Calgary Herald  |  Andrea Cox  |  February 6, 2016  | Link

Design Decisions: Vessels that won’t sink the budget or drain a sense of style

From funky to elegant and dripping with flair, today’s vessels are nothing like their 1970s ho-hum forefathers  — today’s are rich with lustre, shape, colour and sass. And not only do they look fabulous, they also zip with functionality. Designers Mark Cayen of Empire Kitchen and Bath and Arlene Ladner of Bronco Gray Design suggest getting down and dirty with the nitty gritty before making any design choices.

“It’s really a matter of juggling your budget with function. It can be worth the splurge if you love an apron front sink or a designer-style stainless steel deep-bowl sink, but it’s not necessary to have the best of the best when it comes to sinks. There are tons of options,” says Cayen.

Here are a few options.

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A classic look with clean lines, the undermount sink is a great choice for limited counter space as it is mounted below a solid surface countertop, creating a continuously flowing surface. Available in various colours and finishes — think vitreous china, porcelain and textured or printed patterns. Low-maintenance, they are a perfect pairing with granite, stone or quartz countertops, but not a great choice with laminate. “Definitely if your objective is a clean line and easy cleaning, then go with undermount,” says Ladner.


The go-to design choice for traditional or uber-modern styled bathrooms the drop-in sink has come a long way since the 1970s. Check out the latest rectangular designs with a four-inch lip in black matte. “It’s definitely the trend at the moment,” says Ladner.


An elegant option for the kitchen, with eye-catching colours and sleek design, the farmhouse sink stirs up conversation. “They are so beautiful in any space,” says Cayen. And with many material choices — stainless steel, fireclay, porcelain, metals, and colour choices — this style elevates any design genre from country to modern.


Great for those on a budget, the pedestal is the sink of choice for small spaces, particularly powder rooms. “It’s not great for storage and that is really the only con when it comes to this style of sink,” says Ladner, adding that white is usually the go-to colour. “But just double-check the tone – manufacturers make different whites from blue-white to warm-white. You want it to match the toilet, especially if they are right next to each other.”


Elegant basins sporting flowing organic forms or architectural lines (square or rectangular) elevate the look from humdrum to wow. The vessel or bowl sink can be fashioned from a variety of materials to suit its surroundings, including glass, stone, porcelain and a selection of metals – think sparkling copper. Despite the jazzy esthetics, the vessel design sports a few cons: namely the splash factor and limited selection of faucets. But with this type of sink design, the sky is the limit when it comes to cabinet style. “It gives you lots of room to play,” says Ladner.


Expensive and sexy, the trough sink presents a contemporary and sleek look. “This isn’t a common option, but they add a unique touch to a space and if budget isn’t a huge factor, then go for it,” says Ladner.