19 January 2011

houston, we have a microwave

Oh my, this kitchen renovation is trying our nerves. Mark told me that when his parents renovated their kitchen when he was growing up, they had to "cook" with the microwave and toaster oven in the basement for months. And I've read similar tales all over the blogosphere. Honestly, I don't know if I could go on living in such a predicament! Only a few weeks into our renovation, and I'm already going totally batty that it's not done yet.

But at last we can finally start to see progress! Great progress, in fact. If we really buckled down, we could be done in a week. That's not gonna happen, but we're getting close.

Today's big development: the microwave is installed.

This is a bigger deal than it sounds like.

You see, before we started, the space for the microwave looked like this:

Yes, that exhaust duct is pink. Evidently, a past owner HAND-PAINTED the ducting, even though it was hidden behind cabinet doors. As Dave Barry would say, I swear I am not making this up.

Needless to say, the pink had to go. But more importantly, the microwave needed more support to hold it up, since the existing cabinet frame had no bottom. (There used to be a one-piece double oven in that space, before we got new appliances.)

After removing the old duct and painting, it looked like this:

Using the template that came with the microwave, Mark cut this out of plywood:

But the installation is what totally impresses me. It was awfully tough to get the plywood base for the upper cabinet attached solidly enough to support the microwave. But with some clever use of L-brackets and glue, Mark made it happen. (I like to take some credit, since the L-brackets were my idea.)


Next problem: the lack of electrical outlet in the necessary location in the upper cabinet. If you scroll back up to the first two images in the post, you'll see that there IS an outlet just above the range, which is in line with where it needs to be, just a few feet too low. Enter the drywall saw, and our amateurish attempts at electrical work.

The hole we cut for the new outlet (those drill holes are to try to figure out where that diagonal strip of wood ends)

Our attempt at cutting out the original box, only to hit wood and electrical conduit in every direction. Not helpful.

It wouldn't be one of our renovations without a visit from the electrician, so in came Paco from Brentwood Electrical, and within the allotted hour, we had this, even with a GFCI so that it's all up to code:

It'll need a little patchwork, but no biggie. It will be behind a door in a totally out of the way location, so it doesn't have to be the world's most perfect patch ever. And the lower hole from the old box is going to get tiled over, so no harm done there either.

With the supports in place and the electricity flowing, we were ready to install our new BFF. From there it was just a matter of attaching the rear mount bracket to the wall, sliding the microwave on, and then attaching the three bolts through the top of the microwave through the plywood. Easy as can be.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if Mark hadn't so patiently cut out that frame and attached it. Hooray for Mark!

The only big pieces left are the countertops, backsplash tile and floor. We have the countertops here and just need to cut and install them. Ditto for the tiles. And ditto for the floor, which is a floating cork floor and won't even require us to rip up the existing tile floor. Can you say "miracle"? We certainly can. Can you imagine having to jackhammer up all that tile? In a condo?? On the second floor???

More updates to come soon!

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  1. YAY! A microwave! So exciting! Props to the hubby for making that support system!!! I can't believe someone would take the time to paint their ductwork?!?! LOL Some people...

  2. Oh how cute....Houston we have a Microwave. Very clever title! Plus, very handsome microwave! If Microwaves can be handsome, which I think they can, your's is a 10 in looks! Good job, I can't wait to see more!

  3. awesome job guys!
    i had my over-the-stove microwave installed by a 'professional' from Sears, and he put the electrical cord right through the middle of one side of the cabinet so it now can only store small items. thanks a lot, 'professional' installation guy.

  4. Hooray technology! <3 I dont use mine much... but just knowing its there does a world of good! haha

    Best of luck with the continued kichen makeover <3 and I hope the bowl trick helps ya out!

    Have a great weekend Tanja!

  5. What a relief to have a microwave now, right? I still marvel at the fact that my mom didn't have a microwave for the first 21 years of marriage. I don't think I could survive without mine.

    Good luck with the remodel. I'm sure it will be all worth it in the end.

  6. Hang in there, it's starting to look really great! Confession time: when our kitchen was remodeled, our microwave ended up a little high and I have to be really hungry before I bother to use it :)


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