Kitchen and Bar Project Tips
The kitchen is the most used and important room in the home. It serves as a central gathering place for family and friends and a source of culinary inspiration for the serious home cook. Manufacturers, designers and builders have responded to the changing dynamic of the kitchen by constantly introducing and specifying new products that combine innovative design and technological sophistication with superb functionality.
Your decorative plumbing and hardware showroom is an invaluable resource for:
Your showroom consultant can help assure that these fixtures complement and enhance your appliances, custom cabinetry, floor coverings, lighting and countertops.
Kitchen faucets have kept pace by offering features that were unimaginable just a few years ago. There are faucets with pull-down and pullout sprays, contemporary, transitional and traditional designs, water filtration faucets and hands-free/electronic models. There are kitchen faucets that offer light shows, changing colors to indicate the temperature of the water flowing from them. Only recently have consumers and designers had the option of installing commercial grade faucetry typically found in the finest restaurants. Additionally, many of today’s kitchens offer multiple preparation stations, requiring a faucet for each area.
Because kitchen faucets are the most used plumbing devices in the home, they not only have to continuously perform, they also serve an extremely important aesthetic function. Kitchen faucets can set the tone for the room. Decorative plumbing and hardware sales professionals can coordinate the function, quality, design and finish of kitchen faucet selection.
Factors to address with your showroom professional when selecting kitchen faucets include:
Amount of use
Design of the kitchen
Number of work stations
Number, configuration and size of each sink
Finish of appliances (if selected)
Style of kitchen cabinetry
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of faucets, features and designs available in the marketplace. While the Internet, television, magazines and other media can provide a general idea of the style and motif that you may want, there is a special skill set required to select faucets and sinks that function effectively together. Additionally, a little bit of consumer knowledge can be dangerous. Showroom professionals understand and can assist with specifying the amount of space needed between the sink and the backsplash in the faucet selection process. Showroom professionals can focus on technical and performance aspects of faucet and sink selection so that you and your design team can focus on style and finish.
Studies indicate that homeowners spend up to 50% of their time in the kitchen in front of the sink. Today’s kitchen sink has become a multitask center. It is used for washing and rinsing dishes, cleaning vegetables, soaking pots and pans, bathing the baby, dyeing hair, getting hot water and just plain washing our hands. The list goes on and on.
In years past, the three most common types of sinks found in homes were cast iron, enameled steel and stainless steel. However, as the size and importance of the kitchen grew, sink options expanded to enable homeowners to customize their kitchens. Today, sinks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials and mounting options. Showroom consultants can discuss this wide range of offerings and the advantages and disadvantages that different sink types offer.
How do you select the best sink for your project? The first rule is to keep an open mind when you walk into a showroom. The number of sinks featured in a showroom and beyond can be overwhelming. Rely on a showroom’s expertise in order to make informed decisions that address both form and function.
As kitchens continue to grow in size, efficiency is harder to achieve. Yes, there’s more room, but it needs to be organized and workable. Many people install two or more sinks: a prep sink, generally facing a social area, and a main sink used for most of the cleanup.
Factors to discuss with a showroom professional when selecting a kitchen sink include:
Size of the sink areas
Function – how the sink is used, primary purpose, how often you entertain, who uses the sink the most, average number of guests that attend each function
Mounting method and materials necessary for installation
Type of countertop material
Type of sink material
Number of holes for drains, faucets and accessories
Care and maintenance requirements
Bar, entertainment and prep sinks are terms used to describe identical products. The different names refer to the location of where the sinks are installed. A prep sink is used in the kitchen to clean and prepare fruits and vegetables. A bar sink is generally used in a den, bedroom or family room to provide a sink area for preparing drinks and minor cleanup. An entertainment sink is usually found in the family room and is commonly larger than a bar sink to allow for more all-purpose use.
Accessories that are commonplace to a standard kitchen sink are also available with many bar/prep sinks.
Bar/Entertainment/Prep Sink Faucets
Many faucet manufacturers produce faucets specifically designed for bar/entertainment/prep sinks in finishes that match other components. Speak with your showroom consultant to help ensure that the faucet you select for your bar sink is the appropriate size, functionality and finish to enhance your kitchen design.
Cabinet hardware further complements the home’s style while serving an extremely important functional purpose. Do not leave the selection of your cabinet hardware in the kitchen to the cabinetmaker without your input. You want to ensure that the hardware is of the same quality, style and finish of the other components in the kitchen to help ensure a complete and coordinated look. This includes working with your showroom professional to specify matching pulls for your refrigerator, dishwasher, trash compactor, wine cooler and switch plates, lighting, door locks and hinges in the same complementary finish.
Decorative cabinet hardware is distinguished by the following characteristics:
Quality of the base material (solid brass, pewter, porcelain, glass, crystal)
Quality, type and range of finishes
Type and length of warranty
Level of detail
Your showroom consultant can explain the performance benefits and differences of decorative knobs and pulls and provide guidance to help assure that the style, finish and size of the hardware selected are best suited for your new kitchen.
There are a number of accessories that make your life easier that are often overlooked. When building a new or remodeling an existing kitchen, ask your showroom consultant the advantages offered by the following accessories:
Pot filler faucet
Strainers (note most manufacturers do not include the drain with a purchase of the sink)
Garbage disposal and trim to match existing fixtures
Air switch button
Instant hot and cold
Water filtration system
Cutting boards designed to fit with the sink configuration
Colanders and drain baskets
Mechanical pop-up strainer
Escutcheon or cover plate used to cover mounting holes on the sink