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Restoring hidden terrazzo

After buying an old house to refurbish, Caroline Collins followed her instincts and uncovered a historic terrazzo floor that was revived with a little TLC and a lot of expertise.

The house, which the family bought in 2017, was built around 1815 to 1830. The plan from the start was to restore and refurbish the house, bringing it up to date for modern living whilst retaining the heritage and history as far as possible.

Caroline was keen to take up the floorboards in the hallway: “I had an inkling there was terrazzo around somewhere – the planning portal showed that previously terrazzo had been removed.” As the floorboards were removed, it became apparent that there was a huge section of terrazzo hidden underneath. Measuring approximately 3m by 2m the terrazzo surface had been created using six different colours, with a border and various shapes cut in – an intricate piece of work.

We’re pleased to say that Caroline took the decision to restore the terrazzo. She knew of Diespeker from a friend and as the house is in Camberwell, South East London not far from our premises, it was a logical step to bring in the experts!

Although impossible to exactly date the terrazzo, Diespeker’s team identified the design as being Art Deco through its overall style and particularly the border – so potentially it was installed in the 1920s.

The restoration process included removing the glue spots from where previous occupants had stuck the floorboards to the terrazzo and repairing three holes in the middle of the hallway from a time when the house was split into flats.

The Diespeker team filled the holes, matching colours from the factory stock. Just one exact match eluded the team, but, Caroline says, the resulting match was very close. The surface was ground, bringing out the depth of the colours and finally polished to a matt finish.

Caroline also decided to add a brand new section of terrazzo at the back door. The colour of the new slab is similar to the restored terrazzo but with finer chippings and a brass border. She’s delighted with the overall look of the restoration and new terrazzo: “The existing floorboards have been sanded, and there’s now real flow from the front to the back of the house, and up the stairs.”

The Diespeker team were on site for around a week in total for both elements of the projects. Although we don’t yet have photos of the finished surfaces as work continues at the house, watch this space!

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