Today, the vintage style kitchen sink is a popular theme in some kitchens. Also known as farmhouse sinks and apron sinks, the vintage kitchen sink, and its old-world charm provides a focal point for the functionality and character they demonstrate. The vintage sink also fits well in different kitchen styles, from rustic to modern, and is also a perfect complement to a garbage disposal.
The most common sink color for vintage elements was a white or cream color. They remain popular today but some modern sink basin designs have converted to stainless steel sink style. As a result, abrasive cleansers are not recommended for a new faucet or sink made from stainless steel.
Table of Contents
- Are Vintage Drainboard Sinks Still Trendy Today?
- Quick History of Vintage Style Kitchen Sinks
- Rural Dishpans Mark Humble Beginnings for Farmhouse Sinks
- Rising Popularity of London and Belfast Apron Front Sinks
- The Modern-Day Farmhouse Sinks
- Common Finishes and Materials of Vintage Style Kitchen Sinks
- Styles and Varieties of Vintage Sinks
- Customizable Features of Vintage Style Sinks
- Frequently Asked Questions
Are Vintage Drainboard Sinks Still Trendy Today?
The 2018 Design Trends Study revealed that 92% of its respondents chose undermount kitchen sinks as the trendiest style. But, single-bowl and farmhouse styles tied for the second spot, with 81% of the respondents opting for these two popular styles.
These numbers only prove that double basin (double bowl) and double drainboard vintage sinks remain a modern feature for any farmhouse-style kitchen or dining room. The back of the sink
in a farmhouse kitchen may have limited counter space made of natural wood and wooden shelves to hold large pots and other kitchenware.
A great addition to contemporary kitchens considers white cabinets, including a dream sink that really is a vintage-inspired farmhouse sink with a large single bowl (large single basin or double drainboards). Antique furnishings like an exact replica of a vintage tub and visible plumbing fixtures are popular in any kitchen remodel because of their authentic look like classic cold faucets. Add in checkerboard floors and you’ve gone back in time or even the Matrix (that film does a great job demonstrating industrial and vintage styles like antique doors)! Think about faucet holes and lever handles, which emulate the vintage charm of a former time period.
You are likely to find vintage high back sinks (heavy sink), an ironing board, double drain board, original porcelain, a laundry sink, or an old tub in old homes, and often in great condition. The good news is that these items last a long time and can find a new life without becoming a sore thumb. Your first thought might be about modern conveniences, but you might be able to find some amazing antique pieces from a local pick on Facebook Marketplace, a thrift store, or flea markets.
This is a wonderful way to add style and flair to your home. You have options since many of these items come in a wide variety of sizes. You can also find a reproduction drainboard sink with custom ceramic coatings with a bit of online research. There are plenty of article reviews with embedded affiliate links which may require a bit of extra research to make sure the reviews are legitimate. Good luck!
Read on below if you are confused about whether you should go for a vintage sink, a cast iron sink, or something else for your kitchen and laundry room. You will learn about the history and evolution of vintage kitchen sinks, their features, common materials used, how they became the functional point you love and know today, and how to incorporate them into vintage kitchens.
Quick History of Vintage Style Kitchen Sinks
Old sinks are long beloved for their ergonomic functionality and visual appeal. The farmhouse sink is the number one go-to option in modern kitchen designs or in a new home. However, you can trace their history back many centuries ago.
Historic old kitchens weren’t complete without any wash sink, something big enough to accommodate a person who had to handwash multiple loads of dishes. Sinks back then were also large enough to have sufficient space to prepare ingredients and meat used to prepare meals for the family.
The early “dry sinks” weren’t drainable and were lined either with zinc or lead. However, when the 20th century arrived, the more permanent “wet sinks” were developed. Since then, people started to adapt their kitchens to make these plumbed centerpieces.
Most of the early sinks in early homes were highly customized and set to fit a person’s height to make sure that washing wouldn’t be a tiring process.
Rural Dishpans Mark Humble Beginnings for Farmhouse Sinks
In the early days, people had to haul and transport water from wells, rivers, and lakes for their water needs, including washing their clothes and dishes and boiling food. The older homes had dry sinks and dishpans not connected to a plumbing system, requiring manual filling and draining. It is where farmhouse sinks came into play.
These large kitchen basins, also called apron front sink, front apron sink, or apron sink, were commonly seen in rural houses of decades past. Initially, these sinks were designed and made for comfort, and ergonomics was essential for women who spent long hours at the sink. Many have survived use for decades and remain in good condition.
The forward orientation of the apron front got rid of the countertop that made them strain and leaned forward more than necessary.
Rising Popularity of London and Belfast Apron Front Sinks
Apron front sinks rose to popularity and prevalence thanks to their intelligent design. During the late 17th century in Britain, two revolutionary and famous butler sinks, or the apron sinks initially designed for the butler’s pantry, started finding their way to the homes of the affluent. These sinks had names like London and Belfast, and all cities got their name from the officers for sanitation that allowed their use. However, history is made more interesting by the slight differences between the two apron sinks.
The Belfast front apron sink featured an enormous basin that could wash even a small child in the sink. A Weir overflow was also fitted to the sink, allowing the water to drain instead of spilling over the sink’s edge when overfilled. There were plenty of water sources in Belfast, Ireland, and they weren’t worried about over-usage.
London, England, was on top of clay, and residents dug dip holes searching for clean water sources. As a result, the place had severe reclamation and water usage concerns. As a result, London front apron sinks were shallower with no overflow to help conserve water.
During the later part of the 19th century, the broad apron front of the French Farmhouse sink started gaining popularity as a utility sink with remarkable strength. The design made these sinks more refined, white clay from Limoges, France. Limoges is known the world over as an outstanding source of porcelain. French-inspired country kitchens still feature this iconic fireclay sink with a draped classic linen that conceals the cabinet base.
The trend spread during the 1920s in the United States when cast-iron sink became the rage. A nickel and copper alloy kitchen sink, called the Monel, was a lightweight and corrosion-resistant kitchen sink. However, nickel and copper became less available during World War II as these two resources were critical for fighting the war.
As American kitchens went through modernization, home builders pushed the farmhouse-style sink to the side to make way for the more affordable and standard undermount stainless-steel sinks.
The Modern-Day Farmhouse Sinks
When the new millennium arrived, people started to crave for the combination of form and function in their kitchen.
It is where the basin sink entered the picture. The apron front farmhouse sink with its intrinsic design offers users some physical benefits that you cannot expect from the standard kitchen sinks. The exposed front provides more internal basin space to accommodate large pans, baking sheets, and pots. It also eliminates the need to reach over an additional countertop when washing dishes. It is a more apparent ergonomic benefit for people who spend a lot of time cleaning and preparing in the kitchen.
There is also more protection for the surrounding kitchen cabinets since the apron front usually goes beyond the cabinetry. If there is any pooling water, it often drains to the floor rather than the cabinets.
Common Finishes and Materials of Vintage Style Kitchen Sinks
Farmhouse sinks are available in different materials that make them even more popular, and this is because these sinks can work and blend well with other common décor styles. Like schoolhouse lights and subway tile, farmhouse sinks are classics that made a massive comeback in mainstream use. While other farmhouse trends such as the shiplap and mason jar lighting started waning in popularity, it seems that the sinks will continue to hang around in the many years to come.
Farmhouse sinks with their complementary vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucet and other signature hardware use several different materials such as:
- Cast Iron
Styles and Varieties of Vintage Sinks
Many experts still believe that vintage sinks continue to be an in-demand trend in today’s industry. A particular brand recently launched a breakthrough farmhouse sink that features interchangeable and is considered first in the market. With this, it will only take a few minutes for homeowners to change the material and sink of the sink face.
The sink also lets you switch the look and feel of your kitchen without the stress, expense, and time investment often associated with a total renovation. When you are a home décor enthusiast, the ability to change the apron anytime you like will surely make the farmhouse sink the best choice for you.
The Kohler sinks are yet another popular style you can find in the market right now. Farmhouse sinks have long been an everyday staple for kitchen design. Kohler wanted to develop their version of the timeless sink with a more modern twist suitable for contemporary and traditional homes alike.
These sinks have generous proportions to accommodate large pans and pots. There are three different options for installation, including the wall mount farmhouse sink with either contemporary or traditional legs and top mount complete with custom cabinetry. There are also seven various accessories for the Kohler sink.
Customizable Features of Vintage Style Sinks
One of the biggest draws of the vintage-style kitchen, powder room, and bathroom sink is how you can customize it according to the specific needs and requirements of the homeowner.
The following are some of the standard features that you can add to your farmhouse sink.
An apron or short apron front sink exposes the kitchen sink’s front face to the kitchen’s interior to blend the area with the surrounding space.
Some people had their fitted backsplashes molded into their farmhouse sinks to keep their walls protected from errant drops of water.
Double vs. Single Bowl
People can opt for a single basin or choose two basins with a center divider added to their sinks.
The single or double drainboard is the notable drying rack built into the sides of the bowl or bowls of the sink, where you can leave your wet plates and utensils to dry.
The drop-in bowls got rid of most of the desirable counterspace common in large trough sinks that were more suitable for people who already have lots of positioned counterspace.
Faucet Soap Dish
The metal soap dishes atop the sink’s faucets also appear on farmhouse kitchen sinks.
The name of the trough sinks was in honor of the animal troughs due to their deep and long appearance. The sinks usually feature a single basin with several faucets and washing stations.
Function and Form of Vintage Style Sinks
While consumers consider the style necessary, it is not the only factor they consider. After they have determined the style of their choice, consumers ponder on the function to find the product that suits their needs the most. Gone are the days when kitchens are for washing dishes alone.
Kitchen designers believe that the farmhouse sinks are starting to evolve, and these sinks will add more functionality to stay relevant. Originally popular approximately 10 to 15 years ago, the farmhouse sinks today also change shape to remain relevant, with their style getting crisper and even more geometric.
Chopping blocks and built-in drainboard add excellent function. The designers also don’t see the trend of farmhouse sinks fading away anytime soon or maybe not ever. Many things are too good to let go of, and the longevity of farmhouse sinks is all thanks to their function itself.
A farmhouse sink integrates into your counter; it promotes seamless and easy cleanup. Be aware that installing these sinks might be a bit expensive if you have existing cabinetry.
These are often deep and heavy, protruding from the cabinetry, requiring a cutout. Some designers don’t use them that much in renovations because they usually aim to preserve the existing cabinets. But if you have the budget and a bare kitchen or plan to do a significant overhaul, working with a farmhouse sink is often worth it.
Affordability of Vintage Sinks
The appeal and popularity of vintage sinks are pretty obvious. Aside from the different materials available to choose from, these sinks are also starting to become more reasonably affordable. This increasing affordability makes it easier for developers and homeowners alike to add this sink style to their projects to develop a genuinely stand-out design.
Experts also claim that vintage sinks will continue to be a favorite and popular choice. It is especially true among many millennials, who are usually first-time homebuyers.
Frequently Asked Questions
When were Sinks Invented?
A sink was nothing more than a simple basin. During the early 1700s, many homes had a washstand that served as the bathroom sink. Washstands were simple fixtures of a small table and a deep bowl, and a pitcher was available next to the deep bowl. The pitcher served as the faucet that provided water to the static basin.
Between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s, manufacturers upgraded this original sink to what some referred to as the dry sink. Dry sinks were made from metal, wood, or stone and connected to a windowsill or cabinet. There are also instances when households also had dry sinks with a backsplash.
Basins got water from water buckets found next to the sink. After some time, the sink soon featured a hand pump, which was usually only available for affluent homeowners.
With modern plumbing, wet sinks became an everyday staple in homes. These days, it is simply hard to imagine a house without sinks. Modern sinks are easier and simpler to use, with no need to lug a large bucket of water into the sink. Contemporary sinks have also been designed and made to be visually appealing.
Top of page: You also learned about the London and Belfast basins.
Why is it Called a Farmhouse Sink?
During the 17th and 19th centuries, people had to carry buckets of water from wells and rivers. There was no plumbing system for the sinks and dishpans, and instead, you manually filled them. As a result, this led to the development of the farmhouse sink.
Farmhouse sinks were considerable and held large amounts of dishes and water, making them more ergonomic. The sinks also featured a forward orientation to save the women from leaning too much.
Why Choose a Farmhouse Sink?
A farmhouse sink, also called the apron front sink, is more accommodating than other sinks because of the exposed front and the large basin. The exposed front eliminates the countertop separation between the user and the sink, and this eliminates the need for you to lean forward every time you need to reach the bottom part of the basin or use the faucet.
What are the Drawbacks of Farmhouse Sink?
Just like anything else, farmhouse sinks also have their drawbacks. For starters, farmhouse sinks are usually more expensive, and since their size is often more significant, these sinks will also cost more.
This larger size also means that a farmhouse sink will need more space, and it means that the sink area and the extra cabinet space under the sink will occupy additional counterspace.
Finally, farmhouse sinks also require additional support due to their overall size and the specific type of material used. This extra support also means that the storage space under the sink will be restricted even further.
Are Vintage-Style Kitchen Sinks Suitable only for Vintage Kitchens?
While vintage-style kitchen sinks are a common design choice for vintage kitchens, these can also work well in other kitchen styles. Sleek stainless steel farmhouse sinks can fit seamlessly in modern kitchens, while modern concrete sinks work best in industrial-inspired kitchens.
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John Thompson, Writer and Commentator, EvolutDesign.com
Soldier, writer, researcher, consultant, and bon vivant, John Thompson is the author of numerous columns, op-eds, reports, briefs, short stories and books as the “Felicity Files” and “Spirit Over Steel: A Chronology of the Second World War” (version III). Often found hunched over his computer, or in his garden, and now often found doing both. His diverse talent has led him to work in industries and projects such as energy, security and home construction and renovation.