BLANCO recently surveyed over 60 designers and showroom managers on the most important features for selecting a kitchen sink. The number one feature is shape, then size, followed by durability and clean-ability. Surprisingly, price is last. Industry research supports this opinion as well. Consumers are looking for the long haul. Elements that are customized for their style (not for resale), that will hold up and be easy to maintain long term. While consumer actions support that price is an important factor, price is not the only feature in consideration. Both consumers and designers will not sacrifice quality for a low price.
What shape(s) do designers own?
We then went a step further and asked design professionals what shape sink they have at home. Interestingly, they were a mixed bag between equal doubles, super singles and 1-3/4 bowl designs. A few of the designers actually apologized for having double bowls, blaming it directly on their partner, i.e. “my spouse chose it.” Double bowls are attractive because they are familiar and comfortable. One designer elaborated, “Many of our clients still insist on the double bowls… it’s the mindset that they grew up with something or have always had something a particular way, and they just can’t imagine changing certain ways. ”
What to look for in a double sink?
Designers advised looking for depth in a good double sink. Some use the double sink for prep on one side and cleaning on the other. Or as some designers stated – a dirty dish side and a clean dish side. There were comments however, that led us to believe that doubles – while still strong – may be going out of favor along with disposals. But like upright vacuums and stainless steel kitchen appliances – this trend may hang on for a long time. Most designers use their sinks for cleaning or both cleaning and prep work. So the dirty-side /clean-side concept is one that’s going to be hard to let go of. Shifting to 1-3/4 designs vs. a direct shift to singles is becoming popular as a smaller prep bowl can be used for cleaning while the larger bowl can be used for drying/stacking.
Pre-Rinsing Before Loading – A No-No but Still Doing it.
When we delved deeper into the double sink story, we learned that while designers understand they shouldn’t pre-rinse dishes before they go into a dishwasher, (because according to Energy Star, pre-rinsing wastes up to 20 gallons of water per load), admittedly, many still rinse first. About half the surveyed group confessed to rinsing first before loading, while only 10 designers firmly stated they scrape and load right into the dishwasher. Reasons for the wasteful rinsing spree ranged from not running the dishwasher daily to once again blaming the spouse, i.e. “Depends on who is cleaning up? I am trying to get everyone to put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher. Doesn’t always work.”
Two Sinks? Or Marriage Therapy? You Decide.
So the sink – apparently – is a topic for heated household discussion and marital therapy sessions. And why not? It’s the workhorse of the kitchen. A highly functional element that because of its daily use and abuse must not only be attractive, but must fit the user’s personal style. And if the users differ in their style – perhaps we should see a trend toward two sink kitchens. He gets the single, she gets the double. Like a two car garage, everyone’s needs are satisfied and sink bliss will follow.