In sinks, function dominates aesthetics


August 04, 1991|By RITA ST.CLAIR | RITA ST.CLAIR,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: Please give me some information about kitchen sinks. Specifically, I'm interested in options other than the stainless steel model with divided basin. What's your opinion about larger, single sinks? Are they a more sensible choice?

A: My advice varies depending on a client's needs and preferences. And while aesthetics are an important factor in every design decision, I believe that in the case of a kitchen sink, utilitarian considerations should be given top priority.

Divided basins are now common because they do offer functional advantages. A compartmentalized sink allows dishes to be washed in one half while food is being prepared in the other half.

With a single sink, on the other hand, it's much easier to soak and rinse large platters and cooking pans. Some of the new large sinks even come with removable acrylic dividers, which gives the user maximum flexibility.

There are also many available choices in regard to material, size and installation methods. Let's look at a few of these possibilities.

The photo shows two models from Kohler that give a good sense of where sink design is headed. The Entree kitchen sink is crafted of durable enameled cast iron and features an unusual loop shape. It's designed to complement the smaller Entertainer sink.

The most obvious differences between these models and the standard sink are their contour and color, which may or may not be appropriate for your kitchen design.

A stainless steel finish creates a more industrial and functional look that is meant to complement the gleaming trim and surfaces found in most contemporary kitchens. An enameled sink, by contrast, is more decorative. It also affords a range of color choices that can be mixed or matched with the surrounding elements. Note, too, that a bit of extra effort may be required to keep an enameled sink looking scrubbed and spotless.

Another interesting feature of these sinks is that they offer under-counter mountings. The sinks can thus be self-rimmed, which makes cleaning easier at the point where the counter meets the sink. With this arrangement, however, the counter top must be made of a highly durable material that will not chip.

What makes this example particularly attractive, in my estimation, is the presence of two separate sinks. I would definitely urge you to consider such a setup, if your counter space is large enough to permit it. With two strategically situated sinks, there is always plenty of room for two people to work at the same time, thus reducing preparation and cleanup time. The possibilities can be enhanced further by using the hardwood cutting boards that Kohler has designed to fit over these sinks.

As you weigh your options, keep in mind that more time is spent at the sink than at any other piece of kitchen equipment.

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