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Does your kitchen need a second sink?

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Many kitchens today, especially large ones, are being designed with a secondary sink station. But it”s not enough just to have a second sink, where you place it is just as important. When placed correctly, a food preparation sink is incredibly beneficial. It literally doubles the functionality of a kitchen without adding to the square footage. It also allows multiple cooks to work in comfort simultaneously. And it prevents dirty dishes from getting in the cook”s way or forcing him/her to stop in the middle of a task in order to clean out the sink so it can be used.

The trouble with second sinks is, the location is critical to the functionality. If it isn”t placed within the correct cooking zone, or with enough counter space around it, then it becomes dysfunctional, a waste of counter and money.

So how do you know where to put it?

To answer that, we have to look at the purpose it”s going to serve. Many designers and architects are focused on the placement of the “main sink” and relegate the secondary sink to anywhere it will fit. Too often that is outside the cook”s main work zone or else it”s too close to the cooktop and doesn”t have enough counter to be useful.

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The first thing we need to change is the language, in a kitchen with two sinks there should be no such think as a “main” sink. Instead, we should name the sinks according to their purpose “clean-up” and online casinos “prep.” These sinks are equally important, they just have different functions.

The clean-up sink is for washing dishes, pots, and glassware. It needs to have counter on both sides, ideally no less that 3-feet, so that dirty dishes can move assembly-line style from one side to the other. Around the clean-up sink should be wall cabinets for nearby plate and glass storage, the dishwasher, a trash pull-out for scraping garbage that can”t go down the disposal and a base cabinet with at least one drawer for storing clean silverware. When all these things are located in proximity to each other, you have a clean-up station that minimizes the work of clearing the table, cleaning dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher and setting the table.

The prep sink is for food preparation. This is the sink that should go within the cooking zone and have close proximity to both the refrigerator and the cooktop or range. It also needs counter. Lots of it, and not broken up into pieces. Unlike the clean-up sink where work flows in a predictable process from one side to another, at the prep sink the most important criteria is that the counterspace be continuous. You want to have as much counter in one big piece as you can get. On islands, this often means placing the sink off-center on one end or another. If you are a fanatic for symmetry, get over it. You want to have at least six feet of continuous counter space if at all possible. This allows you to spread out ingredients, tools, cutting boards, bowls and small appliances and work with them without having to hop from one side of the sink to the other. Sixty-five percent of the time spent in the kitchen is on food preparation. Only fifteen percent is on clean-up. So if you want to enjoy a view, put your prep sink under the window. If you want to be social with your family, put your prep sink on the island.

There is one more myth about prep sinks I would like to dispel, they are not just for large, expensive kitchens. Even small kitchens and the cooks who use them can benefit from having the division between food preparation and clean-up. I urge you, if at all possible, to add a prep sink to your kitchen. You won”t regret it. Consistently, my clients answer that it”s the best feature of their new kitchens and worth every penny.

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