If you are planning a contemporary luxury interior floors are the crucial element to get right, with seamless finishes and natural looks being key current trends. Tom Kitchener of Aliva UK looks at recent examples
When architects EligoStudio designed the luxury interior on a four-storey private townhouse in London’s Notting Hill, the centrepiece of the entire concept was a serpentine blue central staircase that ran from basement to top floor.
This vital element was the connection sign between all the spaces and surfaces of the house – including the floors – which had to blend seamlessly around this dramatic focus.
The Grade II listed house sits on one of the largest private garden squares in London. The exterior may be traditional, but inside the look could not be more contemporary.
It was a challenge to provide the uniform finish across areas with different uses but one that was met, ensuring a top quality result right down to the basement of the house.
A thick, cement-based coating was the chosen solution. Containing a water-based polyurethane resin, these type of products are ideal for designer-led environments where individuality can shine. This type of finish is ideal for a natural, ‘earth tones’ look. Being a concrete based finish, it can also be tinted in pale colours for a truly seamless look from the floor, up the wall and into the ceiling. That is what was achieved in this townhouse, tinting the floor coating in orchid pink to match the walls, and matching their texture too.
The water-based resin used provides a tough seal. Floors finished in this type of coating can be resealed and refreshed every five to 10 years. As long as it is well maintained, the product underneath the sealer has been developed to be impossible to damage.
In Hampstead, north London, architects Charlton Brown Associates wanted a natural, high- end look that would stand up to water and condensation and work throughout a basement leisure suite. The multi-million pound property’s health conscious owners specified a swimming pool, gym and luxury shower area. Again, a coating that incorporated a matt resin sealant was ideal, ensuring a consistent appearance in the wet areas. In this project it gave the look of natural stone, and was quick to apply as well as being environmentally-friendly – something that many self-builders are conscious of. The architects wanted a seamless, uniform finish across areas with different uses.
The key to achieving these breathtaking effects is to take expert advice at every stage of the project, from concept to completion. Floor- finishing experts can be artists and craftsmen. Their talents are as important to the final result as the high-end products supplied. It takes a creative eye and highly developed practical skills to achieve the monolithic effect that many interior designers ask for. For example, too much pressure through the trowel gives a dull, uniform look rather than a crafted one.
A great deal of planning should go into how a floor should be laid, from consideration of room temperature and drying times between coats to which tools are best for the job. This expertise is also needed for the reapplication of sealants, to ensure the beautiful finish lasts for years.
You can see such floor-finishing expertise to great effect in a project in London. A satin finish in dark grey was used to give a smart, urban feel on an extensive floor area of around 100m2, with a seamless effect achieved. Another recent project in the capital saw a similar finish, but in charcoal grey. Again, the aim was for a natural stone effect and the textured finish is seamless.
Pared back floors for 21st century living may look simple, but if you are considering this type of finish, it is worth remembering that it can only be achieved with high-quality polished plasters applied by experts. Follow this advice and you will be rewarded with stunning floors that keep their looks for years to come.
Tom Kitchener is sales manager at Aliva UK