A dilapidated former care home has been transformed into award-winning supported living flats by social care provider Precious Homes. Interior Designer Penny Green worked with Altro to select a range of flooring options to deliver flexible solutions in different application areas throughout the scheme.

Located in the former Nethercest Residential Home in Dudley, the previously empty buildings have been redeveloped to a very high specification, resulting in modern flats and communal space for up to 25 people. The new supported-living flats provide bespoke, accessible accommodation for people with autism, learning disabilities and physical disabilities, with an on-site cafe that is open to the community.

Michelle Cox-Coley, Director of Business Development at Precious Homes, explains, “The new flats within – Osprey Mews, Goldcrest Court and Turaco View – have been developed in partnership with Golden Lane Housing, a leading social housing landlord for people with a learning disability, in response to demand for this type of bespoke accommodation alongside specialist support in the local area. We’ve worked hard to create bright and modern homes which are fully equipped to be accessible to all and can be tailored to meet the individual needs of the people we support. The new flats and the team we have in place provide support which is outcome-focussed and person-centred, encouraging individuals to become as independent as possible in their own homes.”

The Foundry Café is a key element to the project’s success. Run as a social enterprise, it offers opportunities for people to learn transferable workplace skills, and it provides a social hub for residents and the wider community. Interior designer Penny Green drew design inspiration for the café from Dudley’s industrial heritage. “I looked to the industrial revolution, the turn of the century – so important in the development of Dudley,” she explains. “The ‘foundry’ style is big, open and robust, so it was so important we chose products that delivered on looks but also worked to soften the feel.”

Penny chose Altro Ensemble™ modular flooring system – luxury vinyl tiles, in four modular sizes that can be mixed and matched to create unique designs from colour blocking to geometric patterns. It also brings the benefits of 15dB sound reduction and added comfort underfoot. “It was quite a dark space at the start, so we took all the walls down to open it up, and chose a light tone of flooring – Greige Rustic Oak.”

Although Penny and Precious Homes have used Altro products for years, this was their first project using Altro Ensemble. The flexible LVT modular flooring has delivered on many levels. “The feedback has been phenomenal,” says Penny. “People simply cannot believe it is vinyl and not wood, they are so complimentary about it. But even more importantly it delivers so many benefits over real wood in this space. It wears better, it feels softer, and its acoustic properties help soften the Foundry environment, which is so important for the individuals who will be accessing the café.”

Penny worked closely with Altro consultant Joe Hurst to find the right solutions. “We have some big spaces here and needed to avoid looking too institutional,” she says. “Altro Ensemble was ideal for that as we explored different patterns and layouts to define different areas. Using the same flooring but laid differently – basketweave in one area, plank to plank or herringbone in another. The results are incredibly effective.”

In areas with higher risk of slip, Penny selected Altro Wood™ safety flooring, choosing Vintage Cherry for the café as the red tones sit well alongside the foundry brick, and the cooler, greyer tones of Ranch Oak for the innovative, accessible and inclusive communal kitchen areas of Goldcrest Court.

Altro Wood is homely and stylish – a great biophilic safety option. The general purpose 2mm wood-effect vinyl safety flooring is available in a range of designs with different plank sizes and shades. It is designed to cope with medium to heavy traffic and, like all Altro safety floors, has sustained slip resistance for the lifetime of the floor.

The flats within this location offer different levels of support for individuals with learning disabilities, autism and physical disabilities. Support provided within people’s own homes is tailored to each person’s needs and also supports individuals who are stepping down from secure units and hospitals including those who may have experienced previous placement breakdowns. They provide tiered support and a range of accommodation options from self-contained flats to rooms with communal areas. The accommodation is flexible, with furniture that can be moved and rooms that can be configured to suit.

“The partnership with Golden Lane Housing means we work collaboratively to create a home for people – a calm haven, a safe space. We use a palette that allows people to add their own personality, and I spend a lot of time searching for safe, good value accessories – rattan, knitted – ones that don’t matter if they break,” Penny explains. “At the other end of the scale we can spend a lot on items such as magnetic curtain poles that might be pulled down repeatedly but can be quickly and easily reattached. We have to think through all angles of the environment so that it doesn’t become challenging.

“The Precious Homes ethos is that everyone goes on their personal growth journey – whatever journey is right for them. A lot of people help with that – occupational therapists, psychologists, therapists, carers and many more. For many people living in their own flats it is critically important that their home environment enables them to have a home that is safe and supportive of their goals and aspirations.

“The domestic, homely feel was so important, but we also needed products that are robust and above all safe,” explains Penny. Safety is paramount, which is evident in many elements of the interior, including the flooring, chosen due to a variety of properties to fit with the design themes throughout. Altro Ensemble with its acoustic and comfort properties, then in areas where sustained slip resistance was key there is Altro Wood safety flooring in corridors, entrances and reception areas, Altro Pisces™ specialist safety flooring in the bathroom areas, Altro Stronghold™ in the café kitchens and Altro Reliance™ in back of house and delivery areas – each product meeting a different need.

Tina Hanson-Jones is Project Manager across the Dudley schemes and she is full of praise for the environment that’s been created: “WOW is the best way of describing the interior of the flats. It is fresh, appealing but homely, very good taste. It is well thought out and not what supported living places are usually like. Everyone that visits wants to live here.”

Partnership was key to the success of the project. “Altro are amazing to work with from a specification point of view,” says Penny. “They understand what designers need and are constantly developing products to meet those needs. As a designer you are confident to use their products as you know they have been developed for all the right reasons and to provide solutions. We hugely appreciate the effort they go to for designers, and all that Altro products bring to our projects.”

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Altro Ensemble™ modular flooring system has been fitted in a new 76-seater Mexican restaurant in West Vale, near Halifax, adding an edgy and stylish chic to a village that’s fast becoming a destination for diners and drinkers.

Taquito’s Restaurant, Tapas & Tequila Bar is one of a clutch of new, sophisticated dining and drinking venues that have opened in West Vale — and each one has benefited from the vision of up-and-coming interior designer Vanessa Thornton, owner of Vanessa Thornton Interiors.

Taquito’s owner, AJ, bought the premises in August 2018 and approached Vanessa to help him create the right interior. “AJ wanted Taquito’s to be urban, chic, edgy and very true to the Mexican feel, but with a twist. He didn’t want it to look like a chain, there needed to be a very strong identity, a uniqueness and a real ‘wow’ factor.

“I did a lot of research to put together my interior design; it was quite a sophisticated process. I looked at other local eateries to see what they offered, which chain restaurants were doing well and why, and how traditional Mexican themes and colours could work together with modern ideas. It wasn’t just about how it looked, but how it could work for AJ and his specific business.

“Taquito’s is on three floors and I wanted them to all work together, but look different as separate spaces. The ground floor is popular with the drinking crowd, but I didn’t want this to encroach on the dining space, or the upper floor, which is great as a dedicated party area.

“I created an overall dark, classic design with a floral vibe, using the Mexican flag colours of green, white and red, and the overall vibrancy of Mexico. The floral pattern is reflected in the use of ceramic tiles, which are on the stair risers and also sweeping up to and over the bar. I also created a ‘blossom tree’ for the busy ground floor bar, which adds a lovely atmosphere, and hanging white wisteria in the upper loft space.

“The flooring was crucial to the new venue, because it needed to be stylish and gorgeous, working with the design themes, but also fit for purpose, hard wearing and practical. AJ knows and trusts Altro, and I have also worked with them in my former career in commercial refubishment, so I approached them and they recommended Altro Ensemble luxury vinyl tiles.

“I immediately loved the colour range and the design flexibility it offered, and the wood-look options were perfect for the high quality, natural feel I was looking for. The texture of the wood perfectly complemented the overall design brief, because the textures and tastes of Mexico are so powerful, and this was exactly what I had incorporated into my design. Altro Ensemble also has great noise reducing properties and for a busy restaurant that’s really a plus.

“AJ and I chose two shades of Altro Ensemble; a dark shade called Anthracite Limed Harmonious Oak, and the lighter Greige Rustic Oak. Together they enabled me to create some beautiful flooring effects.

“On the ground floor we used the Anthracite in a herringbone pattern, which we used up to the bar abutting the tiled area. On the middle floor, which is primarily for dining, we used both shades of the flooring to create a random herringbone effect. We also used the Anthracite on the stairs combined with ceramic tiles, which looks so striking. In the upstairs loft space we used the Anthracite plank in a straight pattern. This space has a real rooftop terrace vibe, with lights in the eaves and that lovely trailing wisteria makes it feel like you’re really outdoors.”

Altro Ensemble modular flooring system is the next generation of luxury vinyl tiles. From colour blocking to geometric patterns, with a range of plank and tile sizes and textures, Altro Ensemble gives design freedom to create luxurious floors for commercial interior spaces. With 57 options to mix and match, the modular flooring system has natural wood and stone designs and bloc colours too.

Altro Ensemble is 2.6mm thick with a 0.55mm wear layer, 15dB sound reduction qualities and added comfort underfoot, with minimal residual indentation and excellent durability. A truly exceptional material, it combines these features with unique flexibility and is lightweight, making it easy to transport, cut and handle for installation.

Vanessa adds: “The overall effect of the flooring is that it pulls the entire restaurant together in terms of a cohesive space. It creates a flow that works on every level, and it’s hard to do that in a restaurant on three floors. It looks beautiful, feels comfortable — the perfect stylish and hardwearing flooring for this project.

“Using Altro Ensemble flooring has really opened my eyes to what can be achieved with it, both in terms of the design possibilities, and also for durability and reliability. In a high traffic environment like a restaurant this is essential, because if one plank somehow becomes damaged or worn it can be replaced without having to fit a completely new floor.

“Altro is known for its quality and I will definitely be using their products, including Altro Ensemble, again for future projects. They were wonderful to work with, fast, efficient, helpful and they totally understood the vision. The flooring fitter Lee Rogers was wonderful, too, professional, clean and he finished on time. This was a really great experience.”

Taquito’s opened in December 2018 and has already become one of the go-to places to eat in West Vale. Owner, AJ, says: “We have only been open six months but we are delighted with how things are going. Working with Vanessa has really given us a design edge, and we now have the most original and stunning restaurant that offers an unforgettable experience to drinkers and diners.

“The Altro Ensemble flooring looks and feels superb and is ideal for this space. It adds quality and works so well with the overall design. It’s very easy to clean and maintain as well, and that’s so important for practical everyday use. It’s a big step away from dull, industrial restaurant floors that add nothing to the atmosphere. It really brings our restaurant alive.”

Vanessa Thornton Interiors has been awarded an Altro Design Recognition Award for Taquito’s. Dave Ford, Altro’s Specifications Manager – North, says: “Vanessa has created a fantastic, human-centric design using a mixture of street art and biophilic elements to create an outdoor Mexican dining experience.

“The effect runs floor to ceiling, from the use of different Altro Ensemble shades that mirror the colour schemes and patterns on the walls and ceiling, to cascading flowers, and trees. The creative pattern on the floor effectively creates dining ‘zones’ within the restaurant, giving a cosy feel when seated.

“This is added to with the low, slanted ceilings above the tables, with the use of a starry night scene ensuring this feels intimate. It’s one of the best examples of inclusive design we’ve seen.”

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New Altro Ensemble modular flooring system is delivering on chic style and sound reduction at the four-star Radisson Blu Hotel in Mannheim, Germany. Designers of the contemporary 229 room hotel used Altro Ensemble luxury vinyl tiles to create the perfect ambience in the guest rooms, restaurant, corridors and state of the art conference area.

Altro Ensemble modular flooring system is the next generation of luxury vinyl tiles. From colour blocking to geometric patterns, with a range of plank and tile sizes and textures, Altro Ensemble gives design freedom to create luxurious floors for commercial interior spaces. With 57 options to mix and match, the modular flooring system has natural wood and stone designs and bloc colours too. Altro Ensemble is 2.6mm thick with a 0.55mm wear layer, 15dB sound reduction qualities and added comfort underfoot, with minimal residual indentation and excellent durability. A truly exceptional material, it combines these features with unique flexibility and is lightweight, making it easy to transport, cut and handle for installation.

“We paid particular attention to sound reduction when choosing the flooring,” explains Raimund Förg, project manager at Diringer & Scheidel. Designers also considered comfort and sustainability when making their product choices. Altro Ensemble has the benefits of local sustainably sourced raw materials made to Altro’s exacting manufacturing standards, which ensure high quality, excellent durability and high-performance characteristics.

In developing the new Altro Ensemble collection, the design team has taken inspiration from the Bauhaus design school’s philosophy of bridging the gap between form and function to engineer products that meet the customers’ biggest challenges, such as the need for cleanability, sustainability and flexibility. The result is a premium modular flooring system that offers variety and design freedom to create sophisticated, contemporary and striking designs.

Altro Ensemble is the perfect partner to Altro Whiterock wall designs – a new vision in wall decoration with natural wood, stone and linen options plus stunning metallic designs to give elegance to interior walls.

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