Choosing a kitchen sink faucet is an afterthought in many kitchen remodels. The selection of a kitchen faucet is often overshadowed by decisions about the sink, appliances, lighting, cabinetry, paint color, kitchen ergonomics, etc. However, the kitchen faucet is critical to a vintage kitchen remodel and should mix in to the design like the ingredients of your favorite recipe. In fact, the correct kitchen faucet for a vintage kitchen may significantly influence those other decisions. The kitchen faucet shouldn't be taken for granted and therefore it is the focus of today's post.
Early kitchen sink faucets had separate hot and cold taps but around the turn of the 20th century, kitchen faucets featured mixing valves. As opposed to separate taps, mixing valve faucets blend hot and cold water in the faucet body instead of the sink bowl. Even a perfectionist restoring an early 1900's kitchen with any functional intent is likely to compromise by choosing a kitchen faucet with a mixing valve and you should not be reluctant to do the same.
Antique mixing valve faucets usually had two handles; normally marked "hot" and "cold". The mixing valve was new technology at the time so the indicators were helpful at a time when homeowners and their guests might not yet be familiar with the handles' function. The early kitchen faucet also often incorporated a soap dish on its spout but lacked a sprayer.
For the first three decades of the 1900's, kitchen sink faucets were wall mounted. Even apron front sinks and farmhouse sinks had faucet holes through their tall integrated backsplash for the purpose of mounting a kitchen faucet. A wall mounted kitchen faucet is not only appropriate for the restoration of an early 1900's kitchen but for any spatially challenged kitchen with narrow or limited countertop space. Wall mounted kitchen faucets have become more difficult to obtain but Shop 4 Classics still offers antique reproductions from Sign of the Crab and American Standard.
The first kitchen faucets were finished in polished brass or polished nickel. Polished nickel was replaced with chrome by the mid 1930's. Polished nickel kitchen faucets were hard to find for many years but there has been a resurgence recently. Shop 4 Classics offers polished nickel antique reproduction kitchen sink faucets from Sign of the Crab.
By the 1930's, kitchen countertops and cabinetry began to get deeper providing more room for deck mounted kitchen faucets. Countertop mounted kitchen faucets remain the most popular option today. The number of options, styles, and finishes has expanded greatly for the modern kitchen but even modern kitchens can benefit from the traditional appeal of a vintage kitchen faucet. Belle Foret's kitchen faucets include the modern convenience of a sprayer and are available in popular finishes such as oil rubbed bronze and stainless steel. Belle Foret's period inspired kitchen faucets are also available at Shop 4 Classics.
Kitchen renovation projects require many decisions; of which the selection of a kitchen sink faucet should not be the least. The faucet is especially important to vintage kitchens. Whether quenching your thirst, preparing a meal, or cleaning up afterwards, the kitchen faucet is an integral part of the kitchen, traditional or otherwise.