heat it: UP

our kitchen is probably the most made-over room in our house. in the past 2 years of being self-aware and DIY-ish (seriously, WTFRICKINGFRACK were we doing those first 4.5 years?!?!) we have:

-tiled the backsplash
-painted the countertops
-added custom beadboard
-upgraded every single appliance as the originals have died off (slowly and with 12-month no interest financing)
-DIY'd new barstools (already recovered for the second time)

this is what it looked like the last time it was photogenic (circa april)

and lest we forget how far we'd already come by that point-- here is may 2011, before we tackled the cabs:

quelle dommage :(    this actually makes me very punchy.

despite ALL of this work, we continue to find pretty significant projects for this room. certainly soon it will be utterly perfect and ready to cage-match any living kitchen to the death for supreme dominance. (we see you, Kitchen Stadium, we're coming for you!!!)

there are 2 underway projects that i cant show you yet (i am being assisted by the geniuses at shepard lighting for these) but i CAN show you the most recent one that we wrapped up, and it is just a raging little pile of OUTSTANDING.

it concerns this corner of the kitchen:

pay no attention to that egg. (though i should tell you: it was delicious).

bloggy people, meet our microwave. her name is Oster and we got her for our wedding. i think my aunt wanda and my 3 girl cousins gave her to us at a shower they threw me (isnt weird how you can remember things like this?!?! obsessing over a registry really sticks with your subconscious, i guess).

if you remember from  the top photo, there really wasnt anywhere else to put this microwave since she's girthy (it happens) and our counter space is limited. so we have had her nestled diagonally in this corner for nigh on 6.5 years.

then one unusal tuesday in may, i had a brain hurricane and all of a sudden just couldnt deal with the microwave being there anymore (probably something i should get checked out by a neurologist...).  we couldnt figure out any good option for where else to put it to recapture or better-utilize the counter space.

and then we realized: OVER-THE-RANGE-MICROWAVE!

i swiftly begged jesse to do the hard work of moving the cabinets and promised him i would score us a sweet deal on new micro with a coupon AND on sale AND with no interest for 12 months (this financing that we do is built into our budget for beneficial tax reasons with jesse being clergy). 

before he could really protest, we had ripped out the cabinets (carefully and with a screwdriver, for the record, but i would love it if you just pictured us doing it Hulk-style) over the stove and the vent hood (sold on craigslist in 3 days!). 

and now we are committed to this project! this is also a gorgeous tapestry of our kitchen's history. luckily that wallpaper was never seen by us in full force: it was covered by a frosty ice-blue when we moved in. the painters tape-looking blue is the former color we painted.  its just whatever.

i forced down the bile when i caught a glimpse of the old cherry veneer that had escaped the purge of last summer, and soldiered on bravely.

jesse did some genius math and some impressive electric work (seriously, this year he has taught himself all there is to know about creating, moving, combining and rewiring outlets in our house...it's AWESOME) and figured out exactly where the top cabinet would need to move to to seamlessly combine with the new microwave.

this was all the more impressive because he didnt have the microwave while he was figuring. we ordered it online and had to get the cabinets ready before it was delivered. using only the online specifications and his monster brain he was able to remount the top cabinet to perfectly accommodate the new micro...we hoped

the cabinet moved up by about 6-8 inches so that the bottom of the new micro would align with the bottom of the neighboring cabs, and it had to come out about 2-3 inches off the wall to flush up against the microwave's depth. he added a spacer piece of wood behind it to get it just perfect.  he NAILED it (see what i did there? oh geez, sorry...i've had coffee, and caffeine over-stimulates the pun-centers of my brain). 

he also had to instal a new plug behind the top cabinet since the microwave would need a place to plug in up there. boyfriend ROCKS.

the microwave was delivered two days later and when the delivery dudes installed it, we were tickled pink stainless steel to see that jesse had planned flawlessly!

the depth: like a glove! (hey, it looks pretty good with two microwaves in here!)

and the height is b-e-a-u-tiful! 

i quickly painted the exposed cherry around the edges (must hide our secret shame!) and extracted our old Oster-girl (another craigslisting). 

and just like that: about 4 extra square feet of counter space freed up and my no-longer stricken-kitchen has made me a smitten kitten.  (i hate myself)

i mean, it'd be awesome if i had like a gorgeous kitchenaid stand mixer to be featured in this new space, but our toaster and a loaf of bread was all i could muster at this moment.

now, when our food is cooked, we hear the microwave's "ding-dong" from merrily on high (MAKE IT STOP)

happiness is a lofted microwave. also: besides being in a way-improved location, the microwave itself is pimp-nasty and amazing. lest we forget...

this project was really very easy (who knew cabinets arent that hard to move?) and cheap (we only paid for the microwave, which was the final appliance to be upgraded in our home) and gives the kitchen a much nicer, expensive feel with the built-in microwave and "custom" looking cabinetry. i declare a hard WIN.


  1. We would be completely at home in each other's kitchen - same layout, bead board, subway tile, white cabinets, dark counters, and now identical microwaves! Good purchase! We hung ours so high that I sometimes have to microwave coffee cups 5 more seconds to get them to come back around to the front where I can reach. Your kitchen looks amazing, by the way - love the updates!

  2. It's beautiful!!! What about venting the stove now?... Is it in the microwave? Does this meet code lol jk :-)

  3. It's beautiful!!! What about venting the stove now?... Is that in the new microwave? Does this meet code? Lol jk :-)

  4. this is AMAZING! way to go y'all! and, yeah, what were nate & i doing FIVE YEARS before we had a kid! SO much free time- wasted!

  5. WOW!!! Amazing design, Keight, and such an amazing accomplisher of your designs in Jesse. SO happy he got his dad's skill of tackling and creating everything related to home. It's like getting a perpetual pay raise!!! What a team! (His dad had to design AND create over here!)