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Terrazzo Floor in Kitchen: Help w/ finishes!

Alexa T
July 26, 2018
last modified: July 26, 2018

Hi everyone! I need help with our kitchen reno project. We have a 60s style ranch home that has beautiful terrazzo floors THROUGHOUT the entire house and we love it! We are now finally renovating the kitchen and we will keep the terrazzo in there as well.

I have a kitchen design and layout ready but I need help with picking out the finishes and tile (for backsplash etc) How do I pick something to match or complement the terrazzo? I know I want SS appliances and hood as well as undermount SS sink (sink will be located below window on right counter)

I am drawn to champagne brass for hardware or faucet and maybe some globe pendant lighting somewhere. I would love a feature tile wall behind the cooktops and hood but I don't know what to pick.

Here's a breakdown:

- Terrazzo floors

- White countertops

- Walnut/wood tones for lower cabinets.

- Uppers cabinets in taupe (matte or gloss?)

- Finger pull hardware. Brassy tones?

- SS appliances

- Wall TILE ???? Color, style, material ?? - Don't know!

- Accent lighting. Should I do pendant lights in the peninsula OR above the island? What works best?

I am including photos of the kitchen layout, the terrazzo and the cabinet color (these are not definite)

Any help is much appreciated :)

Comments (59)

  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

    I LOVE terrazzo. That’s really all I have to contribute. Lol. Your instincts seems right on point!

    Alexa T thanked Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.
  • Alexa T

    These are great!! I think my favorite application of the tile is the vertical one, don't know why but that just looks so sleek vs horizontally at least in my specific design and layout.

    Ok..so basically I pick a tile that will run throughout both walls, even around windows? I am so drawn to going with a pop of color!

    Yes, there will be recessed lights all over but I think it would be the perfect opportunity to use accent light somewhere and I think you're right about focusing on the peninsula best.

    Both the island and peninsula will have waterfall edge :)

  • Alexa T

    Thanks so much!! We were REALLY lucky with these floors!! We bought this house in 2015 to the previous and only owner it ever had since being built. Home is from 1964 and don't know how but they managed to keep the terrazzo intact since then! It runs seamlessly throughout the house underneath all walls except bathrooms and we plan on saving as much as we can. We removed 2 walls in the kitchen and found some yellowing underneath cabinets so it needs to be re-finished but other than that it's perfect.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    ok great. and yes, the vertical stack layout is more modern looking. check w/Encore, or take a gander over at FireClay tile. (look under shapes) like Encore, they have many different shapes and sizes rather than just settling w/3x6! Both have beautiful colors and glazes to choose from. they are custom and have at least a 4 week lead time, but they will send you out some samples of the colors you like. talk to Lindsey over at Fireclay if you see anything there you like.

    personally, I think the bronze alloy mixed w/the Nebula (it's a dark charcoal) would look so good w/the walnut/white and the gold accents. throwing in some black w/the gold for your splash,,,amazing! you're going to have all that large expanse of white on your countertops, plus the majority of the flooring is white. going w/a more dramatic backsplash w/black or a dark charcoal mixed w/the bronze/gold metallic....stunning.

    something along these colors, with more golden tones, in larger format tiles. I'm trying to capture the black w/the bronze tones, but I can't find exactly what I want.

    I really like the chevron in the alloy metallic. this is just a gray ceramic, but it's 9"


    look at the cookie dip, here


    look at the example in the little pictures that show the white hex, w/edge kiss, mixed w/the black,,,,,

    another pic w/the white glossy uppers and a stacked pattern layout. if you like the vertical stack, I'd choose a larger tile.

    Alexa T thanked Beth H. :
  • Alexa T

    Thanks so much for all your input and contact info Beth! I really appreciate it :)

    I love the chevron style or vertical rectangular shapes. The hex with the dipped metallic looks awesome and I like the random shine effect these have.

    Now that you mention all the white, I hadn't thought about that before and you're right. Bold tile will complement it better and it won't look too busy.

    Would you pick upper cabinets in glossy or in matte? I really like the glossy style but maybe it's all too much?

  • Skil367

    I love terrazzo! It's so beautiful. Such a soft look, yet practical and easy to clean.

    I'm out of step with most people, but please consider ...

    A drop-in sink. Yes, an undermount looks sleeker, but if you cook a lot and wash heavy pots and pans, there's a constant risk of chipping the granite.

    Not having an island. Yes, more counter space is always good, but unless you really have lots of room, islands tend to interrupt traffic and take up more space than they're worth. If you want to try one out, great, but don't attach it to the floor or run plumbing or electric to it until you're sure.

    Alexa T thanked Skil367
  • aprilneverends

    I always loved wood plus white. One of my favorite combos.

    yet there something about that wood plus that taupe that makes me breathless.

    Hard choice:)

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    i think glossy or matte would work. depends on the overall look

    Alexa T thanked Beth H. :
    Love your choices—jealous of your terrazzo! We did a walnut/white combo in our MCM kitchen. Tile is fireclay. Sharing in case it’s helpful to see more non-pro photos of walnut. We did just a few uppers but broke up the wood expanses with some light blue, a specialty of our cabinet maker.
    Alexa T thanked HKO HKO
  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.

    I just finished this Walnut and glossy white kitchen.

    Mid-Century Modern Redo · More Info
    It would have looked amazing with a terrazzo floor.

    Alexa T thanked Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.
    Kristin, I love that kitchen

    Here’s a better picture of the end where we did uppers. I don’t think you should be scared to do all walnut if you love it, in the right space it doesn’t look like too much, as Beth and Kristin’s examples show
  • aprilneverends

    (it's beautiful. all you show is gorgeous

    with all that, and my own obsession with walnut and different whites, my heart still goes to taupe

    I'm very biased though-it's one of my favorite colors. Ever. I don't know what about it makes it so special to me. I have theories yet they all fall short. That's a big and wonderful mystery of colors.

    Figure out what makes you a tad more breathless since here, both choices can and will look wonderful.

  • Alexa T

    These are all beautiful kitchens!! I can see how the walnut uppers work beautifully so.. it just makes the decision even harder! I will try to get some tile samples too so I can see them in this light and next to my floors.

    Demo is complete and now they need to work on plumbing. The sink will be moved to a different spot on the same wall so they will have to cut through some of the floors ...yikes!! Luckily it will be hidden under the cabinets.

    Just for fun, here's a photo of what my kitchen looked like before. L shaped and only 3 upper cabinets lol. We basically had an empty room right next to the kitchen (I used it as storage because it was separated by a pocket door) and we decided to join both rooms and move the kitchen to the back space.

    ... We also are almost done renovating the space outside of that window which honestly, deserves a whole other post!!

    Room with kitchen...

    Room next to it separated by a pocket door and has a door to the garage. Living room is behind the wall where the stove was..

    After demo. Looking at the space from the living room

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    alexa, this looks like florida. ?

  • Alexa T

    Yes, I'm in Miami :) The home was salmon on salmon on salmon with pinkish bahama shutters for hurricane proof lol. We invested on impact windows when we first moved in and that instantly changed the look of the house..along with paint! We have done lots of renovations to the exterior but the kitchen is the first major thing on the interior (apart from that weird Florida room attachment I mentioned earlier) I should include photos soon for reference.

    We're very excited!!

  • Alexa T

    Some photos of the exterior.. totally going off track here btw!!

    exterior before

    ..after! That cute little tree we planted was blown off by hurricane Irma :(

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    oh wow,,,yes, quite the change! I love those original doors though! They're so 60's! you took out the palms? I can see you're shooting for more of a modern vibe. I think your new kitchen will fit in perfectly w/your new look. you're so lucky to find that terrazzo flooring in good condition. did you have to get it re-polished? Just to have those floors installed nowadays, is so so expensive. I'd love to have it.

  • loobab

    Nice floors, I bet they're wonderfully cool on your feet!

  • Alexa T
    Thank you!! Yes we loved the door too but they had painted the outside pink throughout the years and the inside was the original wood tone. I don’t know if we would’ve been able to sand it down enough to its natural state so ultimately we just just got an impact door for insurance purposes.

    At least the floors are original and in great condition! The previous owner had it polished I believe. It has no stains except for the area where we removed cabinets and walls where we found yellowing. I had some terrazzo people check it out and they said it can be treated and polished but they would have to treat the whole living area since it is a seamless space.
  • Alexa T
    Thank you loobab!! It is such a cool floor.. literally! Lol it is especially good here in Miami where it’s always hot outside. We lost power for 10 days during hurricane Irma last year and there were moments where we would just lay on the floor to keep cool! It keeps cool, is easy to clean but it is exceptionally great at hiding dirt too.. haha!! A lot of people comment on how expensive it is to get terrazzo nowadays so we got lucky with these.
  • Claire Pope

    I am building and wanted terrazzo , I'm in Florida . It was 65.00 a square so needless to say I didn't get it Love it though

  • loobab

    Oh Alexa, I did mean literally cool. It is so awfully hot now. I am drinking so much iced coffee these days.

    It's a good thing I have my electric bill (to pay the A/C) on auto pay so I don't have to look at it.

    I remember when I was young and it got hot my mother said, "Lay in a cool bath with a book," which I did for so long my fingers and toes came out all wrinkled!

  • Alexa T

    Hi guys, I'm back! I've been doing some research on tile sites and still can't make up my mind!! I picked some ideas in both neutral and bold options that call my attention. I have also mixed and matched with different lighting options to make it more interesting. These tile options are all from Encore Ceramics (loved them the most!) I really like the different variations in finishes and shapes they have to offer.

    I will order some samples soon but I put together a quick mood board with the options below. Let me know what you think!

    OPTION 1: White uppers. Linear light over the peninsula. I will see about getting some metallic crackle incorporated into this color option.

    OPTION 2: Taupe uppers. More of a neutral monochromatic feel. I like the crackle in these tiles but I have to see them in person though..

    OPTION 3: Bold tile with white uppers again with some metallic shades.

    OPTION 4: Neutral caramel shiny-ness.. lol. Maybe it's too vanilla..but there's something about this sparkly tile that I like.

  • Liz Lemon
    I’m not a pro but I will say that I think option 3 is gorgeous- love that backsplash. I would maybe consider swapping the light fixture for the one in option 4 because I think the copperish tone would complement the splash but again I’m no pro. Honestly, all the options are lovely :)
    Alexa T thanked Liz Lemon
  • katinparadise


  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    #1 or 3,,,love the light in number 4. and on the metallics, they have many other shapes and blends of colors you can do. look at the bronze alloy metallic. in fact, they can blend and mix in #1. yes, their tiles are amazing. I to like that touch of blue/green in #1 though. it's a nice addition.

    Alexa T thanked Beth H. :
  • tqtqtbw

    I love option #4, or #4 with Beth's first tile above . Following since we are making changes to my mother's Miami house and these selections would be great with her terrazzo floors, too.

    Alexa T thanked tqtqtbw
  • cyc2001

    All gorgeous choices - great job! I like #1 and #4 best but honestly you can’t go wrong with any of those. Some of the choices are darker than others, so just make sure your lighting plan takes that into account. Can’t wait to see photos of your finished kitchen!

    Alexa T thanked cyc2001
    1 or 3. They are more MCM looking as well if that matters to you.
    Alexa T thanked HKO HKO
  • Alexa T

    Thanks for all the feedback! I think I am more drawn to option #1 for color scheme, I'm not sure about shape of the tile yet!! I have to decide on that. As for the lighting, I really love the globe on #4. They are West Elm and have an ombre gold finish that I think will look great vs the all gold one.

    I found a local tile shop that carries Encore ceramics so I will go by to check them out this week. I hope they have samples though!

    I have attached a new render that shows the lighting on the space. It will help me decide if I should do the pendant on the peninsula or the island and the darker areas that might need more recessed lights. I will have my father add some pendants and tile texture so we can see how it looks! Please excuse the peeping tom on the left window... my father likes to joke around adding photos of me or my husband to all our renders! LOL

    Construction site looks great but we are waiting on the city to approve permits so plumbing can begin working. Turns out they will have to run all new plumbing drains to the septic tank from the kitchen area...so that will be fun! lol

  • Wendy Cortopassi
    Following because everything you’re describing is my dream kitchen, right down to the terrazzo floors, and the pictures posted are so dreamy. So happy to see color and beautiful wood tones in kitchens again.
    Alexa T thanked Wendy Cortopassi
  • rantontoo

    All the boards look nice...but #4 is singing to me which surprises the heck out of me! Maybe I need to look at a joint family-owned mcm home with new “eyes” to see it’s possibilities.

  • writersblock

    I'm so glad you're cherishing your terrazzo. I grew up in Miami in a house built in 1960 that was terrazzo everywhere except the baths, although the builder put linoleum over it in the kitchen. This thread got me curious so I googled the listing pics from the last time the house sold and some vandal had tiled over every inch of the terrazzo.

  • Alexa T
    Hi there! It’s been a long time since my last update and honestly everything that happened before this point was just boring... I mean who wants to see photos of new plumbing being put in right!

    Anyways, after a few months of total construction (and destruction) we finally get to the fun part!! We are not done yet but they just finished installing countertops yesterday and I am beyond excited about how it looks so far!

    I ended up choosing the taupe gloss upper cabinets (so glad I did) and wood tone lowers.

    Countertops are calacatta gold quartz.

    Hardware is champagne bronze.

    I have still not decided on backsplash because the ones I initially looked at are too expensive so we will most likely pick something else. I think it’s easier to pick one now that everything is installed!
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Alexa, stunning! man I love those floors. Did you have them polished?

    for the splash I might suggest something a bit more modern like a larger hex or picket shape tile.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    Stunning. You must be so pleased.

    Oddly I was going to suggest hex as well. Certainly easier to pick now that the room is almost finished.
  • Alexa T
    Thanks for your comments! I still can’t believe we are at this stage and I I finally have a beautiful kitchen!

    Yes, we had to polish the floors throughout the whole kitchen/living area because there was discoloration and stains where the walls used to be. This was NO easy task since we are living here before and during and we had to empty out every single item in the area.. including us! I wasn’t completely satisfied with the company we hired because although they stated they can’t guarantee removal of stains, I think they didn’t try hard enough. But oh well... it’s an old house! We love our Terrazzo though!
  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.

    Fairfax · More Info

    Can you see where the tile used to be? Yup, we ground and ground this floor and could never get it out. It stinks but it is part of the history.

  • Alexa T
    Yes! Exactly! They look great throughout so it’s fine. I’m just happy we managed to keep them intact!

    I think a hex would look beautiful! Thanks for the suggestion :) Would white work? Or is it better to go with a neutral color?

    I am still undecided about lighting fixtures. Both the island and peninsula have spots ready to add pendants but I don’t know how to approach this. I think the island would look awesome with a large maybe glass fixture sort of as an accent but then the peninsula looks bare without anything above it! I also don’t want the whole kitchen to look like it has too many fixtures... What would work best?
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    I would kill for vintage terrazzo like that. I was watching some stupid home flipping show and they chose to tear these out and replace w/some ridiculous laminate flooring. Couldn't believe how stupid these people were.

    what if you found a glass tile w/a slight golden iridescence? that would pick up on the flooring and your hardware.

    what do you think about these?

    elongated hex (go to the site because I can't copy the pictures)


    Different shapes and sizes:


    other examples of regular hex.

    I love something like this for yours (not in blue, obviously) in a pale gray/white with a metallic iridescent look.

    you had some nice pendants in your pics way back in comments. what happened to those?

  • Alexa T

    I LOVE these!! I think that's exactly what the kitchen is missing! I really like the elongated hex and I think that will work best with the rectangular windows and space available around them. The iridescence would pick up so much color and light! love it

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    I know you said you didn't want to spend too much, and P&L aren't exactly cheap, however, now isn't the time to cheap out! lol. This kitchen will be with you for many, many years. Your backsplash area isn't too large, thankfully, so think about spending a bit more to get what will be the cherry on top for this space. In the long run, you'll be glad you did. And, if you have to wait a few months to save some extra, do it.

    There should be samples in any large tile store that carries their products. take a look at their (over 300) different colors and glazes.

  • Alexa T
    Yes, and you are right! I want to get the right look and maybe I should wait a bit and really explore that option! I’m sure it will be well worth once I see it installed :)

    Yes, I had a few ideas saved for light fixtures but have not purchased any yet as I am not sure where I should add them to (island vs peninsula.. or both?)

    Also, we are thinking of adding a bookcase cabinet or something of that sort to the far end where the peninsula begins.. so I’m looking for ideas on that too!
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    I think doing one cool pendant over the island would be fine.

    You don't need any over the peninsula from what I can see. You surely can do them if you think you need more lighting.

  • Alexa T

    Hi guys! Just thought I should post an update on my kitchen since I realized I never did! A lot has happened since my last post and this project took way longer than we originally anticipated but it’s all worth it now!

    After looking at LOT of tile options I found one that I think looks sleek and modern and provides detail in the glaze and texture. I love how it looks during the day as well as at night when light hits the walls.

    We have yet to decide on lighting fixtures though and I really think those would complete the look of the kitchen. Please don’t mind the temporary fixture above the peninsula, I had those stored from somewhere else in the house but it won’t stay in the kitchen.

    There will also be some floating shelves right next to the upper cabinet on the right so that needs to come in later at some point. Little details are still needed here and there but overall it’s finished and we are in love! Hope you like it :)

  • Shell

    Your kitchen is gorgeous. The backsplash tile is perfect. :)

  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Alexa, that came out beautifully! Man I love those floors.

    I actually think some simple pendants would be the cherry on top. If you choose the right ones, they will enhance, rather than compete. maybe something along these?

    you could choose to do something like this just over the island.

    or go for the peninsula pendants

    just a quick mock up

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.

    It's coming together beautifully.

    Question on the cabinets- IKEA with aftermarket fronts?

  • gargigg


  • Alexa T

    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    I am on the hunt for globe lighting either for the island or the peninsula but I think that would complete the look :)

    The cabinets are custom made and the fronts are LUXE by Alvic, also custom. Top is in the Cashmere gloss color and bottoms are Anniversary Oak.

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