Waterfall tables were popularized by French designer Jean-Michele Frank in the 1930's and 40's. Jean-Michele Frank often used this smooth-lined table with unexpected finishes like shagreen and parchment. Later in the 20th century, Karl Springer, undoubtably influenced by Jean-Michele Frank, revived the waterfall table through his modern furniture designs, also contrasting the simple design of the table with over-the-top finishes like shagreen, brass, or granite.
A couple of weeks ago I ran into a thrift store at lunch, and this linen waterfall table caught my eye. It was in perfect condition, covered in beige linen. Priced at $18, it came home with me. At the moment, it is downstairs in the room where we watch television, but it might not stay there forever. I don't know if this is a "real deal" waterfall table like the ones that sell on 1st Dibs for small fortunes, or if it's some sort of reproduction. I haven't been able to find out much about reproductions, except for the lucite styles that are readily available at places like CB2 today. If anyone knows more about this style, I would greatly appreciate it if you would educate me!
The clean lines and style of waterfall tables makes them perfect for nesting tables, without any sharp corners or legs to clutter a space.
Jean-Michele Frank covered nearly every surface in this room, including the waterfall table, in vellum.
Jean-Michele Frank in Mark Hampton's Legendary Decorators of the 20th Century
A coffee table in the simple waterfall style keeps this black-and-white room soothing and focused.
The simple waterfall style of this coffee table keeps the red lucite from being visually overwhelming in this room. In any other style, it would be too much.
Amanda Nisbet used a set of lucite nesting waterfall tables in this colorful living room. Once again, the simplistic style of the waterfall tables is a good counterpoint to the voluminous red curtains.
Many of Kelly Wearstler's designs implement waterfall tables. She seems to favor waterfall tables made of solid stone like granite.
Kelly uses a turquoise waterfall style desk with drawers in this glamorous bedroom (her own if I remember correctly?). I'd love to know what this desk is made of!
The next time you are out hunting, be on the look-out for a waterfall table! My $18 linen waterfall table might not be my equivalent of MoS Washington's Bemelmans find, but I think it is a piece I will keep for a long time!