I am thinking about kitchens this week, as I spent 2 1/2 hours at the kitchen appliance store yesterday. Although there are some big decisions that need to be made, I feel well prepared thanks to Cynthia Ziegler, my wonderful kitchen designer, as well as the kitchen forum on Gardenweb. I am the type of person who likes to research and ask a lot of questions – then once I make the decisi0n, I rarely second guess.
When reading the kitchen forum of Gardenweb, I realized that the sink decision is one of the first decisions that must be made. Are you a single bowl person, or a double bowl person? Stainless, fireclay, cast iron, silegranit or stone sink? Do you want a prep sink? Where is the sink going to be located? What style of faucet (bridge, pull down or pull out sprayer). I have never picked out a sink before, and I have always adapted to what I have had. But now that I am aware of all the options, I realize that I really dislike my current sink, which has a divided bowl – a little section with the disposal (which is the section we use 90% of the time), and a large section that is good for washing pots, but has no disposal. (I would take a picture of it, but I was up very late making a marinade, and the sink is not very pretty right now.) However, I do like the material - cast iron, with a white enamel finish. My sink has been a work horse for over 20 years and still looks great.
I am finding that the hundreds of pictures of kitchens in my inspiration files, originally saved for decor and architecture, are now very helpful for analyzing layout and details of kitchens!
Type of Sink
I have long admired farmhouse sinks, and this is the sink I assumed would be in my new kitchen. Yes, there have been murmurings of this being ‘trendy’ and a look that will be replaced by ‘the next big thing’ in a few years (I even had it as one of my possible trends that scream the 2000s), but most agree that this particular trend is based on a classic design style. As one person commented, everything comes and goes in cycles – it seems like everything is trendy at some point in time. Image via Cote de Texas.
Joni of Cote de Texas has this lovely sink in her own kitchen. Look at how thick her countertops are – I never noticed that before! What a beautiful kitchen. Joni unveiled her remodeled kitchen last year in this post.
Another look that I have been seeing in magazines is the side by side sink look. The first time I saw this in person, I was a bit taken aback. I seems like overkill. Coming from a 1980s kitchen, I am very minimalistic about how much I want in my kitchen. I think that I am leaning towards the ‘single bowl team’ (if you read the Gardenweb kitchen forum, you will see that there are definitely two camps – single bowl and double bowl). I have heard that single bowls work best if you have a small prep sink too. I have also heard that double bowls are really not that necessary if you have a dishwasher; the second bowl used to be for washing dishes. I still wash a lot of cookware by hand, so I don’t think this is a good argument.
My sister’s new house has a Shaws double bowl sink – she commented that this model seems rather shallow, as her previous house had a deeper stainless double bowl sink. This does look quite shallow compared to the models above. I will have to check in with my sister after she has cooked a few meals in this kitchen and see what she thinks.
A big stainless sink is an option too – as long as I have an undermounted sink in my new kitchen, I will be happy (I don’t have that now). Kitchen design by Matthew Quinn, Design Galleria.
Cynthia, my kitchen designer, has also opened up my eyes to some interesting new options – perhaps not as classic, but they truly represent an advance in kitchen sink design and seem to make so much sense functionally. The Kohler Stages kitchen sink is one that Cynthia wanted me to look at. The sink has a beveled edge, so it holds all sorts of accessories, making it both a sink and a work surface in one. It is quite large – 45” wide (there is also a smaller version). The video of the sink in action is pretty amazing, especially for someone like me who cooks a lot – take a look - http://www.kohler.com/video/index.jsp?bcpid=823619074&bclid=203863667&bctid=21311779001. This sink is not classically beautiful like the Shaw farmhouse sink (and I would certainly get different faucets), but it looks so functional and well designed. I wish the Kohler site would show this model in a more traditional setting – all of the images are very contemporary and industrial!
Location of Sink
Most of the sinks I admire in my kitchen files have an enormous window over the sink, and this kitchen epitomizes the look! In January of last year, Cote de Texas created her famous kitchen post, and the image that inspired the post was an email I had sent to her with this picture, proclaiming it to be my ‘dream kitchen’. Joni noted that it was the window, the shape of the island, and the shape of the room that probable were at the base of the kitchen’s appeal for me.
More than likely, based on the room shape and layout, I think my sink will end up on the island. Given that the island will look out past the kitchen table to a wall of windows (and a door) looking out over the garden, there will be a good view and plenty of natural light. In the end, I think it is perhaps the natural light that has the greatest appeal for me in a kitchen. With the sink in the island, this allows the range and the range hood to be the focal point – that can be a topic for a future post! Image via House Beautiful (it is the December 09 kitchen of the month), design by Mick De Giulio, photo credit Julian Wass.
Another picture I recently came across (posted on the Circa Interiors blog) ….this is the general layout of what we are thinking about doing in our kitchen. The range will be in the middle of the wall, flanked by windows, and the sink will be on the island. Image via Traditional Home, interior design by Mark J. Williams, photo credit Michael Garland.
Sinks in the island are actually more common that I originally thought. If a kitchen is an interior kitchen, this seems to be the preferred position for the sink so the cook can look out into the room if they don’t have a window. Kitchen design by architect Louise Brooks. Image via Elements of Style.
I have long admired this kitchen, designed by architect Steve Giannetti. He is truly masterful at kitchens.
This William Hefner designed kitchen (also an architect) has always intrigued me, and I went back to it in order to analyze where the sink was located. He put a little prep sink in the corner of the island, I wonder why? Perhaps it is for efficiency, proximity to the refrigerator, and to keep the workspace on the island open. I think someone told me that this island is made of zinc – it’s quite striking.
Sometimes it is good to see the rest of the kitchen to understand the full story. Here is a large sink, probably used mainly for cleanup. It is not common to see a sink that is not under a window, but this kitchen is not lacking for light. The dishwasher(s) are placed over there, as is the dish storage – it is easy to bring dirty dishes from the table, and it is still easy to transport messy pots and pans over to the clean up sink. I love the small door to the outside that is within the kitchen – it reminds me of the home where I grew up in Connecticut.
Style of Faucet
Related to the sink is the style of the faucet that will go with the sink. This is where my brain starts to ache – so many options out there! Last year, I replaced my pull out sink faucet with a pull down faucet, with one central lever that controls hot and cold (go to the left for hot, the right for cold, middle for warm). I must admit, I find it to be quite easy to use (it is the Delta Leland Diamond).
And yet, the darling of the design blogs seems to be the bridge faucet. This is one of my favorites – by Perrin & Rowe.
This kitchen has two bridge faucets – I would love to see this kitchen in its entirety! Edit: one of my readers let me know that this is from Martha Stewart's home, Turkey Hill (which I think she sold?). Here is another picture of the kitchen- http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/marthas-memories-of-turkey-hill#slide_13 - what a testament to classic design, given that this kitchen was renovated in the 90s - a time when not much was done with restraint!
I assume that bridge faucets get their name from the elevated cross bar between the hot and cold handles. The style of the spout can be quite varied – this one has a lovely sculptural arc.
Back to Joni’s kitchen – she has a Perrin and Rowe polished nickel bridge faucet. She calls it the jewelry of her kitchen, and it looks beautiful with the new sink and counters.
This kitchen (which I noted is from House Beautiful, design by Michael Smith) has all sorts of faucets and contraptions going on at the sink. What is that large thing that looks like a pencil sharpener? Maybe a water purifier?
I also like the look of an industrial style sprayer, although I think the profile is a little high if it is going to be on an island.
I actually rather like this Kohler faucet - it looks so simple to use. It has a pull down sprayer, which I have grown to love. I found this image via Simplified Bee – she has been writing a great series of kitchen posts which have been inspirational to me. Design by Berkley Vallone (one of Traditional Home’s 20 young designers to watch) and Caroline DeCesare; image via Vallone Design.
And yet, none of these options have the beauty of the bridge faucet. My concern about the bridge faucet is that it would be a pain to have a separate handle for cold and hot. I remember when I used to visit my grandmother in England, and her kitchen sink had a separate spout for cold and a separate spout for hot – you had to mix the two in the sink to make warm! So, it’s not as challenging as that set up! And yet, I am used to one lever to control hot and cold.
Readers, please weigh in on any or all of the sink decisions. What kind of sink do you have, or what kind of sink to you recommend to your clients? Are you on the single bowl or double bowl team? What about faucets – if you have a bridge faucet, do you like it?
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