The Cool House: Orient the (micro) Wave

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Orient the (micro) Wave

The kitchen isn't even finished yet I'm almost certain there will be a minor remodel to the renovation in the future. The microwave is sitting on the counter like the ugly big box it is, reminding me daily that my first wish for the kitchen was a dedicated small appliance area and my second was to stop the breaker tripping every time we used the toaster, coffee maker and microwave simultaneously.
I looked at built-in microwaves and microwaves in a drawer but they were so expensive that when it came time to do the budget I nixed the idea. We decided we could live with the microwave on the counter and had the electrician run four outlets on the wall behind the small appliance area. It transpires that he didn't run a separate 20 amp breaker for the microwave though, so we still can't heat oatmeal, make toast and warm coffee at the same time - a fact we discovered when we had a bunch of people staying all trying to get breakfast together.
So something has to be done. When I ordered the other appliances I talked to the sales guy who told me that built-in microwaves were not worth the money and it would be much cheaper (and fairly easy) to convert a 24" or 30" cabinet to hold the microwave and buy a trim kit that allows steam to vent out the front. It's certainly an option and I do have a few placement possibilities.


I could build an appliance garage on the small appliance wall under the staircase but this would cut into valuable counterspace - and make that wall look cramped - it would also be a pain to run a dedicated line to the microwave here. I could also modify one of the 30" cabinet drawers underneath but it would ruin the look of that cabinet run.


Or I could place it in the island - there is a dedicated 20 amp line here that will only be used occasionally and it would be handy for heating plates etc. but the induction cooktop is so super fast that I wouldn't use the microwave for heating stock or any other cooking process and it's far from the site of primary use - heating oatmeal, boiling water and reheating coffee.


The final place probably has the fewest disadvantages. The cupboard next to the dishwasher houses appliances we use occasionally: coffee bean grinder, ice cream maker, food processor. It would be easy to relocate these to the tall pantry, which, at the moment, is completely empty. We would replace the two tall doors with two 15" doors on the bottom of the cabinet and place the microwave on the shelf up top, then trim it out with the kit. The microwave would be opposite the coffee maker and it would be a cinch to run a new 20 amp line here with no visible holes in the wall. The only problem? I really like the way that run of cabinets looks now. I don't want to mess it up with an ugly microwave. What to do?

8 comments:

Why S? said...

How about no microwave?

I've never owned one. Won't give up the counterspace and couldn't tolerate the idea of how it would interfere with the look of my kitchen.

Just a thought.

modernemama said...

Exactly what the flooring guy says.

Dianna said...

Microwaves are handy but they do pose a decor dilemma.

Too bad you have the electrical problem where it's at now. It's the most logical place. Your already loosing the counter space where the microwave sits so why not build a cabinet around it to improve the appearance?

modernemama said...

Maybe I should get rid of the microwave and buy an electric kettle?

Fliss said...

i think you could lose the microwave, get a funky thermos to dump coffee in, make porridge on the stove and get a kettle.

modernemama said...

Letting go of the microwave seems to be the solution - and I'm already hiding a sllek Bodum thermos in one of those cabinets!

Why S? said...

It's a whole "no nukes" movement now. There should be fan page on Facebook.

modernemama said...

You organise the page and I'll find my Greenham Common badge...