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.
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!
They are charming and recall a bygone era.
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.
There are a variety of sink materials (stainless steel, porcelain, etc)- what are some pros and cons of these different materials?
Easy to clean, sleek style, variety of shapes, goes well with stainless steel appliances
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.
This under-mount stainless steel sink was used for a contemporary Pearl District loft kitchen.
This is a great traditional choice that includes a life time warranty by some manufacturers.
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.
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.
This is a durable and non-porous material, making it resistant to stains and able to withstand high heat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This 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
Kohler Cast Iron
Finally, for fireclay undermount sinks I like
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.