Design around it: User preference trumps planning guidelines (not so bitchy)

I finally shot some photos of the big project I completed in spring. I did the complete interior design in this kitchen, including designing the upholstery with the lovely Robert Allen fabrics at my disposal. I was keen to show them off, but somehow, everyone seems to have a problem with this one particular area of the kitchen. Someone a few years my junior took issue with what I did, but I felt it necessary to ask what he would have done and it would have been to plan the microwave in the tall cabinet. I really felt this was the wrong thing to do. This "hot wall" took forever to hash out with the client - on one occasion I left the residence at almost 10pm, no dinner, all because we were discussing the amount of space the users needed to cook on this wall.

It's really appliance heavy, right? Not as bad as it was before! What a mess the builder made of this kitchen. Maybe it's my little thing (designer idiosyncrasy) but I can't stand to see wall ovens and microwaves as secondary thoughts in a kitchen because it just proves to me that the designer doesn't actually cook and they didn't plan to let the user enjoy the experience very much at all.

Oh there are a whole bunch of frilly guidelines for this type of thing and I can't say that I broke the planning guidelines, I just manipulated them to suit my needs. There were a couple of things that made me do what I did.

Working with the existing gas range placement clearly landed the range in the same spot. The client chose not to replace the range and the vent hood because she only uses the oven twice per year and the vent hood was doing a great job. I am completely for re-using appliances that work well and resisting the disposable economy that we've created for ourselves. I still support their decision whole-heartedly.

The microwave placement could have gone in the tall cabinet, but with it being so hard to

find a right hand swing microwave it would have left those melted chocolate chips in a ceramic bowl burning the fingers of the baker. I dislike that microwaves aren't very reversible, but such is life and this is how I suggested to the client to work around the problem. That and there was nothing wrong with the microwave the client had.

What do you do with a client that says they want to add a Miele Espresso Machine in the next five years? You leave a space for it, and that's exactly what I did by integrating their existing steam oven in the proper location (it was opposite the range before... more than 8 steps away.)

Enough chit chat, client loves it, and the rest of the photos can be found at