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A new trend in Kitchen Drawers

That new kitchen appliance you're considering could come in a drawer. And stay there. Really.

Specialty drawers are growing in popularity in the Rogue Valley. You can buy a dishwasher in a drawer, get a warming drawer or one that houses your microwave. And the latest innovation is a cooling or refrigerated drawer.

Why a drawer? Convenience, says John Duron, appliance buyer with Larson's Home Furnishings of Medford. "You pull it out and it's all there."

And they're versatile because you can install them in different places.

"They are real popular with people with bad backs," adds Bill Gaylord, sales representative with West Coast Appliance in Central Point. That's because you can place a drawer in an easy-to-reach spot - not too low, not too high.

Or maybe you have a window with a view and don't want a tall appliance blocking it.

Dish drawers, basically smaller dishwashers, usually come in sets of two, one atop the other, although you can go with a single unit. Some folks buy two and put them on either aside of the kitchen sink.

Three features stand out, says Duron. One smaller unit will fill up with dishes more rapidly than a conventional dishwasher, so you don't have to wait to assemble a full load. You can run both simultaneously and customize the wash in each - delicate crystal in one, pots and pans in the other. And they are, in Duron's words, "very, very quiet."

Dish drawers start at about $750 for one, $1,400 for a pair. Buying one or two may also qualify you for an Oregon tax credit because you reduce your energy and water use, says Gaylord.

Warming drawers are designed to do what ovens can't, even on their lowest temperature setting - keep your food warm without continuing to cook it. Have a pizza delivered at 4 p.m., put it in the drawer and it will be the same at 8 p.m., says Gaylord.

Suppose you're preparing a meal that calls for four or five hot dishes, but you can't get all of them table-ready simultaneously. That's where a warming drawer really does the job, says Dana Fish, co-owner of the Appliance Depot in Medford. Just put the food in as you get it done. Or if you're throwing a party, you can prepare all the hot food ahead of time and not have to worry about microwaving anything at the last minute. In many units you can control humidity as well as temperature.

Pans and lids are also available for use in the drawers, says Fish. In some instances, but not all, these are included in the price. Expect to pay a little over $500 for the least expensive warming drawer unit. Or you can get a standard range, with a warming drawer in it, for about $1,100.

You usually see warming drawers as part of a range, but not always. Some people use them for a touch of luxury in other parts of the house. "People put them in bathrooms or by hot tubs to keep towels warm," says Gaylord.

Cooling drawers can also be placed outside the kitchen. Unless you plan on having an icemaker, you don't need to be near a water source. Some people put them in family rooms or even bedrooms to keep drinks cold. Fish notes that one model is specifically designed for wine storage.

Like the dishwashing drawers, the cooling drawers often come in pairs as well. You can get a freezer unit and a refrigerator, or two refrigerators. And you can set them at different temperatures for different foods.

A set of two cooling drawers starts at about $1,000, with fancier models going for as much as $3,700.

A microwave in a drawer? That, too, is available locally. You can put it under an oven instead of over it, or place it in an island, making it easier to reach, says Duron. Cost is a little over $800.

The good news is that most of these drawers require only a 110-power source, says Gaylord, so there's no need for expensive electrical work.

Perhaps the best part is that you can usually find drawers that will match your cabinets. So, visitors may walk into your kitchen and ask, "What on earth did you do with the fridge and dishwasher?"

A new trend in Kitchen Drawers