If I told you that a sink had the power to evoke feelings of nostalgia, would you believe me? Take the test: what comes to mind when you view the sinks above? Without even trying I think about country cottages, cozy words like home and hearth, and hearty, soul-warming meals for a family of six. (See what I mean?) Behold the power of the farmhouse sink! Farmhouse sinks—also known as apron front sinks—have become an increasingly popular sink option in recent years for both traditional and contemporary style kitchens. The classic design (deep basin, a wide "apron"-like panel that juts out slightly from the surrounding cabinetry) recalls a time when the sink was an essential part of daily life, whether scrubbing pots, cleaning clothes, even washing children! (Even now I'm likely to believe a farmhouse sink kitchen pours out warmth and sustenance upon all men, women, children, and animals within a 25-mile radius.)
The farmhouse sink is meant to be a dramatic focal point, a sturdy workhorse for the avid cook. It's large enough to accommodate stock pots and baking sheets, deep enough to reduce splashing and spills, and easier to work with. (The forward orientation means less physical stress and strain than with drop-in or undermount sinks.) Traditional farmhouse sinks do not include holes for the faucets to be fitted into; rather, faucets are installed through the cabinetry or on the wall. If the sink is damaged and needs to be replaced, it's simply disconnected from the drainpipe, lifted out, and another sink lowered in. No need to shut off the water!
Because of the unique structure of farmhouse sinks, they typically only work with custom-built cabinetry and countertops, although newer options like this self-trimming apron-front sink from Kohler can be installed without replacing the existing cabinetry. Enameled cast iron, white porcelain, and fireclay remain the most popular material choices, but stainless steel and copper are also options.
Do you have a farmhouse sink? What material did you get? How do you like it?
Related: Gallery: Farmhouse Sinks