Kitchen design: ideas for hiding the microwave.
I am BAFFLED that I must have a regular oven AND a microwave oven.
How is it that humanity has invented APPS… but is too stupid to combine two HOUSEHOLD BOXES OF CONVENIENCE?
Who is deciding the priorities of the human race?
Short of the OBVIOUS AND SUPERIOR CONVENIENCE of combining two boxes used for heating squash; I guess we’ll just get a panel-ready microwave… I can live with that.
They don’t make those.
However! I CAN GET A PANEL READY TRASH COMPACTOR.
Amazing! Is this still 1982?!
(advance apologies to the people who are all— YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW GREAT A TRASH COMPACTOR IS.)
Then I spent a stupid amount of time trying to figure out how we could conceal a drawer-microwave with some kind of faux-panel… if you figured it out, let me know?
Although, I don’t actually WANT a drawer microwave… all the reviews are great and people seem to love them. EXCEPT for reheating liquid. (The opening and closing of the drawer/action, you can imagine is sort of slosh-y?)
And the thing for which we use the microwave MOST is Paul’s coffee routine.
He likes it BOILING hot… but he goes out to the garage or wherever, forgets about it, and when he comes back in, he needs to reheat it to 900 degrees.
He does this at least 12 times every Saturday morning.
I’ve suggested other systems, but this is the only one he will consider.
AND Paul does everything at warp speed, which means that it will take him less than five seconds to pull his cup out before the drawer is open fully and catch the lip of the mug and CRASH SPILL FLYING COFFEE EVERYWHERE.
He does this AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH WITH THE REGULAR MICROWAVE.
Then he gets mad.
Like he had nothing to do with it.
I bought bigger mugs… then I bought BIGGER mugs… then I bought THE LARGEST MUGS ON EARTH… thinking that if I could CONTAIN the liquid in a big enough container, it would not spill when CRASHED INTO THE MICROWAVE.
it still spills.
Just THINKING about it makes me mental.
It makes me SO mental, that I EVEN ASKED HIM TO STOP MAKING ME INSANE.
And you know what he said?
Why do you need to control how I make coffee?
The drawer would be like ASKING FOR MORE OF THAT.
Ok! now is when you tell me your secret perfect solution!
We do not need to have the conversation about whether the microwave should go over the stove… I agree that it is convenient and solves all the layout issues.
But visually, I don’t like it.
END microwave post… brief housekeeping.
I’m getting this questions a lot:
Have you considered repurposing antique furniture for the kitchen cabinets?
Short answer: YES… a brief selection includes:
1. Repurposed / Reclaimed / Nontraditional Kitchen Island Inspiration.
2. Actual STUFF I considered for a repurposed kitchen (the bank table still gives me FITZ. I still cannot afford it.)
3. In case you didn’t know that Pilar Guzman’s kitchen is my ULTIMATE DESIRE.
4. More antique wardrobes-into-kitchens
This post sums up: One last hurrah… giving up a repurposed kitchen design.
Long answer: if budget was no issue, this would have been a magical solution… and also my entire life would be magical and I definitely would not be writing this blog about MICROWAVES because I would be out frolicking in the magic fields.
MORE LONG ANSWER: the piano-into-island spoke to me so LOUDLY that I felt– YES. Whatever comes next definitely needs to incorporate THIS.
But that complicates the outer cabinets.. anything that goes on the perimeter needs to be an appealing complement to the piano… AND I have no idea what kind of perimeter-amalgamation-buffet-nightstands-bookcases-library-cabinets… would be incredibly appealing to ME… while also not being nine million dollars… while also being a compatible size AND construction.
Paul cannot just hack into anything.
Even I must acknowledge this.
Then I got the lady mirror… which… sorry I am getting into the word-weeds here… You can stop reading… Nothing important is happening.
I had sort of waffled on that Renaissance Revival auction mirror –I had thought that the straight sides would be better for accommodating some kind of open shelving… but writing this out reminds me that the lady head mirror SPEAKS to me in relation to the piano. So I’m calling that decision.
A very long way of saying: the perimeter furniture would need to complement many things, be affordable, and also be plentiful.
And also: I haven’t FOUND IT… despite LOOKING!
April 26, 2018 @ 3:31 pm
Have you already addressed the toaster over? I like my microwave oven on the counter as opposed to higher up so I don’t spill the boiling liquid on my face when removing it from the oven. Good luck! I had it on a higher open shelf but moved it.
April 26, 2018 @ 4:12 pm
We bought a double oven when we remodeled, however the top unit is also a microwave. So it functions as both a microwave and/or oven, but looks like a double oven. Would that work in your design? Good luck!
April 26, 2018 @ 4:13 pm
Uhmm – I feel your pain.
Consider – convection steam oven? Miele or Wolf. Fabulous for squash.
Maybe with Miele coffee maker on top?
Liked the garage door type hinge concealing the microwave…
Good luck! Will be wonderful- no doubt!
Suzanne Shassere Allen
April 26, 2018 @ 4:51 pm
Have you heard of the Ember Mug? It changed my life. Fairly pricy, but Paul is worth it.
We have a microwave drawer and I love it.
April 26, 2018 @ 4:56 pm
I also have the KitchenAid lower convection oven/upper-micro-and-convection oven.
Best thing ever! Maybe they don’t make it anymore (ours is about 4 years old), but someone must make them. Good luck!
April 26, 2018 @ 5:23 pm
I will weigh in from the perspective of a kitchen designer. I absolutely do everything I can to talk my clients out of a microwave that is mounted above the stove.
1-In order to use one you have to reach over flames or hot burners or boiling pots. You drag your shirt sleeves or hems in the flames or food.
2-To mount the micro hood high enough that you can actually cook under it, it will be at or above shoulder height to most people. Try taking a box off a shelf that is shoulder height or above. The way your arms work you will tip the box toward yourself. Now imagine this is a hot place of sloppy food. Ouch.
3 – Imagine you are elderly or have arthritis or you have a puppy or child at your feet. Not good. Think about a child. The microwave is now over their head.
4 – The exhaust fans are not efficient. None of them are strong enough to vent the fumes from a gas stove. Most of them are made to filter (inefficiently) the steam and re-circulate the steam back into the room. Have you ever touched the top of one of those re-circulating vents. I have – gross.
I’m not a fan of micro drawers. I would not want to have to sit on the floor to clean the splatters off the top of that thing.
As others have pointed out, there are micro/convection combination ovens. They are expensive, but worth the money. If you wish to hide the microwave, put it at counter height or slightly above. It should be a comfortable height for anyone living in the house. Make sure there is counter top space adjacent to it. We all reach into the microwave, take something out, then realize it is too hot to touch. You need a landing space for the hot dish.
I hope you find the solution you are looking for that will be aesthetically pleasing to you and functional for your husband. My vote goes with a coffee bar in another room, convenient to him.
April 26, 2018 @ 6:30 pm
Just say no to the microwave. Or put it in the basement. Or the garage. Ours was old and we were sure it was leaking radiation. So we put it in the basement on the drier and decided we didn’t need one anyway. Honestly why would you bring radiation into your house? 😃And ugly at that.
April 26, 2018 @ 6:45 pm
A word of warning. In our previous house we had custom cabinets with the microwave in a niche above our wall oven so the microwave looked built in. HOWEVER there’s no real standard outside microwave dimensions so we had to have the fascia modified twice. Upon the demise of microwave #2, I bought two at the same time and an electric teakettle for the microwave-destroying husband.
April 26, 2018 @ 6:47 pm
okay, at first I LOVED the drawer microwaves (which I hadn’t seen before) but yes, I can totally see how the liquids thing would be a problem. I loved the images above where the entire cabinet enclosed the coffee nook and microwave, or mixer, etc. I also loved the one that hinged upward like the doors of a Delorean. Also, a possible solution for the coffee spill nightmare – get him a coffee mug with a silicone lid, you can microwave the entire thing together without worry and when he jostles it, no spilling. Here’s one on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ello-Ogden-BPA-Free-Ceramic-Travel/dp/B01FZD7FV8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1524782589&sr=8-4&keywords=ceramic+mug+with+silicone+lid
April 26, 2018 @ 7:08 pm
When we build our home there willl not be a microwave! Don’t want one!!!
April 26, 2018 @ 7:42 pm
I’m deciding my kitchen cabinet and NEW pantry design right now. I amglad that new fridges come with the option of removing the handle these days.Im going to remove it and have the hubby build a front for it that matches cabinets. I was telling him that he could do the same with the microwave.Build an open cupboard for it and Velcro a cabinet for front the front of the front of the microwave..That way if the microwave dies…we can Velcro it to the new one.He gave me a really ….Are you nuts? Look…..But,he is now asking questions….which means I have won him over. I’ll send pics if I get my way. I love your ideas….for everything…ahhhhhhhhh piano island sigh. Good luck!
April 26, 2018 @ 8:02 pm
I use my microwave every day….to re heat my coffee a zillion times, and then I pitch it. OR…I re-heat it a zillion times, then forget about it and find it at night if I make frozen vegetables or pop corn. Sometimes I dont find it until the next day, when I go to re-heat another cup of coffee. It’s a vicious cycle. We keep our microwave off the counter, on a shelf under a short upper cabinet. I dont mind seeing it. It is a kitchen, after all.
April 26, 2018 @ 8:56 pm
I have an idea! Put the microwave in the garage.
April 26, 2018 @ 9:25 pm
I have a little undercounter cubby for my microwave, at the suggestion of a kitchen designer. I love it! It’s out of sight, still easily accessible, and it’s on the opposite end of the kitchen from the major appliances so if my husband wants to heat up something while I’m baking, we aren’t tripping all over each other. We still battle over what is and isn’t allowed on the counter (I’d have almost nothing, except my Kitchenaid mixer) but we don’t do battle over the microwave!
April 26, 2018 @ 9:27 pm
Could Paul have a small microwave in his garage/ shop of magical tools and man cave place? 😁
April 26, 2018 @ 9:35 pm
If Paul uses the microwave a dozen times a morning to heat and reheat coffee, he won’t be happy with any of the solutions that hide the appliance in a garage or behind a cabinet door — the door will always be open so he can get at the microwave. No one will close that door every time.
The best arrangement I’ve ever seen had two standard ovens with the microwave on top. The middle oven was the one usually used, the lower was for holiday meals and other events.
Failing a panel-ready microwave unit — SHOCKING that no one has met this need — you might consider Big Chill, which makes “retro” appliances with all the modern features.
April 26, 2018 @ 9:47 pm
To conceal other appliances when they aren’t being used, you might look at this:
I have an old Nutone — “motor in the counter” and this is the successor now made by someone else. If you install one in a pull-out arrangement, I’d probably have it a little higher off the floor than the one the model is demonstrating, just to save my back, but all its pieces are out of sight but immediately available when wanted.
My Nutone is a sturdy workhorse and must be nearly sixty years old, still going strong. I haven’t seen any evaluations of this iteration.
April 27, 2018 @ 4:55 am
As you know, I’m also renovating my kitchen and am always running into the microwave problem. I thought of tucking it below the counter because it looks so nice off the counter, but a wise designer cautioned me. Tall people who use the microwave regularly (I use it a few times each day), will not enjoy all of the bending over.
May 25, 2018 @ 11:02 am
I know I’m late to the party, (I just found this blog yesterday and I LOVE it!) but I can’t understand this fascination with microwave drawers either though it might be great if you’re really short. I am not and my husband is 7 inches taller than me (6’5″). And he uses the countertop, (of which I have so little) microwave every freaking day to make his oatmeal, which he has to bend over and watching carefully through the door to make sure it doesn’t boil over. (I have deeper bowls, don’t ask) So next house which we are currently building, will have a microwave at his eye level, sticking out under a cabinet, so he can have his oatmeal.
And as this daily regimen seems to have lowered his cholesterol tremendously, I have also started eating steel cut oatmeal (I hate the regular kind he eats) though not on a daily basis. So now I need the damn microwave too. Otherwise the only thing I ever use it for is to bake 2 potatoes. They come out great, 8 minutes cooking, sit for 4 more and then voila. I bake potatoes about 4 times a year. If I could just find a shallow, high power microwave I could hid inside a 12″ deep upper cabinet!
April 27, 2018 @ 10:13 am
“Paul cannot just hack into anything.
Even I must acknowledge this.”
Noooooo! Do not destroy my illusions! Paul is the example I point to when I dream of men who can dance, build, listen, AND love cats!
Keep looking for YOUR kitchen solution. I firmly believe that any woman who found Paul can find the perfect kitchen layout/cabinet/microwave solution.
And, for the record, my guy can’t build, dances like a windmill burning down in a hurricane BUT among his other talents he’s a great listener, loves cats and brings me coffee in bed. He’s MY dream.
April 27, 2018 @ 2:12 pm
this isn’t a solution for your not-liking-the-microwave issue but paul might enjoy this. ceramic mug that heats to a scalding 145 Degrees. Not 900 degrees but close. they also have it in a travel mug option. it keeps coffee heated to the set temp for about on hour off the charger but all day if you leave it on the charger. he could put the charger anywhere he wanted and no matter if he forgot about his coffee for hours, it would still be hot when he wanted to drink it. https://ember.com/products/ceramic-mug