waterfall countertops -- a trend?

livinginnilesAugust 19, 2013

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!)

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No matter what, over time, things will look dated. They just will. And I will tell you that what I loved 10 years ago is quite different from what I love now. It's just the way things are. So, will you love what you pick years from now? It's likely that you won't. We get tired of things that don't change.

To me, the waterfall countertops are a definite "modern" look...and interestingly many "modern" styles endure if they are based on a good, clean design. I'm not really able to say if a waterfall counter will wind up being one of those things. If I could predict that accurately, I'd be living much higher than I am.

As far as the tough-as-nails counter...don't forget that edges of stone get chipped by things hitting it and that's not all that easy to fix.

So, if you currently love a waterfall countertop, get it. Just realize that in 10, 20, or 30 years, you're probably not going to love it or any other furnishings in your house that are that old...doesn't matter much on what it is.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:47AM
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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."

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:04AM
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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. ;)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:04AM
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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!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:45AM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:06AM
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I tend to think that in your home it will endure, because your home is modern. I love that style home by the way.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:02AM
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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 :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:50AM
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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?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:26AM
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I think the countertop, where the material goes to the floor.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Just wanted to say that I love waterfall countertops. The look is so clean and really showcases a beautiful countertop material.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:39AM
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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!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:47AM
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    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:48AM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:49AM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:28PM
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What material are you using?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 2:03PM
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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

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 2:36PM
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This renovation just uses a countertop waterfall.
(no room for an island)

Here is a link that might be useful: waterfall countertop

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 2:59PM
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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!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:49PM
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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

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 4:07PM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:00PM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:14PM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:05AM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:59AM
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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).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Oh, LOVE that look, especially with the wood. Go for it! In 10 years, if you're bored, it's easily changed.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:09PM
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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!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 8:12PM
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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.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:01AM
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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?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 5:09AM
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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.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 12:34AM
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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.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 1:11AM
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looks great!

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

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 1:46AM
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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.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:45AM
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That's beautiful. Thanks for the follow-up.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:59AM
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