livinginniles

waterfall countertops -- a trend?

livinginniles
7 years ago

The latest decision for my kitchen reno is whether or not to install waterfall countertops. I like the look a lot but fear I may not like it 10, 20, or 30 years from now (We expect this to be our "forever" kitchen :). My overall look is modern (simple and spare) and I am trying to select things that I will not become sick of down the road.

I suppose there's no way to know if a look will endure but if anyone would like to weigh in, I'd be appreciative. And if you have waterfall countertops, I'd REALLY love to hear from you, esp regarding the decision process.

One section in my kitchen where a waterfall counter could go sees gobs of traffic and is often knocked into by the vacuum cleaner, klutzy feet, rolling suitcases, what have you -- I think having tough-as-nails countertop down there instead of a wood cabinet might make sense.

Anyway, I will appreciate input!

(By the way, you guys have been wonderfully helpful to me thus far in the reno process -- you've already helped me NOT put a drop ceiling into my Eichler-style home and you've helped me get off the fence with my fridge purchase. Gush, gush!)

Comments (48)

  • cawaps
    7 years ago

    I don't think waterfall countertops are common enough to be considered trendy, although I think they are a fairly new innovation (at least I don't recall seeing any a decade ago). I think that they are a very clean, modern look. Because it is really a simple geometric shape, I can't imagine them being reviled down the line, even if they do look "dated."

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  • caitlinmagner
    7 years ago

    Well, take this opinion with a grain of salt because everything I know about kitchens I learned on GW, so I am no independent expert.

    I had to google images of "waterfall countertops" because I'm such a rookie I had no idea what they are. My immediate impression was that this is a look that will quickly become dated, and not in a vintage-y way.

    Still, it is difficult to know what you will love in the future, hence the 50% divorce rate. ;)

  • runninginplace
    7 years ago

    What is a waterfall countertop? Tried googling it, just as Kitten mentions, but just got a page full of pictures of, well, countertops. Images appreciated!

  • foodonastump
    7 years ago

    I had to google it, too. Personally the edge was the easiest decision I made in my kitchen. No one will fault you for a simple eased edge and I can't see it ever going out of style. Anything else I liked I could see getting sick of.

  • chinchette
    7 years ago

    I tend to think that in your home it will endure, because your home is modern. I love that style home by the way.

  • palimpsest
    7 years ago

    I think in a house like yours with the Eichler influences, it would be appropriate because it's another expression of modernism.

    The waterfall edge not exactly recent, I saw them in design school in the 90's which means they had been around before then--they are not a current trend.

    Since people responding in this thread don't know what they even are...and these are people who are interested in design...this means they aren't common enough to be a trend at all.

    Whether you grow tired of it or not depends on you :)

  • caitlinmagner
    7 years ago

    Wait, are we talking about an edge profile or, as in the pictures I googled, a countertop that "waterfalls" all the way over the edge to the floor?

  • palimpsest
    7 years ago

    I think the countertop, where the material goes to the floor.

  • pricklypearcactus
    7 years ago

    Just wanted to say that I love waterfall countertops. The look is so clean and really showcases a beautiful countertop material.

  • foodonastump
    7 years ago

    Ah ok, when I searched the first thing I saw is a "rippled" edge. Now I see countertops going to the floor, which makes a lot more sense now that I re-read the OP.

    Looks like "waterfall" can mean two things with regards to counters and I picked the wrong one!

  • live_wire_oak
    7 years ago

    {{!gwi}}




  • caitlinmagner
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the clarification - this is what turned up in my original search, so my opinion (clearly the minority) remains the same. :) But do what YOU love.

  • cawaps
    7 years ago

    Of live_wire_oak's pics, I like the 4th one (with the green border) the best. It's a very modern kitchen, the countertop material is very plain (white quartz). The waterfall edge isn't in-your-face at all. And I think it will age well.

    In the second pic, with the marble, the waterfall really stands out as the defining feature of the kitchen. Even though it is pretty, I could see where one might tire of that.

    In the third pic, the waterfall counter is like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. It's a small, ugly island with or without the waterfall edge.

    In the fifth pic, the cabinets are so unique that I don't know that there are any lessons to be learned about waterfall counters in general. I don't think I really like the look (whole package) but am in awe of the craftsmanship.

  • joaniepoanie
    7 years ago

    What material are you using?

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    7 years ago

    I posted on your other thread about your ceiling, (to not lower it).
    I may have mentioned that i am in a post and beam, Dutch architect built in '62. All original except for appliances. Very modern. A single side waterfall countertop, often the side facing another room, was very common in Mid-Century design. Thin, sharp edged counters. Simplicity.
    A home is a 'machine for living'. A backdrop for thoughts and personality. What is living in the home, the occupants, a pet, the fruits and vegetables to become a meal, are what become important...the life in a home. Keep it simple. A waterfall counter does fit and is not a trend necessarily but common in new modernist construction.
    (though can get expensive)
    I also think many kitchen styles have a long shelf life if kept simple. Permanent decoration is usually the trend that gets old quick. I just get a fresh set of solid color towels every season or a new bowl, but i'm just cheap. My cabinets are teak and 50yrs old, no hardware. Well built.

    A couple examples in this link...

    Here is a link that might be useful: waterfall counters

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    7 years ago

    This renovation just uses a countertop waterfall.
    (no room for an island)

    Here is a link that might be useful: waterfall countertop

  • CEFreeman
    7 years ago

    Oh, wow. So that's what that is! I didn't know it had a name.
    And how totally cool. I think done with nice materials (nothing too garish) it could be beautiful and believe it or not, I'm gonna use the "t" word: Timeless in the scope of your home!

  • PugetSoundjj
    7 years ago

    We thought of putting in a couple of waterfall counter tops in our mid-century ranch house remodel that we are currently undergoing. Eventually, we nixed the idea. My designer was wondering if they would seem dated after awhile but I feel that in a modern kitchen, they would go well. My husband was concerned that the bar stools at the counter would not allow a person to swing their legs in and out from under the counter easily. On the fourth photo posted above, that would not be such a problem but on some of the others, it might be problematic.
    We were also thinking of putting a waterfall at the end of cabinets (see attached photo), but alas, we would have been required to purchase a whole other slab of the quartzite and felt this would not be a prudent decision. So, no waterfalls, but I think they would have added a nice touch and would have done at least one if it would have been more affordable.

    Here is a link that might be useful: [waterfall cabinet modern kitchen[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/mid-century-modern-kitchen-countertop-midcentury-kitchen-seattle-phvw-vp~540904)

  • livinginniles
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Wow, great input -- thanks, everyone! Definitely food for thought here. In my case, there will not be an overhang, so no issues with swinging legs or bar stools in and out.

    Countertop will be Caesarstone "Oyster" with a mitered edge and 2" profile.

  • Majra
    7 years ago

    My new kitchen has recycled glass countertops with a waterfall edge on the peninsula. I love the look; it was an easy decision for me. I think it would be apropos in an Eichler. As far as becoming dated is concerned, I think I'll be sick of my waterfall when I'm sick of my whole house. Then we'll decide whether to remodel again or move. I'm not real concerned. I love my house.

  • lazy_gardens
    7 years ago

    It's a very strong design detail, angular (or like that really cool curved one) ... and some houses can support it. Others will look like a granny in a miniskirt.

    It has to go with equally strong cabinet work and details.

  • nosoccermom
    7 years ago

    As others have said, waterfall counters have been around for quite some time. I associate it with modern or very simple, spare and streamlined kitchens. This means that it also has to go with the island and/or the cabinets.
    I think what's most important to consider is what kind of material you are planning to use. If it's a very patterned granite it may well be (a) not very appropriate for the style to begin with, and (b) you may not like it for more than 5 years.

  • livinginniles
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hi all,

    I enjoyed this discussion a lot -- by way of followup I decided not to go with the waterfall countertop, not because it won't stand the test of time but because the configuration of my kitchen would have us gazing upon the flat, hard surfaces of the waterfall most of the time -- and despite the beauty, it is a hard look, not a warm one. I came to this conclusion after much staring and imagining :).

    I like waterfall countertops a lot, but I came to the conclusion that I like them best in profile, not as much straight on. As you can tell from pic, we would face the waterfalls while sitting at kit table (and upon entering house from garage too, which is where I was standing when I took the pic).

  • Ashe42
    7 years ago

    Oh, LOVE that look, especially with the wood. Go for it! In 10 years, if you're bored, it's easily changed.

  • firstmmo
    7 years ago

    This is a house that I renovated (a Like-ler, not a real Eichler). I also did a waterfall edge for the end of the island that is facing the sink because I thought it would prevent damage to that end and it would repel water.

    I definitely like the look and think it would be a nice touch to your MCM house!

  • livinginniles
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Oh, firsthouse, that a beautiful countertop! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the great pic. In fact, I like all the pics in this thread (the one w glass countertop --ooooh!). However, none of them shows my layout where we'd be facing two big blocks of countertop as we sit as the table. If I had an island it would be a no-brainer.

  • Majra
    7 years ago

    My big block of waterfall faces the main entry hallway to the living areas of my house...it's the first thing that people see when they come around the corner from the front door, and I just gotta say, the "wow!" factor has been huge. You might really like looking at the counter material.

    Can you post a pic of your layout?

  • livinginniles
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    There have been many changes to our layout, but cabinet maker just measured today and will soon have drawings that reflect latest, greatest changes. I'll be happy to post them when avail.

  • livinginniles
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    This is a waterfall mae culpa! After my silly post about not doing a waterfall because the look was hard and cold, I DID decide to go with the waterfall after all, and I love, love, love it. What was I thinking?! My advice is if you like the look in general, go for it.

  • GauchoGordo1993
    6 years ago

    looks great!

    This post was edited by GauchoGordo1993 on Wed, Dec 11, 13 at 1:51

  • firstmmo
    6 years ago

    It looks fabulous! So, you are getting closer to being done if your counters are in! You have to do a before and after picture from the exact same place you were standing above where you are entering house from garage. It will be a great before and after for those who have the same galley layout. What fun you are almost there! Totally jealous.....I am still at insulation and am 5-6 months away still.

  • LE
    6 years ago

    That's beautiful. Thanks for the follow-up.

  • artargyleshop
    5 years ago

    Too monolithic unless done in thin material & they do not look good as a retrofit item on many if not the majority of older kitchens. Yes they are an aspirational design object for too many new builds & remodels. There are other solutions that may work much better in specific applications.

  • practigal
    5 years ago

    Yes, they are a trend.

  • applemac
    3 years ago

    I just don't like them. I'm not sure why. It always reminds me of Lucite tables; furniture. I think I like the table 'top'; the island top, to get the attention.... to be the focus? I just don't like them.

  • M Miller
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I'm resurrecting this 4-year-old thread, cause I just saw waterfall counters in a model home of a new large building development. The development is middle-of-the-road, not high end for sure, not low cost either, middle. Is that the signal the style is "over"?

  • suzanne_sl
    3 years ago

    I've seen waterfalls done on a couple of HGTV shows recently - Property Brothers, I think. Maybe that's what inspired the developers of this project. If nothing else, building every kitchen in a development with a waterfall would certainly take the specialness out of it. OTOH, I'll bet it's an expensive add-on vs standard build, so it won't be chosen much.

  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    3 years ago

    Nothing is over if it's done very well. Things are over if they are slapped together, using cheap materials and suboptimal placement- like a kitchen island showing up in a kitchen that has no room for it. Some people might be turned off to see an expensive feature mass marketed and done poorly and think that reflected poorly on their own nicer things.

  • freeoscar
    3 years ago

    We put in a waterfall for our island during the reno last year. Is it a trend? Yes, though not a terribly widespread one. Will it make our kitchen look dated in 15yrs? Sure, but no more so than anything else we would have done. We love it - it really defines our kitchen and we love the way it looks (and wears - which is to say that it doesn't).

    And as Rita so aptly states, when things are done well they age a lot less. I turn on HGTV and see yet another full overlay white shaker/marble kitchen and I want to throw up. But I was in our friend's (very beautiful and $$$) house the other day, and their 15yr old inset white shaker/marble kitchen looks as amazing as it did the day it was put in (of course it helps when you have live-in cleaning help, lol).

  • Chessie
    3 years ago

    I don't like the look - it looks very commercial - like a hotel or conference center. Don't care if it's "in" or "out", it doesn't look right in a home, to me.

  • Kkww8888
    2 years ago

    i was debating on waterfall for a while, now I decided not do the waterfall, as I feel it feels cold not warm feeling for home.

  • Nor
    2 years ago
    If you get waterfall and grow tired of it, can it be cut off while still keeping the rest of the countertops intact? If so, I'd get waterfall
  • oldryder
    2 years ago

    I am a fabricator. A lot of my business is high end homes (these days extravagant lake cabins are called "retreats"). We do this several times a year, mostly high end residential but also some commercial. Done properly it can make the countertop/waterfall face present the look of a solid cube of granite. I doubt anyone has the foresight to accurately predict if the look will be considered dated 10 or 20 years in the future. In general natural looks like stone and wood seem to hold up over the years better than looks which are based on synthetics.

  • friedajune
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    It depends on your location about how trendy it is, or whether it might even be on the way out. In the Chicago area it has become so widespread we are seeing it in housing developments and new condo buildings. That can be a sign it is no longer special, since it has "reached the masses" haha - therefore people who are into watching that kind of thing will not be putting waterfall island counters into their kitchens.

    The last charity Design Home I saw (they take a mansion and have different interior designers do each room, then have tours, and the proceeds go to charity), the kitchen island counter was super-thick wood (maybe oak), heavily polyurethaned for a high shine, with an old-timey slightly distressed stain so it looked like reclaimed wood, but wasn't. It must have cost a ton, but I'd say that will be the thing to do for $150k+ kitchens, and the waterfall stone counter won't be. But that is super high end, FWIW.

  • palimpsest
    2 years ago

    Yes, trendy, maybe reaching it's end-point as Frieda points out, but it's been around for a long time

  • dovetonsils
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    The problem I always had with the waterfall is that you are using a very expensive high performance material in a place where performance doesn't matter. I never regretted the cost of our stone countertops as I get use out of them daily. A stone waterfall or backsplash not so much.

  • ckstauffer
    last year

    They remind me of sales counters you see in department stores. Even though those are usually made of formica, it's still the same look.