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| FEBRUARY 2009
“They have their place,” says Ward’s Anderson. “They
can be very durable, but if you hit a pan on it, it can chip.”
As for stainless-steel, “I’m using those in bathrooms,
but it’s a lot of maintenance,” says Carroll. “You have to
keep ahead of the water spots. In kitchens, the first day
you get it is the best it’s going to look.”
“It’s a real workhorse in kitchens,” says dea’s Heir.
PLENTY OF SURPRI SES
Three other types of less-traditional sinks are also
catching designers’ eyes, although only for limited usage.
One is stone sinks or sinks made of composite materials
(such as Silgranit®); another is copper and bronze; and
the third is glass.
“I like the look of soapstone, granite and the faux-stone
materials,” says Anderson. “Functionally, they’re beautiful.”
Mark Morris says he’s a big fan of custom stone sinks
of all sorts, including troughs and sloped sinks, as well as
carved ones.
“There can be staining and polishing issues,” he
warns. “For instance, the honing process with limestone
hides a lot of water spots. Filled travertine works pretty
well, but limestone is especially durable. We try to find
out how hard the stone is before we use it.”
Carroll is a fan of glass sinks.
“There’s a tremendous variety out there,” she says.
“There are some that are multi-colored that I
particularly like. Unfortunately, you still need to maintain
them so you don’t get water spots.”
That’s the big drawback with the copper and bronze
sinks, designers say.
“We’ve recently had several clients who’ve been inter-
ested in the copper sinks and the bronze burnished sinks
because they’re beautiful,” says Anderson. “However,
they’re also a living finish, and once they find out about the
maintenance, most choose to go with something that’s a lit-
tle easier to maintain over the aesthetics.”
Carroll says that educating the clients about the mainte-
nance of such sinks is critical to having a successful project.
“I may be over the top in stressing the maintenance
aspects of these sinks, but you have to tell people,” she
says. “That way I don’t get a call later saying, ‘You didn’t
tell me.’”
And, while the good looks of a sink are important to
these designers and their clients, they all say that clients are
also concerned about both durability and maintenance.
“I find interest in that is very high,” says Morris.
“Especially if it’s a second home, people want to be able
to wipe it out and walk away. And, nobody wants a bath-
room that looks dirty or grungy.”
“Most of my clients seek both durability and easy clean-
ing when it comes to their kitchen sinks,” says H O M E +
atelier’s Ranson.
In general, they also add that their clients are fairly
sink-conscious.
sinks
a little out of the ordinary – with vessel sinks leading the way.
For instance, Heir says she recently completed a job
that involved a bronze vessel sink found by the client that
ultimately dictated both the look of the room and the
surface underneath it.
“We’re most likely to use vessel sinks in powder
rooms,” Heir says. “We don’t get a huge demand for
them where people are using them on an everyday basis
because they’re a little harder to clean, and a lot of times
they’re a little more pricey. However, people are willing
to splurge in that one area.”
“I’m most likely to use a vessel sink in a guest or
secondary bath,” H O M E + atelier’s Ranson agrees. “I
think the guest bath gives you a unique opportunity to
push the design options further than you might in a more
function-oriented bath.”
For those willing to push design options, there are
probably other options with vessel sinks – for the right client.
“I would love the chance to use a vessel sink as a sur-
prise-prep sink in a kitchen island,” says Katsioula-Beall.
“Of course, that would require finding a vessel with a
form that can follow this particular function, and a client
who would go for it.”
If vessel sinks are the Cadillacs of the sink world, if
not the Porsches, then how do designers see some of the
common sink types? For the most part, responses are
fairly typical.
“It’s proven,” says Lori Carroll of porcelain. “It may
not be exciting, but it’s getting better.”
It’s not unusual for clients to choose a vanity material first, and then select
the sink. However, matching the sink with other features – such as the
toilet – makes porcelain a popular material. (Photo courtesy Ward’s
Kitchens and Baths Inc.)