Mini DIY (or WDIH, really)

You might remember that we repainted the kitchen a couple of years ago, and I included before-and-after shots in that post. At the time, I didn’t share a photo with the microwave, and that’s partly because the space above the microwave has always irritated me. I did, however, take a picture while the painting project was in progress, so you can see that old picture, including the microwave, here:

Do you see what’s SO super-annoying about this? That’s right! There’s no cabinet above the microwave! It is basically just a piece of plywood! Who would do that?!? Who passes up the opportunity for storage space in a kitchen?!?

Monsters do that. The kind of monsters who fill a pantry space with undersized, pre-fab shelving, thus leaving a yawning space behind the back panel of the pantry that serves zero function except to provide shelter for rodents who enjoy climate control and easy access to all of our shelf-stable food items. That’s right: some previous owners thought to themselves: should I provide an additional 6 or 8 inches of space to each of the seven shelves in this pantry, or should I provide a Mouse Mansion instead? And then they went with the wrong choice.

Anyway, recently something sad happened: our microwave died. We have reached that very special time in a home’s life where all the major appliances start collapsing: the hot water heater, the washing machine, and now the microwave.

Lucky for me, I have an extremely handy and efficient husband who was like, “We can’t warm up leftovers with optimal efficiency? THIS MUST BE REMEDIED IMMEDIATELY!!” and he got online and ordered a new one before I had a chance to say, “Yeah, I guess we need to buy a . . . .”

And then, because Cute W is super DIY-oriented (at our house it’s less Do It Yourself and more W Does It Himself), he set to work dislodging the microwave corpse from above our stove. And as we exclaimed over how weird it was that there was such a random, empty gap hidden behind a piece of wood above the microwave, I proposed that we leave it uncovered.

Obviously someone should have just put another cabinet there in the first place, but it’s likely that they skipped it because it’s an odd shape.And obviously finding something to match our existing cabinets would be extraordinarily challenging. But it seemed like it could be relatively easy to paint the wood to match the cabinets for an upper shelf. I wasn’t sure exactly what I could put up there — I speculated that a lovely platter I have which is so huge that it only comes out once in a while might be a good fit. But even if that didn’t work out, surely more shelf space in a kitchen is always a good idea, right?

And. . . ta da!

It turns out that the platter wasn’t quite right, but my Polish pottery bowls look lovely with our blue walls (if I do say so myself) and, in one of several keys to unlocking my Old Lady Credentials, I ordered some plate stands so that they could show up nicely and also perch right up front so that I can reach them when I stand on tippy-toes. Even better, the shelf is deep enough that it’s also storing several clear glass vases that used to take up valuable cabinet space but are still handy to have somewhere for those delightful occasions when we have flowers in the house.

I am super-pleased about our new little shelf: it’s a treat when something that’s a bummer (the dead microwave) yields unexpected perks. And as always, it is a delight to have someone very handy and efficient who can solve problems and make everything a little bit better.


  1. Claire

    That’s awesome Katie! Great use of space, and it really looks beautiful. (And by the way, I’m with your husband… I could never survive more than a day without a microwave!)

  2. Thanks, Claire! Yeah, we have this long-running thing about how I put up with stuff that he feels compelled to fix. I cracked my phone at the beginning of the pandemic and still haven’t replaced it because I just can’t be bothered….

  3. Claire

    Oh, I’m the same way with most things (other than microwaves!). The handle to my dryer door broke, so now every time I have to load clothes into it, I pry it open with a tool.

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