Build in the Fridge or Counter Depth??

buildinvaApril 21, 2013

Our fridge will be surrounded on the left by a partial wall we are adding and on the right by floor-to-ceiling pull-out cabinet pantry. I don't want it to stick out and show the sides of the fridge, so I was planning to get a CD fridge. However, we could conceal a standard sized fridge by adding 4 inches to the wall and putting the pantry cabinet out 4 inches from the back wall.. We'd have to fill in behind the pantry cab, but that should be pretty easy since our cabinets are white.

The standard fridge I would get is $1,000 less than the CD. Even if those funds were mostly used by labor/materials to do the build, it seems like I might be in a better position to replace the fridge in the future. I know refrigerators don't last like they used to. Our old one was only 7 when it died. So I'm thinking this would save me money in the future, and also widen the options available when I need to replace the fridge.

The downside is that the fridge and pantry will "stick out" 4 more inches, so I'd lose that floor space. And visually it would be different. The fridge/pantry are part of the back wall that will also contain the range and most of my cabinetry. I do think it would look ok, just maybe not as sleek/straight/modern as counter depth.

Any thoughts or opinions? Bless you if you've read this far, lol! I have to decide by tomorrow and am just not sure.

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Holly- Kay

I went with counter depth but I am not sure that the lost CF will be worth the more, IMO, sleek look of the cd model.

In my other home my fridge sticks out a good bit past the counter and it doesn't look bad but definitely lacks a custom look because of it!

How much will the loss of CF bother you? If you now use every cf in your fridge and it is a full depth you will definitely miss the space. If you are going to use your old fridge as a back up in your garage or laundry room or you won't miss the space then from an aesthetics point of view I would go with cd.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 5:27PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Beware the wall. It has to be the exact right depth for the door to open. And what that distance will be will vary from maker to maker. You'd be better off putting the pantry next to the wall, then putting in a regular depth fridge with a deep refrigerator panel to the side. Then use extra deep cabinets (or pull them forward) for the rest of the run on that wall so you get extra counter space. Like 30" deep lowers with 15" deep uppers. You get a lot of extra storage (including in the regular depth fridge) without substantially changing your footprint at all.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 5:39PM
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Holly- Kay

Not to hijack the post but Hollysprings can I ask you a question? Now that the kd has flipped the fridge with the double oven they are still side by side but the right fridge door will swing open into empty space and the left door will swing open toward the ovens. Will the oven handles impede the fridge door from opening completely?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:15PM
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I agree with doing the extra deep counters and the pantry next to the wall.

If you have a refrigerator next to wall ovens, you need to study the refrigerator's specs as to how wide the door will open and what angle. It's usually best to have at least a 3" filler between the two.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:42PM
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I don't think I can do extra deep cabs because I'm doing ikea. AFAIK they don't offer that. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

Re: the wall. It's just a partial wall that we are adding at the end of the row of kitchen stuff to give the fridge a more built in look. Hope that makes sense! Let me know if not and I'll post a pic.

Holly-kay: you can post questions in my thread any day!! I've learned so much from reading your posts and really appreciate your input so much!!!

Thanks GreenDesigns & hollysprings as well!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:51PM
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You don't have to do extra deep cabinets to do extra deep counters. You just pull the cabinets forward by installing blocking at the rear. You'll just need an extra cover panel to hide that on any cabinets at the end of the run that are open to the room. That's the cheapest way to get extra counter space that I know.

And, I wouldn't build the wall. It takes up precious space (at least 4 1/2" minimum if not more) , and it's far more limiting than simply using a cover panel to hide the side of the fridge. It's probably not any cheaper either by the time you spend the money for the studs and drywall and paint and molding to cover it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Holly- Kay

Thank you so much build sweet of you to let me ask a question here.

Thank you Greendesigns, I am pretty sure that he would include that 3 inch filler. I will ask him tomorrow to make sure, that is if he calls me back!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:03PM
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I agree wholeheartedly with HollySprings and GreenDesigns!

You're gaining the extra counterspace and the extra cubic feet in the refrigerator. In addition, if IKEA has deeper upper cabinets, you can install 15" deep uppers. You'd be surprised how much an extra 3" expands your storage! I know I was!

Another thought - what is behind the wall the refrigerator is on? If it's not an external wall, you might be able to recess a standard-depth refrigerator into the back wall. I'd still not do the side wall, though...for the additional space, etc.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:16PM
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I have a standard size refrigerator next to the wall of my pantry closet (which is 24" deep). On the other side I have some standard 24" deep lower cabinets and an upper cabinet. I pulled the cabinets out 2.5 inches (we were constrained by a doorway) and I have a 28" deep counter there (since there is a 1.5 inch overhang). The upper cabinet is 15" deep.

The refrigerator is boxed in with panels which are 30" deep (so only 2 inches past the counter). The refrigerator sits in this box such that the door is the only thing outside of the box (so the door opens fully). You cannot see the sides of the fridge but you do see the sides of the refrigerator door.

The cabinet above the refrigerator is the standard 24" deep but it is also pulled out so that the front is flush with the front of the fridge box. The one other thing is that my fridge is actually only 33" wide (it was our old one which still works well). But the fridge box is 36" wide...we have some trim pieces all around so that the fridge looks built in. When we replace the fridge later, we can remove these trim pieces and install a 36" wide full size fridge.

Here is a's hard to see that the fridge box is actually 2 inches deeper than the counter next to it.

This post was edited by itsallaboutthefood on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 19:53

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Any chance you can steal some space from the wall behind the fridge? We did that and our standard depth fridge will be framed with drywall since there are no cabinets on that wall. I made sure to add a few inches in the back for "just in case". I didn't want to pay more $ for less CF, but still wanted it flush.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:08PM
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itsallaboutthefood that looks great! That's also the kind of fridge I love! What make/model is yours? Thanks for the picture and info.

Buehl--thanks for chiming in. It's on my list to ask the contractor about recessing the fridge. It backs up to the garage. Have no idea if if would work or not.

Hmmmmm... Lots to think about... Thanks everybody!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Build, I don't have a solution for you, but just wanted to chime in to tell you I feel your pain -- on my last remodel and on the current one. I think the REAL PROBLEM is why fridge manufacturers charge $1000 more for less cf!!!!!! I asked when I bit the bullet the last time and bought the CD, and the salesperson said it was because "they didn't sell as many CD fridges, so the cost per unit was higher." Well, DUH, of course you're not going to sell as many when you charge so much more for them!!! When are the refrigerator manufacturers going to realize that lots of people would like a CD fridge -- at a reasonable price!!!! The day of a "stand-alone" fridge sitting in a separate wall is passing. OK, off my soap box - thx for listening, and gl. I'll probably do the CD again this time -- it is nice not to "lose" things in the back.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:00PM
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I doubt my comment will help, but here goes. We went with a counter deep fridge to give us more room between the fridge and a new island (that was built a bit too big). Yes, it was more expensive but we have loved it. We are a family of six, but the refrigerator is plenty big for us.

By changing out to a CD, we gained like 3.5 inches, which made all the difference in the world for the aisle in that part of the kitchen. And, I love that the fridge isn't this giant monster that sticks way out into the kitchen anymore.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:20PM
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buildinva - Thanks...we bought our fridge at Sears 11 years ago. It's a says "Kenmore smart reach" inside.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:34PM
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I also love our French Door Counter Depth Fridge. I admit we do have another small fridge in the basement mostly for drinks. Refrigerators are already bulky and I like the smaller presence of the CD.

Seems like a lot of work to accommodate a standard depth. Just in my opinion if it's not in the front and visible it could stay smushed in the back of the fridge indefinitely, so points for CD for me. Everyone is different though with different needs and thoughts.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:40AM
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When we were looking at CD versus regular fridge, I started keeping track of how much food was getting lost in the back of the fridge (we had a side-by-side which I despised) and spoiling. We only have 3 people in our family but we grow a lot of food, shop at the farmers market and have chickens which produce a lot of eggs. Plus I have periodic large gatherings (large for us!) and need lots of fridge space, which I did not have with the old side-by-side. Our fridge seemed to always be crammed full and food was ALWAYS getting lost in the back.
Though I wanted a regular fridge (I wanted a smaller one anyway), my husband wanted the counterdepth and now that it's in, I could not be happier with the layout or size. It holds a surprising amount of food, AND I can see it ALL when I open the fridge!!! Definitely a bonus for us, we cook a lot and having lost leftovers is not good.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Thanks a million! These comments have been so helpful!!

I totally agree with you, Legal, that they are so expensive!! I wish there were more economical/reasonable options.

I would love building the entire bank of cabs out for the extra counter space, but the adjoining space (living/dining) is already tight and I don't want to take 3 inches from that area.

After much deliberation, we are going to go with the CD. I think it's just going to be too much work to accommodate a deeper fridge. Plus, Suburbanrancher reminded me that I, too, have a problem with leftovers getting lost in the back of the fridge! Maybe this will help.

Thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:04AM
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