From utility to fashion: Sinks are no longer a side thought

By: Victoria Mitchell | C&G Newspapers | Published June 3, 2015

 An undermount sink commonly is found in the kitchen and helps with food preparation, as everything may be wiped from the counter directly into the sink without getting caught in the sink lip.

An undermount sink commonly is found in the kitchen and helps with food preparation, as everything may be wiped from the counter directly into the sink without getting caught in the sink lip.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

METRO DETROIT — It may not be the sexiest topic when discussing a kitchen or bathroom remodel, but sinks have come a long way from function to fabulous.

Gone are the days when a divided sink was necessary. Multiple local experts agree that bigger is better when choosing a kitchen basin.

“It was primarily you would wash your dishes in one side and rinse them in the other,” said Alan Seeley, general manager of Kopke Remodeling & Design. “But because everybody has a dishwasher and garbage disposal underneath it now, they are getting away from the double bowl and going towards the bigger bowl now.”

Seeley said the biggest trend in the kitchen is a farmhouse-style sink.

Michelle Hartley, a designer with Transitions Remodeling, agrees that farm sinks have been popular for a couple of years, but they are still on trend in quartz or stainless steel for a more urban look.

Seeley said stainless steel sinks are still the most commonly requested basins at his Sterling Heights firm. Stainless sinks range in price from $200-$700.

“It’s really funny, but stainless always has its place,” said Barb Baker, president and CEO of Transitions Remodeling in Farmington Hills. “People love it and it always looks good, and there are so many options with stainless, with shapes and where we place them.”

Baker said that although the most common material is still stainless steel, the granite composite sink is a newcomer and another on-trend purchase. Price points for a granite composite kitchen sink can range from $400-$600.

“They are very durable,” Hartley said. “The finish on those is through-and-through, so they are not porous, they don’t stain, they don’t dent, they don’t scratch.”

When thinking about color, Hartley said charcoal is the most popular selection. She said clients either go with a complementary color, or for those with a lighter kitchen countertop, a contrasting color sink can look equally smart.

Baker cautions to always coordinate your look, especially in the bathroom.

“If you have a bathtub that you really love ... you have to make sure that the sink that you like will come close to the bathtub color,” she said. “You can only imagine, if you’re putting in a sink that is a totally different color or is so off it doesn’t look coordinated or nice.”

She said an important tip is to use the same manufacturer for your bathtub, toilet and bathroom sink to make sure all colors coordinate. Hartley said Kohler is a name brand that designers like in the bathroom, and Blanco is a popular name in the kitchen.

Baker said that when coordinating a look for any room, utilizing a firm offering free design services, like Transitions Remodeling, is a way to make sure the investment looks pulled together and is in line with what the client wants.

“You’re going to find that the value you get is in not making mistakes and getting something that you can be proud of and is truly beautiful,” she said.

Experts said the bathroom sink trend right now is the pedestal sink.

“When you don’t have a lot of space, the pedestal sink works really great, and a lot of people are embracing that kind of nostalgic look you get with that,” Baker said.

And forget being tied to a round sink; anything goes, with the most popular shapes being squares or rectangles.

“Some people are recognizing that sinks come in a wide variety of sizes now, as opposed to just the standardizations that they had back in the day,” Seeley said. “They are becoming more of an integral part of a room. … And now sinks are making a little bit more of a fashion statement.”

Another tip is to play with basin placement in the kitchen and bathroom.

Curious as to what is out? Vessel sinks in the bathroom.

“Vessel sinks were great in theory, but then, as soon as everyone got using a couple or knew somebody who was using them, they just don’t work,” Hartley said, adding that some clients now prefer a semi-vessel for a bit more function.

Seeley concurs, saying vessel sinks are really good for a decoration, but they are hard to get your hands into because a lot of times the faucet is in the way.

“And when you turn it on, you get a little bit more of the splash factor,” he said.

Seeley said the key before making your purchase is to map it out and make sure you like what you see before you make the purchase. Kopke Remodeling & Design offers 3-D renderings.

“People will get to see the actual product inside a 3-D rendering before we even start the job,” Seeley said. “You get to see everything come to life before we order any piece of product.”

Baker also encourages purchasers to think of longevity. She said the majority of her Farmington Hills clients are remodeling with the intention of staying in their homes for the long term.

Baker and her design team utilize a universal design center, which means they design using universal design principles to help people make sure their kitchen and bath purchases will grow with the homeowner.

“We have them think about long term and aging in place,” Baker said. “We try to incorporate ideas in the plans and in the planning process that will help people enjoy their kitchen and bath for a long time.”