KBB - June/July 2009 - (Page 54)

Opinion The Trouble with Tradition Rethinking the farmhouse sink The idea of an old-fashioned kitchen holds a lot of modern appeal, and the farmhouse sink has seen a recent rise in popularity. While even the name evokes a kind of simplistic, traditional sentiment, there are other factors to consider before letting this fox into the henhouse. Despite its visual appeal, there’s a reason that sinks evolved many years ago away from this design. As industry professionals, you can make it possible to create an old-time kitchen without having to sacrifice practicality. And installing a farmhouse sink is a technological leap backwards. out of the farmhouse sink and damage the face of the cabinetry and the wood structures underneath. Recommend using a conversion varnish finish to protect the fine cabinetry and enhance its durability. Although it is water-resistant, even this finish won’t withstand repeated soakings. Over time, water damage can cause the polish to lift and crack. Eventually the finish fails to protect the wood, which is prone to buckling. EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK Like a dandelion patch or a rooster wake-up call, the farmhouse sink is a novelty that a homeowner can grow tired of. And it’s just as difficult to remove since so many resources go into installing it, including the energy and cost of replacing custom cabinetry installed to fit the sink’s specific dimensions. THE DESIGN Rectangular and deep, the farmhouse sink resembles a basin sitting on top of the counter with an exposed front that extends into the kitchen. The modern version is installed to be the focal point of a traditional Despite the farmhouse style’s visual appeal, there’s a reason that sinks evolved many years ago away from this design. kitchen. In the olden days, the farmhouse-style sink (also known as an “apron sink”) was built for practicality. Women used the sink as a dishwasher, a place for food preparation and as a washbasin. However, like the horse-drawn plow, what was practical several decades ago is not practical now. The invention of the dishwasher and other household appliances outweigh the former usefulness of the farmhouse sink, rendering its flaws increasingly obvious. With time, money and dedication, a homeowner can have a traditional farmhouse sink, but why recommend an impractical fad when there are plenty of other options? Once you understand the homeowners’ needs for the kitchen, you can fulfill them in the most practical, stylish way possible. Instead of the farmhouse sink, for example, consider other installations that add appeal, such as soapstone countertops, antiqued wood finishes and retro-styled hardware for old-fashioned charm—without the risk for potential damage. For those instances where an undermount sink is out of the question, urge your clients to take all precautions necessary to protect their cabinetry. Encourage them to become fanatical about wiping any spills and splashes dry. Your clients can extend the lasting beauty of their cabinetry with non-wax polishes made with natural oils that are free of silicone, which tends to leave fine scratches and wear down the finish. In the end, we all strive for one common kitchen goal: achieving beauty constructed to last. Whether you entertain or dismiss the idea of the traditional farmhouse sink, knowing some of the trouble with tradition can help you make wise recommendations. You’ll open the doors to new possibilities that help your clients make their investment in custom cabinetry pay off. s —Stratton D. Yatron is co-owner, CFO and designer at Adelphi Kitchens & Cabinetry, Inc. WEIGHTY EXPENSES The farmhouse sink can be particularly large—twice the size of an average sink—and heavy, making it difficult and expensive to ship. New, custom-built versions have to be handmade, which can be extremely costly. Additionally, handmade sinks are difficult to construct within exact specifications, often resulting in small gaps between the sink and the sides of the cabinetry. If your clients plan on installing a farmhouse sink in a kitchen that wasn’t originally designed for it, recommend that they have the counter and cabinets underneath reconstructed to handle the bulk and weight of the sink. There are some factory-made farmhouse sinks designed to replace average-size sinks; however, by design, the sink still has its pitfalls. While the countertop basin design of the farmhouse sink may be beneficial to someone with back pain who doesn’t wish to lean forward, it can be detrimental to the cabinet and floor below. Water can easily spill 54 + K BB June/July July 2004 2009 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

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KBB - June/July 2009
Contents
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