Would you put a microwave in this cabinet?

WMA89November 13, 2012

Met with the architect this weekend and showed him my sketches of cabinet designs. He was quite positive, but did suggest a few changes. One was to build the china hutch to include space to "hide" the microwave. I read a bit about putting microwaves in cabinets and its seems to be safe as long as there is at least a couple inches all the way around. He also liked the idea of adding some little drawers for detail (think secretary desk). At first I hesitated about the drawers, but then realized they'd actually be great for storing the aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins and band-aids we've grown accustomed to keeping in the kitchen. I'm attaching my revised drawing and the one without the microwave cabinet for your comments.

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I have a very similar hutch in my kitchen design. I love your little drawers but, particularly because I think you are doing inset, they may be really tiny, too tiny for many of our vitamin bottles.
The bottom section of my hutch, which is 15" deep(I think) has doors that open to the sides and then slide in, as opposed to lift up. There are different types of lift up doors and some block the upper doors when they are open and I would find that annoying. Also, I do not have inset, so I am unclear on this point, but I seem to recall something about the slide in doors not working with that style cabinet or something. Definitely not sure but something to ask about.
Anyway, originally I planned on putting the coffee pot, the next few days beans, the grinder and the filters in this cabinet and having my microwave, which I use less that 1x per day, in my pantry. Cabinets are being delivered tomorrow and I am now unsure how I will actually place the coffee pot and the microwave. I may put the microwave in this hutch and leave the coffee pot out on the counter on the other side of the sink, or I may put microwave on the shelf to the left of the sink or leave it in pantry. All are just positioning changes at this point for me

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 2:31PM
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My main concern would be if that is a good, efficient, functional location in your layout for the microwave? In our last house, we had ours in a shelf by the dish storage, but it was a small kitchen and the only place it would fit. I'd consider putting it over by your fridge instead, since much of what goes in the micro comes from fridge or freezer, and it'd be accessible as you cook for thawing, melting, steaming veggies, etc.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 2:48PM
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thanks, localeater--good point. When I was drawing those little drawers I did wonder how small they might end up being. Last thing I need is a useless decorative drawer! I'd love to see a sketch of your hutch--could you share?

Rhome, you are so correct. It would make a lot more sense to have the microwave on the other wall. In the last iteration I had it as a microwave drawer in the island. I got carried away with the architect's vision!

So now I need to rethink that hutch. I do want something between the glass doors and the counters, hmmm....


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Agree about the small drawers. I finally banished all those little things like aspirin, DH's tums, band aids, etc to the rooms in which they make more sense like bathrooms. I'm into storing like things with like things though so, to me, kitchen items go in the kitchen.

How about a just a single, full-width drawer between the glass cabs and the counter? I store my dishes in my glasss hutch and my everyday silverware in the small drawer above the counter. I'm sure you've seen it so I wont post. I love the little drawer!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:45PM
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How about apothecary style drawers (maybe 3 over 3 or 4 over 4?) instead of those itty bitty drawers and the micro door?

I kind of like the tall glass doors in your first drawing, though. : )

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:07PM
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NO to both. The MW is in the wrong location. It should be next to fridge and close to the range. The apothecary drawers become heaps of junk that you can't find anything in.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:24PM
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GreenDesigns, I agree. The mw needs to move near the fridge and the little drawers are nonsensical. I'm scratching that idea. Thanks!

So I'm thinking either a single drawer under the glass doors (as Breezy mentioned), or back to the plain glass with no drawers (thanks for that reminder Laughable).

Now to relocate the microwave . . .

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:48PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We liked the idea of keeping the MW at a comfortable eye level but hiding it as it is ugly and we didn't want to pay for fancy surrounds and special MWs when a cheapo one serves us well, so we built a cabinet over the wall oven with nesting doors.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:55PM
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WMA, Another few weeks and I'll be able to post pictures of my real cabinets - yahoo! Unfortunately, the sketch that I have actually shows the hutch with just tall doors, but I also have a rendering, in which lots is wrong(the island, the fridge cabinet, the shelves) but the hutch is rightish.
From Kitchen Planning

From [Kitchen Planning](https://picasaweb.google.com/117628792381036933260/KitchenPlanning?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite)

While I love Breezy's suggestion of one drawer, I didn't find it workable for me. I have a fear of someone setting down a glass of milk, or wine and then pulling the drawer open. SMASH That's why, in my original plan and most likely, still probable plan, it is our coffee clutter hideaway. Coffee is limited in duration and access. I can put coffee pot, grinder, this week's beans, filters and sugar bowl. Coffee service starts at 5:30 and ends at 8ish- done, clean pot, close doors until tomorrow. Another fear is that one of my boys will just put their hand though the glass- we are a very active household and to my dismay, many balls, sticks, and cleats make their way into my kitchen. Plus no water bottle every gets carried to the sink to be filled for practice they get hurled like a football in a Hail Mary-ugh. FInally RE the countertop drawers, I looked at showroom displays with the drawers on top of the counter and the depth of the drawer from front to back seemed very inadequate. I wanted the drawer for our placemats and napkins and I really didn't think they would fit.
I know you said you want something between the counter and the glass. Why is that? Is it a visual thing? maybe look at some photos on Houzz, these came up when I searched "cupboard to counter"

Contemporary Kitchen design by Chicago Design-build Airoom.com Architects-Builders-Remodelers

Traditional Kitchen design by Seattle Kitchen And Bath Kayron Brewer, CKD / Studio KB

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Love our MW drawer, would not go back to a regular MW. Plus, there's the cool factor for guests who haven't seen this yet:)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:46PM
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Wherever your meds end up, they should not be next to any appliance that generates heat, direct sunlight, or near moist areas (like anywhere in a bathroom with tub and/or shower). Heat, light, and moisture degrade medications quickly.

I love the hutch idea, I bet it will be wonderful! Just those pesky detail to figure out, I swear they multiply while we sleep.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Just how ugly can your microwave be? What if you got a new one that wasn't so ugly - do you want to have to open the doors every time you use it?

Any counter in front of the MW is going to be pretty non-functional as counter space, since the doors open and/or the microwave door opens.

Tiny drawers - I bet they will be the repository for rubber bands, 1-2 extra sponges, etc. But then maybe I am just quirky, I buy ibuprofin in bulk and get 3 months' prescriptions at a time, so I can't imagine using a small drawer for anything like that!

Just some thoughts!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:15PM
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Wouldn't hesitate to do it again. And I hate microwaves, so this little one (which actually isn't that little after all) is perfectly fine for what I use it for.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Thanks for the sketches, Localeater. Your kitchen is going to be gorgeous! Loved the way you described your household activity--I could picture it!
Good points about the shallow drawer under--again, I trying hard to resist form over function in this kitchen so maybe I should reconsider just a a glass cabinet.

AnnieD, thanks for sharing photos. I'd consider that if I could find the right space in my cabinets. Not sure I have it. You make a good point about spending lots of money to hide the microwave. I realize that I was trying to avoid the expense of a microwave drawer (which really makes the most sense for my needs and wishes). But building fancy cabinetry is not cost effective either, so I may just bite the bullet and get a mw drawer on Ebay, where they're a couple hundred cheaper.

So I'll forget the tiny drawers, try to store my meds in the bathroom or find space somewhere else in the kitchen. Again, thanks for all the input!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:23AM
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While I love Breezy's suggestion of one drawer, I didn't find it workable for me. I have a fear of someone setting down a glass of milk, or wine and then pulling the drawer open. SMASH That's why, in my original plan and most likely, still probable plan, it is our coffee clutter hideaway.

That's a good idea! But we didn't do it. ;-) We have drawers across the bottom of our hutch (3 across, but only 1 high), and I put them there (rather than just having doors) so that we could set a plate or silverware or something on the counter and be able to open hutch doors without sweeping things off the counter. We use our drawers for silverware, leaving the deeper drawers (I mean deeper back-to-front) in the base cabinet below for things that need more room.

Maybe because there are multiple drawers, we haven't had trouble with anyone opening a drawer and knocking down a glass. But I could see where that might be a bigger problem with one wide drawer.

It still needs the trim at the top:

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:21AM
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KevinMP did you have and damage to your cabinet by placing it there? I'm assuming this is a countertop micro that vents in the back. I'm contemplating the same thing.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:26PM
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I used 18" wide pantry cabinets that are 24" deep, so there's plenty of ventilation room in the back and because of the height to the shelf above. I leave the door open when using it usually. As to damage to the cabinet, no, but I had to put it in on an angle and then sort of force it once I got it turned about a quarter of the way because it has a rounded (and wider) area on the sides. But when I say forced, it wasn't hard, and it did nothing to the cabinet. Once I got it turned, there's about 1.5-2" on either side free.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Rhome, I really like your three drawer arrangement. Do you organize it by knives/forks/spoons? Are there dividers within the drawers?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:34AM
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