A Lovely Home: Beautiful Waterfall Countertops

kitchen_demo 2 final{Kitchen Demo}

In the last kitchen post, I talked about how in a remodel multitasking is key. While we were working on the kitchen layout and cabinetry, BDG started to show us material selections for ALL the rooms. That includes countertops, tiles, paint colors, flooring, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and more.

They typically prepare a vision board with samples and images of the various materials. Since I went to their office and we wanted to get a lot accomplished in one meeting, they had a “vision table” ready. Literally, an entire table covered in potential materials for the house! There was a lot to look at, but it was really helpful to see it all together and it gave me a “feel” of the overall theme of the house. Also, when selections are narrowed down and in front of me, I’m pretty quick to edit.

Let’s continue with the kitchen… Kitchen Floor Plan{Kitchen floor plan}

I’m obsessed with waterfall countertops, also called a riser. In almost every kitchen picture I saved as inspiration there was a waterfall counter. It became a “must” for our kitchen remodel. If you’re not familiar with them, Granite Grannies, a custom counter fabricator, says they’re “a fresh addition to a kitchen (or bathroom) because it breaks away from the expected horizontal countertops. The stone continues vertically down the sides of the island, creating a wonderful flow. This ties the countertops to the floor, giving the whole space a unified, connected feeling.” Since we’re keeping the existing aggregate flooring in the space, a light-colored waterfall counter will brighten up the space and add some movement.

We have both an island and a peninsula in the new kitchen design, giving us two options on where to incorporate the waterfall edge. The peninsula is larger, more visible from the other rooms and is, overall, more of a statement piece, so we chose to do the waterfall edge there.

heartSome of our inspiration for the waterfall look: Traditional Home waterfall countertopA Calacatta Gold marble waterfall countertop. The grey veins are bolder with lots of movement. The nude-painted base mimics the cabinetry. Another detail: the built-in ledge above the range for oils, salt + pepper, etc. |via Traditional Home|Waterfall island with marble countertops + light wood cabinetsA marble waterfall island resembling a Parsons table with light wood cabinetry. |via Domaine Home|Waterfall Peninsula with smooth white carrera marble.A waterfall peninsula (similar to ours) with smooth white Carrara marble.|via C Home|

To find the “perfect” slab for the peninsula, Diego suggested I first take a look at Fresno Marble & Granite. He’s had good luck there in the past. The mission: to find a slab of marble with a white background, not cream, but a pure white. Calacatta marble slabThis is a beautiful one with heavy movement. Diego says, “This is a more expensive material (and looks it!) and will reveal beautifully on that waterfall edge. One thing to watch out for is if it’s seamed anywhere that does not follow the natural grain, you’ll have an offset look. This would be the only downside. They should show you how the cuts line up.”Statuario marble slabAnother one I found is this Statuario slab. Diego’s thoughts on it are “there’s nice, clean white in there and any seams will be less noticeable. It’s a classic material so you can’t go wrong there.”

I also wondered about going with marble or quartzite countertops. A lot of people love marble because it’s so elegant and beautiful. When they love it, they really love it! They say it lasts forever, but you do have to be okay with it not looking brand-new forever. Then, I’ve also heard great things about quartzite. With this being a big investment and not knowing the difference between the two, I did some research:



  • Comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Has a smooth surface.
  • Won’t chip or dent.
  • Heat-resistant.


  • Expensive.
  • Porous, so can stain more easily and requires more maintenance. It can be scratched by acids (citrus, coffee, alcohol, some cleaning products) even if you seal it. But, if you’re vigilant about spills and seal your counters a few times a year, marble is a good option.

Luce de Luna - Brazilian quartziteA slab of Luce de Luna – a Brazilian quartzite.



  • Stain-resistant. It’s non-porous, meaning it won’t absorb liquid or stains, which makes them ideal for an application where food and liquids are prevalent.
  • Low maintenance. Unlike granite, quartz surfaces don’t need to be sealed. Once they are installed, they only require soap and water for maintenance.
  • Scratch-resistant. Quartz is an inherently durable material, which makes a lot of sense for areas of high use, like the kitchen.


  • The look is fairly contemporary. Some prefer the look of a natural stone, like marble.
  • The seams on engineered stone countertops are sometimes noticeable.
  • Not as heat-resistant as marble.

I’d love your suggestions! Which would you choose: marble or quartzite?


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