Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Kitchen designers dish on the details that make a perfect kitchen.

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With the sink at the heart of most modern kitchens, kitchen designers go to great lengths to ensure that these centerpieces are properly specified and installed. Pictured above, BLANCO’s IKON® sink is installed with a positive reveal ledge and a custom fit cutting board.

Kitchen designers obsess about every facet that goes into transforming a space from mundane to magnificent. The journey – from challenging layout conundrums and budget woes to a cohesive hearth that seamlessly blends complementary finishes, textures, and hardware – involves making the right choices for counters, cabinetry, cooking surfaces, everything including the kitchen sink.

Metropolis reached out to two creative kitchen designers – Gloria Graham Sollecito from Artful Kitchens Design and Cheryl Kees Clendenon from In Detail Interiors – to discuss which elements make up the perfect residential kitchen, plus how to choose a high-quality, functional kitchen sink.

When you start a new kitchen design, what areas do you focus on, and what’s your process?

Cheryl Kees Clendenon, In Detail Interiors (CKC): I like to get a feel for how my clients cook and move about the kitchen, so often I’ll go watch them cook in their current kitchen. I can then focus on what’s best from a design point of view: the tile and countertops, how willing are they to embrace color? do they like texture? I try to balance function with aesthetics.

Gloria Graham Sollecito, AKBD, Artful Kitchens (GGS): The five most important elements are flawless function; personalization (probably the single biggest trend in the design world at the moment); harmony; a focal point; and texture. They always say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and I always think of the sink, one of the most-used elements, as the heart of the kitchen.

Clients often fixate on a countertop, but may not give much thought to the sink or faucet. How do you educate them about making this investment?

CKC: I tell clients: Buy the best sink you can afford, because you’ll be living with it for a long time and it’s so important for your day-to-day cooking activities. You’re putting the sink in an expensive countertop material, so don’t cheap out on poor construction or materials, or a no-name brand that doesn’t have the guarantee or background that BLANCO has.

BLANCO’s VALEA™, a two-bowl sink, provides a convenient way to separate prep and cleanup tasks.

I think you definitely need two sinks for targeted use: a prep sink and a cleanup sink. We deal with a lot of young clients who like to entertain, and if they have the space in a new construction, I’ll try to also do a prep kitchen. Older clients are used to two bowls, but that’s not as practical as one larger bowl. BLANCO’s Low-Divide is a nice option, because it gives you a bit of both worlds. It’s a good compromise when clients absolutely want a two-bowl sink.

GSS: My clients do give thought to the sink, especially when it comes to size and maintenance. Today, the very square bottom sinks are very popular – especially in contemporary design – but the rounded radius shapes are always going to be easier to clean. BLANCO has a happy medium – with the BLANCO QUATRUS™ R15 or the BLANCO PRECISION™ R10 collections, the radius is a little bit rounded, but it’s still square and very stylish.

The tight corner radius on the QUATRUS R15 apron front sink, is a crucial bit of detailing for kitchens with a modern aesthetic.

The gauge is also a factor in terms of how easy it’ll be to clean and how much it’s going to spot if you have stainless steel. BLANCO’s sinks are 18 gauge, which are more spot- and stain-resistant and extremely durable. A lot of my clients also prefer BLANCO’S SILGRANIT® sinks, which are practically indestructible.

The positive reveal of the sink’s ledge – just inside the counter cutout – makes cleaning and maintenance easier, than with the more conventional undermount method.

Homeowners don’t generally consider how a sink is mounted. What makes BLANCO products unique and innovative in this regard?

GSS: I love that BLANCO emphasizes the positive reveal. You can see where the countertop and the sink meet, and clean it effectively. It’s also a nice look. The satin polished finish that BLANCO has also makes it easier to clean and deal with potential water spots. I also like the sound dampening pads, which definitely help reduce noise.

CKC: Because BLANCO’s zero-radius sinks are very level and straight, you’re really maximizing the function, which is something I love about their sinks – the top is always the same width all the way down, giving you a flatter work surface inside the sink and more usable space. Plus, they often have a rear drain, which I like.

I’m a huge gizmo person, so I love all the accessories: the cutting boards, the colanders, the grids for the sink floor. The workstations BLANCO offers for the QUATRUS™ Collection are really awesome. I also like that BLANCO’s IKON® sink comes in 8 colors.

The QUATRUS™ Collection, offers a full line of sink accessories.

If you had to design your ideal kitchen what would it look like?

GGS: It would certainly be very contemporary and very sculptural. I would feature natural elements – I think that’s the next big thing we’re going to see. I would also blend very functional storage with openness, and I would always make room for art. I’d do induction cooktop and steam, because I think they’re the future, and top everything off with artisan-crafted pendant lights and, of course, a big BLANCO sink.

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