Sexy, supersized appliances used to dominate the kitchenscape, but that was before a sink came along that refused to hunker down in a cabinet. Suddenly all eyes were on the cleanup zone, where a bossy, glossy-white heavyweight pushed aside the humble, hardworking stainless-steel basin.
America’s appetite for farmhouse, or apron-front, sinks can be traced to the late 1990s, when companies like realized they could romance a boxy U.K. import made from lustrous, rock-hard fireclay by evoking farmhouse style—or a glorified idea of it. “Your choices used to be overmount or undermount, which sound boring, while ‘farmhouse’ sounds like it has a story,” says David McNamara of , a Swiss sink-maker attuned to North American tastes. Even as it has swelled in popularity, the curvaceous classic has been evolving too. “Today the farmhouse sink has been modernized,” adds McNamara, “with tighter lines and new materials, like stainless steel.”
As kitchens continue their move toward large, open gathering spaces, here’s a roomy focal point that also hides dirty dishes and practically says “jump right in.” Read on for what you need to know before taking the plunge.
Shown: This classic silhouette, in sparkling white fireclay, finds a flattering partner in a high-arc bridge faucet.
Shaws Original single-bowl farmhouse sink, from $1,845;