Stand-alone fridge?

eleenaMarch 15, 2012

I still cannot figure out what's wrong with a stand-alone fridge.

When the built-in fridge that came with the house broke, we bought - keeping future remodel in mind - a new CD (24" deep) fridge. It is at the very end of the shorter leg of an L-shaped counter with one side by the kitchen entrance door (from the LR).

We could have gotten a less expensive one w/o SS sides (in order for it to be built-in) but b/c of the space being very limited on that wall, I did not want to waste precious 3" on something that served no function. That is why we got one with SS front and sides, so it could stand alone, next to the counter.

Now, I am seeing *everywhere* only fridges that have cabinet walls around them and with closed cabinets above, of the same depth as the fridge, even if the upper cabinets next to them are not as deep.

(To be clear, I am not talking about integrated fridges.)

There are other reasons, not quite relevant to this discussion, why I don't want cabinetry around the fridge or CD cabinets above it, though I wouldn't mind an open shelf or cabinets of the same depth as the other upper cabinets on that wall (say, 12").

Could you, kitchen design pros, explain to me why it would be a wrong thing to do, so to speak?


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I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and it may just be one of those trends that we'll be talking about 20 years from now. 20 years ago, it was popular to have a one foot piece down from the over-the-fridge cabinet. I think it's purpose was to hide the cords and plumbing if the fridge is at the end of the cabinet run and not against a wall.

I want a cabinet around my fridge because my fridge is next to a counter and I hate it when stuff falls off the edge of the cabinet into that slot and I can't get it out. Plus I'll have a full height cabinet on the other side and it will look better.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Forty years ago the question would have been "why doesn't anyone have a freestanding range anymore?" The answer was that kitchens evolved. Ranges no longer needed to be as large as they once were, and it was possible to slip them inline with the cabinets rather than devote an entire wall to them. Regarding fridges, although fridges expanded over time, the standard cabinet dimensions didn't. High-end kitchens got built-ins for a seamless look. Designers of mid-level kitchens then sought to imitate those with true built-in fridges by adding side panels to match the cabinets. Then it was compounded by the ubiquitous SS fridge with the gray or black box. They have an awkward two-tone look that an all-white or an all-black fridge doesn't have. You got around that by paying for the SS sides on your fridge and by not minding that big hunk of metal at the end of your kitchen.

I think the freestanding fridge looks good in certain settings: quite modern and quite simple/primitive. It looks worst when it is a full-depth fridge tucked into a CD spot with shallow cabinets above it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 4:48PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention that the fridge is very tall (almost 80").

I did not think of cords and plubming on the back though. Part of it might be seen when entering the room. Thanks for poiting it out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 4:54PM
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I know exactly what you mean. I consider a boxed-in fridge to be a Modern Trend (harrumph) and I am not necessarily in favor. However... I'm planning to box in ours. Two reasons: a 24" deep cabinet above would be very handy, and also the only fridges I've seen that have nicely finished sides cost a lot more than the cabinet box will (at least our cabinet box).

Still, we will have a regular depth fridge sticking unattractively out of a counter-depth box until we are ready to replace it. Bah.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:29PM
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What brand fridge do you have ?Do you find that it gives you sufficient storage(narrow but tall) ? I looked at the panels and it looks like you lose space on both sides with the panel and space needed to pull the fridge out.I'm going to double check it but it looked like approx. 6" total. I'm not too concerned about it either way I guess as I have the "free standing range" too :) and no counter on either side of the range....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:29PM
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I have a stand alone frig and decided on it because frig placement without boxing in worked best for our layout and what I was picturing in my head. It has worked out perfectly and we love the look.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:09PM
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I see remodelfla is already here, but I was just coming in to say that she has one and I've always loved how it looks.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:42PM
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I think with the matching/finished sides it's not really a problem. If you can see the back of it perhaps a very narrow panel at the very back, or a slight bumpout in the wall to the offending side will be all that you need.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Thank you!


Do you have pix of yours or a link to the thread that has them? As Tracie mentioned seeing them, I am assuming they have been posted here at some point.


I like the idea of "a very narrow panel at the very back, or a slight bumpout in the wall to the offending side"!


"You got around that by paying for the SS sides on your fridge and by not minding that big hunk of metal at the end of your kitchen."

ROFL! See, I am one of those people who like an "industrial look". I wouldn't care if all aplliances and counters were SS, as long as the furniture is wood. I think that I could always "warm it up" with accessories. No, I am not going with everything SS, just explaining why I don't mind "that big hunk of metal at the end of your kitchen".

Another thing is that the fridge is not all that noticeable b/c of its location.


I have a 30" Liebherr fridge and I do NOT have sufficient storage but that is the longer part of the story.

I guess I have to "come clean" and just tell my other motive for wanting a stand-alone fridge, LOL.

When we originally got it, it was just the two of us and we had given up hopes of having a baby. For my future kitchen, I wanted to "gain" as much counter space as possible, as I had practically no landing space next to the fridge. Whoever designed this kitchen should really burn in H**L. :-)

That is why we got a 30" W and ~80" tall (bottom freezer) fridge, when the old 36" French-door GE (that came with the house) "died", not b/c I was trying to save money as the price difference was not all that much compared to the overall cost.

BTW, the old one was not very "roomy" either as the freezer was taking up too much vertical space but we used it very little and it just "stood there" empty most of the time.

So, the 30" width was a big mistake in every way. Later, we bought a separate cheap freezer (which is another headache right now) but a 30" fridge is just not enough for 3 people, especially b/c I started pickling stuff, after DD came along, and the jars take up a lot of space. We are really tired of re-arranging the stuff inside every time we need to put something in.

Also, I was so NOT keeping re-sale in mind when buying the fridge, LOL. I think I am the only person on this planet who'd get a 30" one for a house of this size. :-)

I am pretty sure that the next owner will have a larger fridge - and NO place to put it, if I don't leave enough room on that wall - which would be quite an impediment, don't you think?

Plus, if our current one ever breaks, the next one will be a 36" one, I promise. :-)

I have been trying VERY hard to solve this problem of designing cabinetry in a way that would allow a 36" fridge later on, but couldn't find any good solutions. I thought of having a 36" opening and then putting a door or a very narrow slide-out cabinet (possibly, with SS sheeting over the door) on one side of the fridge, but that would look weird too, no?

Which brings back the original "plan" of a stand-alone refrigerator. I am really not sure what the lesser of two evils is.

You, guys and girls, are so creative, perhaps, you could find a better way?

Thanks for reading!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:40PM
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It's just 2 of us though I cook ALOT for people all the time. Tons of fresh veggies and fruits make their home in there. When we have large parties... I fire up all the small extra frigs we have around the place. One in DH's shop, one by the outdoor kitchen, and one in the screen room. But most other times it's holds a surprising amount. I don't can though. We have a 36" FD Liebherr. My layout wiht the bakers table screamed for a all stainless frig and I want true counter depth.

Here it is in the context of the rest of my kitchen. Not the best cell phone shot.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Smart girl!

I should have gotten a 36" FD as yours. :-(

Also, yours looks pretty balanced there b/c it is wider.

Well, I guess there is no kitchen police that will put me in jail if I let mine stand alone, LOL. In the worst case scenario, I won't be posting "My finished kitchen" pix here, ha-ha-ha.

BTW, what are your counters and the sink? I realy like them!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Thanks eleena. My counters are Monsoon Wave soapstone and the sink is a Lavello 36" curved front single bowl apron sink. The soapstone is wilder then most for sure! Love both the function and look of them both. If you do a search you'll find a bunch of threads where I've posted pics.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Thank you!

After looking through many finished kitchen and assessing the "mood" of my kitchen, I am pretty sure that I want green soapstone.

I called our local stone company yesterday to ask if they could order me one. They did not sound optimistic but we shall see...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:12PM
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mine is blackish with tons of seaglass green in it.

I don't know where you are located by I bought mine in NJ and paid to have it shipped down here to Florida. A bit crazy I know...but it was the exact look I wanted and the only place I could get it. I don't know where you are located.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Not far from you, actually.

I'll PAN you or post to ask about where in NJ, if I cannot get it locally, OK?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:31PM
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I got mine from M Teixeira in Hackensack, NJ. If you live anywhere in Florida... I highly highly highly recommend Joshua from Creative Soapstone. He is a master in soapstone fabrication and it's his company. He and his wife Mimi deal exclusively in soapstone. They stock in their yard in Punta Gorda, but did not stock the particular stone I wanted. M Teixeira is their supplier, or was...assuming it still is. I had the slab shipped to them and then Joshua came in his mobile fabrication truck to So. Florida and did the job. He is a perfectionist and they both are a pleasure to deal with. It was worth the travel and shipping charges I had to pay. Joshua is pretty well known on this board so if you do a soapstone search or search Florida Joshua, you'll probably come up with some threads.

Here is a link that might be useful: Creative Soapstone

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 6:46PM
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'Ranges no longer needed to be as large as they once were,"

well yikes! I think many of them have grown again...

i don't see anything wrong with a stand alone fridge - even if the wires/pipes can be seen if someone peeks in behind. If they're peeking in there maybe those wires and pipes should jump out and bite 'em.

I think in 15-20 yrs people will look at the builtins and say "what WERE they thinking to do this?"

someone in just the past day or so posted their kitchen with a pantry along the side of their fridge (others have done that also). You could do something like that and have it made so that in the future if you get a larger fridge it can be removed - or at least made less deep. Book/decorative shelves would also work.

as for space inside - have you tried any of the in fridge pull out shelves? qvc has one (full shelf) and amazon has some smaller ones that slide in/out. I'm going to use a few of those in my fridge and see how much it helps me not lose things in the back of it.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Shhh. Don't tell anyone. I have a humble white Kenmore 30 inch model without any housing. And it has the (despised) pebbly plastic door handles. Right there in plain sight. And the bare side of it faces and defines my eating nook.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 1:00AM
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uh-oh florantha. I'm not saying a word!

my fridge is only 'hidden'? because there's counter on one side and wall on the other. will be the same in the new place. otherwise it'd be 'peekable' too!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 5:18AM
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eleena and remodel
I am in the same situation...trying to use the fridge I have but design for a different unit. I don't care about resale, everyone always rips the kitchen out if they have $$$ or adapts if they don't. It seems like no fridge is designed with adequate vegetable storage but there's always a ridiculous amount of plastic to hold soda bottles.. I can't spend thousands for a fridge, I will be buying a freestanding Fisher & Paykel when the GE profile quits. The 36" Liebherr looks nice next to the baker's table. Eleena when you are done post your pictures, it helps all of us who don't have magazine kitchens/houses. I read in a small kitchens design book that the areas to concentrate on were: Fridge size, sink size and (any size) pantry. Surprise the first thing I bought was a large single bowl sink. It takes up extra counter but I don't care. I have always had 48" of counter.
Flor & Desert--you make me smile :) Flor what do you mean the fridge has no housing ?The back is missing ?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:57AM
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Thank you, ladies, you make me feel better!

IDK what it is about this board but it is sort of a "safe haven". I come here when I am "low" and frustrated and just read, even when I don't have a question and don't need any help.

Just something about everyone being so nice, supportive, and willing to help. I don't think I have seen many places like this one.

You people are the best!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 5:40PM
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(somewhat OT): remodelfla-apropos of nothing-I'm sure I've seen your entire kitchen before, but I must tell you how much I like it. I'm another (proud) soapstone owner, so that's part of it, but I just love everything you have done.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:25AM
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