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Sink’s placement must be practical

Today’s kitchen is often the most technologically sophisticated part of the home. And that can be a little scary for nontechies who are planning a new or remodeled kitchen.

The temptation will be to leave all tech-related decisions to a professional designer or some other specialist. However, in such a high personal functioning area the placement of appliances and the general look of a kitchen should always reflect the needs and preferences of those who will use the space on a regular basis. Experts’ input is always helpful, but don’t regard it as something sacred.

Q: The designer who’s remodeling our kitchen wants to put the sink in a corner with the dishwasher beside it and below the counter. I can relate to the logic of her layout, but I’ve never seen a kitchen sink installed in a corner and I’m used to looking out a window while washing dishes.

Am I just being old-fashioned? Am I not aware of some new trend in kitchen design?

A: I am also unaware of any trend that involves putting kitchen sinks in corners. But it is not as though such a placement would be unprecedented, as the accompanying photograph indicates. This configuration may be awkward but it does not have to be unattractive.

The stylish model you see here comes from “New Kitchen Idea Book,” written by Joanne Kellar Bouknight and published by Taunton Press. It features a sink placed in a corner of a kitchen in slate countertop with handcrafted wooden cabinets.

You can have your designer do something similar in your kitchen, but first you should question why she wants to place the sink in the corner in the first place. Such decisions are usually made for space-planning reasons in a small kitchen or to allow for more continuous counter space. However, I am not an advocate of this move for the following reasons: First, a sink sandwiched into a corner will seldom be wide enough to accommodate big pots and pans. I cannot imagine cleaning a large roasting pan in the sink shown in the photo. If there is a trend in kitchen equipment today, it is the replacement of the once-popular compartmentalized sink with the use of a large open sink.

Furthermore, a sink in the corner also makes it impossible for two people to work side by side while washing fruit or vegetables. Also, the location of the dishwasher can create another problem. It’s normal to place it next to the sink so one person can stand at the sink to rinse off food and stack the dishwasher at the same time. However, with the placement you see in the photo, when the dishwasher is opened you cannot stand at the sink and stack the dishwasher.

Finally, there’s the matter of how to keep such a difficult-to-reach corner behind the sink clean — and for that matter what to put there to fill the awkward corner.

The negatives that I have pointed out are not meant to discourage you from placing your sink in a corner of your kitchen; they are only meant to make you aware of the functional aspects of the kitchen sink, what is perhaps the most used piece of equipment in the room. If my concerns are not important in the overall space, function and design of your kitchen … thanks for reading.

Rita St. Clair is a syndicated columnist with Tribune Media Services Inc. E-mail general interior design questions to her at rsca@ritastclair.com.

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