Victoria Thompson, RN, JD Wood Working


Kitchen Design Series #4 Microwave and Oven Placement

One of the things a I really do not like in a kitchen is a microwave set in almost over my head.  The door opens and I have hot liquids coming out at eye level.  My husband does not want to bend over to set the controls on the microwave set in under the counter top.  I found a good height to set the microwave is so that the bottom of the door opens just below the cook’s shoulders.  The food can be viewed as it cooks and there is better control of the hot food coming out.  The controls are easy to reach at that height.  There are many places around the kitchen design to find that perfect spot.  Designing a full length cabinet around the placement of the microwave is a good idea.  There needs to be heat tolerant counter space very close to the microwave.  Plastic wrap storage, microwave safe containers and hot mitts need to be close at hand.  As an aside: I found that I LOVE Pampered Chef finger tip silicone grips for microwave and hot lid handling. I have several sets in the drawers under my cook top next to my microwave.

 www.pamperedchef.com     microwave grips

The design of where to put the microwave and ovens goes back to where the cook stands and what the cooks wants to see from that spot.  I had a double wall oven where it blocked my view of the den and place where family and friends gather.  Down it came. The counter and pass-through to the den was widened.  I put a large single oven under that counter space.  I like the large oven low to the floor so I can roast large food items (turkeys, beef roasts, slabs of whatever) where I can see down into the pot without removing it from the oven.  I also feel that if I lose my grip it is close to the floor and I won’t be throwing hot juices all over me.  This design put this oven across from and perpendicular to the cook top.  I have a counter able to handle hot pots from either direction in easy reach.  

I found a microwave and wall oven combination and I chose a smaller size to fit in the space.  I mounted that unit so the microwave was at the right height while the smaller oven that I use for baking and heating is at a perfect height for seeing into the pots without removing them from the oven.  (another aside – it took me 4 tries at making the cabinet correctly for the height I wanted. Measure 89 times cut 90 and get it right on 91!) This unit is beside the pot sink/cook top counter so I have easy access to place hot items on the cook top burners and easy access to the utensils I need. My island cart is directly in front of this unit giving me added convenience of prepping food for the oven and ease of putting it in the oven without walking across the kitchen with a full pan or pot.  

To complete the task oriented corner for savory hot cooking I used the space under the pot sink for a savory spice rack that is 3 inches wide and pulls out.  I also have a pull out rack for oils, sprays, bottled seasonings, plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

kitcehn4 kitchen2 kitchen3 kitchen5

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