To choose the right stone floor, Smith advises thinking about how much maintenance you are happy to commit to. “Some, like marble, are susceptible to staining and truly only look their best when kept pristine, whereas terracotta and heavily patterned porcelain and ceramic tiles are masters at disguising scuffs and marks.” Try Kimmeridge limestone by Artisans of Devizes (£116.65 per m2).
Summer loves terracotta. “It’s got a warmth and an earthiness I’m very drawn to because it creates a comforting atmosphere.” She used a soft pink terracotta in the kitchen of a Victorian house in London, as well as in a scullery of a country house. But, she warns: “You have to be very careful to pick the duskier pink tones rather than orange ones, otherwise it can be in danger of looking like a cheap Spanish villa.”
Kitchens, pantries and utility rooms
You can make some surprising choices in the hardest-working areas of the house, with concrete flooring, tiles and even that 1970s classic, linoleum, being used by the most stylish in their kitchens, pantries and utility spaces.
Concrete is not for the faint-hearted, though. It can be complex and costly to install (Woody’s Concrete Company, for example, says prices start at £13,800) – but it does produce a sleek modern finish that is easy to maintain and resistant to chips and cracks.
It acts as a natural heat regulator, too, storing heat, which it disperses in the winter, while offering a cooling feel underfoot in the summer. It’s also suitable to use with underfloor heating systems.
And you’re not limited to a grey palette – many companies can create custom colours to suit you. Plus, if your kitchen opens out onto a patio, it can create a unified look when used inside and outside, making the transition to the garden a seamless one.
For a more retro look, linoleum is making a comeback – but not as you remember it. Modern lino is often formulated from natural materials, such as linseed oil mixed with cork dust, and then dyed with natural dyes.