I may be dating myself here, but I remember when my family got our first microwave. I was ten, and my family had just moved to a house in Houston, which had one of these remarkable devices. Suddenly, making popcorn or re-heating pizza was the work of a minute. It was The Future, and it was glorious. But now, a curious trend has emerged: far from being a celebrated kitchen gadget, the microwave is something to be hidden.
It's not just the microwave that is being concealed: I've also noticed an uptick in dishwashers and refrigerators hidden behind cabinet panels, part of a trend towards kitchens that are designed to look as if they have no appliances at all. (The stove, which can't be hidden behind a cabinet panel, has instead become an increasingly ostentatious showpiece.) But the microwave has also begun to lose some of its primacy in American life, part of a trend towards slower and more thoughtful cooking. It's now less of a necessity and more of a sometime convenience, like a toaster. If you must hide yours, we've got plenty of ideas for doing so. But know that if you choose to leave its face revealed, in all its futuristic glory, 10-year-old Nancy would not blame you.
This kitchen from Blakes London has a custom-designed microwave cabinet, which is also home to several other small appliances.
A similar cabinet spotted on Houzz conceals the microwave, toaster, tea kettle, and coffee maker.
The door of this microwave cabinet from BHG slides into a pocket so as not to protrude into the rest of the kitchen. There's a bit of counter space underneath, for last-minute tweaks to your meal, or for placing hot dishes.
An appliance garage is tucked into the corner of this space from Canton Kitchens with a telescoping door that can be pulled down to conceal everything. (I like that the mixer is out of sight, but can also be easily pulled onto the countertop if you need to use it.)
This kitchen from Hammer & Hand has a very simple setup for concealing the microwave: a short cabinet with a pull-up overhead door. (It's also a handy spot for spices.)
In this kitchen from Conceptual Kitchens, via Centsational Style, the microwave slots neatly into the side of a pantry cabinet. I originally thought this was a built-in toaster over, but I believe it's actually one of those drawer microwaves (which would mean that the adjoining counter needs to be cleared in order to use the microwave).
Our house in Houston also had a microwave positioned above the oven, but this kitchen from Houzz takes things a step further by concealing the microwave with a lift-up door.
In this kitchen from BHG, one door lifts up to reveal the microwave: another folds down to add a bit of prep space for microwaved foods or coffee.
You might be sensing that concealing the microwave along with other appliances is a bit of a theme. In this kitchen from BHG, the microwave, tucked into a corner cabinet with a folding door, keeps company with the espresso maker, blender, and food processor.
Another possibility is concealing the microwave in an 'appliance garage' that's set right at countertop level, so the microwave is concealed with the door closed, but you can still take advantage of countertop space. This modern kitchen from Dwell is a great example.
This little travel trailer from Design Milk has a very unusual microwave solution: it slides out from inside a pantry cabinet. (This is probably best for someone who doesn't use the microwave very often, because to get to the microwave you'll need to open the door and slide the device out.)
This microwave from BHG is not quite concealed, but still out of sight in a little cubby below countertop height. (This is a simple solution but one that may not work as well if you use the microwave a lot, and hate squatting, or if you have small children.)
This kitchen from Remodelista displays a similar setup — both the microwave and the stove are on the inside of an island, so they're not visible from the rest of the space.
Here's another microwave drawer in a kitchen from With Heart, partly concealed on the far side of an island.
What do you think — would you go to great lengths to conceal your microwave (and maybe other appliances, too)? Or are you just fine with having it out in the open?