Space-saving was a buzz word on the Builders' Show floor in 2008. While making the most of what you've got is nothing new, smart space planning takes on new meaning as homeowners plan to weather the housing crunch and waning economy. There were plenty of compact appliances, clever space-savers, and new storage options.
Clean and Compact
This compact washer-dryer set from Bosch (pictured, above) has 3.4 cubic feet of capacity (room for 14 pairs of 32x32 men's jeans) while only taking up a 24-inch footprint. The condensation dryer doesn't require any ventilation; when you run the dryer, a condenser takes all that hot air, turns it into water, and drops it down into the washer for your next laundry load. You'll still need to be hooked up to a water line, of course, but for condos or under-the-counter laundry stations, this appliance is a pretty good space-saving bet.
Stealthy Small Appliances
Ah, the microwave. What to do with you? To best describe our feelings toward the microwave, we might have to channel Dr. Seuss:
Would we put you in a drawer?
Would we put you on the floor?
Would we put you in a cabinet?
Would we put you on some laminate?
We can't put you here or there.
We can't put you anywhere!
From integrating the microwave into the range hood to tucking it into kitchen island cabinetry, there have been many solutions for storing the kitchen's most cumbersome (and, for some of us, necessary) small appliance. The storage problem continues, however, since not all of us like having the microwave up so high or down so low.
Maybe it's because we have our microwave dumped gracelessly on our countertop right now, but we were especially impressed by this integrated door panel by Siemens that camoflauges the microwave. The door lifts up and opens, revealing the microwave inside. When closed, the door conceals the microwave while looking like a sleek wall oven. Check out the two side-by-side.
Best Faces Forward
Showhomes are always a hotbed for cool ideas, and Professional Builder magazine's Show Village was no exception. One of our favorite storage ideas came from their Green Design and Build Home, where storage spaces got an eye-catching look. This shot captures how the kitchen features more than traditional cabinet faces-basket drawers, open shelving, and glass paneling keep storage looking fresh and interesting.