If you’re really lucky, you have an area for cold pantry storage. (If you’re me, you have your poorly heated laundry room to keep the potatoes and winter squash.)
But if you don’t really make use of all the space those different appliances take up, you can see the genius in the Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer.
Fisher & Paykel, the New Zealand brand best known for its DishDrawers, created a multitemperature fridge drawer. It packs 3 cubic feet into a 33-inch wide drawer and adjusts the temperature setting based on what you need it to be at that moment. Amazing, right?
This is how my daydream plays out:
It can be a cold pantry for fresh herbs and produce leading up to the holidays.
Then days before you can turn it into a refrigerator to defrost your roast without taking up a shelf in your fridge for a few days.
The day of, convert it to wine mode it to chill wine and spirits. You can also keep soda and juice in easy reach for kids.
Afterwards, use the extra space to freeze (or deep freeze) or refrigerate leftovers. All at the touch of a button.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my full-size, bottom-freezer refrigerator. But occasionally, my freezer runs out of space while my fresh food compartment maintains plenty and my eyes wander to the grass on the other side…
Recently I’ve been thinking, why can’t my fridge be more adaptable?
I had a very educational conversation with the produce manager of a local grocery last weekend about fresh basil preservation. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to refrigerate it! (Also, those of us in cold temperatures should take special care when transporting fresh basil home, as our subzero air can turn the delicious leaves black.) It should be kept in a cool (50-some degrees) spot.
That’s why I love these multitemperature refrigerated drawers.
The Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer (RB36S25MKIW1) lets you choose freezer, chill, fridge, pantry or wine at the touch of a button so that everything from fresh food to frozen meat to fine wine can be stored at the correct temperature.
So, if you buy a lot of produce one week you have extra fridge space.
Or if a family member comes home with a record catch of fish and the freezer’s full, voila.
If you want to keep it a little colder than the stuff you keep in your fridge, you can do that too.
And if you plunk down more than you’d like for fresh basil and don’t want to see any of it go to waste (or pesto), you’ll love the pantry function.
Having a party? Store your wine and then chill it to precise serving temperature.
And at 36″ wide, the Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawers keep everything in easy, ergonomic reach while being deep enough to fit wine bottles and 2-liter bottles, as shown above.
The spill-proof storage bins can come out or be moved around to do just about anything you need it to.
Can modern, solar-powered design be livable? That was the concept behind the University of Minnesota’s ICON Solar House team.
Students from disciplines ranging from business to design to engineering took up the challenge of designing, building, and operating the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Next month, the team and the house will travel to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of Energy‘s Solar Decathlon contest, in which the house will be displayed on the National Mall for three weeks along with 19 other houses from competing colleges.
It’s called a decathlon because the students’ house will be judged from a set of 10 criteria (including appliances — we love these people!).
The Icon Solar House’s Dan Handeen was gracious enough to give a tour of the project Wednesday, so we could see how far the house had come since we got involved some months ago when the house didn’t even have walls!
The combination of livable design and airtight engineering impressed us. We all laughed at the concept of a “sleeping alcove” — which is basically a room sized to the dimensions of a full-size bed — but the high ceilings and amenities (towel warmer?) surpassed our expectations for a 800532-square-foot home. (Update: Dan said the finished floor area of the house was even less than I had read about in other stories about the house.)
Dan said the team wants the ICON Solar House to stand out from the sterile-type designs they witnessed at the last contest. Rather, the students want to create something that people can actually see themselves living in. (See more on the team’s ideas for the ICON Solar House.)
Solar panels help power the house, Dan explained. But the house is already super energy-efficient, so teams that roll the meter backward — producing more energy than they consume — are awarded 100 points. The team that produces the most energy gains an extra 50 points, Dan said.
Dan startled me when he pulled out that wide, far-right cabinet to reveal a dishwasher, which is embarrassing because I work for Warners’ Stellian and knew all about the Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers. But these were so well-integrated (re: paneled) and perfect for the small kitchen space that I confused them for cabinets.
The 24-inch-wide Liebherr refrigerator (left) will also be paneled and was cooling lunch for the crew in the meantime.
Perhaps the most strategic choice of appliances in the kitchen was the Wolf 30-inch induction cooktop. Each team competing in the Solar Decathlon must perform the same set of tasks, which mimic things people do in every day life.
One task is to boil 5 pounds of water. Induction cooking is extremely efficient because energy is only supplied to the pot. And no wasted heat means water generally boils faster on induction cooking surfaces.
Dan says the team was planning on selling the house, but the U of M has been so impressed with the project it might want to keep the house all to itself. I certainly would.