These Gorgeous Waterfall Countertops Redefine Luxury


Douglas Friedman

While one might be well advised not to go chasing waterfalls (so the saying goes), we’re all about that over here in the design world; because nothing captures our marble-loving hearts like waterfall countertops. With an edge that cascades seamlessly to the floor, this expanse of stone can be a decadent focal point that links floor design with cabinetry. “Waterfall edges can elevate any space, bringing a continuous flow of color, texture, and countertop detailing,” says CaesarStone’s Lori Shapiro. “It’s similar to having a full height backsplash instead of the standard four-inch to extend the beauty of stone in the design space.”

So what is a waterfall countertop, exactly? The edge (which can be composed of granite, quartz, even wood) flows down vertically all the way to the floor instead of stopping at the edge of a cabinet or island, something Shapiro says takes true craftsmanship. “This style requires a precise cut in order to achieve a perfect seam,” she says. “Waterfall edges are best when creating a miter edge that is a 45-degree cut on both sides of the stone connecting the surface with the waterfall leg.”

We can’t seem to get enough of this statement-kitchen feature, and it seems that designers can’t either. With projects slated for 2023 and 2024, Shapiro says they’re getting requests for waterfall edges in everything from kitchens to desks to bathroom countertops. Take a look at 15 waterfall countertops, and you might be ditching your outdated countertop and adding your order to the queue!

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1

Gray Glamour

Often dubbed the drabbest color in the palette, gray can get a bad rap in the design world. But this boat shed in Amsterdam—crafted by Studio Piet Boon creative director Karin Meyn—will rebut any carping critics. In this dream work-from-home space, the same style of gray marble extends across this dining table and into a workspace, with a variety of finishes to differentiate the areas. Our favorite feature: the odd angles that balance out the harsh symmetry of the former industrial space and lend the room a charming informality. If this is drab, we don’t want to be vibrant!

2

Sleek and Sexy

You can’t reinvent classic. And if we’re speaking in superlatives (which, in the case of this Lower East Side condo, how can we not?), high-contrast black and white is the paragon of decor. Which is why designer Jae Joo made the bold choice to pair this stunning white marble waterfall countertop against the black-on-black marble and cabinet backdrop. With accents of black stools and white throw pillows, the contrast is a sexy entertaining gem that is begging for a dinner party.

3

Marble on Marble

This entire San Francisco kitchen is handmade in Tuscany from a single block of pale, purple-veined Breccia Capraia marble. “It’s so tricked out; you knock on the dishwasher, and it opens,” notes designer Nicole Hollis. “There’s no need for hardware.” Compliments to the artisans behind the custom island and cabinetry, Vaselli for Elementi. Bellissimo!

4

A Pop of Blue

If you’re going to have a getaway, go for a look that says you are getting away. Or better yet, hire ELLE DECOR A-Lister Jacques Grange to do it. Nothing says “summer retreat” like this indigo blue countertop in Florence Grinda’s Portuguese vacation home, which contrasts against the yellow stools to create a pop of color with attitude. Our favorite detail: the adorable chicken-shaped pitchers that have proudly claimed their territory.

5

Minimalist Marvel

As homeowners seek out bolder, rippled stone, Greek Volakas marble is having its moment—especially in this Brooklyn brownstone. Here, Ishka Designs accented the countertop with sharp black pendant lights and triangular stools.

6

Urban Cool in the Mountains

The owners of this sultry Tahoe vacation home had one thought in their brief for designer Jamie Bush: “Tom Ford,” Bush says, recalling his inspiration behind the design. “Tom Ford in the mountains: smoky, dark, sexy, a little moody.” And nothing brings all of that together like this giant quartzite countertop. Add custom-made stools covered in Edelman leather, and you’ve got a runway-ready room Ford himself would swoon over.

7

Island Love

Who needs a man to make you happy when you’ve got a bachelorette pad like this? Designer Erin Gates created a fluid entertaining space with a sleek, all-white kitchen that is complemented by a white and pink palette. But let’s be honest, the island steals the show.

8

Color Combinations

Cream-on-white is the new white-on-white. This white marble island offers a striking contrast to the inky-black Nero Marquina marble table—all of which comes together against the cream-colored walls and seamless light wood flooring. While this Brooklyn apartment may not have started out as anything particularly special, it’s now a city oasis that is brimming with style, thanks to just the right color combinations.

9

Art Deco Redefined

Part of a 1920s Art Deco building, this three-bedroom Milan home is a kind of urban alpine chalet. Only shiny. In this brass-clad kitchen, a thin black marble countertop sharply contrasts against the bold metallic blocks. If any history was lost in its gut renovation, Hannes Peer’s redesign imbued it with a whole new sense of place.

10

The Old and New

Vintage meets modern in this cozy SoHo loft, where designer Nicholas Obeid brings in scale-taming furnishings and artful layers. A pair of caned vintage stools brings warmth to this minimal marble island and white domed pendants.

11

Monolithic Marble

Clocking in at just under 2,000 square feet, Satya Bhabha and Carter Batsell’s SoCal bungalow is decidedly compact. But after enlisting Rachel Bullock of the local firm LAUN, the space sings with a marriage of bold materials—raw brass, white oak, a green-lacquered wall—and at the center of it all, a monolithic pink marble countertop that is the mother of all kitchen islands. Here, smart space-saving considerations took nothing away from grandiosity.

12

On the Edge

If you’re looking for something a bit edgier (literally and figuratively speaking), we’re swooning over this sleek half-edge waterfall island, which curves over slatted wood to create an inviting play of textures. The fact that it’s in an Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan’s Carnegie Hill neighborhood is just a bonus. Pro tip: A colorful bowl like this one from MQuan Studio can add a flourish to an otherwise neutral space.

13

The Sum of Its Parts

In design, synergy comes down to the acute placement of a few key individual pieces. Just so for one of Perifio designers Matt Bidgoli and Raphael Portet’s upstate New York escape, in which color was top of mind. The stark white waterfall countertop stands out against the moody teal green in this calm kitchen.

14

Grand Fixtures

This castlelike kitchen, in a quasi-Jacobean San Francisco landmark designed by Ken Fulk, transports the visitor back to the Gilded Age of the historic Presidio in which it resides. The sprawling kitchen island adds depth and dimension to the symmetrical space, providing a break in the herringbone flooring pattern.

15

Open Plan Orchestration

Waterfall countertops are a statement, that’s for sure; which is why designing around them can require some tact in spatial planning. New York–based designer Becky Shea was up for the challenge in this 2,800-square-foot SoHo loft. Her solution? Installing open shelving and a trio of minimalist pendants to add understated interest and showcase the true beauty of the open-floor concept. Not to mention giving that stunning marble design its moment in the spotlight.

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