According to David Noe, general manager, v.p./sales and marketing at Rev-A-Shelf, in Jeffersontown, KY, the trend is also toward providing very specific storage solutions. There is a solution for everything, he explains, from cookware and cutlery, to foil and plastic wraps, to cleaning supplies and message and media organizers. And by personalizing storage solutions to the way the homeowner lives, it increases the chances that the homeowner will continue to stay organized long after the space is finished and the designer has moved on to other projects.
Manufacturers agree that drawers now have an important place in the design of the kitchen. The popularity of drawers has led to innovative designs that maximize the use of the space inside. In turn, without these customized drawer systems, it’s not likely that kitchen drawers would have become so popular, manufacturers believe.
Notes John Baker, v.p., Valen USA, in Lexington, NC, “We see a trend toward wider and deeper drawers. Our customers expect these larger drawers to store untidy items such as boxes, canisters, jars and other things that, until recently, have been kept habitually in upper cabinets or on the countertop.”
The Valen organizational system “closes all gaps between the side of the accessories and the inside of the drawer body,” allowing for the desired built-in look “while maintaining a 100% modular system,” he stresses.
The built-in look is important for drawer storage components, according to Baker, but flexibility is a must. Systems need to “allow dividers and accessories to be rearranged according to the task assigned to the drawer, as that requirement evolves over time,” he asserts.
In addition to components that provide a built-in look, Valen has a pegboard system for drawers as well, according to Baker. The system works well for pots and pans, and canfit in any drawer.
“European designer metal drawer systems continue to increase in popularity, as well,” according to Dennis Poteat, marketing communications manager for Blum, Inc. in Stanley, NC. He notes that this kind of drawer system “allows these drawers to be personalized with custom inserts in the drawer side called “design elements.” These inserts can be made of common materials, such as tempered glass, wood, marble and acrylic, or uncommon materials including leather, architectural panels and poured resin panels.”
“In addition to function, color in drawers is big,” notes Jan Fitzpatrick, market and customer relations manager for Grass America, in Kernersville, NC. She reports that a champagne color is becoming a popular choice for Grass customers. “This warmer color complements wood cabinetry,” she remarks.
Fitzpatrick also believes that drawer finishes are trending in a new direction. Some of the Grass champagne and metallic drawer finishes have a clear gloss top coat. “We have gained attention from designers who thought that stainless steel was the only way to go for a sleek contemporary look,” she comments. “You can see the trend changing in appliances, too, as the manufacturers have introduced new textures and finishes that resist fingerprints.”
The market continues to demand a gentle touch in the kitchen. As a result, today’s drawers and cabinets close quietly and open with a light tap.
In keeping with this trend, the “concealed runner with quiet closing” from Blum “continues to take over the lion’s share of the mid-to-upper-end kitchen market,” comments Poteat. “In fact, in most updated kitchens, this is no longer an option, but the standard.”
Karen Armour, product manager/home organization for Hafele America, in Archdale, NC says, “Functionality is the most important feature in accessorization, and the most important feature [of the drawers] is the smooth operation and soft-close of the runners.”
Phil Sheridan, director of distribution sales for Ornamental Products in High Point, NC, agrees that consumers now expect a drawer to close quietly. “Interior storage is best-enhanced with soft drawer slides,” he says.
While soft-close options have been available for several years, tap-to-open is a newer concept. This technology is based on an electrical drive that, once triggered, opens the drawer.
“It is ideal in a waste-bin application, for instance, because frequently your hands are full, dirty or both, and a simple knee-tap on the drawer opens it for you,” he explains. This kind of technology “can also be a great solution for people with physical limitations, medical areas that need to be kept sterile or anywhere you need an extra helping hand,” Poteat adds.