I just had my bathroom renovated and I noticed that cold and hot sink handles turn in opposite direction. The hot is the standard lefty lucy and righty tighty-- but the cold is the opposite (closes left and opens right). Is this something that is determined by the brand of faucet or is it just the way the contractor decided to configure it?
This is contra turn taps usually used for lever handle taps so they both turn away from the wall on a basin or turn both down in a shower or similar if used in vertical eg. Shower above and below you would get normal taps not contras so that they both turn in the same direction which are the ones that you are used to. Also re reading your post it seems that if you have lever handle taps the hot and cold taps shoul be swapped to make them both turn on when turn towards the centre of the basin.
This is somewhat common - the theory is that this way, turning a handle left makes the water hotter, while turning a handle right makes the water colder, regardless of which handle you turn.