My client in the Brooklyn kitchen project has had an over counter stainless steel sink that they really dislike – no sweeping crumbs from the counter right in – as bits of food get stuck in the edges all around. The faucet is corner mounted, not centered, and not pretty. The “she” part of the pair is dying for the farmhouse sink/faucet look, while the “he” part wants better functionality and more sink space. Both want the easier clean-up that comes with an undermounted sink.
A pair of icons in the kitchen renovation world these days are the Shaws fireclay farmhouse sink and the Perrin & Rowe bridge mixer faucet. If you are a design enthusiast this is not news, but even if not, you are sure to have noticed them as they have become a standard feature in many new kitchens designed to have a look of the past. There is a fair amount of debate out there as to whether this look is trendy, but as I have always loved it, I vote that it has moved into the category of classic, much like subway tiles and beadboard.
The gooseneck bridge mixer faucet with lever handles is most commonly seen, like the one here. The expression “bridge mixer” refers to the fact the hot and cold water are mixed together over the counter, in the “bridge” before it comes up the faucet. The high arching gooseneck means it is easy to fill pots. It has a separate sprayer and soap dispenser in this photo, and there are numerous other accessories. The farmhouse or apron front sink is a seamless clay bowl set on top of the cabinet and under the edge of the counter on either side – not sure if this is actually a Shaws brand one or not.
A similar faucet crowns a real Shaws sink here. You can see the Shaws diamond-shaped trademark stamped in the bowl of the sink.
This bridge faucet has old-fashioned cross handles instead of levers. I adore these grey cabinets, but they are a bit too country for this renovation. Perhaps for the beach house?
The faucet in question.
Another version of the Perrin and Rowe faucet has a scrolled Provence shaped neck in lieu of the high arch. It seems to be almost as popular. It really stands out in Joni’s kitchen renovation. You can see she has a Shaws brand sink too.
I worry the high gooseneck might be very splashy and that this one may be easier to use. I also find it a bit dressier.
Now here is my major faucet question and I put it out there for all to answer, especially if you have experience with this issue, but even if you don’t and just want to offer an opinion. As lovely and pleasing to the eye as these faucets are, in a modern world, are we actually going to use a faucet that requires two hands or two turns to get the water to its desired temperature? This would not be hard for me to answer for myself, as I was all set to keep the original single taps on my vintage bathroom sink. But as my current client has a single lever faucet, can they ever be happy going back in time to turning two levers to mix the water temperature? Is this actually a big issue? Is it something that is easy to get used to? Or will the “he” of the project (who does most of the cooking) be annoyed with the “she” (and me) forever?
The solution perhaps, lies in this or a similar single lever version of the Perrin and Rowe faucet. While there is some visual compromise, the overall styling and functionality of the single lever might be the solution.
It looks beautiful in this kitchen by Molly Frey Design, especially with the addition of the hand sprayer, soap dispenser and filtered water dispenser (which will be much-needed if we cover the refrigerator with a cabinet panel and no longer have a door mounted water dispenser). I keep returning to this photo over and over again and find myself satisfied every time. What about you?
Perrin & Rowe faucets have a very hefty price tag and there are numerous lower priced versions of these faucets produced by other manufacturers. As we hammer out the budget over the next few days, where to skimp and where to splurge will become part of the equation. For me, the faucet is the jewelry of the room, so I want it to be just right. I’ll report back on what we decide.
As for the sink, the Shaws fireclay is the gold standard and again the price tag reflects that. Fireclay sinks are made of clay and fired at an intense heat of over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes the clay to become very hard, producing a durable and nonporous material that is ideally useful as sink material. The simple shape and deep rectangular bowl is visually satisfying and maximizes sink space while its placement under the edge of the counter means it is easy to do a clean sweep straight into the sink.
Moving progressively down the price scale is this Franke version…
…even less expensive options include this Barclays fireclay sink…
…and the Belle Foret fireclay sink.
These are all examples of plain styles, which is what we are shopping for, but they are also available with fluted and patterned inserts and overhanging lips. What I have yet to discover is whether there is a difference in actual quality between the brands or is it simply a matter of small differences in the styling and the name brand. The Shaws website states:
“Our ceramic kitchen sinks are manufactured with a hand applied, durable glaze and are resistant to scratches, stains and chips. We stringently test the integrity and durability of our sinks to exhaustion so there’s virtually no need to ever replace one of our sinks as a result damage sustained during normal domestic use.”
Does this hold true for them all? Have you had any experience with stains, chips or other issues? I’m going to troll the google universe later and see what the reports are, but I’d love first hand feedback. I assume a sink protector rack is a good thing to buy as I always recommend them for any porcelain type sink.
Hand in glove with the sink decision is the countertop material decision. More on that next, as well as debates on appliances and possibly (?) adding color.
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