Today’s kitchens have increasingly become multi-functional spaces with separate zones that can stand alone, functionally, or work together as part of a greater whole. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the kitchen sinks of old have morphed into full-service “water stations” that incorporate high style and a host of amenities.
In fact, the expectation that the kitchen can exude charm and style yet be conducive to quick and easy clean-up drives one of the major trends in kitchen sinks and faucets – products that reflect plenty of personal style, but also perform flawlessly, whether for family dinners or large-scale entertaining.
“Diversity and personalization have definitely emerged in recent years as the overall trend in the kitchen,” says Ed Detgen, director of marketing for Danze, Inc. in Bolingbrook, IL. These trends are reflected in the kitchen’s water station, from the sink and faucet choices to the water accessories.
Manufacturers recently surveyed by Kitchen & Bath Design News agree the desire for personalization is growing, and satisfying that desire is easier due to the myriad choices available.
Style and Utility
Personal and functional seem to be the two big keywords in kitchen sinks and faucets, and, fortunately, these don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Chuck Burhans, president of Blanco America in Lumberton, NJ, comments: “Consumers will choose the products that reflect their own personality, but they must also be durable and functional. They have to look good, but also serve a good and useful purpose.”
Detgen concurs: “Everyone is looking to personalize their kitchens, so several factors go into selecting a faucet. For instance, added features, such as a pull-down or pull-out faucet, help homeowners ‘take the water to the work,’ and have become extremely popular in recent years.”
“Form and function definitely wrestle when it comes to faucet design in the kitchen. The faucet must work and perform necessary functions of food prep, but also be architecturally seamless in the overall design of the kitchen,” says Louis Rohl, COO of Rohl, LLC in Irvine, CA. But there’s more to it, even, than form or function.
Today’s sinks and faucets must look good, work well and be able to coordinate with secondary or tertiary sinks, the overall design of the kitchen and sometimes – especially with the growing number of open-plan kitchens and Great Room layouts – the rest of the home.
“Another requirement [consumers and designers have] is a coordinating family of sinks, as well as faucets that will bring the look together throughout the kitchen or home,” says Burhans.
Mark Webster, marketing director of Karran USA in Vincennes, IN, says consumers want low-maintenance sinks that will maintain their appearance for a long period of time. “If it takes much effort to keep it looking like new, today’s consumer does not want it,” he states.
Vivianne Morse, product development manager for Delta Faucet Co. and BRIZO in Indianapolis, IN agrees, saying that people are looking for ways to simplify their lives. “They want something that’s functional, yet doesn’t require too much upkeep,” she says.
So what’s functional and beautiful? According to Dino Rachiele, president of Rachiele Kitchen and Bath Products in Apopka, FL, “Copper sinks are great for ease of maintenance and cleanliness.”
He notes that “copper actively kills bacteria in hours, where the same bacteria can live for more than a month on stainless steel. Copper is also much easier to care for than stainess steel. If the user likes a rustic look, there is virtually no maintenance at all.”
Supporting the trend toward personalization, the industry is bringing to market a growing number of choices for both traditional and contemporary sink and faucet styles – as well as everything in between.