Construction Documents for the Kitchen Sink 2013

Dripping Pots and Pans

Construction Documents for the Kitchen Sink

The Steam Radiator

Hanging pots and pans on a wet plaster wall left permanent ring-like impressions. This was a happy accident. After a big dinner these indentations help to properly relocate each pot back on the wall. Originally I planned a mosaic surface for the pot wall. The pattern of small tesserae (small colored pieces of stone) was to create a permanent shadow cast by the overhead light of each hanging pot. A mosaic wall would have been washable. Instead the plaster wall with its cast pot impressions developed concentric grease rings. We have avoided washing away these rings that record the history of many dinners.

After our cooking utensils are washed and placed back on their wall hooks the dripping water wets everything below. When we built the Southold House I over ordered the amount of custom-made copper rain gutters we needed.  The copper gutters are beautifully constructed  - golden patinaed and softly curving.  I mounted pieces of gutter to the wall below each utensil creating a circuitous network that leads to the sink.  Newly washed pots, pans, spatulas, slotted spoons, whisks, and knives create tiny rivers leading down to the sink drain.

The sound of rain on the roof was muffled in our Southold House. The too well insulated roof removed the sound of weather. To bring the rain sound back to us I connected a copper pipe from the roof rain gutters - through the ceiling and roof, joining the gutter network I had made for the cooking utensils on the kitchen wall. When it’s raining, it is pleasant to open the valve and allow the rain to trickle along this suspended aqueduct as it travels between and below the pots and pans as it makes its final descent into the sink. The flowing water can either hit the surface of the water filled sink, splashing melodically or the plug can be pulled to create a rhythmic metallic pinging sound from the cascading rain water. On these nights we turn off the radio and listen to the house.

After cooking a big meal the dishes, pots and pans that pile up, create an unappealing pile of greasy mess in the kitchen. I purchased an aquarium air pump and attached it to the underside of the sink. I inserted plastic tube through a hole in the sink’s bottom and caulked it with silicone. This aerator forces air into the dish soaped water, and the bubbles climb up and over the pots and pans. The sink becomes an unexpected and sensual sculpture that shimmers in the fluorescent light of the kitchen. There are evenings when I sneak a few drops of red food coloring into to the water.  In the dining room our dinner guests find excuses to enter the kitchen to see the changing bubbling water form. But probably the greatest benefit of this sculpture is that the constantly flowing soapy water loosens the grease on the dishes and pots and with only a quick rinse I can hang them on wall.

As a child the hiss of air escaping from the silver valves on cast iron radiators had been my alarm clock on cold winter mornings.  The Southold House has an efficient heating system and the new radiator valves are silent. Last fall Ellen was boiling water in a teakettle designed by Michael Graves. You remember the one with the little red bird on the spout that whistled when the water boiled. Forgetting about the teapot on the flame, the water evaporated from the pot and the flame melted holes in the kettle rendering it useless. I attached the whistling bird to the air escape valve of the new radiator in our bedroom. In the summer months with the heat off and the windows open it is the songs of the non Graves birds that awaken us at sunrise each morning.