Choosing flagstone as a flooring material invariably adds a rich new dimension to any interior space. Its charismatic appeal, which is much easier to experience
than describe, is undoubtedly grounded in the natural beauty of aged stone and reinforced by its hard-wearing longevity and historic connotations.
A time-honoured flooring
Much favoured by Anglo-Saxon craftsmen, flagstone floors were used to embellish churches and castles across the UK and Europe as early as the thirteenth
century. The term flagstone has ancient origins: ‘flagge’ in the Middle English of Chaucer’s time referred to a slab of turf, whereas ‘flaga’ in
the Old Norse tongue of the Vikings was a stone slab. Each was commonly used as a simple roof covering long before flagstone gradually acquired
its present meaning – a flat stone slab often used for flooring, paving and other stone structures.
Flagstones were originally created by carefully splitting quarried sedimentary rocks – usually sandstone or limestone – into flat segments. Today’s
flagstone flooring employs the same traditional techniques, though large flags, which could easily be 100mm thick, are no longer a practical or
ecologically sustainable option. Instead, a contemporary flagstone kitchen floor is more likely to use stone which has been cut into flagstone
tiles with a thickness of around 15-30mm.
There’s little doubt that reclaimed flagstone is the premium choice to give a room that authentic vintage character. The natural stone required is
now usually sourced from France, Italy or the Middle East, with larger and thicker flags cut down to create thinner slabs. Some will display the
original worn face, while other pieces will have been tastefully reworked to produce a new flagstone floor tile with the same character and features
as the former top surface.
Hand-finished Reclaimed Jerusalem flagstones would be an inspired choice
for a premium antique stone floor. With this stone from the City of David, nature’s long ageing process has facilitated the emergence of a harmonious
pastiche of cream and gold hues, interspersed with occasional red tones. Immensely pleasing to the eye, this luxurious patina is the result of
centuries of natural wear and the subtle development of natural imperfections present when the rock was formed.
As well as being more affordable, freshly hewn flagstone flooring is also a more practical option. Nevertheless, because the finished look is all-important,
Indigenous’ experts keep a watchful eye on market sources. Right now, flags such as the honed-limestone Burgundy or a hand-worked Vieux Monde demonstrate why exquisite French stone is so highly
valued. But don’t underestimate Italian stone – an elegant Lucerna limestone which has been gently aged can make an absolutely stunning statement
Symmetry and proportion
Quality flooring is always a stylish addition to any interior, but getting the most from your investment means choosing a design and proportions which
will enhance the aesthetic ambience of your space. The appeal of a flagstone floor is often a matter of personal perception: rustic textures, an
aged appearance, random sizes and different lengths are just some of the elements frequently mentioned as must-have attributes.
As regards size, smaller rooms usually call for small-scale designs, and when it comes to colour, choosing a contrasting tone is often the best strategy.
The floor’s surface texture is another critical feature which demands a high-quality finish if it is to work effectively, so it’s important to
seek expert guidance to ensure the standard of workmanship will meet your expectations.
Styles, techniques and innovation
Though flagstone flooring is a common feature of period properties, a natural stone floor can also add a unique finishing touch in a contemporary setting.
And where the palette of available colours was once somewhat muted, contemporary visual trends extend beyond the popular creams, beiges and greys
to include more striking choices such as a blue or a black. Experts can offer even further tonal variation by sourcing stone from a number of quarries
to create a diverse but carefully blended ensemble of flagstone colours to grace your interior floor.
The flooring industry also continues to explore and develop techniques which bring new textures and finishes to the market. So, for example, whilst
the distressed surface of a limestone flag, such as the Shire Aged, is reminiscent
of classic Cotswold stone, Shire Sandblasted is much softer and lighter,
and Shire Tumbled offers a warm, velvet texture – three altogether different
flagstone variants created with different finishing processes.