All of us are just temporary tenants in our homes whether we rent or own. Our houses live on much longer than we do. It is because of our temporal nature in our homes that I hesitant greatly about adding under counter appliances to any kitchen design. Appliances are the most frequently changed items in a kitchen and I don't want anyone having to redesign their entire kitchen and throw out cabinetry because an under counter appliance has broken, can't be repaired, is no longer made in the size to fit the space, has gone out of fashion, or is no longer useful in its current fixed placement for the homeowner due to age and mobility. These are important considerations to preventing many kitchens from ending up in the landfill. On my blog tenant proof I do a section on timeless kitchens that are still in use 90 years after they were first built. What has enabled these kitchens to remain intact are that the appliances were never built in. Ranges were located against a wall with no cabinetry above or around them. Refrigerators were located on a separate wall alone or at the end of a run of cabinetry with nothing built around or on top of them. This can be done even for modern kitchens. The microwave can easily be set on a counter or hidden in a cabinet that could later just be a useful cabinet. The difficulty lies with dishwashers which can either be portable dishwashers providing a useful surface next to ranges that can be easily rolled over to the sink and connected. For those wanting more elegance they can be built but only at an end of a run of cabinets where their changing will not entail ruining a perfectly functional kitchen cabinet.
If you're like most homeowners, you probably find yourself spending a lot of your time in the kitchen wishing for more counter space. One way to get it? Ditch those space-hogging countertop appliances for sleek undercounter models. There's no better time to make the switch than when you're overhauling your kitchen, says San Francisco designer Shelly Amoroso: "Undercounter appliances are great to add when you're remodeling, and they can use existing cabinets."