Archive for February, 2010
At BLANCO, we love to say, “it’s just a sink” in the same way “Picasso was just a painter.”
To the average homeowner – a sink or faucet may look like – well – just a sink or faucet. But there’s so much more to know. Here are a few quick tips from real kitchen design experts on what they look for when selecting a sink or faucet and what’s important.
Outstanding Trend Point: While you expect designers to go for “look” first, they really came out strong for durability, quality and material as the most important considerations. “Pay More!” seemed to be nearly an anthem. Trust the designers to know – they are the ones who get to replace lesser products that don’t last.
1. The Sink Fits The Project
“I want the sink to fit the project. I do not have a one-size-fits-all sink in mind when I design,” says Cheryl Kees Clendenon, owner/designer In Detail Kitchen and Bath, Pensacola, Florida. Cheryl likes the deeper 10” or more sinks. “I can tell you what I think is a ridiculous size, the sinks where you have the tiny bowl on one side that is quite shallow. I think this is nuts because people put their disposal on the shallow small side,” comments Clendenon.
According to designers, like Cheryl Kees Clendenon, sink grids for protecting stainless are a must!!
3. Pay a little more
“As far as product selections go, I think you truly get what you pay for when it comes to faucets,” states Nick Bajzek, The Product Guy (product editor for Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler and Custom Builder magazines). Spend a little extra and go for a higher-end model, one with a quality cartridge. You generally won’t have to worry about leaks or wearing out the knobs like you would with a cheap faucet.”
4. Material Matters
“What I look for when I’m specifying a sink is the material,” states Paul Anater, blogger and designer at http://www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com/. “I have a strong preference for stainless steel, so that’s where I go first. Once I have a client sold on stainless I look for a single bowl, large sink. If I have the budget, I spec flat-bottomed sinks because I think they look better. If I can’t afford a flat bottom, I then look for the heaviest gauge steel I can find that will fit into my budget. Once I have my sink options narrowed down, I then look for other features such as accessories. Brand name doesn’t figure into it nearly as much as quality and I never shop by price. I set a budget for my clients and then we go find the best we can find in that budget. BLANCO rises to the top in many cases I’m pleased to report.”
5. Durability Now! Painless Later.
“When I’m asked to consult on which kitchen sink a client should choose I usually suggest they go for excellent durability and great looks,” says Gerry Snapke of CadKitchenPlans.com. “It’s no secret that the drop in sink has been out of favor in the kitchen for many years now. Under mount sinks and farmhouse apron fronts make up the bulk of styles popular with consumers and they look great. But consider what replacing one of these sinks involves. If it’s an under mount style replacement is difficult without replacing or at least doing major damage to the existing countertop. Farmhouse sinks pose a similar replacement challenge and often times involve cabinet modification as well. Bottom line here… pick a sink that you know will last for many years and avoid the pain of replacement costs.”
Banner Plumbing Supply, Buffalo Grove, IL
This week, we are spotlighting Michelle Henderson and Banner Plumbing Supply – Chicagoland’s largest plumbing supply center. Banner started over 60 years ago on the South side of Chicago – and from those humble beginnings grew to 2 branches, a 15,000 square foot showroom, 20 delivery trucks and over 125,000 square feet of warehouse space. With a wide array of nearly 100 live fixtures, you can turn on 50 showerheads or flush more than 10 working toilets in their stunning new Buffalo Grove showroom. Consumers and design professionals alike rely on highly trained personnel – like Michelle – who can answer just about any decorative plumbing question.
Question: What are the biggest challenges you face daily?
Michelle: Buyers Beware: Sink Quality Does Matter…
One of the largest challenges we face in helping a client with kitchen sink selection is the influx of imported low quality sinks out in the marketplace. Buyers need to be aware that a free sink is worth just that – and if the countertop is cut out to fit a low-end sink – they may be stuck with it. We find it very rewarding to help a client work through how they use their kitchen sink and faucet to find the product that will best serve their needs.
Question: How do you go about matching a sink or faucet to someone’s needs?
Michelle: Let’s talk faucet!
When helping a client select a kitchen faucet, I begin the process by discussing the function, features and benefits of a single handle, two handle, pull out, pull down and a traditional faucet with a side spray. Once we have landed on our desired function we then talk about finish and design. Some of the key things we talk about in regard to the pull outs and pull downs are the ergonomic feel of the spray toggle, how easily the head retracts to the body and if it stays retracted and the latest technology that is in the marketplace. In regard to finish and style it is very personal to the client’s taste.
I have been seeing more and more a preference for a softer contemporary or cleaner traditional. There has been an uptick in more rustic finishes (like oil rubbed bronze) on clean lined product—which is a departure from what the trend has been with the oil rubbed on a more traditional product. With the green movement taking hold we have seen an increase in the desire for matching point of use filtration dispensers–there are too many water bottles occupying our landfills and clients want to cook with the best water they can for their families.
Michelle: Let’s talk sink!
When we move to the kitchen sink there are many variables that factor into the right selection. One main topic is how they use their current sink. Does everything go into the dishwasher? Do they hand wash larger items? If they use a disposal in which direction do they rinse, scrape and load? It is so important to have this dialogue because if the wrong product is selected it upsets the routine and it is my goal to enhance our customer’s lives, not disrupt it.
Question: What’s the hottest sink trend out there?
Michelle: GRANITE! COLOR!
With the introduction of BLANCO’s SILGRANIT® II sinks we are now accommodating a whole new range of customers. The beautiful color options now available are very complimentary to the granite tops and glazes on their cabinetry. Having the sink pick up a color that is a small detail elsewhere really lends itself to that complete design look.
Also the new technology of MicroEdge™ has been well received with our clients for many reasons. One of which is the sleek clean look, but the biggest is due to the fact that many clients are not fans of the visible silicone in the reveal of the sink and if the reveal is not present they are not happy with the potential of bacterial build up under the edge of the granite. The FLOW has also been a real eye catcher for clients as well. I attribute this to the ease of wiping down the drain board area—not to mention the great look.
Question: What’s Your Favorite Sink?
Michelle: BLANCO ARCON™ Super Single.
My favorite is the ARCON series – it has displayed well in our showroom too. Let’s face it…. People want something different or special—that is why they spending the money to remodel their kitchen. With the great curved lines of the ARCON series they can make the sink the focal point of the kitchen.
About Michelle Henderson
Michelle got her start in the industry 15 years ago at a small kitchen and bath dealership before she moved on to work in plumbing supply. Interior Design schooling and project experience helped her land her current position at Banner where she manages their 15,000 square foot showroom.
About Banner Plumbing Supply
Banner was founded in 1947 by Charles Greenspon in the south side of Chicago in a 3 flat where three employees loaded and unloaded pipe out of the basement window. Today Banner has grown from that small location on the South side to have over 80 employees and a wonderful reputation for excellence in customer service. Their 15,000 square foot showroom is the largest in the Chicago market, but it is also very accessible and interactive.
How do you describe perfection? Perhaps it’s artistry, expertise, performance or quality. At BLANCO, we believe it’s a combination of these elements, which we passionately handcraft into each of our products. BLANCO sinks are constructed to the highest manufacturing standard in the world. We use only premium grade steel made to OUR OWN demanding specifications, which are higher than the competition’s. Our superior gauge material provides the platform for our craftsmen to create products that can last a lifetime in the hardest-working area of your kitchen.
We feature a SATIN POLISHED FINISH which is exclusively MADE IN GERMANY. The Satin Polished Finish is the result of an extensive polishing process that creates an extremely CONSISTENT and LUXURIOUS appearance. In addition to the beautiful look, this additional effort of craftsmanship and polishing also creates the SMOOTHEST, most HYGIENIC, and EASIEST-to-clean stainless steel surface available today. Our dedication to detailed quality and use of superior material can even be witnessed on the underside of our sinks.
From the deep, hand polished luster finish – to the innovative sound-deadening pads used on our sinks – the same used by European luxury automobile manufacturers – to the precise, zero radius construction of our award winning STEELART PRECISION™ MicroEdge™ , to the perfectly smooth feel of our PRECISION R10 corners, to the artistry of a handcrafted FLOW™ sink, attention to detail is a symbol of our heritage. After all, BLANCO has been a family owned company since 1925… and we wouldn’t have it any other way.