There’s something about apron-front sinks that hearkens back to a simpler era. This utilitarian fixture reflects a hard-working history as everything from a canning workspace and a sink for cleaning dishes and large pots, to a washbasin for dogs and small children. No wonder they remain an iconic element in traditional-style kitchens. And they’re becoming increasingly popular in contemporary spaces, too, thanks to fresh twists on colors and materials and easier installation options.
The appeal of apron-front sinks has evolved along with the kitchen, thanks to their unique combination of beauty and functionality.
"Apron-front sinks are like beautiful but oh-so-functional sculpture, and they provide a strong, dramatic focal point in a kitchen,” says interior designer Marianne Kohlmann of Milwaukee’s Blue Hot Design. “Practically speaking, if you cook with large stock pots or bake on cookie sheets, having a wide and deep single- or double-bowl apron-front sink makes cleaning up a pleasure.”
Besides being large enough to accommodate oversize pots and pans, apron-front sinks are also ergonomically friendly. Often oriented farther forward than typical drop-in or under-mount sinks, they let you get closer and work with less stress and strain. The classic deep bowl of the apron-front sink also means less splashing while you work, and fewer puddles on surrounding surfaces, floors and walls.
Apron-front sinks are like beautiful but oh-so-functional sculpture, and they provide a strong, dramatic focal point in a kitchen.
Along with the kitchen, the farmhouse sink has undergone some notable evolutionary changes of its own. Fresh shapes, new colors, and decorative designs coordinate with an unprecedented array of styles.
and fireclay remain popular for their beauty, strength and durability, and they're available in an expanded range of color, pattern and shape options. New materials have also emerged, including stainless steel, for a look that cleverly straddles traditional and contemporary design. Kohler's new line of Self-Trimming® apron-front sinks are also easy to install, making the iconic apron-front more accessible to homeowners than ever before.
The idea of including a “farmhouse” sink in a modern space may seem odd at first. But it works, because what unites the apron-front sink and contemporary design sensibility is an element of simplicity. Clean lines and iconic forms make these classic sinks work beautifully in both traditional and contemporary kitchens.
In a testament to that versatility, Kohlmann has included apron-front sinks in a variety of kitchen remodels, including a classic colonial, an 1880 Queen Anne Victorian, and an ocean-side contemporary home that reinterprets Prairie-style architecture.
In each home’s kitchen, the clean outlines of the apron-front sink are a natural, perfect fit. And in each setting, they contribute greatly to the beauty of the kitchen’s design. In contrast to many kitchen sinks designed to be more discreet by integration into countertops, apron-front sinks have an unabashed presence, which makes them a great centerpiece in the kitchen.
"An apron-front sink deserves to be the star of the show,” Kohlmann says, “So you shouldn't have a supporting cast--other appliances, fixtures and design elements--drawing too much focus away from it." But apron-front sinks do, in fact, allow one other star in the kitchen – water. They celebrate its presentation in much the same way that a central fountain in a park provides a serene axis for the busy life that revolves around it.