The Kitchen “Upgrade” That Truly Makes Cooking (and Cleaning) So Much Harder

published May 18, 2024
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Philadelphia residence with white walls, lots of wood details: kitchen with dark stained wood cabinets, white countertop, wood ceiling, white tile backsplash

When I bought my townhome, there was no question about what my first project would be: a kitchen facelift. Goodbye, builder-grade tiles lined with muddy grout! Good riddance to the blotchy black and reddish-brown counters I referred to as “disgusting dinosaur egg!” 

In their place, I introduced a soothing, light and bright color scheme, starring a mitered-edge waterfall sink peninsula with a gorgeous sparkly aqua-veined leathered quartzite, sacrificing new cabinets to go luxe on my new counters. However, I made one major mistake that took all the shine out of my splurge: I opted for a 60/40 double sink.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I’d never had a double sink in any home in my life. As an avid cook, I thought multiple sinks were a hallmark of a well-appointed, efficient kitchen. I thought, Wow, I can wash and dry at the same time! I told myself, I can soak beans, leafy greens, fruit, and more without getting my counter wet! and I can drain foods and dishes in one sink without getting it all over the dishes waiting to be washed!

But … no. Instead, this 60/40 double sink has proven to be the most annoying feature of my kitchen — even more so than the stupid center stile between my cabinet doors that blocks me from storing larger appliances. In fact, I hate it so much that I even considered spending egregious amounts of money to have it replaced by a specialist that guaranteed they wouldn’t destroy my counters, which most contractors say is inevitable if you replace an undermount sink.

My biggest grievance is that it’s just not big enough. The larger basin is too small to lay a 10-inch frying pan flat, much less a standard 12-inch pan. This means I’m forced to scrub at an angle while holding the pan awkwardly to avoid hitting up against my precious counters. But as I do so, the sides of my pans scrape up the sides of my stainless steel sink, damaging the finish of both over time as the handle protrudes out of the sink as both an eyesore and a hazard.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

And forget about scrubbing if I need leverage! Any kind of heavy-duty large capacity pan or wok puts my delicate quartzite at risk as I’m forced to lean the long handle against the stone for stability. Too much elbow grease applies more pressure to the counter edges and invites chipping — yet soaking is impossible since, again, the necessary angle just causes the water to drain out. Perhaps if the 70/30 proportion I’d originally requested had been available, it might have given me enough room to maneuver, but in the 60/40 ratio, it essentially renders both sides useless and inconvenient.

I also learned that I’m actually kind of grossed out by the idea of stoppering up my sink and soaking or washing my fruits and vegetables against its surfaces. As clean as I try to keep it, soap scum, lime scale, and other residues still collect on it, and unlike bowls and dishes, I’m not sanitizing my sink after every use. Also, the dish drying rack drains right into that basin for extra ick factor, on top of the fact that I lose a couple more precious inches of limited space with the draining tray and spout.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

What’s more, the jigsaw shape of the sink makes it so that I can’t even use a silicone or cloth protector around my faucet to shield the countertops from getting splashed. This means that my counters are vulnerable from water damage — and boy is there a lot of splashing! The sink shape means that the faucet is always at an angle and close to the rim; otherwise, the water’s ricocheting off the sink divider, which is another pain point. More nooks and flat surfaces for standing water means more soap scum, water marks, and something else to clean!

All of this is to say, I definitely see the irony in the fact that the one feature that’s supposed to help keep my kitchen clean is one of the main obstacles to exactly that, and I share this costly mistake as a cautionary tale. Learn from my mistake and avoid that double sink!

What’s your biggest kitchen remodel mistake? Let us know in the comments below!