We are looking at doing a kitchen remodel, and one of the things that we want to do is move the location of our oven into the cabinet pictured. We will also be replacing the countertop with either granite or marble or something.
These cabinets are "stick-built" - i.e. they are not modular cabinets. So it's not as simple as replacing the existing cabinet with a different one. The cabinets need to be modified. I've already confirmed the inside dimensions of cabinet with the outer dimensions of commonly available ovens.
In order to fit an oven, the vertical brace in the middle would of course need to be removed (as well as the slide-out drawers, of course). This seems straight forward to me, but when I had a couple of reps from the local depot of home hardware stuff come in for a consultation, they said that removing that brace would weaken the cross-beam too much and cause a problem with supporting the weight of the countertop. They then said that in order to do what I want, they would have to replace all of the cabinets, or cut out that section entirely and use a slide-in range.
I'm no cabinetry expert, but it seems that removing that brace would not necessarily cause such a big problem supporting the countertop, especially since the area above the cabinet in question is a stove-top, not solid countertop. If the center brace is removed, the unsupported span would be 26". The width of countertop between the stovetop and the edge is about 2.25" at the front and back.
I'm tempted to ignore their advice, but I don't want to make a very expensive newbie mistake.
Can anyone comment on whether this is a significant risk? Anyone have experience with this type of situation?
NOTE: It's not obvious from the pictures, but the shelf is not attached to the brace, just to the sides. Also, the vertical piece in the back of the cabinet sits on the shelf and supports the back of the slide-out drawer. None of those appear structural at all.