When a Texas family wanted a vacation retreat in San Diego, they asked local firm Safdie Rabines Architects for a contemporary home that takes advantage of Southern California’s temperate climate. Part of the design program called for large terraces that maximize the site’s ocean views and promote indoor/outdoor living.
“The flooring had to be very clean and contemporary, yet casual and low key, and comfortable on bare feet,” says architect Scott M. Maas, LEED AP, a principal at the firm. “And of course, the material had to go indoors and out.”
Safdie Rabines chose Solana concrete tiles from Concrete Collaborative, a San Clemente, Calif.-based company whose products are installed in countless design-minded luxury retail brands such as Versace, Burberry, Emporio Armani, and Chanel. Concrete Collaborative’s cutting-edge tiles, pavers, wall cladding, and stair parts are also popular with high-end residential architects and custom builders. “We were set on concrete as the material early on,” Maas says.
Installed on the exterior terraces and all interior floors, the Solana tiles (in a shale color) have a machine-ground surface that is low sheen, highly durable, and wear-resistant, according to the manufacturer. The tiles are ideal for high-traffic areas, naturally slip resistant, and low maintenance.
Solana’s rectified (squared-edge) formats create clean lines. Available sizes include 12 inches by 12 inches, 12 inches by 36 inches, 18 inches by 36 inches, and 36 inches by 36 inches, with different thicknesses available for indoor or outdoor use. Six standard colors are offered, but custom tones can be ordered.
“It’s a beautiful, low-maintenance finish—mostly monochromatic but just enough variation and mottling to [indicate] that it’s a natural material,” Maas says. “The material reinforces the blurring of the line between indoors and outdoors.”