Microwave Oven Unit Retains 1940s Flavor

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Not everyone with an older kitchen wants a glossy high-tech look: Ernie and Judy DeGraff of Bishop, Calif., certainly didn’t want to do away with the 1940s charm of their kitchen.

They bought the house last June and have just finished remodeling the kitchen, including adding a built-in dishwasher, a pantry and cupboards, replacing a small electric water heater with a large gas one and adding the clever microwave oven shelf pictured here. They wrote me following the Nov. 11 column on a microwave shelf extension.

The DeGraffs drew on the talents of cabinetmaker Bob Macklin for this attractive shelf fastened to the wall above the range. I like the knickknack area that Macklin included in his design; it works well with the pre-high-tech look the DeGraffs wanted to retain.


My congratulations to the DeGraffs for their splendid remodeling, especially that microwave shelf. All too many books by architects on room additions and remodeling take a “damn the budget, full speed ahead attitude.” Not so Duo Dickinson, author of “Adding On: An Artful Guide to Affordable Residential Additions” (McGraw-Hill, 177 pages, $29.95).

Although several of the remodeling jobs described and pictured with photos and drawings are quite expensive, most of them are within striking distance of the average homeowner contemplating renovation.

There is a geographic balance in the book, with both coasts represented. This is not always the case with books by East Coast architects published by New York publishers; all too often the houses are all in Connecticut, New Jersey or the eastern end of Long Island.

One feature I like about Dickinson’s book is the statement of the client and the architect included with each description. The client tells what was desired in the remodeling and the architect gives the basic approach used to fulfill the client’s needs.

The full spectrum of remodeling is covered, from relatively minor jobs that don’t involve structural changes to complete overhauls of poorly designed houses. This is a good idea source book for anyone interested in remodeling.