Adding character and personality to your kitchen is really part of the fun of design. For me, I would rather my kitchen not look like everyone else’s..I want it to be a true reflection of my personal style. So, while I have traditional cabinets with a white painted finish, I thought that it would be fun to add a pop of color with some funky light fixtures. I visited the home of a family friend who had had pendants made by a glass blower in Rhode Island, and when I saw them I knew instantly that they would be the perfect addition to my kitchen. When I met Eben Horton, owner of The Glass Station, he showed me how the glass shades would be made and then told me that I could pick any color combination that I wanted. The shape that we selected with the wavy edge would be just the right complement to my angular cabinets and countertops, and the blue & green color, edged with just a bit of red, made them the perfect accompaniment to my white kitchen.
I am a believer that a kitchen can be both functional and beautiful. Today we live in our kitchens — they are the central gathering place, and the hub of activity in our homes. Why not make them beautiful? We all know that great design comes from taking some risks. Did I know exactly how my glass shades would turn out? No. But did I trust the artist who made them? Absolutely! And while my little illustration doesn’t do justice to these glass shades, I can assure you that they are beautiful and fun, while adding character and personality to my kitchen, making it uniquely…me!
I admit it, I like white kitchens. My own kitchen is white. I even have a Pinterest board filled with pictures of beautiful, white kitchens. A white kitchen can be classic and timeless or sleek and contemporary. Yes, some can appear cold, and yet others can be warm and inviting. BUT…if I had to change my kitchen tomorrow, I might consider a color palette that resembles Houston designer Sally Wheat’s now-famous gray painted kitchen . There’s something so serene about this kitchen. The gray paint, Benjamin Moore’s Fieldstone, coupled with honed statuary marble counters, make for a very quiet, calm space that’s truly elegant.
Recently a friend, who is planning a new kitchen, asked me a simple question. What’s the best location for the microwave? Wow, simple enough question…not such a simple answer. The answer truly is “it depends.” The location of the microwave is best determined by how (and how often) you plan to use it, and whether or not you want to see it. In kitchen design we all need to make choices, and today nobody wants to bend down to reach anything — whether it’s the oven, a low drawer or an under-counter microwave. So, it all boils down to usage.
I decided to take an informal poll of several friends, all with new kitchens, to see what the current trend was (if any). While the microwave really isn’t the most attractive of the kitchen appliances, almost everyone has one. Locating it above or below the counter, or even out of sight in a pantry closet, really is a matter of choice. Microwaves located above counter height are often front and center and not always visually pleasing. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends that the bottom of a microwave placed above the counter should ideally be 3″ below the principal user’s shoulder, but no more than 54″ above the floor. For undercounter microwaves, the bottom of the microwave should be at least 15″ off the floor. For those who choose to tuck it under the counter and out of sight lines, there are a few drawbacks. Bending down to see what’s inside is simply inconvenient. And spilling hot liquids retrieved from under the counter is certainly a possibility. If, like most people, your main uses for the microwave are reheating coffee and popping popcorn, then perhaps visual aesthetics and available space should be your guide. If you cook in your microwave and need to peek now and again, then you might find a below-counter microwave somewhat of a nuisance.
And so, after my little research project, I have confirmed my initial suspicion that where you choose to place your microwave (assuming you have options!) depends on how you plan to use it and whether or not you want to see it. So, the bottom line is: it’s entirely up to you!
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