Sinking into functional artwork

By Mary G. Pepitone
Universal UClick

A sinking feeling can be a good thing when it comes to the kitchen or bathroom basin. Form follows function with today’s bounty of stylish basin choices for the home.

“A sink can become an unexpected focal point in a kitchen or bathroom,” says Suzanne Healy, an artist and co-owner of Artisan Crafted, a decade-old online retailer based in Langley, Wash. “Sinks can be like functional artwork in a house, depending on the homeowner’s design aesthetic.”

Artisan Crafted sells thousands of home products, made by hundreds of artists in the United States, and Healy says their sink options are best-sellers. Instead of a total kitchen or bath remodel — which can put a strain on budgets during these financial times — many are swapping out builder’s-grade bowls or stainless steel sinks for vessels with visual impact.

“The kitchen is the center of a home, and the bathroom or powder room is used many times a day, by both family and visitors,” Healy says. “The very nature of a sink invites people to gather around it and to use it.”

Vessel varieties may seem to include everything and the kitchen sink, which can be fashioned from metal, stone, glass, wood, porcelain or concrete:

— Self-rimming sinks have a secure, waterproof outer lip, which can be “dropped in” and sealed into a custom-cut hole in the countertop or vanity. At their most extravagant, the rims of these basins can become a canvas for decoration, including hand-painting or specialized shapes, usually used in bathrooms.

— Under-mount sinks give a clean look of open counter space. Mounted beneath a counter or vanity with special brackets for a seamless look, these sinks are best when paired with stone or wood surfaces.

— Vessel sinks are most likely found in bathrooms and sit atop the counter or vanity with the rim hovering above the surface. Sometimes called countertop sinks, these can be made of jewel-like glass, hand-cast bronze or sculpted stone, and can be used to dramatic effect when placed on a singular stand.


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