Built-in appliances

Built-in style appliances have been around for decades.

Ovens, stoves, and more have been integrated into the cabinetry of a modern kitchen since, well, since they became modern. But contemporary designs take the idea one big step further.

Induction stoves

The latest in stove tops until recently was the ceramic glass top. These highly stylish and very functional appliances eliminated the bulky and unsafe coils of the previous generation. Instead, they use a special type of ceramic that heats quickly and, better still, cools down very rapidly. They're still very attractive and functional.

But the idea of making the electric stove safer and more streamlined has gone even further. Induction stoves are designed to put no heat on the top of the stove at all. How can a stove that generates no heat cook anything? Simple... and ingenious.

Instead of putting the current into the stove top, they create (or induce, as the professionals say) a current in the pans themselves. It doesn't work with Pyrex or some metals, such as copper bottomed pans. But stainless steel and cast iron work great.

Induction stoves are also very efficient. Gas stoves dissipate about 60% of their energy to the air rather than the pan. Only 50% of the energy of traditional electric coils goes into heating the food. But 90% of the energy used to power an induction stove goes into heating the pan.

Drawers

Several traditional built-in appliances have gotten a makeover in recent years. The microwave, dishwasher, and others have long been features of the modern kitchen. Now, they're even more stylish and functional than ever. They now come in drawer styles.

A microwave drawer operates internally by the same method as any other. It still uses microwave energy to heat moisture inside food. But the appliance is designed to be pulled out and pushed in like a drawer. That can keep the device out of sight when not in use. Other styles push in and out, but the door is the cover, so the front of the microwave is still visible.

In either case, the result is an attractive and very useful appliance in the contemporary kitchen.

Dishwashers have received similar upgrades. A drawer dishwasher pulls out somewhat like the familiar trash compactor. You load the dishes, push the appliance back in and off you go.

So, what's the advantage to that over traditional pull-down dishwasher doors? Among other things, the dishwashers themselves are more compact. For those who don't need such a large dishwasher there's considerable savings of space in the cabinetry. They also use less energy and water, so there's some savings on the utility bills.

True built-ins

Other common kitchen appliances are seeing the benefits of ingenuity. Blenders, juicers, and coffee makers are now available that don't just sit on the countertop, but the mechanism is actually built into the surface. Pull the jar out of the cabinet, fill it, press the button, then clean and put the jar back. No more cluttering the countertop with a half-dozen devices.

It's a great new world in the contemporary kitchen!