Appliances & priorities: small kitchen and large fridge?

smaloneyJune 1, 2012

Okay I have thought way too long and hard about fixing up my small galley kitchen and one of the things that is holding me back from finalizing a plan is the issue of the refrigerator. I have to buy a CD fridge at minimum because my galley is narrow (7.5") and is a corridor between the entry to the house and the main living space. I have 2 kids and the CD fridges seem cramped, and with a French door, the freezers seem prone to disorganization (pulling out and poking around that big drawer would be a major traffic hazard for my kitchen.) My house is small and has no garage or basement; someday I may be able to squeeze a small chest freezer into my laundry room, but for now whatever fridge I buy will be it for cold food storage.

So I'm tempted to try to do a built-in; it would have to be a floor model or scratch-and-dent because I can't swing $7 or $8k on a fridge. (I think I could find a floor model for under $5k.) It would save a few extra inches of my narrow aisle, since even the CD models tend to be 29-30" deep with handles whereas a built in would be closer to 27". But I wonder if this seems insane - will it look disproportionate? Will I regret losing a few extra inches of counter space (I should have 8 linear feet of extra countertops in an attached breakfast room.)

And more importantly, is this a silly use of my modest resources? I read on another thread one of the gurus here (please forgive me, I forget who it was, just remember it was someone with vastly more expertise) who aptly pointed out that the point of a kitchen is cooking, and limited resources should be invested in cooking appliances - when it comes to the fridge, there was advice about just finding a box to keep stuff cold. In my house, with my budget, the difference of a couple of thousand dollars would go a long way, and I don't want to look at some crazy behemoth fridge for the next decade if it seems like a huge waste of money.

Anyway, advice here is always thought-provoking. I'd love to hear if others think this is a worthwhile area to sink some funds or if it is unnecessary and nonfunctional for a small kitchen. Thanks

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I just remodeled a galley kitchen with an even narrower space. I went with a Leibherr (not built-in but freestanding) and love it! The 80" height and counter-depth make it tall and skinny and perfect for our family of 3. There is also a 27" available. Just a thought. I am amazed at how much room I have and have yet to struggle for space.

Other brands have similar "tall and skinny" options (and some for less) such as Summit, Northland, or Blomberg

Here is a link that might be useful: GW post to galley kitchen

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Smal, I sympathize with your dilemna. So, here for what they're worth, are my two cents. I don't think a good fridge and freezer are wastes of money at all. You can't cook without food. And you need to keep the food you're going to cook.

Do you live close to shopping? How often do you shop? How much do you cook? The small house we're building is 7+ miles on a gravel road from the nearest corner store, and 35-40 miles from a "real" grocery store. There are only 2 of us, but I buy in bulk since we only shop every 10-14 days. Keeping the produce etc. usable is pretty important. So for me, the fridge *is* part of "cooking equipment." And every bit as important.

On size: CD fridges don't hold as much as "normal" depth fridges unless they're wide - physics, you know. In our current house we have a relatively small kitchen - the only CD fridge we could fit was a 27" model (all fridge. We put a small freezer in the laundry room). We like it, but we routinely have to double or triple-deck everything and it's somewhat of a pain trying to balance containers and packages on top of each other. Things also routinely get lost in the back of the shelf. The larger but still not huge kitchen I'm building now will have a 36" under/over CD fridge - and a freezer in the laundry room. I'm hoping the extra inches will alleviate some of the stacking and mystery items.

In addition to how often you shop, think about how and what you cook. If you cook mostly from scratch, your storage needs will be different than if you cook mostly from prepared foods. Do you use more frozen veggies than fresh? Do you cook large batches and then freeze part for another day? Freezer space and accessability become more important if you do.

Finally, I'm not sure what you mean by the large drawer on a FD unit. The drawer would be the same size as a drawer on a non-FD CD unit - less than 24" deep.

I don't know if this helped any. Sorry.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:06PM
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When we went to a CD fridge, I didn't notice any loss in space, because there just wasn't the depth behind where little things go to hide! The organization and visibility was better, so made up for the couple inches of rack space.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:52PM
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I'm facing the same dilemma as the OP. I like our kitchen size (8 x 14'), but putting a big 36" suburban 18-wheeler in the kitchen scares me. It would literally be the elephant in the room. Based on our current fridge, we have about 13 cf of refrigerator space and maybe 4 cf of freezer space. We are scratch cooks, so freezer space even now is plenty. We would like a little more refrigerator space, however.

So far, I've come up with either a tall 24" or 27" column refrigerator, which are usually just 24" deep and have around 15 to 17 cf of storage, and a separate undercounter freezer. My wife even said she could live with a chest freezer in the basement, which is the only other place in the house we could put one, but I would prefer some sort of freezer in the kitchen (ice cream, you know :) It's either that or choose from the 20 cf fridge/freezer models that are around 32" wide and 27" deep, but these choices are very limited or very pricey for our budget. Unfortunately, we have not come up with a solution either.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:56AM
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I am in a similar situation. My galley kitchen with an "L" for butler's pantry is only 7' wide on a good day. The fridge has to go at the base of the "L". That's where we have our current 42" SZ SxS and is the same place where we are going to put our new SZ 36" French Door fridge. I mention this because the fridge location is right in the walkway between an entry and another room.

There is no way that I would want anything other than a built-in. Two reasons--first, making the fridge disappear in a confined space is important visually and second, those extra inches of walkway really matter tremendously.

The Liebherr FD is a nice unit and much less expensive than the SZ (which is only coming out this summer). The freezer space is better than the SZ too, so I think it would be good for you to look at.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:27AM
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In some cases removing the drywall and boxing in the area behind the frig will gain 3 inches of additional depth.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:09PM
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