Installing Marble? In a Rental?


This unique application opens up a world of possibilities for what a kitchen island kick wall can be.

The beauty of Innovative cosmetic upgrades is thinking creatively and differently to BRING big impact into your space.

Our client moved into an apartment building where they loved the space, amenities, and location. But their kitchen had a few distinctive features; including a wood veneer island and lime green cabinets.


While the kitchen wasn’t to the clients’ liking, the building amenities, location, and community feel made this apartment desirable.

The lime green cabinets, repeating lines on the wood island base, and clashing grain finishes against the hardwood floor can be refined, all without losing your security deposit.

Our clients wanted to cover up the wood veneer on the island. One solution was wallpaper - which works in smaller areas, but the patterns repeat and lines would be clearly visible on space that large. They loved the marble they saw in other units, so we went to the drawing board and thought about the finish. Glass? Sure but that gets expensive and could break if bar stools are shoved against it.

And then it hit us: acrylic. Sheets of acrylic are huge, can be customized to any size, they are smooth to the touch, and cost-effective.

The best part of acrylic was the ability customize it with paint and give our clients the marble counters they loved. Some time ago, a show like Trading Spaces recommended a paintbrush rolled on the acrylic’s surface to create faux marble veins. We’d attempted it in the past for various projects and that technique never looked realistic enough. However, determined to create the marble, we experimented a bit and nailed it.

With a bit of planning, sourcing quality materials, and the right mix of colors, the marble texture took a few hours to paint, dry, and install - Transforming the island from drab to fab.

The painting technique does require artistic skill, but together with beautifully reflective materials, like crushed glass, an array of metallic golds, graphites, and pearled textures, the complexity of marble can be achieved.

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This unique application opens up a world of possibilities for what a kitchen island kick wall can be - between any hand-painted style of polished marble, a wide array of structured geometric prints, or a large scale wallpaper simply protected by the custom cut acrylic panelling.

All in, the marble installation took approximately six hours from start to finish and was far more cost-effective than installing real marble and matching waterfall edge.

Oh, the waterfall edge, did we forget to mention it’s made with crushed cassette tape reels?

The dark brown countertops provided a challenge to waterfall. While shopping for the marble materials, the artist working at small artist shop in the East Village insisted we purchase one of the last few bottles of this super interesting pigment - made from crushed cassette tape reels. Of course we said yes, and with no plan of where to use it, we bought the remainder of the lot - who doesn’t love an exclusive?

But when we combined that brown tinged color with a bit of cadmium red and crushed silver graphite, the color matched the countertop perfectly. Of course, we could have used other color combinations to match the existing countertop, but we love to give our clients a unique upcycling story.

Coupled with a deep classic teal wall by Valspar, a sputnik pendant light, easy to remove re-finished cabinets, and a faux concrete wall for some texture and dimension, the marble island feels like it’s always been there - and looks like it was cut from a quarry halfway around the world.

Levi AustinComment