Sink changes color with water temperature, a feature the company says is therapeutic. While our panel thought it was gimmicky, one L.A. designer said she has "a few earthy clients who would consider it."
Metals are one of the newest twists on the offbeat sink, but be prepared: this one needs to be dried after every hand-washing.
But the extreme end of the market, with its weird shapes -- in this case, a glass funnel that looks like a vase -- can be a hard sell. "Ideal for making mayonnaise or displaying flowers," says Barry Sloane, a Los Angeles real estate agent. Our panel thought the 12-inch height would be okay for a powder room, but would pose ergonomic issues, like forearm banging.
Now that the looks are catching on beyond design mavens, makers are competing with ever more outlandish models -- like a $1,595 sunken pyramid from Porcher and an upcoming "upside down" sink by Sonoma Cast Stone (the water runs down an inverted bowl).
Then there's the Paradox, which is only a sink part-time. Kohler says it came up with the idea after an earlier flat sink did well for them, and this seemed like a logical next step. It's got a cast-iron plate insert that converts the sink into a countertop for when the water's not running (assuming you can lift it -- it's 13 pounds). But some of the panelists were skeptical. "I can envision the kids turning on the faucet full blast and then completely soaking their fronts," says Steve Schoffman, a Portland, Ore., architectural designer. Paradox "isn't a one-size-fits-all product," and might not be ideal for a kid's bathroom, says Nicole Langel, a product manager at Kohler.
Pictures are at http://iggy.fringehead.org/album/badsinks/