Extra 15'' undercab integrated fridge, or 42'' fridge instead?

marcoloOctober 9, 2012

I am currently planning a fridge and pantry wall with a 36" Liebherr integrated CD fridge, and a micro shelf and pull out pantries next to it.

For supplemental refrigeration (mostly for wine and bevs, but I want flexibility), I can add either a 15" UC fridge right next to the Liebherr, or skip the Liebherr and go straight to a 42" fridge. However, the 42" Jenn Aires have had some bad reviews, and they don't really look that much larger on the inside.

Some questions:

- This wall will be full overlay cabinets, possibly frameless. I notice the Marvels seem to require opening the door well past 90 degrees to pull out the shelves and that doesn't look like it'll work with full overlay cabs next to it. The Perlick I saw wasn't integrated but didn't seem to require such a gaping opening. Neither did the Uline.

- Are these things truly invisible? In this case I don't care about the toekick at all. I just want the rest of it to be as invisible as the Liebherr.

- Are drawers or doors better? Normally drawers are better UC but in the 15" the drawers are absolutely tiny. Instead of being fully separate drawers, they are perforated metal boxes that share a common interior refrigerated space. I don't know what I could fit in them. Perlick's door model boasts full rollout shelves, at least.

- How much usable room is in the Perlick 15"? Can't find many pics.

- Any problem putting it right next to the Liebherr?

- Any other advice?

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Do they have to be next to each other? If not, perhaps you could get a larger one? I have looked into this and decided against 15". It is way too small for way too much money, IMHO.

Are they truly invisible? I looked hard at all the pix I could find on manufacturer's websites and I think that only drawers truly blend, but it is just my impression.

We got a 30" Liebherr ~4 years ago when we had a different layout planned for the remodel. Honestly, I hate it. I wish I had gotten a 36" model as 30" is not enough b/c we live in suburbs, shop once a week, and buy lots of fruits and veggies. However, now I think it was a blessing in disguise. I am getting an u/c fridge that I am going to place on a different wall on purpose. With one fridge, if DH came home from grocery shopping while I am cooking and wants to put the produce in, he is likely to interfere with me (and it ain't going to be pretty, LOL). Etc.

The U/C fridge will be just "mine" with all the stuff used mostly or solely for cooking (certain veggies, cooking wines, etc.) and will be next to the sink while the main fridge will be next to the cooking area and more accessible to others.

Just my 2 cents...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:00PM
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I probably won't be able to get a wider fridge. I know someone here has the 15" UC but can't remember who.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Since you want the undercounter fridge for wine and beverages, you may want to consider one with a matching wood (or other) frame surroundig a glass door that allows you to see the contents. Some are double zone, warmer wines on top. Note that wine coolers, beverage centers, and all-refrigerators are three different things.

Yes, the door panel on some of them looks just like a cabinet door; only the toekick grille gives away its presense. Some have an icemaker, a small freezer, or both.

It's go this route only if you want the 15" of countertop space or a distinctly different temperature for wine. Otherwise might as well get the extra 15" of space full height, even if the available fridges aren't optimally designed (but there are lots of 48"w built-ins, aren't there, as well as the BSH columns). Another option would be a clear ice machine instead of a fridge, since that's something you can't get from your Liebherr (or any other full-size fridge/freezer).

Look at U-Line, Perlick, Sub-Zero, maybe Marvel. True doesn't have anything narrower than 24" or I'd recommend them highly. Scotsman doesn't integrate seamlessly with cabinets unless they've changed their design recently, but their 15"w fridge is affordable and reliable (or used to be - it seems they have redesigned them, and the new ones look suspiciously like rebranded U-Lines; I think Scotsman wants to stick with ice machines).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Well, it's only an extra 6" moving from 36" to 42" in the main fridge. I can't find a Jennair 42" FD Integrated to look at in person anywhere around Boston for some reason. There's also the issue of door opening clearance. Liebherr is very good on that front, allowing you to open the drawers without opening the doors very far. The Jennair doesn't look as cleverly designed in that way.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:11PM
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I feel strongly in favor of the 24 inch wide fridge drawers for usable space. I would find 15 inches not worth the trouble. And shelves v. drawers? No contest. Drawers are so easy. I am too old to get on my knees to look at the bottom 2 drawers. It's only 9 inches different. I have Elux drawers-pricey at 2k but a big splurge and very, very worth it. Also, there is no worry about door clearance.

Now, where do you find the 9 inches? I don't remember your plan, but, what width are your pantry pullouts? I have 2 pullouts, each 15 inches wide. My pullouts replaced a 36 x 24 black hole pantry. I have way more groceries now, then before.

Each pantry door of mine can pull 450 pounds. If your pantries are wider, they may not be able to pull all the stuff.

Marcolo, I know you are a two person household, and I bet dollars to donuts that I have more pantry crap than you. We are now a 2 person family but I have not yet come to terms with the fact that my 'teenage' son is now 51 yrs. old and I don't have to feed him daily. My dh and I are very frugal and we buy way too much stuff, b/c it's on sale. Just today, I tossed 3 cans of tomato stuff that was 2 yrs. out of date.

I buy groceries for planned but still imagined dinner parties, probably never to happen (deteriorating health)! You have real dinner parties so you use up the food.

Check your drawings and tell me the width of pantries. And that's just one place to look for space.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Plllog has an undercounted marvel in the prep area. Looked very useful. I have seen a 15" wine storage in what used to be the space for a compactor and it seemed to fit quite a bit of wine. For my purpose, I decided to go with a taller 30'' all-fridge with lots of drawers for produce and do a separate freezer. When I finally mocked up the space a 36 or 42'' it just did not work well for layout. My local appliance store was kind enough to let me come with several bags of groceries and mock load the fridge option so that I got a sense of what worked. It turned out to be quite the show with several sales guys hanging around and helping me optimize and pretend cook. I did not see a big difference with 36 and 30 in for Miele. The liebherr 48in was nice but I could not convince myself that Biofresh was not just a marketing gimmick. The subzero 42 was very solid but I could not find a deal. I got a good deal for a UCfreezer drawer and a 30in fridge..so that's what we're doing.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Yes, plllog loves her marvel fridge drawers except they make a bit of noise, not most of the time but only when something kicks in, maybe the compressor. I don't think that makes her unhappy at all, just a note of information.

My kitchen is 10 x 18 and we eat most meals there so a quiet fridge drawer unit was important. If your kitchen is large, a bit of periodic noise wont matter to most. Also, elux advertises as 6 cubic feet of space.

And I learned that whatever a mfr. and retailer advertise, is not necessarily true. At the time of my purchase, Elux stated in print, as did most retailers in their specs, that each of the two drawers, had an individual temp setting. So after install, I'm looking and looking for separate controls. Nope, they don't exist.

And I hope that I am not stepping on plllog's toes for responding.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 11:39PM
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we went with a 30 inch integrated Gaggenau fridge and a 24" perlick freezer drawers. The freezer drawers completly integrate and are 'invisible'. They have fridge versions in drawer or door as well. These things are tanks...very solidly built and heavy. The top/sides are one complete sheet of stainless.
For the 15 inch, I would get a door, as it will maximize internal space and if you primarily keep bottles, they will lie on their sides and be visible without the need to pull out.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:34PM
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westsider, Perlick has fully extendable shelves. And the drawers aren't like larger drawers--there is one chilled compartment with these perforated metal boxes that pull out. They leave a LOT of wasted space. I'm going with 15" because with anything wider, I lose all functional lower pantry pullout space.

caspian, Gags are tanks, but very pricey tanks!

I have a fridge for the basement, so I keep wondering if I should just bag the 15" and go for the bigger pantry.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 8:25PM
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