I’ve been wrestling with the design for the island/counter/microwave shelf I want to make to fit the 22-3/4″-wide area between the door and window. While I quite like my decrepit antique farmhouse table, it simply doesn’t fit the space – I find it aesthetically vexing to have things hang over door and window trim and I don’t want to have a plonk a microwave atop the table or kitchen counters. I use mine so rarely (now that my gas stove is once again functional) that it makes no sense to have it taking up valuable flat surface area. Plus, I’d find that, too, aesthetically vexing.
The parameters are tight: 22-1/2″ is as wide as I can go (I figure a 1/4″ of wiggle room is a good idea), and it can be no longer than 52″. There must be a shelf for a decent-sized microwave, and I’d like a lower shelf for cookbooks and whatnot. But I have to avoid having a leg land in the floor vent area, and I don’t want to impede airflow from said vent. The final product also has to serve as a table, in order to call the kitchen “eat-in,” and I want to be able to store two stools under it, and get my legs comfortably underneath. (So yes, as soon as I finish the island, I’ll be obsessing over counter-height stools – whee!)
Here’s where I started:
I like the idea of a drawer in the apron, but that lowers the microwave shelf by 5″ – not a big deal to me, but probably weird to look at. I also had concerns about the whole thing falling over if I leaned too hard on the end. Or if a cat jumped on it. (JJ really needs to be put on a diet.)
Then I moved to this, thinking maybe the easier solution – one that allowed more leg room – was to face the microwave out on the end:
Just awful. I abandoned this idea quickly, deciding I couldn’t make the shelf sides play nice with the tapered legs in the back. Were there room, I’d have played around with frame-and-panel construction for the shelf area, thereby using legs there, too. But no…not enough room (unless I got a uselessly small microwave…which, when I do decide to sell, would no doubt be unattractive storage planning to potential buyers).
So I then took the legs away, with the intent to secure the top to the wall, and added a hanging drawer, a la Greene & Greene or a Shaker sewing table:
Nope. Still ugly. What my antipathy boils down to, I think, is that I don’t want to see the microwave facing out into the center of the room.
But no. This unit, with a drop-down door that hides the microwave, undermines the open feel I’ve been trying to create in this rehab project. Plus, there’s very little room for sitting.
But this one, I like. Looks familiar, eh?
It seems I’ll be building a “Roubo Microwave Island.”
If you wish to discover the dimensions, cutlist and joinery, c’mon over and see me at my other blog.