Paneled refrigerator

linealuckpearsonMarch 5, 2013

Recently I had my kitchen remodeled and installed a paneled refrigerator so as to hide the appliance. When the refrigerator was installed the doors hit the walls on both sides. Also the refrigerator did not meet the cabinet above. It sticks out six inches. When I spoke with the contractor/kitchen designer he stated that it is fine and the issue is the uneven new wood floor. I have never seen a paneled refrigerator that does not meet the upper cabinet. It was my understanding that paying all this money for a panel ready refrigerator and the paneled doors was to make the refrigerator appear to be Cabinet. Would someone please share their thoughts with me. After spending so much money on renovating my kitchen I am extremely disappointed and need some guidance. Thank you in advance for your help. It is appreciated.

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xedos

You've been seeing built in or integrated fridges. They are different than paneled fridges.

Built-ins cost $7000 - $10,000 plus panels.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:35AM
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rococogurl

"Fine" is a relative term. If you were expecting a built-in fridge, which fits flush with all the other cabinetry and essentially is hidden, then what you have may not look "fine" to you. A check of the spec sheet for your fridge brand to verify the installation depth and the door clearance will explain to you what's going on. To look fully integrated with the cabinets, the fridge box should be 24" deep. It's tricky because the box can show that depth but the door thickness and handle protrusion also must be considered.

If you truly hate this so much that you plan to replace the fridge (I have a friend who did) then it's possible to get the look you want. The fridges most often used to give that look are SubZero, Liebherr, Thermador Freedom, Miele.

Over in the kitchen forum they will tell you exactly what needs to be done to the existing cabinets for a replacement. It will depend on the size of the current opening.

Many of us have things that are not exactly what we were expecting in our kitchens but that we've decided to live with since adjusting them is not worth the aggravation. But the degree of what's acceptable/not is completely individual.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:48AM
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realism

As xedos stated, there is a difference between a paneled fridge and an integrated or built in fridge. Did you know this before you bought the fridge? If not, then it sounds like the failure to live up to expectations was due to your lack of research more than anything else.

What is the fridge model exactly?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:18AM
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live_wire_oak

You got the paneled fridge you asked for. It's all in the terminology. Maybe you wanted an integrated fridge instead? It's a LOT more money.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:25AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

You probably can't do anything about the sides, but higher likelihood that the cabinet above could be brought out more flush.
The pic doesn't provide enough info to see whether this is feasible.
Casey

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:28AM
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nycbluedevil

I agree that the OP should have done the research but where was his/her KD in all of this? In my recent remodel, I installed a SZ French door fridge to replace my old 42" SZ SxS built-in fridge. My KD asked if I wanted it integrated so as to hide the hinges and make the fridge disappear into the cabinetry. When I said that that I did, he made sure that I understood that we needed a couple of extra inches on the sides and additional depth.

We hire KDs for a reason. The KD should have asked the question.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:43PM
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rococogurl

Seems pointless to criticize the OP for not doing enough research. It's installed. Had she/he understood the difference, she/he wouldn't have posted.

Clearly she/he thought she was getting integrated, not paneled.

nycbluedevil made a valid point about the k.d. But unlikely the k.d. picked the fridge.

And sure, integrated is very expensive. But as we know, manufacturers routinely describe fridges as "counter depth" which can lead a civilian who just wants a nice new kitchen and isn't in the biz, or is not a k.d., to believe they are getting integrated for less. We all know that's not going to happen.

So the question remains, what can be done? Helpful suggestions, if any, seem more cordial than accusations.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 3:35PM
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nycbluedevil

I mentioned the KD because I think that the OP may have cause to go back and complain to the KD if he/she made her desire for an integrated look clear. Even if the KD didn't pick the fridge, the KD must have taken the fridge model into account when measuring for the cabinets. So the fact that it wasn't integrated should have been obvious to the KD. I agree that counter depth, built in and integrated all mean different things and many homeowners don't know that. Further, if the fridge doors are hitting the walls, then the KD should be on the hook for that too.

Regarding the possible fix, someone already mentioned bumping out the cabinet above. It is hard to tell from the picture what to do about the sides.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 4:34PM
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linealuckpearson

Thank you all who posted their thoughts. As mentioned in the post, when the kitchen was designed I did not know the difference between the two. Spending as much money as I did with a kitchen design specialist one would have thought I would have been enlightened. That begin said my biggest issue still remains that I cannot open the refrigerator door without it hitting the side wall taking the paint with it. I did not purchase the refrigerator until I got the okay from the kitchen design specialist. The appliance tech came for the second time and stated that the refrigerator required a measurement of 2 3/4 to swing properly and we only have 1 3/4 due to a bearing wall. And in this situation one inch makes all the difference. I think it could be rectified by taking the panels off but that would mean I now have a panel ready refrigerator without panels. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:11PM
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nycbluedevil

Is it possible for you to knock out an inch of the bearing wall and build it back up on the other side?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:22PM
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rococogurl

If that's the case, and the spec sheet specifies 2-3/4 inches, and the kd mismeasured or just decided it wasn't important then seems it should be on his nickel to make it right. It's not ok for the door to hit the wall -- unless you were told in advance it would and ok'd that.

Perhaps livewireoak, who's a KD, has a suggestion here. Or someone else? You could probably get more input if you posted the brand and model number of the fridge.

If you've paid him everything, no leverage. If you haven't paid the final bill then you have a much better position.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:45PM
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SparklingWater

Perhaps some of the swing problem might be lessened by changing the refrigerator handles. Below is a link with appliance handles (no affiliation).

Here is a link that might be useful: appliance handle link:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:45PM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

If there are walls on both sides instead of cabinets, then there is no adjustment possible, no matter what the specs of the fridge say. When you are dealing with immovable architecture, you have to be the one to give and accept shortcomings that you wouldn't if the space had different constraints. Pulling the cabinet above forward might be possible, but there doesn't appear to be much room to do even that with the depth of the wall there. Is the wall on the right removable at all, or does it have plumbing or HVAC in it? Do you have a measured drawing layout of the space?

This post was edited by hollysprings on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 21:48

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:45PM
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linealuckpearson

Once again, my thanks to all of you for the information shared. My KD has stated that this is an appliance issue even thought I did not purchase any appliance until I checked in with him first. Still unsure how to proceed.

P.S. I had never posted anything, anywhere (was unsure about it) and this turned out to be such a positive experience. Hopefully, when I post again, it will be to say that the issue has been resolved

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:56PM
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linealuckpearson

Once again, my thanks to all of you for the information shared. My KD has stated that this is an appliance issue even thought I did not purchase any appliance until I checked in with him first. Still unsure how to proceed.

P.S. I had never posted anything, anywhere (was unsure about it) and this turned out to be such a positive experience. Hopefully, when I post again, it will be to say that the issue has been resolved

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:42PM
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weissman

Your KD is passing the buck - he should have caught this - not sure the best way to resolve it though.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Gooster

If you really want help, you can post your exact dimensions, model number and opening dimensions. The people here can really help you find a solution. Probably more so than your KD, who does not seem experienced (or smart) enough. If they had the model number in hand, they should of had the installation requirements captured because they had to order the panels that did not have the right clearance.

It is very difficult to tell from the one sideways picture what is going on. You may want to try a head-on shot.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 1:33AM
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live_wire_oak

I do fault the KD for failing to communicate that there would be an issue here with how the doors opened, and with explaining the difference in refrigerator choices, but there isn't really anything to be done to fix it that I can view from this one photo. As previously noted, with the two walls there, there is no "solution" to this problem except for placing the refrigerator somewhere else entirely, or taking down one of the walls so that better clearance can be created. Or changing to a different model refrigerator with different style hinges needed to open the doors as far for access.

Perhaps upgrading to a fully integrated refrigerator would be the most appealing choice to the OP? (You would still need a hinge limiter on the left side to avoid hitting the wall with the handle as far as I can see, but you wouldn't need as much door swing to access the interior.) Would you have done that from the beginning if it had been explained that it was a choice, even though that choice is thousands more? Or would have the economics of the remodel nixed that? If you would have chosen another refrigerator, then see if the appliance retailer can take the current one back and swap out for the integrated one. You pay for the appliance difference, and the KD pays for the new panels that will be needed. There's still a couple of hundred dollars of labor in the mix for the installer to be sorted out, but that would be a fair split to everyone.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 7:18AM
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