Design of the wet area of a kitchen demands careful thought. For example, do you need both a dishwasher and a huge sink?
Even if you do have a dishwasher, the likelihood is that you will still be using the sink every time you prepare food - for everything from washing raw foods to washing items that the dishwasher cannot handle. So your choice of sink should really be based on how it is to be used. If you have ever had to wash Dutch ovens in a tiny, circular stainless steel sink you will know how frustrating that can be, so think carefully about what type of cooking you do before deciding on what style of sink to buy.
In recent years, there has been a move away from sinks with built-in draining boards. Once again, be warned. A sink without a draining board may look wonderfully sleek and minimal in the kitchen showroom, but once those baking pans and sauce pans have been washed, you will most probably want to leave them to drain before putting them away. Roasting pans and other cooking utensils are not the only things you need to think about. Draining boards are also very useful for accommodating washed salad or fruit. The fresh produce can be left there to drip dry while you get on with preparing something else for the meal.
Even where you are short of space, I still maintain that a small drainer is better than none. If you have chosen a fashionable wooden drainer, make sure that it is very thoroughly sealed. Wood that is subjected to constant water splashing can turn unpleasantly slimy.
Faucets are now excitingly multifunctional. It is still possible to buy reliable old-fashioned sets of faucets with crosshead tops, but contemporary designs incorporate a multitude of additional features. Mixer faucets that blend hot and cold water to the required temperature are, of course, the norm, but you will find plenty of “extras” to choose from.
The most interesting innovations include faucets that produce instant boiling water and others that are activated when a hand is waived underneath them – and there are yet others with pull-out ends for hosing down salads or vegetables. Since faucets are probably the most frequently used fixture in the kitchen, it is with paying extra for these additional features.
In areas where the water is hard, sinks and faucets made of stainless steel can be spoiled very quickly by the buildup of mineral deposits. Therefore, if you live in a hard-water area, it is always advisable to invest in a water softener – but you may find that you need to install a separate drinking water faucet or spring water dispenser.
There is an overwhelming variety of sinks to choose from. For something simple and exceptionally good value, a standard pressed-steel sink unit with a drainer is hard to beat. Try to find one made in a fairly high grade of steel – such units are unrecognized design classics. A design that features two bowls – or even one and half – allows you to use the second bowl for rinsing. Among the other delights on offer are sinks in beaten copper, glass, the finest stainless steel, enamel, acrylic, square, rectangular, round, kidney-shaped, and many more.
Don’t forget the handsome and trusty ceramic sink in plain white. Several modern designers have produced interesting and quite beautiful versions of this genuine classic. They are expensive but undeniably good-looking. They can even transcend style trends and succeed in looking good in all kitchens from the most traditional to the ultra contemporary.
About the Author: Traci Brooks is a well known interior decorator in New York City. Her renovations for Bayside Condos was featured in the New York Daily News.