How Do You Modify Wall To Recess Standard Depth Fridge.

renosarefunFebruary 2, 2014

My wife likes the look of a counter depth fridge but doesn�t like the fact that they�re not very deep and the price is normally around 30-40% more. The fridge that we have purchased, (not yet delivered) is Kitchen aid KFIV29PCMS with the dimensions below.

Has anyone ever recessed the fridge by removing the drywall and studs directly behind the fridge and added reinforcement to support the drywall in the opposite room? The stud is 3 �" and drywall is �" for a total of an extra 4" of space. The fridge requires a 1" air gap between the rear of the fridge and wall which would allow for some metal reinforcement to be installed to replace the missing studs. This would allow the fridge to be recessed approximately 4" more and come close to the counter depth and I would have panels on both sides so as to hide the rear of the fridge. The receptacle could be mounted in the cabinet above the fridge and since I would do all the construction work cost would be minimal and nowhere near the added cost of a counter depth model.

Can members tell me how they accomplished this and what reinforcement they used?

Overall Width: 35 11/16"
Overall Width Door Open 90�: 38 3/16"
Overall Depth: 35 11/16"
Overall Depth without Handles: 33 3/16"
Overall Depth without Door: 28 15/16"
Overall Depth with Doors Open 90�: 48"
Overall Depth with Drawer Open: 47 5/8"
Overall Height: 70 1/8"
Overall Height without Hinges: 68 5/8"
Gross Weight: 352 Lbs.

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Found a few articles online about pulling this off. Here is a link to one of them. It should be do-able as long as there are no hidden whatevers in the wall cavity that you want to open up.

Here is a link that might be useful: recessing a fridge

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Thank you for the reply deedles, that's what I was thinking about. I only question if a second layer of drywall was sufficient to strengthen the wall. I was thinking of adding metal u-channels spaced about 15" apart from bottom to top, which would still allow for air flow and possbily be stronger then a second layer of 1/2" drywall.

Has anyone done this modification, if so please give me your thoughts.

This post was edited by Renosarefun on Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 20:50

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:49PM
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Turn the studs.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:22PM
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I'm just in the process of telling my carpenter that I want to do this. My walls are completely open now so it's able to be done. Unfortunately, I can't tell you how he's going to do mine on strengthening the wall or anything else, but that article deedles sent looks informative. I may give it to my carpenter to look at, even tho I don't think he needs it. I'll ask him your question when I see him next time & see what he says.

Thanks for the article deedles.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:23PM
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I have to maintain a 1" gap for air flow between the fridge and wall, so I thought of adding 1/2" X 2" metal u-channel spaced approximately 15" apart horizontal to reinforce the open cavity wall. This will leave 1/2" between fridge and u-channel and still leave a 1" for the rest of the area. Turning the studs would reduce the allowable space by at least an 1" which is valuable space I don't want to give up. Trimming the studs down to ýâ greatly reduces its strength which is why I thought of using metal.


I'm curious as to how your carpenter will reinforce the open cavity wall, since adding another layer of drywall will reduce the inset by 1/2" which to me is valuable space. Albeit it would the lowest and easiest cost solution, but to me I'm willing to pay (a little) extra to obtain the most available space.

Thanks for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:51AM
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Counterpoint: I went to a counter-depth and absolutely love it. Nothing's getting lost in those last few inches and it feels like there's more space b/c we're on top of getting rid of stuff that's too old. I can't imagine going back to a full-depth fridge.

We do have a full size garage fridge but haven't even plugged it in in the 3w the kitchen has been back to operational.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 8:30PM
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They just reframed to recess mine. Wish I'd read that link a little sooner! My recessed opening does not leave any room for an air gap. Luckily, there is nothing on the other side of the wall for the lower 5 ft, so we will cut out the lower half of drywall (that they just installed) to give it an airspace. Still need to move water line and electric. Heck, maybe we'll remove the drywall behind altogether to get that extra half inch rcessed.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:55AM
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reno, I will certainly let you know what the carpenter says. It might not be until this weekend for him to come over tho. Maybe even next Monday.....darn! I'm w/ you on not wanting to waste one inch. Hopefully he has a good idea on how to maximize the wall.

Have you looked at the fridge you're going to buy in person? If so, did you open the doors w/ something next to the fridge box like a panel would be built up to it? Make sure the doors will be able to open more than 90 degrees w/out hitting into the side panels, or worse, cabinets. Some doors, when open 90 degrees, will be completely straight w/ the edge of the fridge box, others will be out of alignment, per se, w/ the fridge box about a couple of inches, making it hit the side panel. So, you might not be able to build the panel up to the edge of the fridge box. Does any of this make sense? I had to go to the stores to look at this & make sure the one I buy is ok. I have a link to an article from Houzz that shows pictures of freestanding fridges looking like built ins. I'll put the link at the bottom of the post. Take a look at all of the pictures & notice the 2nd one is not built up to the edge of the box like all of the others. That may be because on that fridge, the doors would hit the panel when fully open. That may not bother you & your wife, tho. I want mine to come up to the front edge of the fridge box. These pictures might be able to give you some other ideas on how to get the look w/ your surrounding cabinets.

Try this link:

Good luck. I'll get back to you after I talk further w/ my carpenter.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Two items in particular need consideration here. First, you have to determine whether or not the wall to be altered is load bearing or not. It isn't a big deal to alter a load bearing wall, it's just more work to install a header.

Secondly, what's on the other side of the fridge? Exterior siding or a dining room? If it's another room, why not remove the baseboard, remove the drywall from the refrigerator opening, add a layer of 5/8" drywall across the entire wall and spanning the refrigerator opening, tape, prime, and paint and reinstall the baseboard?

Now you've gained 1/2" on the kitchen side, 3 1/2" stud width, and 1/2" on the dining room side for a total gain of 4 1/2". You could even fur the wall and gain more space.

5/8" drywall should easily span a refrigerator opening with no additional support. I wouldn't hang any pictures there though.

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 8:18

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Thanks for the photo, most fridges have the compressor at the rear, unless you have a Sub Zero where they're mounted at the top and use grills for air flow. Air flow is needed to keep the compressor cool and in my case they recommend 1" gap. When I remove the drywall and studs to give more room, I need to reinforce the open cavity so the drywall remaining has support in the next room.


I'm in no hurry as I've done my design stage, (should try for feedback on this forum) and just started the demo stage to get final dimensions. Then I would pick up the material and build the cabinets myself. Timeline I'm hoping to be finished by summer since the demo started yesterday.

The fridge box itself is 28 15/16 which means it will still stick out about 1" and the doors swing out so I'll be ok.

Thanks for the link, my fridge may look like the 2nd photo, but I'm only going to leave a 1/4" gap on each side as per the manual. I don't have much of a choice as my wife doesn't want the shallow counter depth fridges.


It is a load bearing wall and I'm going to frame it out like I would for a door frame since it's only a 37" opening.

There is a dining room on the other side and I will need to relocate a fridge receptacle and a dining room light switch which is going to need some thought.

Adding 5/8" of drywall spanning the whole wall on the dinning room side is an option, but I think it maybe more work then adding metal channels since I have cove moulding and a door frame opening to deal with. Cost would also be higher for material and labour time for me would be trippled, but it was a good thought.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

This post was edited by Renosarefun on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 8:56

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:20AM
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We did this about 20 years ago for a 36 inch wide fridge. DH put a header in and dry walled the other side of the wall. I primed and painted the side of the drywall behind the fridge to seal it and the other side is the living room, where you would never know anything is different. He cut a hole high up in the wall that is around 4 inches by 8 inches and put a white plastic grate facing the living room to cover it so that hot air can move. It looks just fine where it is on the living room wall. I think it is called a cold air return cover, but not being the builder, my description likely lacks! We just bought a new 36 inch fridge and again, it was so nice to have it recessed rather than sticking out about 3 more inches into the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:13AM
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we just did this, it was simple for us. Renovation almost finished, need pendants, switchplates and back splash.

We built a new "faux" wall 4 inches out from the old wall, measured etc to ensure fridge doors open unhindered. Love it love it love it.

My GC had never seen it done before, and is suggesting to clients now. My wife had the idea, glad she's so damned smart.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:09PM
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FYI, and here is the before.....14 years we lived with the old. Put two through college etc., now its our time.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:12PM
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We built two houses recessing a regular size fridge this way. Of course it's easier to do it right from the start as the house is being built, and I highly recommend it. I am not crazy about sub zero fridges, I often use large pyrex dishes and deep trays/plates for fruit etc. when serving a large crowd, so i prefer my FD fridge.
The doors swing open fine, and the fridge does stick out about
2", plus the handles - but I prefer function over form. I cook a lot, and really need the bigger fridge.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:33PM
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cparlf, great kitchen! That's exactly what I want to do, as I'm sure renosarefun is thinking along the same lines. Can you send a closer picture of your fridge & maybe a side view? Also, I'd love to see a bunch more pics of the whole kitchen! Can you enlighten us how it was done?


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:51PM
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Thanks bg, sure thing, I'll take a few tonight, and post tomorrow.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Thanks for posting the photo's your kitchen looks great and look forward to the additional photos.

In conclusion I think I may go with my original plan to add metal u-channel strips. I'm not sure what gauge I'l go with but when the weather (snow) clears up a bit I'll drop by a store and check out what they have in stock as well as pricing.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:09AM
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This may be obvious, but the other alternative for some kitchens, instead of recessing the wall, would be to pull forward surrounding cabinets and counters to accommodate a full-depth refrigerator. That's what I did.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:30AM
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Swfr pulled her cabinets out (as suggested by calumin) & built a ledge to accomodate a full depth refrigerator.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swfr's kitchen reveal, full depth refrigerator accomodation

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 6:34PM
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I was able to recess my fridge 6 inches when I renovated my kitchen. This is what the framing looks like.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:02PM
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And this is what it looks like with drywall. We didn't add any extra space for venting, but the fridge isn't flush against the wall anyway. It's a load-bearing wall and backs to the garage.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:04PM
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Thanks for the info and photos, unfortunately I don't have that much space to work with. I'm dealing with a standard 2"x4" wall.

The information will be helpfull for others so I'm glad you posted it.

Again, thanks for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 7:50AM
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