By Marsha Fottler.
It’s not the granite counters or the walk-in pantry. It’s not the costly ornate range hood. It’s neither the cherry cabinets nor the 10-foot long center island with built-in microwave and shelving for gourmet books. The kitchen status symbol for 2010 is the sink.
The most influential architect/designer in the world, Philippe Starck, is now designing kitchen sinks and charging a bundle. It was a trend just waiting to happen since sinks (both in the kitchen and bathroom) have been gaining in fashion prominence for the last several years.
Whether you’re planning a renovation or building a home from scratch you’ll need to know this from the experts. The sink area is considered the busiest part of the kitchen, so most savvy homeowners today want two sinks, one main sink that is long, deep and impressive looking and a second smaller prep sink that is located in the center island or in the butler’s pantry. Two sinks are fast becoming the norm.
The primary kitchen-statement sink should be big. The one-basin variety is currently more popular than the double-basin configuration because it looks more important. Most homeowners are selecting an arched faucet so that big cookware and serving pieces will fit in the sink. The preferred metal for the faucet is satin or brushed nickel. The industry standard for sink depth is eight-inches. Anything more shallow might be a budget buy but will result in escaping splashes. Most homeowners today want a sink with at least a 10-inch depth.
The second sink is usually round or square for contrast and is made of some metal such as stainless steel or the more coveted hammered copper. Undeniably stylish, a copper sink is a good choice for hygiene reasons; bacteria doesn’t grow on a copper sink.
The new Starck K sinks by Phillippe Starch are deep (12-inches) and wide enough to accommodate a caterer’s industrial baking tray. It is shown with an arched faucet and the sink comes with accessories such as a chopping board and a container for draining pasta or washing vegetables. Done in impact-resistant ceramic this status sink is available in four colors and five sizes. This prestige Starck K comes in a drop-in version or it can be flush mounted. Sleek and modern, Starck calls his creation “poetry of reduction,” and sells his designer sink through Duravit, a 192-year-old plumbing products company. If you aim to be the first on your block to own a Starckdesigned kitchen sink, expect to spend about $2,000 and up depending on size and accessories.
The most popular sink material in the US is stainless steel, which has been around since the 1950s. Eighteen gauge is the best quality stainless, making it resistant to scratches and dents. The higher the gauge, the less practical.
Enameled cast-iron sinks win the favor of the editors at Consumer Report because these sinks are durable and the glossy surface makes them easy to clean. But the weight of cast iron means you need a hefty counter to support such a sink and the enamel can chip.
Ceramic is popular, especially for the farmhouse sink which is highly desirable in a traditional kitchen. Sometimes the apron of this oversized rectangular sink is ornamented with bas relief designs that match the range hood and cabinet trim. A quality farmhouse sink can cost up to $4,000 and is quite an investment in making a style-statement as well as vote for function.
Experts say that about 8-percent of a kitchen renovation budget gets spent on fixtures such as sinks and faucets. The idea is to balance good looks with practicality based on how the sink will be used.
Currently, under-mounted sinks are more popular than rim-around styles. But, unless installed by an expert the vibrations of a garbage disposal can dislodge an under-mounted sink causing it to fall. The vessel sink is an option, although it is more popular in bathrooms.
A sleek, no-fuss look can be achieved with a solid surface, integrated sink. That means the counter surface (such as Corian) and the sink are made of the same material and one flows into the other with no seams showing. The sink and the counter are a single unit. Of course, this doesn’t leave much room for the sink to stand out as the design star of the kitchen, but it may be one of the more practical solutions in terms of neatness and function.
Flavors and More Magazine – January 2010