Friday, March 16, 2012

The Kitchen Sink

Most of my projects involve entire whole home renovations where I specify everything for the interior buildout from the bricks in, right down to the kitchen sink.  Most of my clients fall into two categories, they have their hearts set on a large single sink or they don't have an opinion about a kitchen sink at all, usually because they don't cook.  My own personal preference (from many years of experience) is a single wide deep sink.  I enjoy cooking and I cook a lot, typically 6 nights of the week you'll find me cooking in the kitchen.  Of all the dozens and dozens of kitchens I've designed over the past 6 or 7 years I've rarely specified anything other than a single bowl kitchen sink, either farmstyle or undermount, they've almost all been one large sink.

The kitchen shown above is in a client's house I designed in 2007, it features an apron front stainless steel sink, concrete counters and custom cabinetry made from reclaimed barnboards.  (This is a candid photo I took one day years ago while there for a meeting.  It seems like a lifetime ago, this was before Iphone's existed,,,,and before I blogged or tweeted.)

In many situations I find double bowl sinks impractical, overall they require a larger cabinet size, they eat up a lot of counter space, and the divider in the middle is permanent - you simply don't have the option of soaking large pans or oversize cookware.  With a single bowl sink,,,,they're typically not as wide as a standard double bowl sink but I love that you have the flexibility of soaking large items whenever you want.  You can still use it to wash small or delicate things as you normally would.   A lot of people struggle with this concept, how do you wash and rinse in one large sink?  Well, when it comes to washing, I typically take the largest bowl or pot that needs washing, rinse it out, fill it with hot soapy water and use it to wash everything else in.  I keep a small dish strainer inside one side of the sink for rinsing and drying.  Occassionally I use the counter for drying items, but usually I can contain it all in the sink.  The top photo is a perfect example,,,,when I arrived at my client's house that afternoon she was soaking some large baking pans in the sink, so you can see her dish rack on the counter while she was putting these things away - typically the rack sits inside her sink.  This isn't a dish rack specifically made for her sink, but they are available.

When I specify sinks I like to also order accessories specifically for that sink.  If I'm having the sink custom made, I'll find a series that is compatible with my custom size as close as possible.  The selections above are just a sampling of the variety of options to chose from.

Double bowl sinks or sink and a half, usually require a 36" wide sink cabinet.  Many times I'm working with limited space and a 36" sink cabinet just isn't practical, I'd rather go with a smaller sink cabinet and have that extra 6" or so for a bank of drawers beside the sink, ie; an 18"set of drawers vs a 12".  I'm not a fan or irregular shaped sinks with funky curves or angles, I like them clean lined and simple.   It can be challenging to find simple double sinks to fit a 27-30"cabinet which is another reason I often use a single.  You can easily find large single bowl sinks from 18" to 24"wide, and if you really search you may find a 27".  When I want the largest single sink I can possibly fit in my sink cabinet, I have them custom made.  I've had stainless steel sinks custom made for most kitchens I've designed, this allows me to maximize the sink to whatever size I want and ensure it works with the cabinet I've specified.  (I don't recommend this for DIY'ers.)

If you're shopping for or considering a single bowl sink for your own kitchen here are some great tips to keep in mind:

  • know the exact inside dimensions of your cabinet not just the outside dimensions
  • refer to the actual sink size not just the overall size which includes the mounting rim
  • the lower the guage stainless steel the thicker and sturdier the steel, 16g is stronger than 18g.  18 is standard, 16 is even better, avoid 20g for a kitchen sink.
  • keep drain location in mind if you're also using a garburator, anything other than centre may impede your garbutor/drain hookup inside your cabinet
  • the tighter the radius the more of a 'pro' look you will get but the almost square corners can require more attention to cleaning
  • the smallest radius for the corners of a stainless steel sink is called "Zero Radius"
  • a 5/8" radius will still give you that rectangular look and ease of cleaning
  • go for 9" or 10" deep sink for pro style function
  • its key to utilize sink accessories to maximize the efficiency of a single sink, use bottom grids, dish drainers, dish racks and integrated cutting boards to optimize the sink interior
  • a side spray or pulldown spray faucet is great for using the large sink to wash small dogs or large vases
  • make sure when determining your sink's location for the countertop cutout that you leave adquate counter space behind the sink for your faucet and faucet handle clearance.

Its always a major milestone for me when the kitchen sink finally gets installed on a project, its the moment the space becomes a *functioning* kitchen and indicates final completion is just days away, not months!  Currently on my project board, I have an upcoming single kitchen sink install in the NYC project, and we were measuring down to the 1/8" of an inch for that one!  For another out of town project I've just drawn up the details for a stainless custom sink and a half configuration,,,,,ready to be sent off to the fabricators.   The anticipation of both these installs has me excited to see these sinks in their newly finished homes very soon!!

All photos and room design:   Carol Reed


  1. what a lovely kitchen. I'm setting out to look for a 27" single bowl sink, wish me luck :)

  2. A well timed post for me! My kitchen was newly reno'd when I bought my house last year. After working in it for a year, there are a few things I need to change. The sink being the main one.
    I currently have this sink from ikea, and it is the worst designed sink ever! Who makes a sink with such a small shallow side sink?! And the draining board takes up so much valuable counterspace in my small kitchen. I will be switching it up for this due to my small sink cabinet (24") this is the biggest I can get to fit. I will also be DIYing concrete countertops and adding a buffet made from 12" deep ikea cabinets and open wood shelving.
    I love how thick the countertops are in your above post. Are they 3"?

  3. Fantastic kitchen. I love my new big deep kitchen sink and the bottom grid too.
    Love my killer Dornbracht faucet which I would highly suggest. It is sleek, crisp and mod.
    Worth the investment.

  4. Thanks Carol - that is a fantanstically useful post that I'm going to have to save.

  5. Is that a Felix cat clock in the kitchen???

    The kitchen is fabulous - love the concrete counters in their super-duper generous sizing.

    It's a really interesting point - and I would have to agree about clients either being definite or do not care at all when it comes to the sink selection! No in-between. I also try to persuade people to go for larger, deeper sinks where possible - just so much more practical.

  6. Hi PVE...You'll never want any other type of sink again - or faucet for that matter, niiiice choice! : )

    Great eye Virginia, yes that's a felix clock - vintage, Isn't it great!! The homeowner has a wonderful collection of vintage furniture and acccessories.


  7. Hi Carol,
    That is a fantastic kitchen and all your points are so true! We have a Kohler cast iron 33" single sink (we did have room for our bank of drawers) and when I stayed at a cottage last summer it was equipped with a double sink and I thought I was going to lose my mind with how restrictive it felt. I will never go back to two bowls.
    I use the inexpensive large and medium stainless steel bowls from Ikea for washing our smaller items and veggie washing up when I don't want to fill the sink up and they work great.
    Thanks for sharing a great post.

  8. Thanks for sharing, I love reading you should post more often...

  9. Hi ...I'm a new reader to your blog and find it one of "the" most informative blogs on the web. Great content and very useful info. You had a blog topic on painting ikea cabinets and I was not able to find it anymore ...I wanted to send it to a friend. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong year. Also I believe you mentioned the tidaholm door was no longer avaiable. What ikea wood cabinet would you recommend for painting now? Many thanks

  10. What a lovely kitchen sinks, I recently purchase sink for my hotel

  11. شرك تسليك مجاري بالقطيف
    الصرف الصحى
    من المشكلات التي يعاني منها معظم المنازل هي انتشار المياه نتيجة عن انسداد المجاري فان هذا الوضع يكون سيء جدا ولا يوفر لهم الراحة ويجعل اصحاب المنازل

    تسليك مجاري بالخبر
    اسعار شركة الاندلس ى متناول الجميع كما توفر الدعم الكامل لدى عملائها

    مياه المجارى من اخطر الاشياء التى تضر بسلامة المجتمع بشكل عام والاسرة بوجه خاصة لذلك تعمل شركتنا على معالجة مشاكل الصرف الصحى فلا تتردد بالاتصال بنا

    شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام
    فيجب الحرص علي تسليك المجاري (البيارات ) بشكل مستمر حتي لا يحدث مشاكل لان انتشار المياه الملوثة والرائحة الكريهة قد يأثر علي افراد الاسرة بالإصابة بالأمراض الخطيرة

    شركة شفط بيارات بالدمام
    تحرس شركة الاندلس على الضمان الكامل على سلامة خطوط الصرف وعدم اضافة اى مواد تض بها

    شركة الاندلس شركة تسليك مجارى بالجبيل من افضل الشركات المتخصصة القلائل المتواجده فى مدينة الجبيل كافة الحلول وافضل الاداوت والمعدات
    شركة تسليك مجارى بالجبيل


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