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Making it Personal: 8 Ways to Add Personal Style Your Kitchen

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At Arciform, we believe in designing kitchens that will fit the era and style of your home. But we also feel that your kitchen should really feel like YOU. How can you add special personal touches to your kitchen design that reflect your family’s unique style?

Here are 8 ways to add a pop of personality to your kitchen:

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1. Colorful cabinets: Whatever style of cabinets you choose, painting them a vivid color can be a great way to make your kitchen uniquely yours. Here are some great examples of Arciform clients who used color to express themselves in their kitchen:

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Vivid blue lower cabinets add personality to this Laurelhurst kitchen while  Carrara marble counters and subway tile backsplash keep the overall vibe clean and classic. Design by Kristyn Bester.

FoxPecka_1938_Kitchen_A_1_P_NonProThis client was in love with their vintage tile counters, mesh door inserts and arched valance of their original 1940s kitchen. We exactly replicated those historic elements and then painted the  cabinets apple green to honor her love of bold color. Design by Kristyn Bester.

2. Cabinet Door Inserts. Your recessed door panels do not have to be wood. Adding a perforated metal or glass insert to some doors adds a subtle but very special custom element.

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For this kitchen design by Anne De Wolf, we inserted white perforated metal panels into this clients upper cabinet doors to create a cool texture. The simple color palette keeps the design from feeling busy or cluttered.

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This client fell in love with a heavy gage mesh that was incorporated into her custom upper doors and her lower drawers. The lower drawers are used to store dog food and pet items, making the mesh a beautiful and practical way to allow airflow around these items. Design by Anne De Wolf.

3. Open shelving. One of the simplest ways to showcase your family’s obsessions is to incorporate open shelving into your kitchen plan.

This allows you to show off your favorite collections and change things up with the seasons. Your selection of shelving material and bracket style can add a decorative touch while still maintaining a neutral backdrop for your favorite things.

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This Arciform client incorporated open shelving as a way to frame their fridge and display their favorite dishes. Behind these shelves, a custom divided lite window screens additional open pantry storage that tucks the useful but less pretty items in easy reach but just out of sight. Design by Anne De Wolf.

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Simple narrow shelves with cool shelf brackets create a space to show off favorite ingredients and much used items. They also help to solve a tricky storage challenge in this long and narrow kitchen. Design by Anne De Wolf.

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The shelves in this project were made of salvaged tropical hardwood that was used as spacer to transport pipes across oceans.The custom metal brackets are suspended from the ceiling and show off the client’s eclectic taste. Design by Anne De Wolf.

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If your kitchen has the height for it, you can also create plate rail display space above the cabinets.

This Arciform  project in a National Monument home integrated plate rails and display space around the entire perimeter of the room to help the client showcase their treasured Turkish pottery collection. Design by Anne De Wolf.

4. Lighting. Decorative lighting fixtures are a great way to showcase your distinct style. And since they are relatively easy and inexpensive to replace, you can update them over the years when you are ready for a fresh look.

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This client supplements her decorative pendant lights with under cabinet lighting and a few discreet can lights so that she can enjoy the best of both worlds: beautiful fixtures and practical task lighting that puts light just where its needed. Design by Anne De Wolf.

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This elegant fixture over the sink adds a ton of personality to a small kitchenette in this client’s daylight basement guest suite. Design by Kristyn Bester.

5. Hardware. Knobs, pulls and hinges are often called the “jewelry” of your design. Vintage knobs or custom pieces can be sourced to fit your exact taste. Keep in mind that your knobs and pulls don’t have to all match – you can mix it up to add interest to the space and if you find yourself wanting an update later, it is inexpensive and fun to change out your knobs for a fresh look.

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You can also showcase your style in other kinds of hardware… from bottle openers to towel hooks.

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Maybe a whimsical bottle opener is just the right touch. Or use a whole wall to showcase a collection!

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6. Tile niches. With thousands of varieties, colors and patterns of tile out there, your back splash or stove niche can be a great place to add a personal touch to your kitchen design.

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This Arciform client chose a subtle blue grey tile for their stove niche. The unusual curved medallion shape contrasts nicely with the clean and classic subway tile of the backsplash. Design by Chelly Wentworth.

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This client incorporated some very cool painted tiles that were salvaged from the original kitchen into their new stove niche. Design by Anne De Wolf.

7. Custom windows. If your kitchen has one main window, consider making it a focal point with a custom shape or salvage stained glass element.

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This Arciform client added a custom gothic arched casement window to her kitchen addition, creating an unusual and striking centerpiece to the kitchen design. A salvage stain glass accessory window adds color and vintage flair. Design by Anne De Wolf.

8. Flooring design. Another place you can have a bit of design fun is in the selection of your flooring pattern. From chevron patterns to inset tile elements and stain options there are a variety of ways to add subtle personal details to your kitchen floor.

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The flooring in this kitchen features decorative inset wood pegs in a contrasting color that give the floor a “buttoned” look. Design by Chelly Wentworth.

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Hex floor tile offers a wealth opportunities to incorporate a custom tile pattern. You can even have your family’s name or the year of the house inset into the tile pattern if you like. Design by Anne De Wolf.

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Even simple marmoleum floors can add a bold graphic element, like the contrasting band of color used in this Arciform project. The design element also acts as an aging in place feature by making the transition between floor and cabinets easy to distinguish. Design by Chelly Wentworth.

What custom touches would you like to include in your own kitchen design? Our designers can help you identify the style elements that will make your kitchen really feel like YOU. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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Period Kitchens: The ’50s and ’60s

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The ’50s and 60’s kitchen was all about “modern conveniences” and new manufactured finishes that made the latest looks more affordable for a growing post-war family.  The look was sleek, with minimal ornamentation and increasing use of wood veneers, laminates and manufactured finishes.

Full Overlay Cabinets. Cabinets doors completely concealed the face frame behind it.

ClaypoolCraven_1962_Kitchen_A_12_P_ProThis 1962 whole house remodel features a Mid-Century Modern inspired kitchen with full overlay doors and drawers, simple hardware and strong, simple shapes. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Slab Doors. Simple, flush un-ornamented doors were popular, creating clean lines and simple shapes.

 

BrownAllen_1957_Kitchen_A_8_P_ProThis Saul Zaik home features full overlay slab doors in the kitchen with wood edged laminate counter tops. Lines were kept simple to keep the focus on the dramatic ceiling lines and large windows of this classic Mid-Century Modern home. Design by Brian Carleton, built by Arciform.

Wood Veneers. Manufactured finishes like wood veneers and laminates became very popular during this era, along with  counter tops that sometimes came with contrasting or matching wood, metal or laminate edging.

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This restored kitchen in the Alameda neigborhood integrated new cabinets alongside the existing cabinets. Exact replicas of the brass hardware were custom made for the kitchen and a new fridge was tucked behind panels that were designed to blend with the rest of the kitchen. Design by Anne De Wolf.

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Would you like to refresh your kitchen’s sleek Mod style? Our designers can help you integrate modern conveniences while including style elements that fit the era of your home. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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Period Perfect Kitchen: the 1940s

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If you have a 1940s house, it most likely falls into one of two categories: Pre-War or Post-War.

The 1940s pre-War kitchen borrowed from the ’30s with its cheerful prints and focus on white, sanitary spaces.

The post-War kitchen benefited from the huge influx of returning soldiers who got married and set up housekeeping . It also shows early signs of the manufactured product boom that was to come in the ’50s.

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This kitchen designed by Kristyn Bester showcases the bright colors and decorative glass knobs that came into vogue in the ’40s. The mesh panel doors are exact replicas of their 1940s originals. The scalloped apron above the stove is also a replica of the original, showcasing some of the charming details common in the era.

 

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Bright colors: Cabinets, walls and counter tops were often in cheery, vivid contrasting colors… a departure from all white cabinets and counters of the sanitation-obsessed ’20s.

Simon_1921_Kitchen_A_4_P_ProThis kitchen designed by Anne De Wolf showcases the bright colors, half overlay cabinets and visible hinges typical of the era.

Mixture of full-inset and half-overlay cabinets: A common cabinet style for the era was the “half-overlay” style, where the cabinet doors and drawer fronts would overlap the frame of the cabinet slightly while still showing a strip of the front of the cabinet (like in the kitchen above). This style would usually make use of the ball tip hinge which was installed to be visible on the exterior of the cabinet.

Below you see an example of the “full-inset” cabinet doors that were also common during the period. This style would feature cabinet doors that were designed to fit exactly inside the cabinet opening and appear flush with the cabinet face frame when closed.

 

Picture3The contrasting inset tile on this counter top are a good example of the ’40s kitchen’s deco inflected style choices. Design by Kristyn Bester.

Tile counters: Decorative tile counters and backdrops are seen during the forties, often with strongly graphic patterns and pops of color.

Enameled appliances:  Enameled metal appliances continue to be popular in the ’40s and would often feature the bold colors favored during the era.

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Bakelite drawer and door pulls: The deco influence of the ’40s is most clearly seen in the prevalence of bakelite drawer pulls that often had an art deco design element.

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Printed linoleum floors: Another way pattern and charm were added to the 1940s kitchen was through the use of printed linoleum floors. Some patterns were simple faux stonework while others would incoporate a graphic motif.

 

Would you like to renew your kitchen’s 1940s charm? Our designers can help you integrate modern conveniences while including style elements that fit the era of your home. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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9 Things Your Designer will Consider that You’ll Never See

If you are planning a kitchen remodel, your dreams are probably focused on ideas about counter top material, tile selections and new appliance choices. Here are a few of the less visible things our designers will think about for you to make your both kitchen beautiful and functional.

1. Work Triangles

Work Triangle

This refers to the cooking area, sink and refrigerator. The concept behind the work triangle is that when the three elements are in close proximity to each other, the kitchen will run efficiently.

2. Work Zones

Work Zones

Think about the areas where you prep, cook and clean. Is the waste container near the prep zone? Is there counter space near the stove?

3. Ergonomics

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Think about the height of your counters and whether there will be two or four people in your kitchen. Is there enough space to move without constantly bumping into each other? Cabinet height, drawers instead of doors and pullout trays can all play a role in an ergonomically correct kitchen.

4. Aging in Place

If this is your forever home, will you be able to reach into your cabinets easily? Is there enough light to see as your eyesight changes over time?

5. Hood Venting

This kitchen project designed by Chelly Wentworth required the removal of an existing chimney and the re-routing of the stove exhaust through a new hood and into the soffit above the penninsula.

Depending on the location of the hood and the direction of ceiling joists, venting the hood can be challenging.  There are also minimum clearances required for venting that is located next to operable windows.

6. Outlet Placement

Are there enough outlets and are they logically placed? Code requires that you have outlets placed every five feet plus some.

7. Range Hood Placement and Size

This kitchen renovation in a Portland National Monument building included a custom range hood designed for the project. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Hoods should be placed a certain distance from the cooking appliance for optimum ventilation as well as at a distance that works with the user’s height.

8. Appliance Placement

This is an important thing to take into consideration for creating a work triangle and work zones that correspond to how the user will use the space. We will also consider how appliance door swings and clearances will affect adjacent cavinets and other obstacles.

9. Material Durability/Maintenance Needs and Concerns

This kitchen designed by Anne De Wolf features soapstone counters.

While it may cost more initially, selecting durable materials will pay off in the long run. The soapstone counters pictured above require additional maintenance (they should be oiled regularly), but patina beautifully over time. If you prefer a more pristine look, your designer may recommend a counter top material that is less porous.

Ready for a kitchen makeover? Our designers can help incorporate these 9 things into your kitchen, without taking away from the aesthetic details. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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What’s the Story of Your Home?

At our recent kitchen design workshop we had the opportunity to ask attendees for stories about their home’s history.

Here are a few of our favorite answers:

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“Before our home was built the lot was the site of the neighborhood Victory Garden during WWII.”

“It was built by Hemenway for a dentist and his family. 6 families have lived in our home but we are the only family to have a baby and young children raised in the home.”

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“My home was a room boarding home with a community bath and kitchen.We swapped the kitchen and bedroom and opened up the kitchen to triple it to its present design.”

“Our home has a natural spring under the basement.”

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“Our basement has nails for drying herbs all throughout the ceiling. When I dried some herbs for the first time and told my husband how convenient and cool that was, he said, “Well, this house was a commune for a time after it was a farm; they probably dried pot down there!”

 

“I live on a builders’ Street of Dreams from 1972.”

 

“Our home was once owned by a local car dealer- a golfer, he covered the entire concrete patio with plastic grass and several holes. Inside he built 2 giant cylindrical chimneys… one for the fireplace and another for an indoor barbeque!”

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“Built by Mr & Mrs Raven (of Raven Creamery) as their retirement home next door to their original home (The Overlook House) which they donated to the city of Portland to be used as a community center.”

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What’s the story of your home? Tell us in the comments below to be entered to win 4 hours of complimentary Carpenter on Call service from Arciform.

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Period Perfect Kitchen: 1920-1930

If your home was built between 1920 and 1930, the original kitchen may have had some of the features below.

Mix of full inset and half-overlay door and drawer styles. While still simple, the addition of half-overlay doors and drawer styles added character.

This 1929 kitchen has the original tile counters and a mix of full inset and half-overlay doors and drawers. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Tile counters. Tile countertops were affordable, durable and could add style to the kitchen.

This 1931 kitchen has tile counters that replicate the hexaganal design typical of the period. Design by Kristyn Bester.

Deco details. Fitting with the glamour of the era, there were often deco details found in the kitchen.

Deco details in a 1929 kitchen. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Freestanding appliances. There was typically an oven, sink and if you were lucky enough, a stand alone fridge.

Freestanding fridge and range in this 1931 kitchen. Design by Kristyn Bester.

Would you like to revitalize your kitchen’s original deco details? Our designers can help you integrate modern conveniences while including style elements that fit the era of your home. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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Period Perfect Kitchen: Tens and Teens

A historic 1913 kitchen with a farmhouse sink, mixed painted and stained cabinetry and subway tile throughout. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Do you have a 1910-1919 home? Here are some of the style characteristics of a 1910-1919 kitchen.

 Subway tile. The tile backsplash became popular, and sink faucets were often mounted on the wall as opposed to the counter.

Full inset cabinetry. The full inset cabinetry in the early 1900’s reflects the simplicity of the era.

Design by Chelly Wentworth.

Painted cabinets mixed with stained cabinets. Moving away from completely “sanitary” white, stained cabinets were incorporated.

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Design by Anne De Wolf.

Farmhouse sinks. Sinks were either mounted over cabinets, or stood on cast iron legs.

Thinking of restoring your kitchen to its original beautiful simplicity? Our designers can help you integrate modern conveniences while including style elements that fit the era of your home. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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Period Perfect Kitchen: Pre-1910

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Was your home built before 1910? Do you ever wonder what the original kitchen would have looked like? Here are some of the style characteristics of a pre-1910 kitchen.

Kitchens were largely “utilitarian” rooms, or workspaces.

Furniture-style cabinets. Before the turn of the century, cabinets were rarely fitted to the walls. The largest counter space was often a long table in the middle of the room and storage was often a hutch or sideboard.

This 1883 kitchen has a long working table which also functions as an eat-in kitchen. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Tall narrow proportions. Victorian homes tended towards high, narrow proportions. In the kitchen, you might see this in the windows, door openings and ceiling height.

Tall narrow proportions seen in the windows and ceiling height in this 1899 kitchen. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Free standing appliances. There was often just a sink and a wood burning or gas oven.

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This 1908 kitchen stays true to its era with freestanding appliances and cabinets. The millwork detail can also be seen throughout. Design by Anne De Wolf.

Ornate millwork details. Victorian interiors often feature decorative borders with wide crown molding and elaborate ceiling medallions.

Are you hoping to recapture some of these Victorian era details in your kitchen? Our designers can help you integrate modern conveniences while including style elements that fit the era of your home. Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your own perfect kitchen here.

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Client’s Eye View: Donna and Bill’s Compact and Classic Kitchen

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Reversing the damage of a poorly considered ’80s remodel and packing a compact kitchen with storage without making the space feel cluttered were two important goals of this recently completed Arciform kitchen remodel. But don’t take our word for it. We recently interviewed the homeowners to get a “client’s eye view” of their kitchen renovation experience.

What were your goals for this renovation?

We had several goals. All were equally important to us. We badly needed an update of the large appliances. There were electrical needs. We had only 3 outlets and two overhead lights – one over the sink and one in the center of the room. The room looked like Macy’s kitchen department. With no storage for small appliances, the counter space was used for  the toaster, the mixer, and so on. My spices were stored in 3 different places. We needed more counter space. The house was built in 1916, so we wanted the design to reflect the look of the rest of the house.

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Here’s a peek at the kitchen before the remodel.

What were your concerns going into the remodeling process?

We chose Arciform after some thoughtful research.  We hoped Arciform COULD DELIVER. We loved their ideas and their willingness to partner with us to make the kitchen happen. They did deliver.

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 What did you learn during the process?

The design is the key. Arciform worked with us to design every inch of the project. We revisited the design over and over. Arciform made what WE wanted and needed an essential part of the design process. As the design evolved, we learned about materials, costs and even construction.

What are your favorite elements of the completed kitchen and why?

I LOVE how it reflects the period in which the house was built.  This makes it a better house.

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The lighting is great!  I can see when I cook. I have counter lighting as well as 4 ceiling lights.

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Using small appliances isn’t a task anymore.  There are outlets everywhere.

 

My spices are all in one drawer and easy to see.

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Because  I have an appliance barn, the Macy kitchen department look is gone, and I have lots more counter space.

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The large appliances are “state of the art.”  They are more efficient, more quiet, more dependable and really fun to use.

 Tell us about your experience of working with Arciform.

Our working relationship with Arciform was great. From the estimate to the finished job, there were no surprises.  I think their strong suit is communication.  They stayed in touch by text and email, informing us of even small changes in the schedule.  All the personnel are excellent people – smart, thoughtful and skilled.  The workers all cleaned up after themselves.

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It was a pleasure to help Donna & Bill get the kitchen they’ve always wanted. How can we help you meet your goals for your home? Get more details about our process and schedule a design consultation here.

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Design Secrets: Which Kitchen Sink is Right for You?

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A vintage farmhouse sink is a very cool way to add personality to your kitchen- but is it right for the style of your home and your family’s lifestyle? We interviewed Arciform Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth for some pro tips to help you choose the sink that’s right for you.

What are the most common styles of kitchen sinks that your clients request for their projects? What are the pros and cons for these common styles?

Undermount single bowl is the most common style requested by my clients.

Schaefer_1937_Kitchen_A_1_P (18)This undermount single bowl sink avoids the lip of a top mount sink,
making the counters easier to keep clean.

It’s better for soaking larger pans and cookie sheets and has a cleaner installation.

Another common request is the farmhouse sink. It’s technically most appropriate for older home styles but people love them!

DeWolfSingleton_1909House_Kitchen_A_4_P_ProThis apron front farmhouse sink adds to the classic feel of this kitchen in a 1909 home.

They are charming and recall a bygone era.

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One advantage of the farmhouse sink is that sink cabinets can take a beating and  farmhouse sinks provide protection.  They are generally deep which makes them great for washing and filling taller pots. The roomy interiors help when cookie sheets and pans need soaking.

Do you have a favorite farmhouse sink?

When a project calls for a sleeker look I like stainless steel farmhouse sinks.

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There are a variety of sink materials (stainless steel, porcelain, etc)- what are some pros and cons of these different materials?

Stainless Steel

Easy to clean, sleek style, variety of shapes, goes well with stainless steel appliances

Hardison_1902_Kitchen_A_1_P_Pro (3)This stainless steel sink includes a continuous steel counter and backsplash,
making it a very practical choice for this busy family.

Be aware that not all stainless steel sinks are created equal.

The sink needs to be a high grade of steel (18/10 or better) and be insulated for sound.

Also, keep in mind that stainless steel scratches easily and can dent.

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This under-mount stainless steel sink was used for a contemporary Pearl District loft kitchen.

Cast Iron

This is a great traditional choice that includes a life time warranty by some manufacturers.

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This basement guest suite uses am IronTones cast iron topmount sink from Kohler.

Cast iron sinks with enamel or porcelain coatings are available in many colors but a limited number of shapes.

Be aware that the coatings can chip and get stained but can usually be cleaned.

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This very cool farmhouse pedestal leg sink features porcelain finish over cast iron with built in drainboards. It is from Strom Plumbing and its called Clarion.

Fireclay

This is a durable and non-porous material, making it resistant to stains and able to withstand high heat.

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This historic property incorporated a fireclay apron front sink from Kohler to fit with the turn of the century style of the home.

Available in a wide range of colors and styles, fireclay can mimic a traditional cast iron look with added durability.

Just keep in mind that they can be uneven and water can pool in them because of their uneven surfaces.

Composites

Made from a mixture of granite stone dust and acrylic resins, composites come in dark colors that can help them blend in with darker counter materials.

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This Silgranit under-mount sink is a grey granite composite material.
It was installed into our Portland Monthly Kitchen Makeover kitchen.

Harsh chemicals and high heat can damage some composite sinks, so be sure to select a sink that’s designed for high heat resistance.

You could also choose to have a sink carved out of a whole block of soapstone or other stone material, or to have one manufactured out of slabs of stone for a natural look.

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This soapstone sink was assembled from stone slabs for a textured, very distinctive look.

You will have the same maintenance concerns with these materials in your sink as you would in your counter tops- granite can be porous and show stains, while soapstone looks best when oiled as part of a regular maintenance routine.

Is there a style of sink or sink material you tend to steer people away from? If so, why?

If they can’t live with scratches, I’ll steer them away from stainless steel.

If they are installing a dishwasher, I will often advise that a double bowl or asymmetrical sink is not necessary.

ClaypoolCraven_1962_Kitchen_A_3_P_ProThis double bowl asymmetrical stainless steel sink works well for an empty-nest couple who do not typically have a full load of dishes to do at one time. But a larger family (or a couple who loves to cook large pots of pasta) may prefer a deeper single bowl sink.

Do you have favorite or “go to” sink that you have used on multiple projects? What do  you like about it?

Here are a few of my favorites:

Rohl Shaws Original for FarmHouse

Rohl_Shaws_OriginalIts ‘the original’ and I love the little logo

Kohler Cast Iron

640_kohler-bakersfield-undermount-white-sink-cast-iron-largeI like these for undermount sinks.

Blanco Silgranit

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Finally, for fireclay undermount sinks I like

Allia

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What advice do you have for homeowners about selecting a sink style that will be right for their family’s needs?

I always ask homeowners to consider the following questions when deciding on a sink:

  • What style of sink would have been common during the era your home was built?
  • What style of sink are you most used to?
  • Who will be using the sink?
  • Do you do a lot of hand washing or do you primarily use the dishwasher?
  • What’s your cooking style? If you cook a lot of pasta you may need a deeper sink. Asian foods cooked with a hot wok may lead you towards a heat resistant material while a preference for lots of sauces might suggest a sink that is stain and acid resistant.
  • What’s your budget?

Sinks can range widely in price based on style and material. Your designer can help steer you towards choices that fit both your style and your budget.

Want to explore more ideas for designing your dream kitchen?

Join us October 8th for our Kitchen Confidential workshop for an evening of inspiration and insider tricks that will help you make your kitchen a pleasure to live and work in.

Get the details and RSVP here.

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