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farmhouse sink

Health and wellness are top of mind among homeowners in Southern New England, and many of our clients have expressed interest in creating healthier spaces in their homes. Key components of kitchens and baths that contribute to a healthier and more environmentally efficient home include:

  • Material quality
  • Airflow
  • Effective lighting
  • Thermal comfort
  • Comfortable movement throughout the space
  • Acoustical comfort

Cabinets, paints, hardware, countertops, floor and wall coverings and other materials you select for your new kitchen can contribute to a healthier space and lifestyle. We specify paints, glues, cabinets, and other materials with low to no volatile organic compounds for clients who want a more environmentally friendly and sustainable space. VOCs are chemicals found in many products used to build and maintain homes. Once the chemicals are in the home, they are released into the indoor air we breathe. Natural wood cabinets, stone countertops and glass backsplashes are all environmentally favorable.

A healthy kitchen needs adequate airflow and ventilation. The ability to provide fresh air and create cross-breezes from open windows or doors contributes to a healthier kitchen as does a properly sized vent hood or fan that meets your range and cooking style needs. Clients that want to be on the cutting edge may be intrigued by an interior garden that grows vertically, also known as a living wall. Another healthy kitchen option is to create indoor herb gardens or strategically locate herb planters. Living walls and interior plants help reduce stress, improve air quality, enhance creativity and absorb sound, among other benefits.

Healthy kitchen design also accounts for the way you and your family cook and eat. A healthier kitchen should contribute to a healthier lifestyle that includes the use and consumption of fresh ingredients from an outdoor garden, living wall, indoor plants and herbs. Refrigerated drawers near the stove can help to keep foodstuffs fresher for longer periods. Open shelving, glass containers, glass-front refrigerators and glass-front cabinets showcase foodstuffs and can encourage you and your family to consume more wholesome foods than processed packaged goods.

Lighting can make or break how your kitchen looks, feels and functions. Natural light from windows, doors, skylights and other sources contributes to health and well-being. The use of lighting controls, dimmers, switches and motion sensors can help boost your productivity and energy and enhance your sleep quality.

Thermal comfort is another crucial component of designing a healthy and environmentally friendly space. The use of smart thermostats, heated countertops and floors and a tight building envelope around a new kitchen keep the area toasty in winter and cool in the summer in an environmentally responsible way.

A new kitchen should allow all users to effectively and safely navigate the space. The three main areas of a kitchen referred to as the golden triangle comprises storage areas, including the refrigerator; the cleanup area, including the sink; and the cooking area, including the stove.  The sink should ideally be located between the refrigerator and the stove to ensure a comfortable and unencumbered traffic flow and efficient use of the space. Each leg of the triangle should be between four and nine feet, and the total distance of the triangle should be between 13 and 26 feet to promote safe and easy navigation throughout the space.

Comfort also is derived from clean lines and a sense of calm that results from uncluttered countertops and islands.

Acoustics are the final element of a well-designed healthy kitchen. Noisy dishwashers, appliance motors, clangy sink bottoms and surfaces that enhance sound disturb what otherwise is a peaceful kitchen. Eliminating unnecessary noises is part of a healthy design that homeowners in Southern New England welcome and deserve.

If you want to learn more about additional design elements and strategies to promote a healthier and more environmentally efficient space in your home, give us a call at 401-463-1550 or make an appointment with a designer.

The unlimited choices available through online search can make it almost impossible for anyone to make the best buying decision. If you searched on a Houzz.com, Pinterest or Instagram to get ideas for a new bathroom sink, you would be shown tens of thousands of choices. How can you make the best decision with so much overload? The answer for most is that most times you can’t!  Here’s a simple guide to make the selection process easier.

When selecting a bathroom sink, begin by considering your lifestyle and space:

  • Who will use the sink, how often and for what purposes?
  • What are the ages of users and their mobility capabilities?
  • Is the sink to replace an existing fixture or for a new bath?
  • How much countertop and storage space do you need/want?
  • How much space is there to work with?
  • Would you like a single or double bowl?

Next, give some thought to aesthetics:

  • What type of sink do you like?
  • What style do you prefer (e.g., contemporary, traditional, transitional)?
  • What type of faucet do you like?
  • How will the sink material influence your bathroom style? How durable will the sink be and what maintenance will it require?

As you identify your functional needs and aesthetic preferences, you may consider the following sink types:

Console Sink

Console sinks can either be freestanding supported by four legs or mounted to the wall and supported by two or four legs. Leg materials can span the gamut of styles and aesthetic options from hollow steel pipes to posts made from the same material as the sink.

Console Sink Pros:
  • Provide almost unlimited options in terms of shape and design.
  • If the legs are wide enough, they can provide comfortable wheelchair access
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Durable
Console Sink Cons:
  • Limited countertop space
  • They are best suited for larger bathrooms because they typically require considerable floor space
  • Not a lot of storage space underneath

Pedestal Sink

Pedestal sinks resemble birdbaths. They feature a wall-mounted sink sitting on top of a pedestal secured to the floor. The pedestal is open in the back to provide access for the drainpipe and supply lines.

Pedestal Sink Pros:
  • Pedestal sinks hide the pipework
  • Best suited for smaller spaces, e.g., powder rooms.
  • Easy to maintain and clean.
  • An endless array of design and aesthetic options from traditional to contemporary
  • Shorter than a free-standing
  • Durable
Pedestal Sink Cons:
  • Limited countertop space
  • No storage space underneath

Wall-Mounted Sink

Wall-mounted sinks are installed directly against the wall.

Wall-Mounted Sink Pros:
  • Does not take up floor space, and are a great option when space is at a premium
  • Typically wheelchair accessible
Wall-Mounted Sink Cons:
  • Minimal countertop space
  • No storage space underneath
  • Plumbing must be inside the wall to achieve a clean look

Integrated Sink

An integrated sink is a countertop with a built-in sink made out of the same material.

Integrated Sink Pros:
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in a variety of colors that can look and feel like stone
  • Repaired easily
Integrated Sink Cons:
  • To replace the sink, you have to replace the countertop
  • Compromises some countertop space
  • Must be the same material and color as the countertop

Drop-In Sink

A drop-in sink fits into a hole cut into the countertop. Typically, the sink sits below the counter with the rim at the top of the counter.

Drop-In Sink Pros:
  • Easy to install on all types of materials
  • Available in a variety of sizes, colors and materials
  • Integral raised rim prevents overflow on double bowl sinks
  • Hides waste and supply lines in the cabinet underneath
Drop-In Sink Cons:
  • The raised lip makes it challenging to wipe water and soap from the countertop into the sink
  • Limited depth options

Vessel Sink

A vessel sink sits on top of the countertop.

Vessel Sink Pros:
  • Opportunity to make a personal design statement
  • Offers the capacity to hold a lot of water
  • The counter can serve to complement the sink visually rather than just providing a place where it is located.
Vessel Sink Cons:
  • Because the sink sits on top of the countertop, you need to consider how high the countertop and vanity should be carefully
  • Can be more difficult to clean, especially around the base and back of the sink

Undermount Sink

An undermount sink is installed from underneath a solid surface countertop.

Undermount SInk Pros:
  • Clean lines
  • Easy to clean as water, soap and other materials can be easily swept from the countertop to the sink bowl
  • More minimal appearance than drop-in sink
Undermount Sink Cons:
  • Typically, these sinks are made of stone, quartz, marble or another solid surface material and are not suitable for laminate countertops because they can be completely sealed.
  • More difficult to install than drop-in sinks

With so many choices and factors to consider, you may be best served with the help of a Design Center professional. If you would like assistance to assure that you make the best purchasing decision for your new bathroom, please call us at 401-463-1550 or visit our Design Center at 139 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI.

Bathroom Sink