Inspiration

Disappearing Microwaves

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Lately, I’ve been spending my hours just thinking about microwaves. Yes, I do that, I sit down in a chair, cup my chin in my hand, look up to the ceiling, and think about microwave ovens. About their placement in kitchens and *gasp* even their necessity.

The microwave oven as we all know has become a staple in the American home in the last 40 years, they are the most convenient appliance for a quick reheat and in my experience, they make a great baked potato. I’ve asked friends this question, "How often do you use your microwave?" For some the answer is "several times a day" for others "not much at all".

The reason I’ve been thinking so much about them is that I’m getting rid of the micro hood in our Nevada house we’re remodeling, at least temporarily, and for two reasons. First, it’s black, and I’ve decided to use all white appliances in this kitchen.

nevada house oak kitchen cabinets

While I endorse the two tone cabinetry look, I do prefer that the finishes on appliances are the same, so the range is getting replaced with a white slide in to complement the existing dishwasher and refrigerator (not shown) and the black microwave is leaving. Both the range and microwave hood will be sold on Craigslist or donated to Habitat, and the cabinets will eventually be replaced, but not until winter. 

Second, I’m not a huge fan of the micro hood. I do see its purpose in a smaller kitchen, it makes sense, but I do prefer the look of just a hood by itself above a range or cooktop and so I’m seeking ways to include a microwave in the kitchen’s new design but I want to make it disappear, at least from prominent view.

In my search of inspiring ideas I found many clever ways to hide the microwave so that it is available when needed but also hidden from sight. 

white kitchen wood flooring

hidden microwave in cabinet

remodelista

A special appliance pantry is the most appealing idea, with doors that retract into the cabinet so they can sit inside while the appliance is in use.

hidden microwave behind cabinet

better homes & gardens    

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Thinking About… an Outdoor Shower

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Exhausted, we took a break from demo yesterday to sit by the pool and we watched the kids playing in the water as we talked about different ideas for future improvements. The topic turned to outdoor showers – they have a way of leaving an impression, especially the ones from favorite vacations.

We so loved the bamboo walled outdoor shower at the Kauai beach cottage and many years ago we visited a dear friend in Siena, Italy, she had a simple outdoor shower on the side of her small home with a view of the valley in Tuscany, dreamy! We got to thinking that with a pool (or a beach or lake nearby), it makes sense to have an outdoor shower for the practicality and ease of rinsing off and I started thinking about tucking one into a corner and then started searching online for different ideas. 

I just love these outdoor showers, some open, some private, all they require are a shower head and a perch for soap/shampoo and towels… oh yeah, and that little detail called new plumbing…  

corner outdoor shower

mcalpine booth & ferrier

 

outdoor shower billfry

bill fry construction

 

  outdoor shower

hus & hem

 

porch outdoor shower

rethink design studio

  

ebony stain outdoor shower

skona hem

    

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Counter vs. Bar Height

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Today is another peek into the home we’re remodeling with a design dilemma we will be tackling soon, this one is the debate between counter and bar height for the kitchen peninsula. This ledge is more of a stuff collector than practical dining surface, a dinner plate doesn’t even fit but I imagine it was designed to be that way on purpose in the original plan.

I do get the ‘divide the spaces’ look achieved with the bar height in this kitchen which looks out into the shared family room and breakfast nook space, but the narrowness of the wood shelf on top is odd to me. And say hello to the lovely vinyl wallpaper I have the pleasure of removing later this month.

counter height wall

And then there’s the sink nestled in the angle which I can’t even think about moving (the cost! the headache!) since all the plumbing to the dishwasher and sink is inside this pony wall and we’re working with a slab foundation. I’m not a fan of the layout of this kitchen, I am a U shaped kitchen lover and this one isn’t like that at all. But since we do plan to replace the cabinets/counters/sink down the road I think that will satisfy so I’m going to work with the footprint as is. (That tile/carpet combo is also leaving this month, more on that soon.) 

So it raises the question of keeping the higher breakfast bar as it is now but extending that upper surface with new countertops and corbels, or do we cut down the wall and extend a new countertop out in a single plane as one large surface to unify it all at counter height (my preference).

At first I was concerned about the sink if we cut down the wall thinking “there will be the splashing of the water everywhere!” but I realized plenty of well designed kitchens have islands or peninsulas with sinks at counter height.

counter height peninsula

john maniscalo architecture

   

counter height island with stools

teddy edwards

   

peninsula with waterfall edge

texas construction company

  

blue kitchen cabinets counter height stools

summerhouse interior design

   

counter height sink island bhg

better homes & gardens

  

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