Kitchen Clarity Adventures in Kitchen and Bath Design

Too high, can’t get over it – microwaves, again

11.10.2010 · Posted in Kitchen Calamities, Kitchens

As you know, I’m all for tucking the microwave away out of sight – but there are limits:

It's out of sight, alright, but... (photo via Apartment Therapy)

I never forget the day when a young colleague (NOT a kitchen designer) arrived at work with livid red burns on neck, chin and wrist – he’d absent-mindedly heated his jug of water for too long  in the microwave. As he reached in to retrieve it, superheated water splashed onto his hand – and by reflex, he flinched, and the liquid splashed everywhere – causing the nasty scalding.

Superheating is a danger whatever height the microwave – but think how much worse things would be with the microwave above your head?  At risk of boring you to tears, I’ll say it again – the bottom of the microwave should be no higher than the armpit of the smallest user – and there should be clear counter space above, below, or immediately next to it, so you can quickly unhand anything that is unexpectedly hot.

As a transplanted Britisher, I’ve always wondered why electric kettles haven’t really caught on in the US?  There are so many choices of styles, they can be a cool and convenient countertop accessory.  With an electric kettle, you can have the water actually boiling when you pour it on the tea leaves – which as everybody knows, is essential for a good British-style cuppa.

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12 Responses to “Too high, can’t get over it – microwaves, again”

  1. Hi Joseph and Kate – In my house itwould be fine if only the men could reach the MW – I’m happy with my kettle, most of the time

  2. Unless the owner is well over six feet, I don’t see how this setup could possibly be safe. And that’s the guy, right? How tall is the wife? I’m six feet tall, and I wouldn’t want it in my kitchen for myself, let alone with my 5’2″ wife!
    Joseph recently posted..Etrusca Italian Bathroom DesignsMy ComLuv Profile

  3. My husband could reach that microwave. Of course, he’s 6’7″ — hardly average. And though I don’t mind the idea of hiding it, I’m not sure I like the cupboard door. Something that opened *up & in* — like a tambour rolltop or a barrister’s bookcase — instead of *out* might be more practical.
    KansasKate recently posted..In my dreamsMy ComLuv Profile

  4. That is a good looking kettle – what a pity they stopped making it. I remember a time when it was worthwhile to replace elements and get kettles repaired – I don’t think we live in that world anymore, do we?

  5. Yes Becky – I suppose that is a plus?

  6. Pam – it’s lucky you had space to move the fridge – I hope your new kitchen doesn’t become a case of “the cobblers children”, you know, too busy designing other people’s kitchens, no time for your own

  7. Julie – or maybe they stand on a ladder to microwave?

  8. I have a cordless electric kettle which I love… and which has been discontinued, to my utter dismay. I can only hope this one lasts forever.

    Anyway, what I love about it – besides the fact that it works so well – is that it looks almost exactly like a traditional “pava” used in Argentina.

    http://www.cuisinart.com/discontinued/tea_kettles/rk-17.html

  9. On the plus side, it can be concealed! *yikes*
    Becky / @ecomod recently posted..White- with a splash of colorMy ComLuv Profile

  10. Wow– among my greatest nightmares! When I moved into the condo with the “efficiency” kitchen I’m now in (and soon to be leaving), that is exactly where the microwave was located. Since then, I’ve relocated the fridge around the corner next to the stacking laundry set (where it barely fits). In the refrigerator alcove I installed a shelving unit and the microwave is now slightly above counter height where it should be. This makes for an odd work triangle, but at least I don’t have to worry about the scenario you described and I gained more storage.

    The new house has a microhood –should I be worried? I not only will I have to take dishes out of a too-high level but will be reaching over flaming burners to boot! I’m so hoping to remodel the new kitchen sometime next year.

  11. I would love to see how tall the owner of this kitchen is.
    Julie Warner recently posted..HOW TO- Shop the Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale like a proMy ComLuv Profile