Author Topic: Microwave oven placement/storage...  (Read 6025 times)

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Offline GreenGA

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  • JR
Microwave oven placement/storage...
« on: January 15, 2016, 11:05 AM »
This is the second of many questions about a new kitchen we were commissioned to design, make, build and install...  The HO wants as much storage as possible (the kitchen being about 17x17, but actually about 13x17, when all is said and done). The prior question was about toe kicks.

Next up, Microwave placement/location/storage.

The HO would rather NOT place their microwave oven on the counter, nor do they think they will have enough base cabinet storage to give up the space necessary to store the microwave in a base cabinet.  So, we were thinking perhaps we could punch through the kitchen back wall, which is common with the garage, build a cavity large enough to house the microwave and frame the cavity to meet the same codes as already exists.  The garage is on the other side of the kitchen wall and the "floor" of the garage is lower than the kitchen floor by about 24", so the cavity, while just at counter height in the kitchen, would be about 5 feet above the garage floor so it will not interfere with parking. The microwave is one of the largest residential microwaves available, so even if it dies somewhere down the road, the replacement should still fit.  Obviously, the single-plug outlet would be inside the cavity on its own breaker.

Thanks for any and all thoughts, opinions and suggestions.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

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Offline rst

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 05:05 PM »
I did exactly the same thing 25 years ago.  Our Sharp microwave is big and deep (and still works great).  I installed it in a cavity that I carved out of the 6" stud wall.  I made an aluminum enclosure that I sprayed foam on the exterior and installed a dedicated circuit.  I positioned the unit over a dropped section of counter with a marble baking area below.  My wife still loves this.  My last winter project was a lock/wheeled cabinet to house a lift equipped mixer as there was no room on the counters.  The cutting board top is the same height as the marble.

Offline WastedP

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 06:17 PM »
Despite the early marketing info, we here in the future we know that microwaves are never used by reasonable people to cook a whole turkey.  Microwaves are pretty inexpensive appliances, certainly less expensive than a green drill. Buy a small one.  If you have a pantry cabinet in the floor plan, modify it to allow for a finished cavity to contain a microwave.  Bonus points if it's sized to fit a trim kit for the built-in look.

Other thoughts:  Microwaves below counter height are pretty awkward to use.  Same goes for microwave drawers, and I have yet to see one with a turntable.  Nothing is more disappointing than heating up that bowl of leftover soup and then sopping it up out of the microwave drawer when it sloshes all over as it opens. 

Offline DB10

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2016, 06:47 PM »
 I did what you are proposing for my Mum 20 years ago, she had a small kitchen that  backed onto a garage and nowhere for her microwave to go.
  This all worked well and looked good having the microwave recessed back into the wall in her small kitchen, fast forward 20 years and that old large microwave has long gone and has been replaced a couple of times with much smaller units and although the new smaller microwave is still in the recess and off the counter top, it just doesn't look right any more, it's all bit dated especially when you compare it to other options that are available now.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 07:18 PM »
Microwaves are shelf mounted appliances in my mind now.  The build quality isn't what it used to be and customizing space for one will only lead to either more work or unhappiness.

Peter

Offline GreenGA

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2016, 07:56 PM »
I thank everyone for their comments and suggestions; and keep them coming if you would...

For those remarking about the size of microwaves over the years, the HO has had two large ones over the past 39, yes..., 39... years, both exceeding 1200 watts in power.  I just did a search and units in this size and power range are still available and pretty close in capacity and power to the GE they have.

One thing I should reiterate, we have no say in the unit or its use, we're only here to build a new kitchen and solve existing, or even imaginary [blink], problems.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

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Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2016, 08:22 PM »
As long as you maintain the firewall requirement for your area, no reason you cannot do what you propose. Seeing as you are cutting a hole in a wall be mindful of the load paths of the wall.

Tom

Offline Rollin22Petes

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2016, 08:56 PM »
Did the same thing some years back with a frig. The home owner didn't want to spend the money for a sub zero built in but wanted the frig at counter depth. So we built a pocket behind it that protruded into the garage worked out great just keep in mind about structure or any hidden wires or pipes. 

Offline TealaG

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2016, 10:41 PM »
Just a thought...if you're placing the microwave on the backwall, wouldn't you have to reach across the countertop and into the microwave cavity to get the dish?   That would really be too far for me to reach.  I'm 5'4" and I think I'd find it awkward to reach across 24+ inches (into the microwave).  My aunts are 4'11" and 5'1" and I'm not sure they could reach that far!

My house was intended to be built with the microwave under the counter top.  My immediate reaction was "boy that's weird!"   The original drawings showed the microwave above the wall mounted oven.  To me, that was a better spot for it.    I fought with the builder on this issue (they insisted that a double oven was needed, I felt that a single double would be better and use the spot in THEIR drawing for my nice Advantium oven...).  Ultimately, they allowed me to put the Advantium over the stove top and I ended up with a double oven.   The construction manager said "How many ovens will this house have?"  I had to tell him I only asked for the Advantium and a single double...they insisted on a full double and I insisted on the Advantium.

I would suggest that you have the homeowner mount a "pretend" microwave oven (ie a piece of cardboard with a hinged "door").  Then, try to open that door, "reach in" and put the food in and remove it and see if they can do that while reaching over the counter.   If they feel comfortable that it's not an over reach, then...well, their microwave, their kitchen.  But if they are uncomfortable, find another place for it.  If it's not a built in, you could build a cute cart for it with storage underneath or you could put a venting wall unit above the stove or???   I knew someone who built a custom cabinet below the upper cabinet.  It was just a rectangular cavity so that it was not "built in" and the microwave could be easily replaced.   But honestly, I had my old built in microwave/convection for 18 years and the unit still worked when I moved out of that house.    If my advantium lasts that long, I'll be happy and will have no regrets about doing a built in.

Offline chris s

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2016, 12:19 PM »
I just did the same with a refrigerator and think it is a good idea.  The only thing it could turn into a head knocker in the garage.IE hitting head when one walks by it>

Offline GreenGA

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 09:04 AM »
I continue to appreciate the ideas from forum members.

One that caught my eye was about finding out if the HO can actually reach the microware across the counter.  I will be visiting them today and will setup a test.  If the reach is too much, it may be back to the drawing board.

As for hitting one's head on the protrusion in the garage.  Because the garage floor is at least two feet below the kitchen, that may not, or should not, be an issue.

As a fallback I have an idea that may or may not work.  We are also building them an island so maybe, it their existing microwave is not too deep, I may be able to design it into a cabinet on the side of the island below the eat at counter; which is/will-be about 9 inches above normal kitchen counter height.  Since that part of the island will be higher by 9 inches, perhaps bringing the microware up that additional 9 inches would help; i.e. that no bending over to see what's going on thing.

Please keep'm coming.

Thanks.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

SYS-Lites, CMS/GE, TS55, KAPEX, MFT/3, CXS Kit, C15 Set, C12 Set, T18 Set, Ti15 Set, CT48 w/Boom Arm, Carvex PSBC, HL850, HL65L, RO90, RTS400, DTS400, LS130, DX93, RO150, ETS 150/3, RAS 115/4E, RS2E, Domino 500 & 700 Sets, MFK700 Set, OF1010 EQ, OF1400, OF2000E+, MFS700, FS3000/2, LR 32-SYS+97" rail, 2011 Centrotec Set, Metric and Imperial Zobo Forstner Bit Set, VS600 Dovetail System, Guide Rail Kit, Parallel Guides, Tradesman Cleaning Set, Shinex, lotsa 'tainers (Sys, Sorts, Minis, Midis, Maxis. Attics, Classic, New and Blue).
Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 09:19 AM »
Put the microwave in the island. You'll figure it out.

Tom

Offline Green Mojo

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2016, 06:22 PM »
I am a big fan of my microwave drawer in my kitchen island. No issues with being able to see the food - better than one at eye level IMHO. Very clean look too as it does not break up the cabinets.

Offline TealaG

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2016, 09:19 PM »
@GreenGA  Curious...how did the test go?  I started thinking about my 5'1" maid and imagining her "surfing" the countertop to clean the back of the large microwave.   The island idea sounded good...

Offline GreenGA

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  • JR
Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2016, 11:17 AM »
@GreenGA  Curious...how did the test go?  I started thinking about my 5'1" maid and imagining her "surfing" the countertop to clean the back of the large microwave.   The island idea sounded good...

I'm waiting to hear back.  I sent them an email yesterday asking if the wife would try to reach across the counter to simulate placing and retrieving something from a microwave installed in the wall.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

SYS-Lites, CMS/GE, TS55, KAPEX, MFT/3, CXS Kit, C15 Set, C12 Set, T18 Set, Ti15 Set, CT48 w/Boom Arm, Carvex PSBC, HL850, HL65L, RO90, RTS400, DTS400, LS130, DX93, RO150, ETS 150/3, RAS 115/4E, RS2E, Domino 500 & 700 Sets, MFK700 Set, OF1010 EQ, OF1400, OF2000E+, MFS700, FS3000/2, LR 32-SYS+97" rail, 2011 Centrotec Set, Metric and Imperial Zobo Forstner Bit Set, VS600 Dovetail System, Guide Rail Kit, Parallel Guides, Tradesman Cleaning Set, Shinex, lotsa 'tainers (Sys, Sorts, Minis, Midis, Maxis. Attics, Classic, New and Blue).
Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline GreenGA

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2016, 11:25 AM »
Put the microwave in the island. You'll figure it out.

Tom

"figuring it out" is not the issue for the island, it's a matter of design aesthetics.  We already know the regular counter is out and so is installing it in a lowered wall cabinet.  While the island is a possible solution, if the microwave is too deep, the resulting appliance cabinet would encroach in on the island seating area and also unbalance the entire look.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

SYS-Lites, CMS/GE, TS55, KAPEX, MFT/3, CXS Kit, C15 Set, C12 Set, T18 Set, Ti15 Set, CT48 w/Boom Arm, Carvex PSBC, HL850, HL65L, RO90, RTS400, DTS400, LS130, DX93, RO150, ETS 150/3, RAS 115/4E, RS2E, Domino 500 & 700 Sets, MFK700 Set, OF1010 EQ, OF1400, OF2000E+, MFS700, FS3000/2, LR 32-SYS+97" rail, 2011 Centrotec Set, Metric and Imperial Zobo Forstner Bit Set, VS600 Dovetail System, Guide Rail Kit, Parallel Guides, Tradesman Cleaning Set, Shinex, lotsa 'tainers (Sys, Sorts, Minis, Midis, Maxis. Attics, Classic, New and Blue).
Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2016, 03:56 PM »
That's part of figuring it out.

Last design I did took me 3 months to get a design where the client got everything they wanted. The additions to the kitchen came via subtraction. Sounds dumb but by eliminating 2 existing cabinets (they formed an L) I was able to expand the island 4-1/2' (it is now 11'-6") and make it U shaped. It allowed for a eating area in the center of the U, a place for the kids to do their home work, increased and organized storage, increased counter area, allowed the husbands wet bar to stay. The microwave will be in the island on this one also. 

This was one I agonized over and redesigned many times, one night while I was taking a shower the solution came to me.

Tom

Offline GreenGA

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2016, 06:18 AM »
That's part of figuring it out.

Last design I did took me 3 months to get a design where the client got everything they wanted. The additions to the kitchen came via subtraction. Sounds dumb but by eliminating 2 existing cabinets (they formed an L) I was able to expand the island 4-1/2' (it is now 11'-6") and make it U shaped. It allowed for a eating area in the center of the U, a place for the kids to do their home work, increased and organized storage, increased counter area, allowed the husbands wet bar to stay. The microwave will be in the island on this one also. 

This was one I agonized over and redesigned many times, one night while I was taking a shower the solution came to me.

Tom

I usually get my ideas in my sleep, or lack thereof; waking at o-dark-thirty and not being to fall back asleep.

I popped everything into Home Designer Pro and once I get the kitchen fully "designed", the island is where I will focus my time.  Perhaps something will come of it.  I asked the HO for the depth of their MW and it would require a cabinet 20" deep, maybe 19".
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

SYS-Lites, CMS/GE, TS55, KAPEX, MFT/3, CXS Kit, C15 Set, C12 Set, T18 Set, Ti15 Set, CT48 w/Boom Arm, Carvex PSBC, HL850, HL65L, RO90, RTS400, DTS400, LS130, DX93, RO150, ETS 150/3, RAS 115/4E, RS2E, Domino 500 & 700 Sets, MFK700 Set, OF1010 EQ, OF1400, OF2000E+, MFS700, FS3000/2, LR 32-SYS+97" rail, 2011 Centrotec Set, Metric and Imperial Zobo Forstner Bit Set, VS600 Dovetail System, Guide Rail Kit, Parallel Guides, Tradesman Cleaning Set, Shinex, lotsa 'tainers (Sys, Sorts, Minis, Midis, Maxis. Attics, Classic, New and Blue).
Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2016, 09:25 AM »
What is the shape of the island?

20" deep cabinets in an island would not be unusual-----would they?

Tom

Offline GreenGA

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2016, 06:42 AM »
What is the shape of the island?

20" deep cabinets in an island would not be unusual-----would they?

Tom

It's a rather rectangular shape.  Five cabinets on the "front"; left to right, trash bin, sink, dishwasher, cabinet to store plates, dishes, cups, etc.. using those lift out carrying contraptions, then a very narrow, 15", wine unit.  On one side will be a bookcase for the HO's cookbooks and the other side, IF we place the microwave in an island cabinet, the 20" deep cabinet.

I will attach, or try to attach, a PDF file of the kitchen in its current design phase.  In there you'll see the island.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

SYS-Lites, CMS/GE, TS55, KAPEX, MFT/3, CXS Kit, C15 Set, C12 Set, T18 Set, Ti15 Set, CT48 w/Boom Arm, Carvex PSBC, HL850, HL65L, RO90, RTS400, DTS400, LS130, DX93, RO150, ETS 150/3, RAS 115/4E, RS2E, Domino 500 & 700 Sets, MFK700 Set, OF1010 EQ, OF1400, OF2000E+, MFS700, FS3000/2, LR 32-SYS+97" rail, 2011 Centrotec Set, Metric and Imperial Zobo Forstner Bit Set, VS600 Dovetail System, Guide Rail Kit, Parallel Guides, Tradesman Cleaning Set, Shinex, lotsa 'tainers (Sys, Sorts, Minis, Midis, Maxis. Attics, Classic, New and Blue).
Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline JimD

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2016, 08:50 PM »
Over the range or cooktop is not an option?  I like the look of separate vent hoods but a microwave in this location is certainly useful and not abusive of space.  If you install a pipe for a vent it will vent fine too.  With a filter at least it helps some. 

Offline GreenGA

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2016, 08:17 AM »
Over the range or cooktop is not an option?  I like the look of separate vent hoods but a microwave in this location is certainly useful and not abusive of space.  If you install a pipe for a vent it will vent fine too.  With a filter at least it helps some. 

No, not in this situation.

We're installing a 36" induction cooktop and a 12" double Gaggenau gas burner along with a 1100 CFM 54" range hood.  So... no place for the microwave over the cooktop.

We showed the HO a digital representation of the kitchen (using Chief Architect's Home Designer Pro) with the microwave in a 44" tall base cabinet on one side of the island and they seemed okay with the idea. Of course, they did ask for suggestions of where to place the coffee pot along with the coffee grinder.

It seems the HO wants a very clean counter.  Not certain we can give it to them, but we'll get close.
Never use a 2x4, when a 2x6 will do just as well.

SYS-Lites, CMS/GE, TS55, KAPEX, MFT/3, CXS Kit, C15 Set, C12 Set, T18 Set, Ti15 Set, CT48 w/Boom Arm, Carvex PSBC, HL850, HL65L, RO90, RTS400, DTS400, LS130, DX93, RO150, ETS 150/3, RAS 115/4E, RS2E, Domino 500 & 700 Sets, MFK700 Set, OF1010 EQ, OF1400, OF2000E+, MFS700, FS3000/2, LR 32-SYS+97" rail, 2011 Centrotec Set, Metric and Imperial Zobo Forstner Bit Set, VS600 Dovetail System, Guide Rail Kit, Parallel Guides, Tradesman Cleaning Set, Shinex, lotsa 'tainers (Sys, Sorts, Minis, Midis, Maxis. Attics, Classic, New and Blue).
Coming Attractions: Workcenter, NAINA when available.

Offline BMH

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Re: Microwave oven placement/storage...
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2016, 08:26 AM »
I would recommend a microwave/oven combination unit. Last home had a Miele one and used it for 90% of our cooking the large oven was rarely ever used.