Much of what's on display this week at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando is big and bold, like the refrigerator and freezer columns that span 6 feet, looking more like a walk-in closet than a place to store food. But tucked away, neatly integrated into the plush surroundings, are the appliance drawers.

The appliance drawers are 24 and 30 inches wide, and when pulled out reveal a microwave, warming drawer, refrigerator, or dishwasher. They’re typically installed under countertops, often in an island and out of the sight line, giving the kitchen a sleeker look. Several kitchen designers we talked with say appliance drawers remain in the pricey niche category but are growing in popularity, especially microwave and refrigerator drawers.

Press a button on the Bosch microwave drawer and it slowly pulls out. Thermador shows off its warming drawer by placing it below double-wall ovens, all stainless and gleaming. Viking’s warming drawer also slow-cooks meats at temperatures up to 250 degrees F. It’s $2,100, and this 30-inch drawer is supposed to be sturdy enough to hold up to 200 pounds of meat. That’s at one time, for one heck of a party.

The double-decker Marvel Professional refrigerator drawers on display are 24 inches wide, and $3,100. Inside each is a stainless interior that’s neatly divided and organized. And you can change the lighting from white to blue or amber. Luxury, it turns out, has few limits.

“People buy appliance drawers because it’s a great look for the kitchen,” says Mark Allwood, a senior market analyst at Consumer Reports. “We’ve tested several, including a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and Sharp microwave that are currently in our ratings, and while they’re not the best appliances we’ve tested, for some people they’re good enough.”

One of those people is Peg Bernard of Marco Island, Fla., and she used to design kitchens for a living. As she looks over the new appliance drawers on display, she raves about the double-dishwasher drawers and refrigerator drawers she’s had. And even though the dishwashers needed servicing and repairs, she’d buy them again. “They’re convenient to use, organized, and you can use just the top dishwasher drawer for small loads.”    

At the LG booth, Nate Berkus, the interior designer, author, and TV personality, is touting the cool virtual kitchen design tool at LGStudio.com. “The real appeal of an appliance drawer is being able to tuck it into an unexpected place,” he says. Nate has a refrigerator drawer in his bedroom, and stocks it with bottled water, juice, and a bottle of milk for his toddler. “There’s something very definitely luxurious about it.”