Kohler Whitehaven K-6489 Review by Rickie Timmers
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The Kohler Whitehaven K-6489 apron-front kitchen sink is a sink choice that some would never make. Others wouldn’t consider anything else. Why the different views? Because the K-6489 is an apron sink – a style that used to be everywhere and now is often considered a specialty item. Looking at the features of this unusual offering makes it plain why that is.
30 Inch Length, 9 Inch Bowl Depth
The Kohler K-6489 is an apron-style sink – the sort you would have found in a farmhouse in the midwest a hundred years ago. At that time, there was one kind of sink for almost everyone and this was it. It’s installed slightly sunken. The rim is just below the countertop. Yet, far from being simply another retro style, it makes a prominent statement in the kitchen.
Even though it is a style from yesteryear, the apron has once again become a favorite of a wide variety of home re-stylers. If you’re thinking of re-doing your kitchen – or designing one from scratch – this model should definitely be on your “must take a look” list.
The basic specs don’t really tell you why it’s so hot right now. It’s a 30-inch model with a single 9-inch bowl. More precisely, Kohler gives the specs as 30 3/4″ long x 18 1/16 wide. The overall size is 35 11/15″ long x 21 9/16″ wide x 9 5/8″ high fitting minimum 36-inch apron sink base cabinetry. That’s neither large nor small in either direction. Yet, the minimalist look it offers – combined with up-to-the-minute quality from contemporary manufacturing – fits in very well with the latest esthetic.
Kohler put a lot of contemporary design smarts to work in this model, too. One of those is the gentle slope of the bottom toward the drain. And, unlike most contemporary sinks of other styles, that drain is at one end, not in the middle. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished both those elements existed in an otherwise fine sink. It makes cleanup so much easier.
20+ Color Choices
For those who might beg off because they have the image of a traditional white apron-style in their minds, the K-6489 comes in a huge variety of colors.
There’s the traditional White (Kohler K-6489-0), of course. But there’s also everything from Annapolis Navy (K-6489-J17) to Black and Tan (K-6489-KA), along with Greenwich Green (K-6489-J15), Piccadilly Yellow (K-6489-J14), or Palermo Blue (K-6489-J16). Personally, I’m fond of the Cashmere (K-6489-K4) but that may just be irrelevant association with fine sweaters, I confess.
Enameled Cast Iron
The K-6489 is cast iron with enamel finish, which adds to both the traditional appearance and the contemporary revival that makes the old look new again. Of course, there’s a downside to both those aspects.
One is that cast iron is heavy; in this case a whopping 146 pounds. Unless you have Hulk-sized arms you’ll definitely need some help installing this baby hippo. It isn’t just the sheer weight, of course. It’s the fact that it’s spread out over an area and you need to put it in place while the sink is held level in one spot. That’s a tricky operation even for someone who could bench press 150 lbs with one hand.
Still, it only has to be done once, so there’s that. Also, a heavy sink made of dense material has one advantage most buyers don’t think of at first blush: low noise during use. Turn on the garbage disposal and you’ll notice how much softer the sound is. A stainless steel, by contrast, will ring like a bell.
The other, more important potential downside is that enamel can scratch or chip. Even when those chinks are small if they’re deep enough they can reveal the cast iron color beneath the enameling. Yet, the K-6489 is pretty tough stuff. These modern ceramics are far better than the material your great-grandfather’s manufacturer had to work with and your great-grandmother to use. Not for nothing is Kohler bold enough to offer a lifetime warranty on this model.
Another potential downside might be even more fundamental. As a single-basin sink, the Kohler K-6489 simply isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re like me you prefer to soak in one bowl and rinse in the other. Also, you might like to cook a lot and plan to use one basin, say, for holding vegetables before they’re cut and another after paring. In that case the K-6489 might not work for you.
However, it would be foolish to say this sink isn’t for anyone – or even a lot of someones. Every limitation or drawback I point out could easily and very reasonably be considered an advantage in someone else’s eyes.
Single basins continue to be hugely popular with all sorts of sink buyers and kitchen remodelers. Some like the absence of any barrier to deal with and prefer a big open bowl. Some buyers love the traditional look. I raise my hand with them. Some people adore enamel and cast iron doesn’t put them off at all.
C’est la vie! To each her own and welcome.
The Kohler K-6489 is an enameled cast-iron, apron-style, single-basin sink that won’t fit everyone’s remodeling needs. But for those interested in one offering a traditional look – brought up to date with contemporary technology – it’s definitely worth a close look.