As told to Lauren Jones.
Unlike in Europe, where terrazzo is everywhere, from grocery stores to city halls to post offices, in the U.S. we’re not as lucky. Terrazzo is labor-intensive and out of reach for most clients, unless they have deep pockets (it can cost up to $30, if not more, per square foot). Palladiana, a type of terrazzo with larger stone chunks, is unheard of—we hadn’t been able to find any brand or stoneworker who was producing it Stateside.
But a year ago my partner at Bells + Whistles, Jason St. John, and I came across a printed porcelain product from the Italian company Ceramica Fioranese. A stone rep was the first to show us the tile, which is a part of the I Cocci collection, a selection inspired by flooring recovered from a country home in northern Italy dating back to the early 1900s. We absolutely loved it. When we were hired to design the second Marrow Fine store in Newport Beach, California, we knew it would be the perfect time to utilize it. We were hoping to find a client daring enough to try it out and knew owners Tim and Jill Sassone would adore it just as much as we did.
The shop’s first location and the Sassones’ Rancho Mirage home, which we also designed, were much brighter. But for this spot, they wanted to go with more neutral blush tones. The faux terrazzo ended up being the perfect complement. We ended up purchasing it for $5.60 per square foot, plus shipping, and it was easily installed on the floors by our contractor, as it’s a large-format, 36-by-36 tile. Typically terrazzo can be tricky because it’s a thick stone and doesn’t meet handicap accessibility rules, but this product is much thinner yet still very strong.
Now when people walk into the store, they can’t believe it’s not the real thing. I was even surprised!
Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.