Spectacular sinks dress up bathrooms

July 24, 2006|by CHRISTINE BRUN/Copley News Service

The bathroom is the most often renovated room in most houses. This is logical when you consider the tremendous use of this one area by everyone in the household and the fact that water is constantly involved.

It also makes sense that when a bathroom is under renovation one of the focal points is always the sink - the vessel where hand-washing, teeth-brushing and grooming with water occurs. Even the tiniest bathroom requires a toilet and a sink in order to qualify as a bona-fide restroom.

If you are planning to revamp your bathroom, you're in luck. The era of the chic, dramatic sink is here with lots of possibilities to provide inspiration for your makeover.

As with any design project, form must follow function, so that's the first principle to take into account when selecting a sink and faucet. Remember when you make a selection that regardless of the shape, a sink's purpose is to hold water, which is the primary cause of damage - both seen and unseen - in the bathroom.


A bowl that is too shallow, for example, might encourage extra splashing on the counter or the wall. Small pedestal sinks are a popular favorite for small bathrooms because they give the impression of more space. But if there is too little space for a bar of soap or soap dispenser, water will end up on the floor.

Wall-mounted vessels, such as the own shown here in a warm terra-cotta color, are by far the most advanced concept going. It used to be that a wall-hung sink meant thick white in the grade school lavatory. From the well-conceived polished chrome bracket that holds this particular sink to the smooth beveled edges of the bowl, the impression is one of sculpture.

A sink like this can make a huge style statement in a simple way. Just the manner in which the water streams from the faucet is different. Similar wall-mounted bowls made of stone, glass and porcelain are also available.

The sink you choose will naturally depend upon the look you want in the room. The classic white bowl could be used in an antique renovation or a contemporary cottage look. A cool frosted aquamarine would blend well with a Caribbean theme. Your mountain cabin might benefit from a hand-pounded copper vessel with faucet trims to match.

Consider a bowl carved from travertine for a farmhouse in the Tuscan style. Since stone is heavy, a wrought-iron stand might be the best way to hold the bowl.

If storage is an issue, look for unusual solutions in vintage cabinets. Just about any cabinet or chest could be retrofitted to be more functional. Double-check the depth to make sure the bowl, handles and spout will all fit.

Sinks come in metals such as stainless steel, copper and brass, polished finishes as well as brushed or anodized. Since minerals in water can eat away at factory-applied finishes on metal, be aware that you may have some maintenance issues in the future. Standard sizes are 17 inches and 19 inches, but you can locate 15 inches and smaller.

Another good idea for the tiny bathroom is a corner sink. These generally must be special-ordered, but they are worth the additional time and bother. Corner sinks are real space-savers.

Keep water control in mind as you plan your new bathroom if your sink is close to other elements in the room. Splashes will eventually ruin wood surfaces such as window parts, cabinets and medicine chests. Wallpaper can be beautiful, but choose a line that is made to withstand the water and steam in a bathroom since adhesives and backings can separate over time.

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Big Ideas for Small Spaces." Send questions and comments to her by e-mail at or to Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112.

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