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Today’s kitchen sinks truly are centerpieces

“What art was to the ancient world, science is to the modern: the distinctive faculty. In the minds of men the useful has succeeded to the beautiful.” Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), British conservative statesman and prime minister.

We’ve all heard the expression, “everything but the kitchen sink,” right? Well, if you didn’t get the kitchen sinks I’m going to show you today, you would be very sad.

While the centerpiece of most kitchens is the sink, it wasn’t that long ago that our choices were one bowl or two. Then it was stainless or enamel. I know how ridiculous that sounds today, but seriously, I’m sure a lot of you remember having just those two choices. And while the sink was so important, people didn’t pay much attention to it because, let’s face it, they were somewhat lackluster.

Well, it’s not your mother’s sink today.

Not only are sinks still workhorses of the culinary domain, they are pieces of art and sculpture. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous. The material choices are endless. The shapes and designs could fill multiple catalogues. And they are so much fun.

My personal favorites are the secondary sinks — the ones you don’t necessarily wash your good china in, but the ones with odd shapes and sizes that can be used as large ice buckets as well as work as a prep sink. It’s in making this selection that you can get really creative.

If you are remodeling your kitchen, or if you are lucky to have a whole new house, make choosing your sink a good time. Statistics tell us that money we spend on kitchen redos comes back to us when we sell, so why not go for it. I would rather spend my money on countertops, faucets and sinks than cabinetry. Sorry cabinet makers, but you can find really good looking off-the-rack cabinetry for not much money. My money would be on dressing up the space with an eye-popping sink.

We still must pay attention to details and the business end of buying a sink. Here are some tips from www.ehow.com:

Step 1: Pick an undermount or top-mount sink.

Undermount sinks are popular because they fit seamlessly with countertops and are easy to clean. They generally require professional installation. Due to their weight, they are compatible only with solid-stone or concrete countertops. Top-mount sinks are self-rimming and are cheaper and easier to install than undermount designs. Top-mount sinks require periodic caulking around the edges and are harder to clean.

Step 2: Choose a material.

You can buy kitchen sinks made from stainless steel, cast iron coated with porcelain enamel, composite stone or metal and other materials. Stainless steel sinks are the most popular because they are durable, easy to clean and relatively inexpensive.

Step 3: Decide on a style.

Standard sinks are 22-by-33-inches wide, 8 inches deep and have two bowls of equal size. Kitchen sinks that feature single or triple bowls, deeper bowls, apron fronts and lower bowl dividers to accommodate large pots and pans also are available. Some styles may require special cabinets.

Step 4: Think about a faucet set before buying a kitchen sink.

Many new sinks come with four holes to mount a faucet and accessories like hot water, filtered water and soap dispensers. If you decide against the accessories, buy a sink with fewer holes or purchase plugs for the holes.

Step 5: Pick a color if you’re not purchasing a metal sink.

Consider the color of your kitchen walls, countertops and cabinets. Take paint chips and countertop samples with you when you go shopping.

Step 6: Buy a kitchen sink made by a reputable company.

A high-quality sink can last as long as 50 years, so any extra upfront costs will pay off in the long run.

Wow, 50 years. I can’t wrap my mind around that. I’m just interested in my sink today. But keep these tips in mind when picking your next sink. And go out of your comfort zone a little; there are too many choices for your sink to be boring. Check out these awesome examples from Native Trails (www.nativetrails.com).

Carolyn Muse Grant is the founding president of the Architectural & Decorative Arts Society, as well as an interior design consultant/stylist specializing in home staging. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home section of the Review-Journal. Send questions to creativemuse@cox.net.

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