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The ‘Floored’ Genius

floor_tiles2The interior mood has moved on, bursting into colour and pattern, reintroducing ornament and history and developing an ecological awareness that used to be the preserve of the do-good hippie. FUNKE OSAE-BROWN writes that high spenders have become conscientious consumers, hence flooring is being subjected to the strictest scrutiny.

Adeola Adeagbo and her family recently moved from a minimalist space at Omole Estate, Ogba to an early Victorian house in Ikoyi. Their new home remains uncluttered and streamlined, with a floating staircase, mirrored cabinets and plenty of uninterrupted open-plan space. Covering the floor is a loud citrus-green carpet and an equally vibrant retro-studded rubber.

For the fashion conscious, there is always a moment when they sigh and say: “Been there, done that.” With clothes, it’s once a year; with paint and fabric, it is every three or four; but with the ‘oh-so-expensive’ flooring, the time frame is significantly longer. Nevertheless, the surface under your feet is currently under review.

The 1960s brought shag pile and Italian ceramics; the 1970s stripped pine and farmhouse terracotta; the 1980s stainless steel and studded rubber in flooring style. Most recently, the all-pervasive look of the new property boom has been wooden planks and creamy, costly limestone, the perfect neutral underlay of minimalist aspirations.

However, the interior mood has now moved on, bursting into colour and pattern, reintroducing ornament and history and developing an ecological awareness that used to be the preserve of the do-good hippie. Flooring too is adapting to these changing requirements. At the top end of the market where high spenders have become conscientious consumers, designers and their eco-ware clients are demanding the environmentally-friendly, and flooring is being subjected to the strictest scrutiny.

“Our clients are concerned about environmental issues,” explains Toun Adeoti, an architect with cutting edge designs. “They are beginning to realise that they cannot eat ethically, then lie down on sweatshop floors. They are looking at rubber, cork, or other natural materials, materials that are reusable or recyclable.”

However, that choice does not rule out the place of wood, but that does not mean certain trees, such as irreplaceable wedge, have become a no-no and that buyers are keen to ensure the wood they choose comes from sustainable sources. Other arbiters of contemporary glamour are exploiting the decorative quality of parquet and using it as an edging material. Like wood, stone has moved on from the 1990s, both for ecological and decorative reasons. Biodun Adeosho, an architect, also observes that the effect of new flooring designs with stones is like a beautiful rug with the stone inset in the middle and the parquet laid round the edge. “Both stone and wood have moved away from the straight and streamlined to meet the new demand for texture. For instance, modern homes now spot tumbled travertine in large diamonds or square slabs. It gives great natural warmth and beauty,” explains Adeosho.

For the high-style modernists, one of the coolest ground covers of the moment is poured resin. This treacle-like thickened paint offers all the colour of the rainbow and it is equally versatile. Adeosho observes that floors like resin not only offer a wide range of colour spectrum but are seamless and sound-resistant as well. Hence families are looking for materials that are more user-friendly than limestone which can be easily stained and wood which makes noise.

Flooring patterns of the past – the wooden floor, hard concrete floor, and even the mud floors of olden days – tell more of the less innovation, less aesthetic, and less comfort home flooring was then.

In today’s innovative world where interior decoration is becoming both business and profession, the floor can’t afford to look less aesthetic, except if the owner is old-fashioned. With appealing pictures and artworks hanging on the right places, elegantly positioned and beautiful leather sofas, matching window blinds, and a few gadgets, the home décor is not complete without the right flooring. This is why there is so much innovation in exotic flooring options.

Paul Ojenagbon, an estate manager and property expert, says these days, architects insist on not only paintings, but also interior decorations such as flooring that will further bring out the beauty of their designs.

Quality ceramic tiles are among these high-end décor that ensure artful flooring that appeals to the eyes. Ceramic tile is among the most-sought after by homeowners and those in building profession.

Ohaka Ofili, a dealer and importer of sanitary wares at Odun Ade, Lagos, says among other modern flooring material options, ceramic tile is more patronised, despite its exorbitant price. The reasons, according to him, are the safety, durability and easy installation of the tile.

“Before now, lots of people complained of slipping off the floor or wall made of ceramic tiles. But the tiles now come with safety measures like the contour, rough edges, and permeable surface that ensure fast drying of water.” But one advantage for people who choose ceramics flooring is the cheap and easy maintenance.

There are also simple but clean wooden floor tiles that complement good finishing of home décor. Ofili says wooden floors are less sought-after and more expensive than other flooring options because of the technicalities, expertise and materials they require.

Abike Omole, an interior décor expert, says wooden floors add breathtaking beauty to offices and public places, but are a problem in homes because they require high maintenance and less play by children on it.

The interior décor expert recommends ceramic and marble flooring for clients because obtaining good finishing in wooden flooring requires expertise, cleaning is by brushing with quality polish and glue, while heavy or hot objects are prohibited on it as well.

“For homes that can afford it, wooden floor is most exotic, softer and grandeur, but should be on high maintenance to continually secure its allure.”

But eccentric, yet wonderful, floor scenery is the one made of glass mosaic tiles. This flooring option is not popular yet in Nigeria but is preferred by those desirous of high-end décor.

Like concrete flooring, terrazzo flooring is becoming outdated in modern homes and offices. It was an improvement on concrete floor but the slippery nature that makes it most unsafe also denies it that comfy look.

However, for an abode to be appreciated as home by owners, there must be a modern or rather matching flooring design for that soothing, inviting and relaxing look.