This option is also increasingly available at all price points, notes Webster, who states, “No longer does a customer have to upgrade to stone or solid surface for their countertop to be able to have an undermount sink.”
He cites Karran’s line of solid surface sinks, which can be undermounted to laminate as an example, adding, “This is a very affordable option that is reinventing the laminate countertop.”
Single-bowl sinks that are 9"-10" in depth and 30"-35" wide are increasingly popular in today’s markets, as well. “A large single bowl in either undermount or topmount is a strong factor today due to so many options in separate prep sinks; people want to maximize the primary bowl in those cases and you cannot beat the enormity of a large single bowl for that purpose,” explains Fey.
“The invention of the dishwasher has all but made double-bowl sinks obsolete,” believes Rachiele. “Most of the large items that do not fit in the dishwasher will only fit in a large, single-bowl sink,” he adds.
There’s also the continuing trend toward multiple sinks, which manufacturers and designers deem a “must-have” element.
“We feel the demand for a secondary sink is no longer a trend, but a must-have, if the kitchen’s overall size warrants it,” says Rottinghaus. “The secondary sink provides ‘satellite’ functionality for second and third cooks, as well as a ‘hub’ for entertaining.” She’s also seeing an interest in creatively shaped secondary sinks to personalize the kitchen, pointing to Elkay’s river-shaped Mystic sink as an example. Such unusual shapes can act as a wonderful focal point for the room, adding visual interest as well as function.
“The uses [for secondary sinks] are varied, but [there’s] always the same underlying reason – another work space in addition to the main sink,” Fey says. He’s also seen a rise in demand for round bowls for secondary sinks, which can complement both contemporary and traditional designs.
But lest anyone think that these secondary sinks are somehow second rate in terms of amenities, Burhans is quick to state otherwise: “[Secondary sinks] now require all the bells and whistles that a primary sink has, such as colanders, cutting boards, drainer grids, etc. And just like a primary sink, they must be as durable and functional as they are good-looking.”
The past few years have also seen the growth of a new trend: designer-name sinks.
Rohl, LLC, for instance, will introduce the Michael Berman Collection for the kitchen in the spring. Delta Faucet Co. also has a designer line – the Michael Graves collection.
But the jury is still out as to whether linking a well-known designer’s name with a brand really adds appeal in the eyes of the consumer.
“We think a designer’s name [does] add value to a product. [Those] producing high-value faucets have to think about working with designers or fashion designers, as it happened in tiles and ceramics,” asserts Consorzio Italy Export.
Morse agrees, noting: “As they are more savvy and do research, consumers know more about designers today. [So designer-name faucets are] kind of like a marriage of design and functionality for their faucets.”
Other manufacturers are less sure. For example, Fey believes that “the premise of increased cache on a product because of a designer’s association has limits. I will tell you the majority demographic of stainless steel sink buyers would not consider their purchase more upscale if it were designed by NASA.”
Detgen concurs: “In many cases, homeowners are seeking a specific style that fits their décor, rather than a specific brand. If that style is backed by quality features – such as solid-brass construction, ceramic disc valves, etc. – a fair price and great customer service, we feel that’s all the ‘cache’ that’s needed for that homeowner to be happy with his or her purchase.”