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Buying the farm(house sink): Old kitchen feature back in fashion, but owners suggest giving extra thought

While traditional farmhouse sinks are clay or porcelain, metal options are also available. Special to The Forum1 / 3
Farmhouse or apron-front sinks have come back in style because of their wide basin and lower position. Special to The Forum2 / 3
Sara and Christopher Voorhees opted for a hand-hammered copper sink for their home. John Lamb / Forum News Service3 / 3

MOORHEAD—While bathroom work has been the most popular home renovation project for some time, this year kitchens put bathrooms on the back burner for home remodelers.

According to a May report by the National Association of Home Builders, kitchens trickled past bathrooms as the most popular home project in 2016.

More than just getting new appliances or countertops, kitchen remodels cover everything right down to, well, the kitchen sink.

In a case of what's old is new, farmhouse sinks have seen a resurgence over the last decade.

"One more thing that was everywhere last year and shows no sign of slowing down in 2016 is the farmhouse sink," said an article on the home design website in early 2016.

The appeal isn't limited to rural residents as anyone can appreciate the antique charm, but also the functionality. The front-forward build allows for easier access to those who need to work over the sink and less strain on the back because there is no countertop to lean over.

"Farmhouse kitchen sinks, also known as apron-front sinks, have a practical past—their deep basins allow for plenty of dishwashing and overhanging fronts eliminate sharp countertop edges you might otherwise bump into," an article in the December 2016 Architectural Digest stated. "But these days they're also a kitchen design statement, bringing a classic, country vibe to the space. While a single white ceramic basin is the go-to look, the shape also comes in unexpected finishes, such as a black hue or stainless steel, and double bowl sizes."

"It's something I've loved the style of for a long time," says Sara Voorhees. "I like the way they look. I like that it comes over and it's just a sink, not the fake drawers."

Her husband, Christopher, liked the functionality of having a bigger basin.

So when the couple was redoing the kitchen of their 1929 Moorhead home, they thought a farmhouse sink would fit in nicely.

While they like the farmhouse sink, they encourage those considering the vessel to give it extra thought.

"I love this sink, but I wouldn't do it again," Sara Voorhees says.

The hand-hammered copper sink they chose has some drawbacks as the material is sensitive to traditional cleaners and sound reverberates on the metal when something like silverware is dropped in the sink.

Jack Wagner, owner of Northern Valley Construction in Fargo, has installed a few farmhouse sinks and also urges caution with the selection.

"A lot of people that have had them don't like them after they've had them, so I tend to advise people not to have them," he says.

One of the deficiencies he sees is what so many others like—the large, single bowl basin. He adds that because of the size of the sink there can be issues with the cabinet below and the countertop above as the sinks are undermounted.

"For someone who wants to do a renovation, there's a little more work in modifications to the cabinet and countertop," Christopher Voorhees says. "You really have to make sure that's what you want, because you're going to have to live with it for some time."