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Kitchen Design/Remodeling/Putting countertop Microwave into open cabinet


Hello!  I'm in the middle of a kitchen remodel and I have a question about our next project.  We have a GE Profile PEM31 Microwave which has a very small depth.  I am considering putting it in an existing cabinet shelf (bottom shelf#.  I would cut the cabinet doors so that they would shut over the other two shelves in the cabinet only, leaving the open shelf to use for the microwave #I would also add a plug in the cabinet).  The Microwave has a vent on the left side and in the rear on the right side.  The enclosure is too small in height and depth to use a Trim Kit. I can place the Microwave in the cabinet with an inch clearance in the back and I can put as much space as needed on either side of the Microwave because of the shelf length.  The height of the space is just about a half inch higher than the microwave.  So, long story short... Can I place the Microwave in the space, give it enough air space on either side and an inch in the back, or do you only recommend a Trim Kit scenario? Since the space wouldn't allow a trim kit, we would have to place the microwave in another place otherwise.  Since we are in a small kitchen, counterspace is essential.  Thanks!

Hello, Steve.

Thank you for sharing the manufacturer/model number, so I could double-check the GE site for information:

The trim kit is the size recommended by the manufacturer to provide appropriate ventilation for the unit, probably based on comparative square footage requirements for air circulation. I'm concerned that you won't have enough air circulation space around the microwave if you install it in a standard-depth wall cabinet, and recommend that you don't do it.

This unit has hanging kits for installing it below a wall cabinet, but it will not look built-in, and it will use up valuable backsplash area, possibly preventing use of the countertop below the microwave -- depending on the layout of your kitchen.

Thank you for taking time to ask the question before proceeding, although I didn't have the answer you were hoping for. It's better to get "reality" information up front than have a bad experience later. Good luck with your remodeling!

Diane Plesset,CMKBD, NCIDQ, C.A.P.S.
D. P. Design  

Kitchen Design/Remodeling

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Diane Plesset


I will answer questions about kitchen design, remodeling: appliances, cabinets, countertops, lighting/switching, accessible kitchens, kitchens for multiple cooks, kitchen trends, flooring, windows and doors, ventilation, safety, function, and style.


25+ years as a kitchen designer; over 10 years as a Certified Master Kitchen-Bath Designer. Hundreds of projects completed, in all styles, all ranges of investment. Multiple design awards and published articles (see below). Public speaker and lecturer about home remodeling. Co-host of a local radio program for over three years, currently the host of "Today's Home" on Lifetime WebRadio every Sunday afternoon (website:

NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association); NAHB (National Association of Home Builders); PRO (Portland Remodelers' Organization); IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council)

"THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" (book published in 2003), Gentry Magazine, Designers' Illustrated Magazine, Interior Coordinator Magazine (Japan); San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Oregonian, Statesman Journal Newspapers.

Multiple degrees, including bathroom design, kitchen design, lighting design, and residential interior design. Classes and seminars attended frequently, to maintain current knowledge about products, trends, codes, and technology.

Awards and Honors
Multiple certifications: Certified Master Kitchen-Bath Designer (NKBA), Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ, National Council of Interior Design Qualification), and Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (NAHB). Awards include: Henry Adams Designer of the Year, CoTY, Master Design, Chrysalis, Best of the Best, Excellence (Best home in its category), and NABE (Best how-to book, 2003).

Past/Present Clients
To see photos of completed projects, please visit my website:

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