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Photo Courtesy of @rdmgc.com

Why a Waterfall Countertop Is a Better Idea Than It Sounds

Chase the latest kitchen trend—which is dripping in style.
Roxanne Robinson May 06, 2021
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The lyrics to the 1994 hit song by female musical trio TLC "Waterfalls" warns, "Don't go chasing waterfalls; please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to." Theirs was a cautionary tale as a means to avoid some of life's more dangerous paths. However, the opposite applies when it comes to home design. Nest Casa actually recommends chasing these waterfall countertops. There is no harm in the beauty and sophistication they bring to any kitchen.

What Is a Waterfall Countertop?

Some names can be highly misleading—and this is one of them. As water-bearing, man-made waterfalls have entered commercial and home designs, it's easy to presume a waterfall countertop involves some sort of running, liquid fountain. That couldn't be more incorrect.

A waterfall countertop is created by a continuous line running from the top surface to the floor (with no distinctive overhang). The result is a fluid, seamless line throughout the piece. The waterfall reference comes from the fact that the same material used for the surface seems to pour over the top and down the sides.

Photo Courtesy of snaidero-usa.com
Photo Courtesy of snaidero-usa.com

Whether it is a counter, island, or seating area (like a table or desk), the design must feature a sharp, 90-degree angle at the edge. This is formed by the two slabs coming together at 45-degree-angle cuts. In today's construction, these are mainly made from marble, granite, quartz, and travertine—a close cousin to marble that differs in the manner in which it's formed.

Waterfall Countertop Pros

The sheer impressive nature of this piece of architecture-slash-furniture in a kitchen is all some need to be convinced of this design approach. This image by L’Atelier Paris—a deluxe custom-made, high-end French kitchen firm founded in 1830—aptly enforces a waterfall countertop’s visual impact on a space.

Practically speaking, though, there is more to gain from this striking, kitchen focal point. This visual detail provides a trim package that can extend to  kitchen cabinets, drawers, and stools. These countertops as kitchen islands can fit stools neatly under them, allowing for aesthetic purity and less clutter. This kitchen from shown above in the hero image of this article expertly exhibits a neat and uniform effect in the room.

It also gives the room a uniquely modern spin that can be advantageous, depending on your needs and goals for the space. For instance, using this technique in a property meant to rent or sell may up the asking price given its au courant status. There is also the consideration of wear and tear. Corners and trims found on more traditional counters, cabinetry, and kitchen islands are subject to scuffs, cracks, and scratches when used in households with high activity levels.

Waterfall Countertop Cons

With every sunny idea, a few clouds exist. When considering a waterfall countertop, the first thing to understand is the cost involved. It takes a well-trained professional to execute these precise constructions. If you tend to be the slightest bit fussed over minute details—visually speaking, in this case—having pros who are trained in building these surfaces is essential. Fabricators usually use a computerized laser cutter to achieve the exactness and precision necessary. That, alone, can add around $2,000 to the cost. The decision of whom to hire is crucial for this reason.

The material, itself, is also expensive. Marble, granite, quartz, and travertine on a large scale is quite pricey—usually at least $100 per square foot. A standard kitchen island measuring three by five feet can easily reach $8,000 in cost. To lower the price, consider these kitchen centerpieces in other materials. Wood and concrete waterfall countertops are becoming more popular and common recently. So, if the luxe stonework option is ultimately out of your budget, a viable option could be fabricating a waterfall countertop from these more wallet-friendly materials.

Roxanne Robinson
Roxanne Robinson is an award-winning Paris-based American journalist covering luxury and fashion industries with over 25 years of experience. I spent over 18 years at WWD, covering sportswear, accessories and fine jewelry. My career witnessed the shift from print media to the digital age. I gained expert knowledge of the design world, wholesale and retail markets as well as the marketing that supports them. I met endless creatives and business people who create luxury from inception to POS with the consumer. My work has appeared in Forbes.com, BoF, The Hollywood Reporter, CRFashionbook.com, The Jewelry Journal as well in-house publications and websites at Bally, Pomellato, Au Depart and Editorialist.com among others.
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