So our microwave died last week-- I guess it had been on it's last leg for a while, but we never knew it. Our house is old, so I always assumed our issues with the microwave were more of an electrical problem as opposed to something being wrong with the actual microwave. Weird things like every time we've ever popped popcorn, it would suddenly black out after and not come back on for a few minutes. The first time it happened, we thought it was a fuse or something we needed to flip the breaker for, but we quickly learned that it had nothing to do with the breaker and that it just took time. Usually about 5 minutes or so and it would blink back on, and it only happened when we used the popcorn setting. Anyway, one day last week I was reheating my food for lunch and after 2 minutes of heating it went out…. And didn't come back on.
The original plan was to simply replace it, but after some searching, I discovered that the over the stove microwaves aren't cheap…. And that got me thinking, is the microwave really even necessary?
After some thinking, and some conversation with people I know who don't even own microwaves, I knew we could go without, and that we could save some money in the long run. The only dilemma we found was that once we removed the microwave, we realized that our "back splash" put in by the previous homeowners, didn't go beyond the height of what the microwave was. Luckily though, thanks to some re-organization I did in the attic after putting away our Christmas decorations in January, I remembered that there was a large piece of countertop in the attic and that we could just remove the old piece and put up a new piece that was a larger size. It was definitely easier said than done, especially since we don't exactly own the proper tools or supplies to cut countertop, but we got the job done and got the new piece up.
Once the new piece of backsplash was up, we had to install our new oven hood. (PS the duck tape was only there while our contact cement dried into place. It came down once all was dry and sturdy.) Daniel tried to sell me on the stainless steel model, but for now I think black is the safest option. For one, the black was cheaper, but also, all of our appliances are black, so though the stainless would match the cooktop of our oven, until other items in the kitchen are stainless, I just felt like it would stick out funny.
I don't think I realized how HUGE the microwave was until it was removed. The stove definitely feels less claustrophobic. A lot more cooking space!
And then since I know you all are thinking, "what do you do without without a microwave," "how do you reheat your food?", or "how do you melt butter or pop popcorn?"…. Well to answer that, we got a toaster oven. The toaster oven can pretty much do about anything you would use your microwave for. And what it can't do, our stove can do. We can totally survive without a microwave!
…. And it's a really pretty red toaster oven at that!
I think this is the 1st "real" home improvement project (if you can even call it that) we've done since we bought our house a year and a half ago. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing? I mean, our house was pretty much move in ready. Would we like to change some paint colors? Sure! In a perfect world, would we have some pretty mosaic glass tile as the back splash or all stainless steel appliances and granite countertops? Absolutely! But for now, what we've got is working for us, and our focus is more on each other and our kids. There's always home improvements that can be done, and there will always be little items on our wish list that we'll get to eventually.
And for anyone curious on if we saved money by not replacing the microwave-- absolutely! The microwave/hood fan combos that I was looking at were in the range of $200-$250. We bought the hood fan and the toaster oven, along with the supplies necessary to install and fix the backsplash all for $100. Boom!