Design:

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

Words by Sacha Strebe.

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

As the old adage goes, appearances can be deceiving. While the façade seems calm and serene, there can be a veritable wind storm roaring beneath the surface. (I think we can all relate!) The same can be said in design as it can in life. Achieving the impression of ease and effortlessness in a room is one of the hardest things to master but when executed well, it creates a space that’s in harmony with the flow of life—and that’s how we all want to live! Fusing simplicity and style is always at the nucleus of Athena’s design work, driven by her perpetual fascination for the behind-the-scenes. It’s from this place that she conceived the epic marble floating kitchen shelf in her Brooklyn townhouse. 

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

The initial spark of inspiration came from the heavily veined marble she spied in Joseph Dirand’s Parisian kitchen that forms a free-floating shelf. This image prompted a deep dive into how she could emulate the bracket-free look in her own home and after much research, she learned that the floating stone shelf would need to be addressed very early in the renovation stage. 

The finished look is yet another beautiful example of Athena’s “practical and pretty” design ethos.

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

“The long kitchen shelf not only holds all of my functional pieces like plates and platters and glassware, but it is also a foil for me to express my love of vintage and mingle in the decorative objects like the petit rattan lamp, vintage sculpture, artwork, and gilded mirror.”

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

Needless to say, the stone shelf has inspired countless inquiries around the fabrication, structural support, installation, height, depth, etc. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that “how is your 20′ marble floating kitchen shelf supported?” is one of her top Instagram DMs outside of “what is the color white on your walls?”

So, today we’re finally revealing every nitty-gritty detail from the design process to the dimensions. Let’s start with the details then we’ll address the process. 

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

THE MARBLE FLOATING SHELF DETAILS:

Design:  In collaboration with Elizabeth Roberts Architecture
Marble: Calacatta Paonazzo from ABC Stone
Fabrication: C&B Marble Corp
Dimensions: 12” deep x 2 ¾ thick 
Height: 26” from countertop
Length: 240” 
Distance Between Shelf and Range Hood: 13.5”
Height of Wall Sconce Above Shelf: 24″ from shelf to bottom of sconce.

OTHER KITCHEN DETAILS:

Cabinetry: Hetman LLC
Cabinet Color: Railings by Farrow & Ball
Faucet: Waterworks Henry 
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware: Optimum Brasses
Range Hood: Brooks Custom 
Wall Paint Color: Kamp Studios
Wall Sconce: Vintage Italian 50’s, similar here.
Rug: Armadillo Runner

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

THE DESIGN PROCESS:

As we mentioned earlier, good design (that appears effortless!) often begins in the construction phase, particularly when structural support is required. That was certainly the case for this mammoth 20′ marble floating shelf. The design work actually began behind the walls with metal stud bracing in the wall 16” apart. Since those studs are essentially hollow, they needed to be further reinforced. In order to withstand the weight of the marble shelf, they adhered plywood blocking between the studs for an additional layer of support. Hardened steel L brackets were then attached to the plywood and into the studs for the heavy marble shelf to slide into. To achieve this, they had the marble fabricated to be 2” thick and slotted at the back so the L bracket can slide within the cavity of the stone. 

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

Finally, drywall was installed before the slab of marble was applied, concealing the entire inner workings. All of this to say, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. This all took some serious thought and engineering by both our contractor and Elizabeth Roberts Architecture to pull off—but boy, was it worth it. 

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

If you do opt for a marble floating kitchen shelf like Athena and choose to eliminate upper cabinets too, then try to maintain that minimal sensibility. This open shelf look can quickly appear cluttered and noisy, so leave it airy up top. Use pale textured plaster or paint as a canvas on which decorative items can pop and functional items, like the hood, disappear. Dark power cabinets will also recede, focusing your gaze on the pieces you’ve chosen to display.

Read Athena’s tips on how to style open kitchen shelves for inspiration, then keep scrolling to see more before and after photos of the marble floating kitchen shelf. We hope this was helpful as you plan your next renovation—happy designing! 

How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf
How I Designed My 20-Foot Marble Floating Kitchen Shelf

Shop the Look!

Is there anything more spectacular than the showstopping beauty of calacatta? We think not.

This deep, rich tone anchors the neutrals of the kitchen.

Not everything in a kitchen has to be utilitarian. These striking Italian wall lights bring a romantic touch to set the mood for creating delicious meals.

Brass brings a decorative touch, like jewelry, to your kitchen.

A hint of tradition and modern fused into one faucet. This one ages well over time.

This runner is stylish but strong enough to withstand a highly trafficked area like the kitchen floor.

Share this Swoon   –  

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get exclusive access to recipes, promotions, videos, and original content.
We'll never share your information.