Our Kitchen Remodel: Sink: For the Love of Copper

Last year, hubby and I remodeled our kitchen. We had the cabinets, appliances, and countertop replaced. We added about 9 linear feet of cabinet space. We also made the pantry, which was a bifold door in front of some deep shelves, into a multi-dimensional food playground. All that, AND we replaced the kitchen sink!

Our old sink was a 30" dual basin drop-in sink. Ick! We couldn't fit big pots or pans in there. We couldn't set dishes in either side to soak without covering the drain hole and making that side of the sink unusable until that item was cleaned. We couldn't keep the edges along the countertop clean. In short, we hated it! In my eyes, these kinds of sinks are clear cases of functional obsolescence, and yet I still see people putting them into new homes and remodels. {shudder}

Hubby and I both love copper, so we took this opportunity to indulge ourselves with a copper sink. I did hours and hours and hours of research and most copper sinks came up with care and feeding instructions to, wait for it, dry your copper sink after each use. Here's an example. It mentions drying (and waxing, more below) multiple times.

Really? Really? Who would do this? Certainly not me!

Moreover, instructions also often focused extensively on how to maintain the patina. Waxing the sink regularly, not scrubbing, being gentle, etc.. Some even promoted not ever putting anything acidic in the sink (no lemons/juice, no tomatoes/juice, etc., tell me how you cook at home and not use your sink for those things!) or to keep the water running constantly while working with acidic items (and how environmentally unfriendly is that?).

Also, having spent some time learning to make jewelry out of metal, I truly do understand how fragile any patina is on metal.

And for those reasons, I'm out (sorry, too much Shark Tank?)

Out in terms of ever drying after each use (or ever, for me). Out in terms of trying to maintain any sort of specific patina inside our sink. We wanted something that would change with time, naturally. We wanted something we didn't have to fuss over or worry about. A sink is supposed to be a convenience, after all, not a stressor or an added workload.

We eventually settled on a 36" undermount single basin apron-front (farmhouse) rear-drain copper sink from Rachiele. I don't know about hubby, but I love to watch the changes in the sink from week to week.

A scratch from the steel wool scrubber or accidentally rough handling of an item? A ring from a pot which was left to soak? A bright spot from some lemon juice? No problem, they all self-heal in a week or so and add character in the meantime. Sometimes I scrub the interior of the sink with steel wool and lemon juice just to see it shine for a few days then watch it darken again. It's fun!

What it boils down to, in my opinion, is if someone expects a copper sink to be "showroom condition" for more than a day or two, they will be sorely disappointed in their purchase. However, if someone gets a copper sink for the love of copper and how it changes from day to day with use, then they'll likely be much happier with their choice. Or even become inventive with it - I've read that some people leave notes in their sinks by judiciously applying an acidic liquid to write the text. How fun is that?


Here's our new sink. We did go with a "fire and ice" patinaed front. Gorgeous, but it's hard to appreciate the colors unless the lighting is just right. The image to the right is the inside of the sink after the first year + a few months.