One of the design questions we often tackle is how to give our kitchen sinks a distinctive look and feel. From classic enameled cast iron to industrial metal to distinctive stone, the size and form of the farmhouse sink is one of most important selections a homeowner should consider.
As a professional chef, it's my experience that the bigger the sink, the easier it is to use. You can place larger pots and pans in it to clean, soak large items as needed, etc. Why limit yourself on space if you don't need to? I've never understood why people want to hinder themselves for the sake of a certain look that they are used to (ie. the sink our parents had). Your kitchen needs to be functional and the farmhouse is a good first step.
Below are my thoughts on some noteworthy materials to consider when selecting your sink.
Enameled Cast Iron -- The classic enameled sink is great for durability, color selection, size selection and that traditional look. You really cannot go wrong. A word of caution: like anything in life, you get what you pay for. Don't settle for the cheapest. Use a quality manufacturer for your sink. Nothing is more frustrating than a chip in your enamel after you accidentally drop something in the sink that first week of use. Newer enamels are stronger than the older versions our grandparents had, just remember though, don't skimp on price.
Metal -- Stainless steel or copper is becoming increasingly popular as manufacturers are learning how to make them look attractive and not just like an industrial box of metal. They are at a better price point than other options and really no downside as we all have had some sort of stainless steel sink in our kitchens, so we know how they handle the stress of everyday use. Again you get what you pay for, make sure you are buying a heavier gauge steel (16 gauge is thicker than 18 gauge, and so on). The thinner the steel or copper, the less durable, more prone to dents and warping. You can also get these sinks coated on the underside with a sound deadening insulation to help control that unwanted clanging noise. Copper is a very cool (expensive) option that provides a unique patina look that will change color over time. Hammered copper adds a distinctive texture and could tie in your copper cookware you might have on display.
Stone -- This, in my opinion, is the best way to go. Very durable, looks great, and if you have a good stone company, they can make it to any size you want and any design you want. It will be a one of a kind of piece of art in your kitchen, no two are alike. And when you use stone countertops, it creates a seamless look that really makes your modern or contemporary kitchen stand out. The other cool thing is you can have them made in four pieces or you can splurge (if money is no issue) and have it carved out of a single block of stone so you then have a one piece sink. Just make sure with whichever stone sink you choose, you reinforce underneath the cabinet as these sinks are heavy.