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Have a question and looking for feedback from industry peers? This month KBDN listens in on dialogue between industry professionals as excerpted from the KitchenBathPros.com online Designer Discussion Forum.
What’s the verdict on the over-the-range microwave? Our company seems to be designing more and more with this device in many of our mid-range kitchens. Personally, I hate placing the microwave over the stove and avoid it at all costs. To me it looks cheap, ineffective and seems dangerous. Where is everyone putting this product?
I never use it, but my kitchens tend to be medium to large in size. I am doing a small kitchen right now and it didn’t even come up in the conversation, I didn’t consider it and the client didn’t ask. Instead, we’re using one as a second oven – a microwave/ convection – and will try to recess it into the wall to be flush with the wall cabinets, complete with trim kit. There is a mudroom behind the kitchen. I’ll tell you, it’s the one appliance that always gives me the biggest [design] problems.
I think whether you use over-the-range microwaves may depend on your clientele. Having designed for builders and remodelers for years, I believe it’s a cost-effective way of situating a microwave in the kitchen. This was in the $250,000-and-up to about $350,000 housing price. The budget for kitchens and baths is, of course, usually ridiculous. In higher-end homes, the kitchens always had wall ovens, cooktops or Viking or Wolf ranges, probably two dishwashers, two sinks, etc. and I never used a microwave above the range.
Unless it is a down-and-dirty kitchen that is being built for a pittance of a budget, I don’t feel there is any good reason to use them in this application. Not trying to be snooty, but there is no substitute for good design and these fall into the poor design category as far as I am concerned. I would rather see one sitting on the counter than over the range. Microwaves are so inexpensive these days that you can easily put one in a base cabinet or a wall counter for not that much cost. Then you eliminate the safety factor (pulling hot things out at eye level!) and gain a much more efficient exhaust fan. Plus, as a bonus, you get a fabulous place to do something creative with the backsplash.
I will not put a microwave over a gas range at all. I’ve seen a few too many burned-out microwave doors (browned, with rippled plastic on the window) to be comfortable with this scenario. Plus, what does a child do when reaching for the door? Lean on the range! We have to always put safety first.
They just don’t belong there anymore. I like to put them near refrigerators since most of the time you take something out and then reheat it. I haven’t even had anyone ask me to locate one over the range in years, and if they did, I would steer them away from that. It is a dangerous location, as mentioned, for kids, and for potential hazards.
Improving Client Communication
I have this client who doesn’t get back to me. I’ll email numerous times, I’ll call, and he only returns my messages when it’s something he’s interested in. He happens to be a stay-at-home dad.
My problem is that I’m not afraid of controversy, which means that I’m comfortable with talking to him about it and stressing that I’d appreciate a response. To me, it’s a matter of mutual respect.
Any words of wisdom? By the way, we’re in the middle of the design process, and I think he really hates conflict of any kind.