Thursday, 07 May 2020 11:47

Jewels in the kitchen’s crown

    Thanks to emerging trends and changing lifestyles, sinks and taps are increasingly used to set the tone for a kitchen scheme and help define a style. This makes them a key element when designing ‘the heart of a home’, but it’s important to ensure their looks are as impressive as their functionality, explains James Cunningham, Sales Director at AGA Rangemaster.

    For years, the sink was often an afterthought when it came to kitchen design, but now they are specified – along with taps – far earlier in the decision-making process. Plus, the general ‘value’ of a sink in a kitchen is far wider recognised by consumers and designers alike, so it is no longer an item that is automatically downgraded should the budget be squeezed.

    With an abundance of materials, shapes and styles, designers need to consider every last detail. The finishes and colours of sinks and taps are far more refined than they once were, so rather than hiding them away, they are now fully on display in a kitchen – and rightly so.

    Material matters

    The three main materials used for kitchen sinks – stainless steel, ceramic and granite composite – offer a different aesthetic alongside their own individual features and benefits.

    Stainless steel remains the most popular material choice when choosing a kitchen sink due to its hardwearing properties and resistance against heat, scratches and stains. Most inset models are pre-fitted with clips and seals to reduce installation time, while also ensuring a watertight fit with the work surface. However, it’s important to note that not all stainless steel is the same. To this end, at Rangemaster, all our sinks are manufactured using high-grade 18/10 stainless steel, and we have created specific finishing touches to our stainless steel models, including ground edge trims to beautifully frame the sink, as well as an advanced Micro-Sheen brushed finish – both of which create a high-quality appearance to the product.

    Ceramic sinks are fashioned from clay fired at extremely high temperatures to provide superior strength, with a stunning high-gloss finish. These sinks are stain and heat resistant, as well as available in colours such as White and Anthracite Grey. Ceramic sinks are also hygienic, easy to wipe clean and are generally low maintenance, while the glossy finish provides added visual appeal.

    Furthermore, recent developments in manufacturing techniques have allowed fire clay sinks to become lighter, stronger and generally more practical, while still providing the same aesthetic benefits.

    When it comes to granite composite sinks, expect incredible durability with models designed to withstand the toughest kitchen environments. This is combined with a variety of designs, including smooth sculptural sinks, as well as more classic models with grooved drainers and generous bowls. They are also available in different colours, such as black, dove grey or stone, allowing them to be easily matched with different cabinetry and worktops.

    Installation nation

    Kitchen sinks continue to evolve in line with design trends and consumer demand. Undermount models remain popular, particularly in modern kitchens encompassing clean lines and contemporary styling. Such models are very discreet, as they sit under a worktop, creating a successful ‘flow’ through a kitchen – which is of paramount importance when designing a large, open-plan space. Inset models, on the other hand, tend to have more of a presence in a kitchen and draw the eye more to the food preparation and washing-up area.

    From a practical perspective, the configuration of the bowl is an important factor. In smaller kitchens, it is often useful to select a 1.5-bowl model, offering additional space for draining or preparing food, while in larger kitchens, double bowls are a great option to allow extra room all around. However, from a design perspective, the small details can make a big difference – and a great example is the style of the drainer. This can be either smooth and minimal for a streamlined effect; classical with a bold grooved design; or even eye-catching, thanks to individual design details such as geometric shapes.

    Sit on, Belfast sinks are also becoming more prevalent throughout the sector, integrating seamlessly into traditional-style kitchens of all price points. In response to this demand, Rangemaster has launched the new Farmhouse Belfast in a contemporary Anthracite Grey finish, which takes all the elements people love about the Classic Belfast and blends them with superior materials to produce a lighter, stronger and generally more practical model.

    Top taps

    Taps are often left off dream kitchen wish lists – however, that doesn’t mean they are taking a back seat. The latest taps are available in a variety of finishes to suit any design or scheme, including brushed copper, graphite and black, as well as the more traditional polished or brushed chrome. These can be chosen specifically to match other finishes in a kitchen, such as cooker handles, fridge-freezers or even small electrical appliances.

    It’s also important to look at what taps can offer modern kitchens in terms of practicality, such as four-in-one models that deliver hot and cold water, plus filtered cold and boiling water. The popularity of these multipurpose taps continues to soar, including models such as Rangemaster’s GEO 4-in-1; these taps safely dispense 98ºC water with a child-safe key fob system and unpressurised system to ensure a fast, consistent stream of water, without the dangers of spitting and splashing to reduce the risk of scalding.

    Incoming trends

    At Rangemaster Sinks & Taps, we have experienced high demand for contemporary, geometric designs which make a statement in a kitchen. Modern, metallic kitchens are still very much sought after, so we’re anticipating granite sinks with flecks of silver that add shimmer and sheen to continue setting the pace for the latest designs. In terms of product development, we’re seeing larger, double-bowl sinks gain in popularity, due to the increased capacity they have to offer. As a result, this makes food preparation and cleaning far easier for family households.

    At the more traditional end of the spectrum, fire clay ceramic sinks will continue to be a ‘go-to’ product when creating a traditional shaker-style kitchen, which pairs classic materials alongside modern finishes for a contemporary contrast. Consequently, it’s likely that new fire clay ceramic sink designs will emerge to fill this gap in the market. One thing is for certain, with kitchens more open and taking more of a starring role, 2020 looks set to be focused on both form and functionality.

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