When designing a new kitchen, more often than not, the sink is located below a window with a view to the backyard. As we work through early design concepts with our clients, we usually have at least one scheme that locates the sink away from a window. And, more often than not, the reaction is immediate, and we discuss why we would do that, and then we focus on the schemes that have the traditional sink and window with a view of the backyard.
I find it intriguing, and ok maybe a little amusing too, how we are somehow programmed to have a sink and window overlooking the back yard. Do we so dread cleaning the dishes that we need distraction and the sun in our eyes? I’m not saying to avoid it; but is it human nature to have this? Maybe it is more of a suburban to rural phenomenon. Most city kitchens, including my past Boston kitchens, do not have the sink and window combo.
With that, we decided to ask a panel of design and construction experts to get their thoughts, inside and out.
Glenn Meader, Principal of Good Life New England
To us this norm has solid rationale behind it, though it’s not an absolute and we do see change evolving. In the sink/window scenario, we capture daylighting, views and ergonomic open space above a key work area, while preserving other wall space for cabinetry or shelving and island counters free of the mess. This program often follows traditional entertainment with meals prepared and cleaned up before and after guests, yet we’re seeing some of our clients that shifting to designs that intentionally feature the culinary process as part of their entertaining. These kitchens often favor oversized or double islands with integration of not just the sink, but full “workstations” like those perfected by The Galley that bring culinary craft front and center with guests.
Sarah Lawson, Owner of S+H Construction
It’s true. Most of our customers still put the sink in front of a window, if there’s a window available. But it’s also true that there’s a trend away from this tradition. Sinks on islands are common. Now that kitchens are such social places, the person washing dishes wants to be able to have a conversation, or at least feel part of the action going on around them. When the island has seating, it’s actually a great way to chat with someone, or feel connected while kids do their homework, for example. Having your back to the room makes dishwashing feel more like a chore. So we say, liberate the dish washer and let them join the living!