I have found out that terrazzo as a building material was more commonly used in the South of France than I thought, I have researched it a bit more.
Used for floors, stairs and fireplace surrounds, this is a combination of marble, granite, quartz and later glass pieces bedded into cement or resin and then ground & polished for a smooth and shiny surface. Originally, clay was the base. When machinery was developed in 1920 to speed up the process, it became even more popular as a tough and easy to clean flooring with a cool feel perfect for warmer climes.
We have two colourways that will be cleaned, recut and re-used. The chic grey/silver/lilac colourway with fragments of mother of pearl and abalone shells will go back into the modified and re-designed shower room.
Photos do not do these justice, will post some of it fully restored and in situ soon.
The one we found in the tulip bedroom is very pale pink with chips of black marble and silvery shell fragments again.
The colours of both suggest the early 20th century( as above) and I am pretty sure that is the period when they were fitted , so nearly a century old!
When we first viewed the house, it wasn’t one of those raw gems of a project stacked floor-to-ceiling with obvious historic features and original period details. It was a mis-matched dark, brown box with 50’s wallpaper and formica everywhere. When we started taking things down and moving things round, we were pleasantly suprised at what had been hidden above false ceilings and behind cupboards
Like the three ancient beams that hold half the house up,the rough undressed stone and giant river pebbles that make up the walls and the traces of medieval timber framework, the house is emerging from it’s ugly duckling aspect into something even better than we ever thought it could be.
The bargain first foothold in France might just be the last project. Who knew?