Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rethinking the Farmhouse Sink

Over the past several years we have seen the trend in kitchens turn back to the old-fashioned look of yesteryear. Old pieces of furniture being turned into islands, painted and distressed cabinets, retro bin or cup pulls on drawers, new things made to look old. And with that trend we have seen the rise in popularity of the farmhouse sink. Otherwise known as an “apron sink”, the farmhouse sink holds lots of visual charm and evokes nostalgia for days gone by.


Despite the visual appeal, there are reasons why sinks have evolved away from this design. As one large basin, the original intent was for this sink to act as the wash basin. With the invention of the dishwasher, that main purpose is no longer needed. “But what about my large soup pots,” you say, “I still need a lot of space to wash those.” The farmhouse sink is great for that, but stainless steel sinks offer many options for washing those large, bulky items.


Farmhouse sinks are very large, bulky and often times heavy. The most common material used for farmhouse sinks is porcelain. Prone to chipping and very heavy, the porcelain farmhouse sink is what you see used most often today. We also see the invention and rise of use of stainless steel, stone and copper for farmhouse sink materials. Because the weight and unique size of these sinks, additional support and structure is needed to support the installation of such a sink, oftentimes calling for a custom cabinet.


One of the most common and most overlooked pitfalls of the farmhouse sink is the water damage often caused. Water can easily drip or spill over the front edge and directly onto the doors or woodwork below it. This repeated exposure to water will cause any finish to lift or crack. If you have a farmhouse sink, it is imperative to be fanatical about wiping up any water or spills to protect the cabinetry.


If you desire a farmhouse sink for the charm it evokes, consider other ways to add that charm to your kitchen. Soapstone or marble countertops, antiqued wood or painted finishes and retro hardware all add old fashioned charm without the risk of future damage.

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