Another microwave shelf question...

CamGMay 9, 2013

Our KD has us slated for a 30" wide and 18" tall microwave shelf. Unfortunately, the cabinet will also be only 12" deep--our line of Koch cabinets is only available 12" deep and to get a deeper cabinet requires moving up to the next level of cabinets at a lot more cost. Fortunately, I think we may be able to recess the microwave entirely into the wall behind it.

Also, apparently the cabinet will come with a 16" finished plywood shelf for the microwave to sit on, so it could certainly fit a deeper microwave, but I wonder if that will look funny?

So, questions:
-Is 30" too wide?
-What to do about the depth?
-I think 18" is probably too tall, but I don't think there's anything I can do about that, as it's simply half the 36" tall upper.


This post was edited by CamG on Thu, May 9, 13 at 9:39

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To me, yes 30" is pretty wide, because I don't need a huge micro. It depends on what you think you need. Here's a way to get a full depth look with 12" cabs (ikea), although it's a question whether you'd want to build out a whole wall's worth (sorry for the big pic, but that's the size he posted):

Details on how to do this in this thread (micro details on page 3):

Here is a link that might be useful: another finished ramsjo kitchen

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Sorry, pic linking doesn't seem to be working right now, but there's a gallery in the linked thread.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:10AM
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Pick your mw and then see what space you need. GE spacemaker fits on a 12" deep shelf.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Debrak, I've looked at all manner of microwaves and none are more than 24" wide. So shouldn't I make the cabinet a 27" rather than 30"?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:27AM
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How would 27" cabinet affect the rest of your plan? FYI, mine is on a shelf about 40" and I put cookbooks and stuff next to the mw.

Can you show us an elevation view of the mw area?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:33AM
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That's a good idea to keep cookbooks next to it. I hadn't thought of that! So I think the real question is whether that extra 3" or more would be better used making the currently 18" broom closet larger. I figured it would look aesthetically bad but hadn't thought of putting other things there....


General kitchen layout:

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:47AM
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So it comes done to what type of storage do you need more.

Larger broom closet, what exactly will you keep there and what is the minimum space needed?

Cabinets above and below mw, what are you planning to keep there? Same question as above.

Remember it will affect the counter top also, 27" or 30".

There is no right or wrong answer!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Kristen Hallock

We have a cheap GE microwave. I bought it at Best Buy a few years ago when our built-in microwave died.

We are in the process of remodeling also and I purchased a 27" wide cabinet that is 18" deep and my microwave will sit on the bottom shelf (it has no doors). I measured most of the microwaves at Lowes and almost all came in at under 27" so I figured a 27" cabinet was plenty.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Make sure you have room for the microwave door to open without hitting the edge of the cabinet.

The hinge face cannot be recessed past the cabinet face usually.

The door thickness often needs to stick out past the cabinet face.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:54AM
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My microwave shelf will be 30 inches wide and our microwave isn't that wide either. I'm also planning on putting cookbooks there as there is no other place in the kitchen to put them. Most recipes are online now anyway but I do have a few I want to keep. Make sure you leave a little room for the microwave to vent on the side. I think it's usually the left. We've gone through 3 microwaves in the last 6 years (countertop) and I just learned that they needed to vent. I wonder now if that's why the previous microwaves had an early death, I didn't leave them any room to vent.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 2:24PM
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You should look at the availability of microwaves that fit your depth requirement, and see how wide they are. I like to use the search tool at AJMadison because it lets you narrow down dimensions easily.

For example, if you wanted a microwave in the 13" to 13.9" deep range, the widest one they sell is 19", and they're all under 12" tall except for that weird Whirlpool corner microwave.

In the 14-14.9" range, they're all under 21" wide and all under 13" tall.

In the 15-15.9" range, which would really be pushing the limits of your shelf if you expect to leave the required air space at the back, the widest one is still only 21 1/4" wide, and the tallest is only 15" tall.

Note that A.J. Madison doesn't sell all brands, so you might find another microwave that's tall and wide and shallow, but I suspect they're pretty representative.

If you could recess into the wall, you'd want to get rid of the protruding shelf, right? So you're depth doesn't increase so much as shift into the cabinet. I think 30" is too wide. 24" would be wide enough for any microwave that would fit depth-wise, and leave you room for Joy of Cooking besides.

If you recess into the wall and keep the protruding shelf, you could conceivably get a really big microwave that uses all the space but even so most microwaves are under 24" wide.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 5:16PM
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I'm guessing a microwave that juts out 4" from the cabinet would look strange?

Eric, thanks for the specs. I hadn't really thought of it that way. Even if we recessed it, the thing is, all the micros under 16" deep are tiny--and we use out microwave constantly, nearly every meal with the kids. My MIL just got a new over the range micro and its so big and luxurious.... To upgrade to the next line is almost $1,000, or we are stuck forever with an itty bitty micro. Makes me want to give up on my vented hood and do an OTR microwave.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 8:24PM
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Okay, thinking about this more, I can't possibly do this current plan. We are hoping to have large family and 2/3s of our meals are entirely microwaved. In less than a year we will be reheating meals for 4 people, who knows how many in the years to come.

So, the next question is what to do with this area? I don't know how much we NEED a broom closet. I could put the fridge there but that puts an island between the fridge and sink. We are having the cabinet makers make usa desk, currently slated for the dining room, which we could put there? But the isle will only be 4' between those cabs and the island, which would be tight with people sitting on both sides. But that would open up the dinning room? Sorry for the stream of consciousness, I'm halfway just thinking out loud (and in my defense, I don't really sleep these days since my 17month old started cutting molars...)

Below is our current general layout. (We will be moving the island to make more room between it and the sink.)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:01PM
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The front of my GE spacemaker is exactly 13" from the wall. It sits on a 12" self. 1/2 inch space in the back, 1/2 inch in the front.

Here is a link that might be useful: photo of a GWer with a spacemaker

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:06PM
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Have you considered a drawer MW in a lower?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:06PM
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You might want to consider countertop microwaves that have an available trim kit. Many appliance manufacturers make them. The trim kit gives the microwave a built-in look. Trim kits are often made to cover 27" and 30" wide openings.

That is what we are doing for our upcoming remodel. Our microwave with trim kit is going to sit on a shelf right above our 30" wall oven.

It also gives you added flexibility for the future. If that microwave needs to be replaced, you have more options than finding a microwave to fit a space customized to your old microwave.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:36PM
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Another option is to use an OTR microwave, mounted elsewhere, ie, not over your range. Requires 30 in of space, but you should be able to have next to the broom closet. Gives you a honkin' big microwave and a standard size cabinet if you need to swap out down the road.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Maggie, that is a really interesting option... while the cabinet maker's micro shelves only come 12" deep, their OTR cabinets come 15" deep--plus, an OTR micro fills that space sooo much better. The one I'm looking at is 16" deep, 17" tall, and 30" wide, rather than 12" deep, 14" tall and 20" wide for a counter micro. Now you've really got me thinking... moments before I was about to pull the trigger on scrapping this.

Now, would this look funny? This is the micro I would probably do--it does not have any obvious vents in the front...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:53AM
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The other option, of course, is to put this micro OTR and vent it outside. My understanding is this does not work well? It says 300 CFM, which is more than the Broan vent we were planning on, although I imagine it does not work as well (even though it looks like the vent is the same size)?

ETA: Below is the hood we are planning on if we go that route, if that makes a difference--it's not like we're choosing between a high end hood and a OTR micro, but probably a pretty low-end hood and a decent OTR micro vented outside. How much difference can there be without spending a lot on the hood?

Here is a link that might be useful: QS130 Hood

This post was edited by CamG on Fri, May 10, 13 at 12:25

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:58AM
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MaggieQ's suggestion does give you some good flexibility. It is certainly easy to find a replacement OTR microwave down the line when your current one dies. Though, I do wonder if you will still have to vent the unit, even though it is not going over a range. The microwave itself might need venting.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:53PM
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CamG, we do a lot of microwave heating as well (family of 4) and we have never felt limited by the size of our microwave.

For various reasons we currently have two microwaves in use in our kitchen. One is a OTR microwave. The inside cavity is 13.5" deep. The other is a "normal" countertop microwave, and the inside cavity is 15" deep. The OTR microwave is smaller inside because there has to be ducting behind it (even if you don't use it).

All that said, we love having two microwaves and even though it's temporary for us, it might be worth considering for you to compromise on the size and get a second microwave somewhere, that can be removed if you find as your family gets older you don't have the demand you do now. We often are reheating something for us and maybe cooking some frozen thing for the kids at the same time. It halves the meal-prep time for a mostly-microwaved meal.

If you are putting this above a countertop, there's a third category called "under-cabinet" that's like a OTR but without the venting (but with the lights) that might be useful to you. Larger oven size in the same chassis because of the lack of ducting. There aren't a ton in this category, though, and they're mostly very small. I'll link one I found that isn't too small. I wouldn't hang an OTR somewhere other than over the range - I'd get one of these instead, or use a shelf.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sharp under-cabinet microwave

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 3:56PM
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