So, what is more ‘me’? I love the look of a subtle tone on tone, or a stone floor made up of one material, and I also love the look of a floor with a small contrasting stone worked into the pattern here and there. When I heard my architect and designer mentioning the possibility of ‘cabochons’ in the floor of the entry, I immediately had the feeling that they were talking about those cut diamond or square shape tile insets that I like so much.
Several years ago, when I renovated my master bathroom, I knew that I wanted to use cabochons in the stone design (even though I did not know what they were called!). A friend who is a designer suggested that instead of putting the pattern on the floor, I put it on the walls of the shower. I renovated my bathroom over 6 years ago, and not a day goes by when I don’t admire the pattern in the shower.
A floor with cabochons (cabochon pattern?) is a timeless look, and strikes me as very French; the classic French design uses limestone inset with black marble cabochons. Image via Trouvais - Art and Decoration January ’10.
A stone floor with cabochons is more of a formal design, so it is often reserved for places that are elegant and special, like a foyer. I saved this image many years ago, from an old Atlanta real estate listing, with interiors by Henrietta Spencer Churchill. The beauty of the floor and the elegance of the railing really captured my eye.
In a space like this, the orientation of the cabochon really takes the eye to the distance in both directions. Image via Robert Stern.
The orientation of the cabochon is a specific design decision. In this foyer, with architecture by Steve Giannetti and interiors by Brooke Giannetti, the cabochon is placed to emphasize the square, and makes a nice contrast to the diamond shape of the larger tile.
In one of my favorite images of an entry with cabochons in the design, Mary Douglas Drysdale effectively breaks up this large expanse with the small dark tiles, which grounds the space and makes the dark accents repeated in the chairs and table even more effective. The cabochons are placed on every other intersection, which is a design that I prefer as it makes the cabochon element more subtle.
This beautiful entry treats the section with cabochons like its own rug, with a dark tile border to define the space. Image via Cote de Texas.
Another beautiful entry with a similar treatment, seen recently on Belgian Pearls.
One of my favorite dining room pictures has a stone floor with cabochons.
Here is a striking dining room, with an interesting twist on the classic black and white pattern – this time, the cabochons are white. I like how the scale of the cabochons are larger, showing that it is possible to shake up this classic pattern with interesting plays of scale and form. Image via Belgian Pearls.
Another play on scale with larger cabochons. This floor looks particularly beautiful in combination with the stone stairs.
It’s interesting how many of my favorite entry images have cabochons in their floor design. This floor also appears to have the area with the cabochons defined with a border of tile, creating a rug like space.
This home, with its stone floor with cabochons, mellow oak floors upstairs, iron railing, and beautiful lantern, combines many design elements that I appreciate. I think the reflection of the floor in the mirror above the mantle is beautiful.
This picture, from an Atlanta real estate listing a few years ago, has a beautiful stone entry with cabochons as the predominant design feature. The darkness of the cabochons look great with the dark stain of the floor and door.
Here is a close up of the floor, which I was able to see before the house sold. What appeared to be larger tiles are actually small, and the cabochons alternate between dark and light. It is quite a striking pattern! I am also realizing that I am a fan of the cabochon set to emphasize the diamond shape.
Although I love the look of contrast in a stone floor with cabochons, I also appreciate the more subtle tone on tone look that is often achieved using limestone and a slightly darker (but not black) stone. The scale and proportion of the large and small tiles in the floor pictured above are perfect – and I really like this particular pattern – every other axis has cabochons, which provides visual interest but prevents the pattern from overwhelming.
Another great tone on tone example of a cabochon design in a stone floor, from a house that was in the final stages of construction. I love the scale of the cabochon – it provides just the right delicate touch. Architecture by Rodolfo Castro.
Upon first glance, this floor appears to be solid stone. However, when you look closely, you will see that there are cabochons in the same material as the stone of the floor, which creates a beautiful and subtle pattern.
Here is a close up of the floor. This is one of the prettiest guest bathroom floors I have ever seen, and the subtlety of the pattern has great appeal to me.
So, what do you think - are you a fan of cabochons, or are they too traditional for you? Do you like them to emphasize the square or the diamond? There is no question that floors with cabochons are more of a formal design element, and would not go in every decor scheme. However, they have great appeal to the side of me that likes the more elegant feel in a home.
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