Help! Cabinet/microwave clearance issues
Any suggestions for how to resolve a problem with my cabinets being hung too high and the microwave being so high that I can barely use it and it hurts my neck to look up at it? I've attached a photo for context. Gorgeous but we're not 6' tall people! (I'm 5'3, my husband is around 5'7", we have a child). We're used to a 21" clearance for cabs and microwave over the range, what we got is 23" for cabs and 26.5" for microwave (!). it's partly an IKEA cabinet problem since we need a 21" for the microwave and they only offer 18 or 24. I bought both and my contractor said the 24" would be too low and did the 18". But the 18 clearly doesn't work. I can buy the 24" this weekend and he can swap it out but it will hang 1-2" below the cabinet line.
I think under the circumstances (over or under the cabinet line), UNDER makes the most sense (clearance will be 20.5" from stovetop which is fine with me).
Also, query whether I should pay him (he's a time/materials guy) to lower the cabinets 1 or 1.5" (not so much so that the microwave really is too low, I wouldn't go under 19.5 or perhaps 19 clearance). IKEA cabinets are on a rail system (brilliant) so it would involve pulling them down, lowering the rail and putting them back up. Probably a half day, give or take, not prohibitive.
I'm inclined to suck up the cabinet 23 clearance (with the undercabinet lighting and skirt it will turn into the 21" I like, but a bit hard to reach the 23" cabinets) and just lower the microwave by 6" with the longer 24 cabinet. I also have a 16.5" faucet and a soffit at the top of the 39" cabinets at the 23" clearance and the contractor thought putting the cabinets up to the soffit was the cleanest. My designer (via email, she's on vacation) prefers a 21" clearance, to lower the cabs 2".
Thoughts? Suggestions? I have the weekend to figure this out, I have my contractor for 4 more days before we have to move into the space and make it work. Undercabinet lighting goes in tomorrow (Sunday) morning so I might really be out of time today unless I put off my electrician to later this week... Help!!