Funky Floors

As an art history student, I spend my days examining exquisite ancient mosaic floors. But I must admit that when I consider the materials available to the modern home-owner, I tend to limit myself to the more mundane choices: hardwood, laminate, or tile. A few weeks ago, I received an email about a more unusual option: old leather belts.

Floor texture created by old leather belts(Photo: Ting)

Inghua Ting, a London- and Los Angeles-based designer, makes amazing bags and accessories using reclaimed leather. However, she has also branched out to unique home furnishings including custom flooring. I love how the example above mimics dark hardwood but with the added textural twist of the belts’ tooling. The effect looks equally awesome on stairs.

Tiled stairs(Photo: Ting)

I have never been a big fan of parquet floors but the Swedish design firm Tham and Videgård Arkitekter might have made me a convert. Their bold use of colour in parquet, which even travels up the walls, is a fanciful take on traditional flooring.

Dining room with colored parquet(Photo: Tham and Videgård Arkitekter)

They designed the client’s apartment to reflect the changing colours of the leaves in a nearby park, which makes quite the statement in the floorplan below.

Colorful floor plan(Photo: Tham and Videgård Arkitekter)

I’m not sure I could take a whole house of this though, even if the concept is spectacular. However, for those who would like to add a splash of colour to decorative wood flooring, the British company McKay Flooring offers a rainbow of hues to choose from, as well as special parquet graph paper on which to lay out your dream design.

Blue parquet(Photo: McKay Flooring)

By now, concrete has become almost old-hat as a modern flooring choice. I have always loved it in loft-like spaces but it can come off as cold and impersonal. However, there are many concrete dyes and stencils on the market now to help customize this material. In addition to all-over patterns, Modello Designs offers a series of stencils made to look like exotic antique rugs, such as their “Shanghai” shown below. Nothing cold and impersonal about that room!

Cement floor with an intricate stenciled design(Photo: Modello Designs)

I really do yearn for a mosaic floor though and there are companies out there that do reproductions, at a cost that better reflects a Roman Emperor’s budget than mine. New York Design Firm Roman and Williams took a slightly more creative (and frugal) approach when they laid the floor of the Standard Grill with a penny mosaic. The variegated pattern formed by the coins’ patina is stunning.

(Photo: Curbly)

While the material costs would be low, I cannot imagine the man-hours necessary to lay that floor. However, if you have a jar of pennies lying around and would like to try this technique, Laura at Happy Roost blogged a tutorial after transforming her bathroom floor with about a hundred dollars-worth of pennies.

Have you done something different with your floors? While I’m sticking to traditional for now, I’m eyeing our sad-looking laminate with whole new ideas for its eventual replacement.

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