Must-know tips before investing in a kitchen sink workstation

Julien consulted Jen, an interior design specialist, to address client inquiries regarding key considerations before investing in a kitchen sink workstation. As the founder of Jen Sottosanti Design, she guides clients in Sarnia and throughout Southern Ontario to realize their design dreams.  

Four years ago when she was building her new home, she learned about the Julien sink collections through our cabinet installers, and it was love at first sight; she knew she wanted them in her new home !

Jen has graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions. Let's begin with part 1 of 2 of our interview with her.

JULIEN : Jen, what are your thoughts on the importance of kitchen accessories for cooking?

JEN : Having the right accessories while prepping in the kitchen is what makes cooking that much more enjoyable. It creates a seamless process with a satisfying result - an awesome snack or meal. When we have these things on hand and when we can access them easily, we can prep more efficiently and enjoy the one process so many of us don’t necessarily love - prepping and cooking meals! And when things are visually appealing, it’s just our nature to be drawn to them even more!

The Julien sinks and their accessories are not only beautiful but super functional and so it’s really a no brainer for me. 

Image smartstation home refinementsImage smartstation home refinements
The Essential Station sets

JULIEN : How do you approach designing a workstation around the kitchen sink ?

JEN : The kitchen sink is in the heart of the home ! It’s where everyone hangs out and one of the first places guests see when they come to your home. 

As a designer I am always thinking of designing spaces as a whole - not piece by piece. I always think of function first, then think how I can aesthetically make it look good, match or go with the space design - as one.

When it comes to designing a good workstation in a kitchen I not only want lots of counter space to set food and items on, I also look at good flow from all the things I need access to while prepping and cooking, and what tools and accessories will help make it functionally seamless. The kitchen sink, its size, and how it functions for that specific client’s need, is super important. So many of us will say “ as long as it functions and works, it's good”, but on top of function, a designer is always thinking of the aesthetics and what will look good with the overall design and decor, even when it gets lived in or used.

Finding the right sink and accessories, like the Julien workstation; you know you not only will have beautiful accessories, you have a practical and functioning workstation, that is built with quality and longevity in mind.

JULIEN : Do you have any advice or tips for coordinating materials and finishes in design?

JEN : I love to mix materials, textures and finishes. I always tell my clients that things don’t have to be “matchy- matchy” but they have to “go together” and be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Over the last few years, having things be alike or match exactly has phased out quite a bit in design. Instead creating spaces with different materials and textures has been more appealing, as long as it still is cohesive and makes sense. 

I feel that mixing textures and materials allows for a sense of warmth and variety in a design. Whether you are mixing metals, woods or textures, it adds visual interest in a space, but you just have to be mindful when and how much to “mix it up”. We want the eye to glaze over a design joyfully, not have a sense of chaos or scattered feeling. 

What I love about the Julien stainless accessories, is the natural wood detail that ties in with the cutting boards, giving the pieces a softer, timeless look.

Image smartstation sink with fruitsImage smartstation sink with fruits

JULIEN : Any considerations for
selecting a sink ?

JEN : Because I specialize in renovations or new builds - I have to say PLAN AHEAD and design accordingly to your desires and how you operate or would like to operate in your home/kitchen.

As mentioned above, hearing what the client's purpose, needs or wants in a space is crucial when designing. How much do they cook? How much counter space do they want? How much prep space do they require or wish for? How much storage do they want? These are some of the very first questions I ask, and one should ask themselves, when planning one of the most important spaces in a home! There is nothing worse than wishing you would have done this or that because you didn’t plan ahead when you had the opportunity to! 

When it comes to the kitchen sink specifically - think about how you want it to operate for you! Do you need more space than what you currently have? Do you cook/prep a lot? Would you rather have the accessories you need in the sink and off the counter? Do you dry your dishes in the sink vs the counter? Do you prefer a one or two bowl sink? When it comes to the finish-what durability do you require; stainless clay? How can I avoid clutter on my countertops and keep the space looking clean and tidy?

As much as we want to make sure the sink and workstation fit the client's lifestyle, as it is aesthetically pleasing, we also want to make sure it functions for the client’s cooking lifestyle. 

Julien offers the perfect options for a variety of styles and requirements; from minimal to maximal and that is why they are my number one option when clients ask for a workstation sink!

Image smartstation sink in a ktichen with vegetablesImage smartstation sink in a ktichen with vegetables
JULIEN : And what about design principles and color schemes ?

JEN : I always gravitate to lighter color schemes myself. I love the light and airy vibe, but I also love adding warmth and depth with muted colors, natural materials and textures, like wood accents. 

To create a cohesive and harmonious design you definitely have to think of the design elements used in the space and principles that follow; is there some contrast or do things feel washy or blended in? Is there a rhythm or pattern? Are there receptive things happening throughout the space that tie it together? Is there a mix of materials that bring variety and interest into the design, and are there similar shapes or colors that carry visual weight and help balance out the space? 

A great tip for color is to use the 60-30-10 rule; where 60% is the dominant color, 30% is the secondary color or texture and 10% is the accent.

One of the biggest for me is proportion! So often I see a design and the light is too small for the space or the table is too large for the space. Always measure before buying; this applies to the kitchen sink. Check the space you have and what works in your personal design. That will allow you to maximize functionality without compromising the space or design.

White space aka “negative space” is another great tip! - Be intentional by leaving some breathing room in each space. So many of us think we need to fill up the space or have the sofa touching the kitchen chairs; having that intentional empty space not only visually separates the rooms, especially in an open concept design, but it also can highlight specific content or specific parts of a design; rather than being lost in a “tight” design. In the kitchen, remember to create some breathing room where you can without compromising the essential “work triangle”.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview : Personalizing your kitchen sink workstation: key tips.

Image Jen Sottosanti designerImage Jen Sottosanti designer