Fixtures & fittings

As some of the hardest working features of the kitchen, sinks, taps and handles should be considered key design elements. Modern fixtures and fittings can jar in a traditional scheme, so select them carefully to enhance the overall look.

Whether you’re creating an idyllic country cottage-style kitchen or prefer the look of utility chic, a ceramic sink is a smart and versatile choice. Trough-style Belfast sinks are as popular as ever and are usually mounted onto the wall, so that the worktop leads straight into them. Visit a local reclamation yard if the slightly worn look of a vintage model appeals, or opt for a new version if you prefer a flawless, crisp white finish. Double Belfast sinks are also available and prove particularly useful for soaking pots and pans. Alternatively, consider a 1.5 bowl ceramic sink with integral drainage.

Although taps may seem like a small feature, whether they’re unobtrusive or eye-catching, it’s important to get them right. Antique brass taps add a real sense of character and there are plenty of convincing reproductions available. These will give you the flexibility of a monobloc style such as a swivel spout and often include subtle detailing and a slightly tainted, pewter-style finish.

Alternatively, a simple chrome finish creates a very clean look – enamel-covered or cross-shaped controls add a traditional edge.

Simple units can be given a rustic feel with the addition of decorative handles. Rummage in junk shops for a set of classic cup handles which look all the better for being tarnished with age, or go for modern versions of traditional, ornate styles including beehive and twist cage designs. It’s this kind of attention to detail which creates a sense of craftsmanship.