Need some help picking a fridge/freezer

ffingersJanuary 20, 2013

My wife and I are building a custom home. We are in the planning phases and are trying to figure out appliances among other things.

My wife is set on separate fridge/freezer around the 32-36" size for each. The kicker, she also wants to be able to panel it. We know Sub-zero, viking, and a couple others have 36" fridge/freezer that take custom panels. I am not sure I want to put out somewhere in the 10-12k mark for just those two appliances.

We have been told by one builder "we can panel any fridge/freezer". Is this true, am I limited to only fridge/freezers that accept custom panels and are said to be built-ins?

I don't want to cheap out on the fridge/freezer, but again don't want to put so much of my budget to just those two items. If that is the case, we can look at non-paneled versions, stainless appliances which we can find affordable.

We would love insight anyone and everyone has. The criteria for us is a separate fridge/freezer, large if possible (have two little boys we anticipate getting bigger :) and possibly a third child in the future) so we are prepping. And best-case scenario, able to be paneled.

All help and comments appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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I suppose it is possible to put contact cement between custom panel and the front of any fridge but I would not do it for a variety of reasons.

It will look weird particularly when you open it. A fridge not designed to be built-in will have ventilation issues, will work harder, use more energy, make more noise, and wear out faster.

Are you planning on recessing units into the wall or building custom cabinets the depth of the fridge ?

There are 36" freestanding refrigerators with freezers that accept custom panels.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 4:17AM
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Then there are SxS freestanding panel fridges like below.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 4:21AM
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Sophie Wheeler

If your wife wants fully integrated rather than just a Halloween mask of wood on top with it very evident that it's just a poor surface disguise, then your only real choice is SubZero. I think Mele and Leibher have fully integrated versions too, but that doesn't really help the budget.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Hmmm...thanks Holly. Luckily I think our build costs are going to come down from our initial estimate. I think we are going to have to bite the bullet and do SubZero then.

Switching gears, I have heard polarizing opinions on SubZero. Everything from them rattling themselves apart to them being rock solid with no issues for years. Can anyone provide their opinions on reliability.

I am willing to spend the money for the look so long as the quality matches. I am not spending 10k on fridge/freezer for a look if it is also not going to last or require service every year.

Thanks a lot of the help everyone...these forums really are great! :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:35AM
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There is no such thing as a lemon free appliance brand. When a Sub Zero owner gets a lemon they complain quite loudly and they have every right to be angry. But That is why Sub Zero has a 12 year warranty.

Sub Zero is one of the very best. The only real issue is if you get one with an in-door ice dispenser. It is a complicated design that traverses the freezer and refrigerator. other than that they are first rate.

Most women don't want a custom paneled fridge that hides the appliance only to destroy the illusion by having an in-door ice dispenser. There are other options apart from Sub-Zero but they are just as expensive or lower quality for the appliance units you are looking at.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Yeah we have no desire for any in-door amenities. We want to continue the cabinetry throughout which is why she wants the panel (i love the look as well, but am a little more indifferent)...

I completely appreciate the yelling loudly part....i have just had a lot of people, not online, warn me about them....but i probably have just as many say they are you can understand my hesitance.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 6:41PM
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If you're stuck on fully integrated but can't get behind Sub Zero prices, look at Thermador.

We installed an integrated Thermador (bottom freezer, but they make standalone columns too). It blends seamlessly with the surrounding cabinetry - no grills or vents or anything to give it away. And it was about $3k less than a comparable Sub-Zero. We love it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:34PM
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We installed Miele columns (30" fridge and 18" freezer) which are full integrated. I did not get the ice/water dispensers as apparently ice makers are the cause of most issues. However, on delivery and installation the freezer is not working and it is two weeks for a service call.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:08PM
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