Farmhouse drainboard sinks

farmhouse drainboard sinkClassic farmhouse drainboard sinks are one of the most desirable features in a vintage kitchen. We continue to do extensive research on all the options for retro sinks and faucets — so now there is enough information to make a whole page of all the alternatives.

1. Authentic vintage farmhouse drainboard sinks:

Mid century and prewar farmhouse kitchen sinks were, I believe, generally manufactured using a cast iron or steel substrate, covered with porcelain enamel. They were available in white…

jadeite

…in pastels… as in Erica’s Jadeite kitchen

pink sink…. ooh, and pink! 1954 American Standard pink drainboard sink

brown sinkand later, even in coppertone brown and other 1970s colors. Of course, all the colors including pastels are going to much harder to find.

Here is slide show of  16 vintage Kohler kitchens that give you some idea of the designs. I will add some more photos shortly.

2. Where to buy original vintage drainboard sinks:

To me, this would always be the most desirable choice — in general, because I am super thrifty — aka *cheap*… because I love the hunt… and because I think it’s super cool to find and use authentic vintage in my house. BUT: This method requires lots of time and tenacity, and I totally understand why others would take the reproduction route.

If you want to buy a vintage drainboard sink — which is likely to be porcelain enamel on cast iron or on steel — the best places to look likely include craigslist, your area ReStore / Habitat for Humanity, or other area salvage stores. Ebay… maybe… but I would want to go look before I buy. See this story with a list of particular salvage companies that sell online and which may have vintage drainboard sinks.

porcelain sink

3. Re-porcelain a vintage sink:

It may be difficult to find a vintage sink that is not chippy. If you have a vintage sink, and want to re-porcelain it, here is our known resource (photo above is an example). Two readers who far have reported positive experiences.

We also recently received a tip about a second company to contact if you are in need of re-porcelaining from reader Barb who is having her vintage drainboard sink re-porcelained by Independence Porcelain Enamel. We will follow up with a story soon!

I do not believe that if you have a vintage kitchen sink that it makes any sense to have it  “resurfaced” by a tub resurfacing company etc etc — the coating will not endure.

4. How to clean a porcelain enamel drainboard sink:

Be very very very careful about what you use to clean a porcelain drainboard sink. Acidic cleaners… and abrasive cleaners… may harm the surface coating, and there’s no good way to restore it once it’s gone, expect to re-porcelain $$$. For tips, read this detailed story — I ask Kohler what should and should not be used to clean porcelain enamel on cast iron plumbing fixtures.

5. Farmhouse sink reproductions — porcelain enamel on cast iron:

We know of  two sources for a reproductions of apron style farmhouse drainboard sinks. These designs below are porcelain enamel on cast iron — the very old school way to make these sinks.

sandford-cast-iron-sink-2The first is the Sanford Cast Iron Kitchen sink with drain board and apron from Signature Hardware — like Laura used in her adorable summer cottage kitchen.

clarion-kitchen-sink-1-2The other available option — also in cast iron — the Clarion farmhouse drainboard sink. It is made by Strom Plumbing and marketed by a number of companies such as our longtime advertiser, deabath.com — but you can shop around. This apron sink is 60″ wide.

These faucets will use a vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucet — see our story 8 vintage style wall-mount kitchen faucets.

steel drainboard sink

6. Steel drainboard kitchen sinks:

drainboard sink

A second style “drop in” (rather than full sink top)

7. Reproduction farmhouse sinks available from Nelson Bath Tub, Inc.:

reproduction-fiberglass-drainboard-sink

Nelson Bath Tub offers six reproduction farmhouse drainboard sinks manufactured using gelcoat and fiberglass reinforced polyester resins. Above is the “Apron Sink”.

drainboard-farmhouse-sinkAbove: Apron sink with double drainboards.

reprodution-fiberglass-kitchen-drainboard-sink

Above: The second sink from Nelson Tub and Bath is a 66″ wide double sink double drainboard farmhouse sink.

double-bowl-double-drainboard-sinkAbove: Nelson’s double bowl, double drainboard 60″ sink.drainboard-sinkAbove: Farmhouse sink from Nelson’s with single bowl.

single bowl drainboard sink

Above: Nelson’s 42″ single bowl, single drainboard sink.

8. Reproduction drainboard sinks in acrylic available from other makers (including colors)drop in drainboard sink

The Karran drop-in double bowl drainboard sink is made of acrylic and retails for $366 on Amazon (*affiliate link), free shipping.  Available in white or bisque, this is an affordable drainboard sink option. However, it looks like this sink doesn’t have holes for the faucet, which means you will have to have a solid surface or tile countertop or install a wall-mounted faucet. (We don’t think that installing deck-mounted faucets into laminate is a a great idea, due to all the water that typically accumulates around the base of a faucet.)

colorful-drainboard-sinksdrop in drainboard sinkdrop-in-drainboard-sinkAnother new option — this CorStone Wakefield Double Bowl Drainboard sink  *affiliate link) comes in a 36 colors — including pale yellow, greens, pinks and even a bluish lavendar. This sink is made of acrylic and sells for  $468.75 (*affiliate link) with free shipping (some colors may be an extra charge).  One note — a review on Wayfair.com gave this sink low marks for difficult installation.

9. Reproduction drainboard sink made of composite stonedrop in drainboard sink

Another new option is this Blanco sink (*affiliate link) lists for $933 plus shipping. While this model has the lovely drainboard — and appears to be made of a composite including hard rock granite — it is not what we’d describe as “retro” in style. Still, we’ll put it out there for you. This model is available in eight neutral colors — but also has the drawback of no faucet holes — limiting counter top options.

10. Drainboard laundry sink

drop in drainboard sink

Also of note — the CorStone Hamilton Laundry Sink (*affiliate link), prices starting at $258 — with three holes for a deck mounted faucet — appears to come in all of the same 36 colors as the kitchen sink. So if your laundry room is right off the kitchen, and you like colorful matching sinks, this might be just what you’ve been looking for.

10. Rare kitchen sinks

american standard midway sinkPerhaps you will find a rare drainboard sink like the 1954 American Standard Midway sink, which is among the rare vintage kitchen sinks that we’ve archived here.

See all our kitchen sink research here.

Comments

  1. Janet in CT says

    Great subject this morning. I was looking at #3 and #4 in the slide show and wondering about what looks like a lid on one of the sinks in each picture. The freestanding one is obviously a very deep sink as shown. Could this be a sink for soaking clothes, with a lid to cover it to keep anything else out? Does someone know the purpose of it? At first I thought for deep pots but then why the lid? I especially like the following ones with the trim down along the sides that curves down in front with the countertop – very nice looking. Oh, got a typo – I think you mean two readers SO far, not who far, under the re-porcelaining topic! Oh, to find one of those colored ones!

    • Shari D. says

      Janet – Those two sinks you are referring to with the lids over the very deep side – if you notice too there is a hose running from the faucet that doesn’t appear on the others as well. That very deep “sink” is actually a “state of the art electric sink” – translate to an automatic dishwasher! You’ll notice too there is what looks like a garbage disposal underneath both of those sinks – I believe that is the motor that makes the whole thing work. They really were trying hard post-War to provide every conceivable modern convenience to the new housewives busy with the mushrooming “Baby Boom!”

  2. Jay says

    Pam, not in the market for a farmhouse sink but I sure enjoyed the photo gallery and all the other pictures. Nice for Friday! Thanks!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, we spotlight these in our stories about stainless steel sinks — but you know, based on your comment, we’re doing to do a big round up of just drop-in stainless steel drainboard sinks.

  3. K S Kaplan says

    Pam: It has been a year since I realized I have to replace my dual drainboard single bowl sink because the faucet is hinky, and there is no glaze or much porcelain left in the basin. I started watching HGTV a lot, and I keep seeing sinks, some with base cabinet, that would be a good replacement, and most of what I see are not the ubiquitous IKEA sink.

    Just thought it would be nice to find a way to source sink options available outside the USA. My online searches lead nowhere, and HGTV does not make it easy to ask questions.

    Because I do not want to gut my Atomic Kitchen. I am about to just find a stainless drop in sink and new faucet, but I know it will look terrible, and no backsplash.

    and, due to an iron in water mystery, forced to do stainless (and not the Elkay -too $$$).

  4. Shea Ingram says

    My first house in Missouri was built in 1896 and had a farmhouse sink. I loved that sink and when we sold the house I had it placed in the contract that when the new owners remodeled they would give me the sink. They did and I have been moving that silly thing across country for nearly 40 years. I finally have a house in which I can use that sink and believe me, I am one excited old lady. I am restoring a 1924 bungalo. The only modern update to the kitchen was a stainless steel sink and several layers of flooring. Cabinets, counters all are original as is the beadboard and huge windows.
    I came across a teardown of an old farmhouse 3 years ago. The site manager let me go inside but would not allow me to salvage the old sink from the kitchen. Farmhouse sink with dual drainboards. And it was a gorgeous shade of green. They just leveled the house with everything in it except the copper wiring and pipes. Stupid stupid stupid.Oh well.

  5. Nancy Noyes says

    Love your site! Looking at picture #5 brought me back to my grandparents’ kitchen. Their landlords had the kitchen updated for them when they moved into the house in 1941 and it had metal cabinets with this same double sink, only it also had a cover that was the same Formica(?) as the counters and edged with stainless steel. It fit into the frame made by the counters (also flat sided and stainless edged) and would slide left or right to cover that side’s sink and drainboard. I suppose it would just lift off if someone wanted to use both sides at once, but I adored that sink and wish I had one on our house now!

  6. says

    The farmhouse sink was a serious selling point for me on this house and fitted kitchen. My only challenge is trying to figure out what I’m willing to sacrifice in the kitchen to fit a dishwasher. Definitely NOT the charming windowseat (which, interestingly, is far too low below the window to be a seat with a view). And because the lower cupboards are sunken, I am loathe to ruin the look of that. So for now it’s the old fashioned way with a dish drainer, and so far it is totally worth it.

    A big nod of appreciation to Pam for this fabulous site and the mid-century modest inspiration!
    –jd

  7. Pam says

    We live in a house built in 1939 and when we purchased it nothing had been updated since that time. Our kitchen had a single sink like the one in photo 11 of the slide show. I love that sink, but it was not in the best of shape and I really wanted to get rid of the linoleum countertops. We had it re-porcelained and undermounted in the granite counter. I am happy to share before and after photos if anyone is interested. It looks amazing.

    • Pam says

      Hi, I read your comment from Oct. 22, 2013 regarding the sink you had re-porcelained. Has it withstood the test of time? We love our very old sink w/ drainboard but the finish is just about wore off in the sink.

      • Pam Trowbridge says

        It is still wonderful. I do fuss at anyone who leaves something that could stain, but I think I would be that way with a new sink as well. We are very happy we did this.

  8. Diane says

    I have an original sink that looks like #5 except the apron is much shorter (about 2 “). The tin bottom enclosure has finally given way to the rust that was holding it together and the faucets are rusting also. So both have to be replaced. The sink is in reasonable condition and would like to avoid the expense of recoating. Can you give me any tips or recommendations on enclosing the bottom (without a curtain) and getting new faucets and spigot? Thank you so much.

  9. says

    Having spent a lot of time in a farmhouse in my youth, I have absolutely no nostalgia for country living – but I did enjoy this story :-)

  10. bonita says

    I have a metal one deep sink cabinet with drainboard. Completely unharmed in excellent condition. What is your opinion of the value of this type of sink.

  11. allicia says

    Recently my family and i were out doing a bit of salvaging and found a really cute vintage type sink. Now I absolutely love this sink, however i cannot for the life of me figure out something…. Its a triple basin sink with a drainboard, but the smallest basin ( which is the middle ) has a hole for a faucet in the front as well as the back. I`ve tried but i can`t figure out whats supposed to go in front. If anyone has any suggestions or actually knows what this is for I`d greatly appreciate some insight. Thanks.

  12. R. French says

    I have an original sink similar to your photo #5 except that the left side is a deep sink with a drain cover over it. The left sink has faucets in it. The right sink has the same fixture as the one in the photo. It has been in my home since it was built in 1920. The unit is totally functional and being used in my basement. I have legs available for it but they are in use on another sink. I am curious as to it’s worth if anyone knows.

    • pam kueber says

      R., value is quite variable, depending on condition, rarity and location. Sources to do research: Ebay, craigslist and local salvage shops. No buying/selling here on the main blog, or else it would be chaos.

  13. Nina Clarke says

    I need faucets for a circa 1927 cast iron so bowl double drain apron sink. I have the exact cabinet as your first photo I would like for you to see the hikes for the faucet and give me direction on where I can find some to fit reproducts would work

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Nina, we have a fair amount of kitchen faucet research. You can get to it all via our navigation — Kitchen Help / Faucets.

      Good luck.

    • pam kueber says

      hmmm… definitely interesting for a (prewar) farmhouse look — (these look to be apron-front sinks meant to sit on top of a short base cabinet, I think) — and yes, would need to go on a solid surface countertop to have a deck-mounted faucet. Or, you could use a wall-mount faucet — but even then, the countertop between the backsplash and the sink itself would get quite splashy, I’d go solid surface, tile or stainless steel (not laminate or linoleum, likely)

      Thanks for the tip!

  14. Shirlee says

    I love this site! Time for my first question. We live in a 1911 house and are trying to bring some character back. We just acquired a cast iron double drainboard sink with backsplash (wall mount faucet holes 8″ spread). We are not sure of the date of the sink, only info on it says Port Hope F-293-60 in. We’re guessing around the 20’s/30’s. Problem is, it has a deep basket area that is a strange width (3 7/8″ w). We need to find a basket/strainer to fit it. Do you know of a source or have any experience with antique drain/basket fittings? Many thanks. Shirlee

  15. Joe Felice says

    A few things I noticed:
    The women are always wearing dresses.
    They are always smiling. (What woman today would be smiling in the kitchen?)
    The kids’ stick-figure drawings haven’t changed over the years.
    And the kids are happy to see dad when he arrives home, in a suit, of course. Today’s kids would probably not be home, and if they were, they probably run when dad comes home.

    For some reason, I like a double-bowl sink, even though I never do dishes!

  16. Mary Becknell says

    My brother remolded his kitchen recently and removed his old 1948 double deep sink but did not save the cabinet. I asked him to save the sink for me. Any chance that I could get just the cabinet to install this back into? Any Ideas as to how I could incorporate this into my outside flower garden?

    • pam kueber says

      See our stories about steel kitchen cabinets including where to find them in the Kitchens / Steel Kitchens category.

  17. Olga says

    Hi,

    I’m wondering if anyone has any experience installing a double drainboard double sink onto anything other than a steel sink cabinet base? I fell in love with the sink and bought it off of Craigslist without realizing it doesn’t easily mount on modern sink base cabinets!

    Any ideas would be appreciated. Also, my apologies if I’m not posting in the right place – I am new here!

  18. Deb says

    I recently bought the farm sink from Signature Hardware, after looking for a used one for two years. It’s beautiful and worth the little more than I would have paid for a used one.

  19. Pam Zirbel says

    WOW!!! How hard is it to find a dbl bowl porcelain left drain board!!?!! OIYE!!! This is Pam that has bought that 1870 house and showed you a pic on FB today!!! Might have to settle for a stainless one..or..use the cruddy stainless one that is there!! Looked on ebay and of course…people know the valiue and how popular they are now!! Might be looking at Buffalo Restore place!!! Can a stainless one BE porcelainized!?!! Thanks and thanks for having your blog!! You rock!!

    • pam kueber says

      I was told that stainless cannot be porcelainized. but check our reporcelainer — see story under Kitchens / sinks

    • pam kueber says

      I looked at the photo on Facebook. Will a Kohler Delafield drop into the same space as your stainless sink? I presume you are not messing with those pink countertops!

  20. Donna says

    I am lucky enough to live in my family farmhouse with original dbl drainboard, dbl sink. My problem is finding a drain stopper that fits. Evidently, standard size has changed over the years. Any suggestions?

    • pam kueber says

      hmmm…. My first place to try would be deabath.com, but this one may be tough…. What is the size you are looking for?

    • Jade says

      You can get a flat drain cover – they’re about 6″ across and will cover nearly any drain. Not perfect, but at least it’ll do until you can find something that really fits. I’ve used them in old bathtubs, and even in stall showers that were deep enough to bathe a baby.

  21. Audrey says

    We just found a steel cabinet with double farm sink. The cabinets have 2 very narrow and tall doors on either side of the middle doors. Any idea what those narrow compartments are for ?

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