Freezer in pantry/entry hall?

zartemisApril 12, 2011

OK ... This was actually our KD's suggestion but I think it's brilliant. Other than resale issues, what would be the downside of placing the freezer (the only in-house freezer) outside the kitchen into the 'pantry' which is also our entry way? It buys us 18 more inches of counter and cabinets in the main kitchen area.

If folks recall this is for a kitchen for a major cooking geek where social activities revolve around extremely intense marathon cooking -- hence major over-the-top appliances in a small house. And one where we want some in-kitchen seats in the actual working area of the kitchen itself. We're still working on exact placement of sink and range (left or right plus/minus 12 inches or so, adjusting cabinet sizes and window size).

The dishdrawers, fridge, and freezer will be integrated with wood panels. From home designer

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I've actually seen this type of thing in NYC apartments. Its a paradigm shift but it could work. The only problem I foresee is being locked into a very particular type of appliance. (Two, perhaps: the 30" fridge and the 18" freezer. Very limited replacement options)

(I am in the same situation, I have a 27" bottom-freezer Sub-Zero.)

One thing that I would consider is taking 3" back from that cabinet run, so that the 30" all-fridge was not almost net 0 inches from the window. If the house is a bit out of square, that could cause a real problem now. Also in the future, if need be, a conventional fridge made to fit in a 33" space could go there without lapping over the window.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Excellent considerations, thanks!

The window is optionally relocatable (at the very least the window is being replaced). But making room to replace with a more standard fridge without much remodeling is a good idea. We also did want to make sure we got 18/30 models from the same brand with a left opening freezer and right opening fridge so they can be joined into 'one'.

What's interesting is the KD designer told us this is not a new idea in our area (Silicon Valley) and that she's seen the freezer being placed in the pantry in a number of recent homes. These would be homes with actual pantry rooms, though, I assume (I didn't clarify).

Has anyone else seen kitchens with no freezer, but one in the pantry instead? Or maybe this is a local trend? Or is it that this is only unusual because we don't have an actual pantry 'room'?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:55PM
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are you considering a 24" freezer?

on the entrance "pantry", are you intending to have bypass doors?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:17AM
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I can't say I've seen it, but I can say that it wouldn't bother me in the slightest to live with and I wouldn't find it at all off-putting as a potential buyer...especially if the fridge space would accomodate a standard fridge/freezer combo, should I choose to switch back at some point. Other than for ice and ice cream (both of which my family uses in prodigious quantities) the freezer just isn't accessed that much..once or twice a day. And I'd be more than willing to take the few extra steps for my ice cream fix to have the large refrigerator.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:21AM
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davidro1: No, 18" freezer is enough for in-house. In the garage we have a large chest freezer, a large upright, AND our old fridge/freezer in active use (full of frozen raw goat milk, a goat, a lamb, a few remaining parts of the 1/2 pig we bought, as well as past sausage we've made).

by entrance to the pantry, do you mean the kitchen entrance by the oven? That is currently a pocket door (smaller than specified here) and will be either a single or double-door pocket -- width to be determined. It will probably almost never be closed except when we're trying to limit dog access to the kitchen (easy to keep him out with voice commands usually, but when things get rambunctious and loud with guests we find it easier to control him with just one entry to the kitchen open, so that's just about the only time we ever close the pocket door).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:44AM
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I do see one minor downside: when serving drinks with ice, you'll need to traipse to the cabinet by the fridge for a glass, to the entryway for ice, and then back again to the fridge for the liquid. I guess if we had several people to serve, we just first bring an ice bucket to the kitchen and serve from that.

I don't want to waste space/money for an undercounter ice maker (although that might mean we then wouldn't need to run water for the pantry freezer ice maker...hmmm).

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:14AM
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When we first bought our house the fridge was not in the kitchen-it was in the 'cold pantry'- a separate unheated room. It actually wasn't that bad at all except for winter mornings. Brrrrrrr....... Right now my refrigerator/freezer is about 20 feet away from my sink. It helps keep me in shape. Don't ask how it got so far away right now-that's a novel's worth and I have to get to work. If you need the space, I see no big issue about putting the freezer into the pantry. You will soon learn to gather everything you need from that appliance at one time to bring into the kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:07AM
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I'd have no problem with it at all. The one thing I would do is flip the freezer to the other end so it would more a straight line to the kitchen. So from the top... freezer/pantry/closet. I know it puts your coat closet(?) a bit down but for me, that would be worth it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 7:42AM
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I have done almost exactly what you are talking about. I will try to take a photo of our floorplan.

We have only been here a week, but so far I have no issue with it.

I wanted an all fridge subzero, and separate freezer drawers. But the way the two freezer drawers are divided is a different proportion that anything else in my kitchen. So I moved it into my pantry, which is across a hall.

For us, it was a pretty easy decision. We don't drink sodas at all, and we try to avoid ice in, say iced tea because we only like ice made w spring water. So our ice needs are only for parties. We also eat very little frozen foods and dont store much either (my experience is that freezing leftovers is too often just a polite stopover on the way to the garbage). I would say the main function of our freezer drawers is to hold frozen waffles. And it they are inconvenient, so much the better, as even the Van's stuff is junk!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:33AM
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I'd have no trouble with that setup (since you said you have more freezer space in another area). I would love to have more fridge room in the kitchen - my sxs is too narrow and lots of things won't physicaly fit. There is plenty of cubic space, just not enough horizontal space. When I get the funds saved up, that sxs is history.

Right now I have a fride/freezer in the kithen, one in the laudry room and three chest freezers in the basement. The one that is least used is the one in the kitchen, and if DH hadn't used large bags when he processed the onions and peppers, the only thing in it would be his Ice Cream. It does have a water/ice dispensor and he uses them (I don't as I don't like drinking cold water and rarely put ice in anything).

BTW - when I freeze leftovers, I put them in single serving sizes and take them to work for lunch. But there is never much and I could easily put them in the laundry room as I would be grabbing them as I head out the door anyway.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:47AM
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I would be OK with it. The freezer I use the most is the one in the garage. But, dh I think would have a problem. As others have said, ice. Dh uses a lot of it. Also, I freeze leftovers in single serving size containers and he takes them for his lunch most every day. He leaves for work early in the morning, and it would mean an extra trip to the garage.

Dd (12) would be OK with it, she frequently does freezer trips for me.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:13AM
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I REALLY like how your layout is coming about (been lurking at the progress).

I am planning something similar. I have a long kitchen, so the 32" all-freezer will be at the far end of the kitchen near the mudroom. (I purchase in bulk.)

My reason is that I prefer more countertop, and I don't reach for freezer items that often in a day.
I usually get something from there once in the morning, like pork chops, to defrost that day or next day. Or my DH gets ice cream from it once a night. So for the 2+ times we access the freezer in a day, I can walk that extra 10+feet.

We're not big ice users; when we have parties/BBQ, we usually set out an ice bucket or cooler.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:22AM
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WHOA! FREAKY! My kitchen is almost the EXACT same size (12ft. x 13'-6"), AND I am INSISTING on separate fridge and freezers - I've been to hell and back making it work! Also L-shaped, fully open on North into family room (continuous floor) and West into dining room.
Imagine the front of your house is the backyard (but my house is straight across), and my family room is where your hallway / pantry is, but there is no wall where you have pocket doors - the kitchen/ family room has no partitions. My sliding patio doors start about where your front door is, and my fridge and freezer will be on the wall where your ovens are (12 ft. from South corner to a narrow cabinet that will face family room to hang coats and stuff next to door).

Now, I also have two cooking units (that is if I put the ovens in the pantry - HOPEFULLY future baking center), and this has been a very tricky design endeavor. In fact, my insistence on having BOTH the fridge and freezer IN the kitchen is causing consternation, BUT, I know it works - having the freezer in the pantry (the current original 8' long galley kitchen - next to (west of) the dining room and behind the new family room - so diagonal from new kitchen) will DRIVE ME CRAZY! The separate fridge and freezer I want are each just over 32" wide, so take up 33" each or 66" if put together. Everyone else is INSISTING that we put a window facing the backyard (EAST) to pass food out to the deck (yeah, right!), so I am separating the units. The South wall will have 2 windows facing into the kitchen / family room.

This is my layout: Sorry, I don't have a computer layout program - I do all my work by hand on graph paper and right now I'm on a new laptop without a scanner / camera hooked up (house is under construction, old computer got killed).

First, these are my appliances: a vintage Chambers Range 37-1/2" wide, a 51" wide extra electric cooktop (27" 3 burner) / pot and pan storage unit (Fagor - waiting for this to arrive - was supposed to be in stock, but apparently it is on a ship in the Atlantic coming from Spain), and the fridge / freezer units I want are Frigidaire 33" wide, 26" deep. 24" wide dishwasher drawers (probably FP), and if I get my way Frigidaire double ovens will go in the pantry / baking center - otherwise we must get a single oven and install in kitchen under the counter (annoying and a major waste of storage space). I opt to keep laundry in the basement - the major bone of contention - I'd rather have a serious baking center than laundry in the pantry area (there is a breakfast room on the other side of the original galley that will become obsolete once the kitchen moves to the other side of the house, but the table is where we currently do baking prep, so it makes sense to turn the galley into a baking center / pantry).

The East wall is 12 ft long (length limited by sliding door / outlets) and the South wall is 13'6" long (ends at studs holding up header between new kitchen and dining room).

This is my plan for the South wall starting at the dining room (162" long):

Base cabs: 24" dishwasher, 36" sink base (with smaller 24" sink to leave some counterspace next to range), 39" space for Chambers Range and countertop edges, 18" drawer base, 45" space to corner for 42" blind cabinet.

Wall cabs: 18" wide cabinet (custom height to meet window ledge that will float beyond window under what-not shelves), 12" space between cabinet and window for trim and what-not shelves (probably 3" trim, 9" shelves), 24" wide window, 3" window trim, 45" space above range for custom range hood (another bone of contention - I want to try and build the hood cover myself to fit the odd space), 3" window trim, 24" window, 3" trim, 30" space to corner to be filled with 27" corner unit (either full-height tambour or upper cab with garage below) extra 3" to be filled with either wider trim or by pulling corner unit out 3" from wall. Note that I want small 15" high pull-up cabinets at the ceiling above the two windows (lining up exactly with 3" trim each side of window = 30" wide cabinets), and another matching one 18" wide above the wall cabinet above the D/W, with the what-not shelves custom built to fit the space between.

Note that I will need 27" deep countertops - in order to support the 27" corner unit that sits on the counter because the counter will not wrap around to the other wall. My Chambers range is 26 " deep, so this actually works out well. BUT, we are tall, so reaching the back of the counter will not be a problem for us; my only worry is how an undermount sink will look set back 6" from counter edge (I'd install an apron sink, but because the sink base is right next to the range I need an undermount to get at least 9" of counter between the range and actual sink).

East Wall starting at South corner (145" long to a 12" deep tall cab that will face family room next to door):

Base cabs: 24" blind corner (same cabinet from above), 3" space for counter overhang, 1" thickness fridge side panel that above fridge cab and countertop corner units will attach to, 33" space for fridge, 51" space for cooktop / storage unit, 33" space for freezer.

Upper cabs: 27" wide corner units (same as above), 1" thickness for floor-to-ceiling fridge panel, 33" wide 21" high above fridge cab (24" deep), 10" wide 36" high shelving unit (starts at ceiling, flanks window), 30" wide 12" high (ceiling) cab with 30" under cab range hood above 24" wide x 28" high window with 3" trim each side centered over 27" electric range top, 10" wide 36" high shelving unit (starts at ceiling, flanks window), 33" wide 21" high above freezer cab (24" deep). Next to the freezer will be the back of a 12" cab that faces the family room, probably framed out 30" into kitchen with 2x4's so a switch panel can control the main lights from either here or on the dining room side of kitchen. This cabinet can be made even narrower if required to allow freezer door to open (space limited by existing outlet and switches to outside lights next to the patio door).

Island: There will be an 8 ft long x 5 ft. deep 2-tiered island in the kitchen that goes lengthwise from South to North towards the family room. It ends about where the patio door switches start, so it does not block the patio doors, but it does go in front of the doorway to the new pantry / hallway (that is the existing galley kitchen - the doorway is the old back door) - this pantry / baking center (or laundry) will be the main hallway / entrance to the kitchen / family room from the front door - through the living room and breakfast room, right turn into pantry / hallway, left turn into kitchen / family room (or straight into dining room). The alternate route is from the front door down an 8 ft. hallway on the other side of the staircase from the living room, through the dining room and into the kitchen.

The doorway is really the separation between the kitchen and family room areas (no partitions between them, and one continuous floor). I replaced the old 32" doorway with a new 40" headered opening, extending the studs between the corner where galley meets dining room load-bearing wall that goes towards front of house. There is now a 13-1/2" solid mass of 2x4 studs between the pantry / hallway doorway and the large opening to the dining room from the new kitchen (this was created by the original load-bearing wall - 4.5", the 3 studs holding up the new LVL between the dining room and new kitchen, and the 3 studs holding up the 40" opening I built - I added an extra stud because the original door was literally in the corner - it drove me crazy because it could not have full-size trim on the galley side (it is still a corner on the galley side because that is an opposing load-bearing wall between galley and dining room). So, the new doorway from the hallway / pantry will be about 38" wide after trim, and next to that will be a 36" wall (solid studs then extended 24" between dining room and new kitchen to have a small separation from kitchen) and then a 6.5 ft. opening between kitchen and dining room with another matching 30" wall protruding from the South wall between dining room and kitchen cabinets (so you don't view the sides of the cabs from the dining room). The dining room is only 11 ft. wide because of the load-bearing walls / 1" thick plaster.

On the 36" long wall between the 2 doorways I will be putting a 24" wide floor-to-ceiling dish cab with doorway trim butting it on either side. The framers royally screwed up and installed the LVL header INTO the new space, as opposed to inset between the two dining room walls, so the stupid header jets out into the kitchen a good 1-1/2", so I MUST build a custom cabinet with one side deeper than the other to hide this mishap. (the bolts holding the steel inside the LVL require firring out, so that's why it sticks out so much - it "floats" off the family room wall. Because I need dish storage it must have 12" deep drawers, so that means the cabinet itself must be 15" deep - the absolute MAX I can get away with - this only leaves 21" of walking space between this cabinet and the island bar counter. This cabinet will face into the kitchen between the two doorways, so if you are standing at the patio doors looking in you see (from the south) the range wall, a 6.5 ft. opening, a 36" wall with dish cab, a 38" opening and then a solid wall to the end of the family room (I might put in a pass-thru above the old sink if I get my baking center).

The island actually continues beyond where the doorway to the pantry / hallway begins, so you kind of have to walk around it to get to the patio doors. It extends about 18" beyond the start of the 38" doorway, and the bar counter begins 36" in from the doorway wall. I had no choice - all the ceiling lights were already wired, and as it was I had to re-do all the outlet wiring, so ripping out all the insulation and ceiling wiring just to shift the doorway was not going to happen - I did get lucky that there was enough slack to shift the wires that dropped to the switch box to the other side of the stud and then I ran a new homerun - that was the only way to enlarge the doorway at all.

The island workspace starts 42" from the cabinets on both the South and East walls. The workspace part will be 7.5 ft. long and 36" deep. This will be a 24" deep cabinet facing the Chambers range (or single 30" under cab wall oven and 6" wide spice pull-out facing Chambers if I don't get my baking center), a 42" sink base with a large sink facing the cooktop / fridge wall, and a 24" deep 36" wide compost / recycling cabinet facing the family room (the side of the cab will be next to the sink with a towel bar mounted). Both side cabinets / counters will be 36" wide (from sink front to raised bar), and I want a back-channel behind the sink. Then I will have a 12" deep cabinet with 1/4 round shelves on each side to support the 8' long bar counter. The bar counter will overhang 10" or so and bar stools will pull under; butcher block with curved ends.

So, as you can see, even in a small space you can have a LOT of appliances, sinks, prep space and seating for guests! Granted, this design REQUIRES a separate pantry for dry goods - mine will be in the old galley kitchen / new hallway, just like yours is in your hallway. I just would go crazy if the fridge and freezer items were so far away. There are just enough cabinets to store the pots and pans (cooktop storage unit; cast iron in storage area in Chambers) and dishes (dish cab and above D/W) and glasses (corner upper cabs next to fridge), coffee mugs (narrow shelves above cooktop), small appliances (appliance garage) and rarely used appliances (blind corner), stock pots (above fridge deep cabs), food storage containers (drawer base next to range) and rarely used stuff that you don't know where to store - pull-up cabs near ceiling. My extra dishes will be stored in cabs facing the dining room (in the narrow "partition" walls I plan to install 12" deep cabs). In the old galley / new pantry / hallway / HOPEFULLY baking center will be a decently large dry goods pantry and a cleaning supply closet. If I don't get my baking center the pantry will be even bigger (then the 30" oven space will become just more storage) with laundry on the other side.

Function - the best part about this layout is that two cooks can EASILY work as if in their own kitchens because of the locations of the two sinks in relation to the cooktop and range. The Chambers has a sink right next to it on one side, prep space on the other (this is why I am considering two compost drawers - the one in the island and another next to the Chambers, but that could get icky, so I might just go with a Bain Marie dropped into the counter next to the Chambers instead of a pan in drawer that can be forgotten about if not used often enough). The cooktop has built-in space on each side, and the big main sink is behind it (offset 2 feet from center of each, so one person at cooktop, one person at sink will not bump butts), plus two people can prep veggies at the compost counter - one next to the sink, one standing on the family room side. So, easily 5 people can actually cook / prep and clean all at once - one at the Chambers, one at the cooktop, one washing dishes, two people chopping. In theory you can have someone else at the other sink and yet another at the other prep space, but now we're getting a bit too crowded ;)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:43AM
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remodelfla: yes, switching the order of hall cabs/freezer is much more efficient, great catch. We were debating whether to steal more space from the office closet and try to use it in the hallway even though the front door when open would cover any access. That would only work for a closet there, I think. Then again I'm not sure we really need the extra pantry/closet space. If we did that, though, we could go closet near the door, freezer, then pantry.

huango: It's been surprising to me how much more functional (for us) our layout has gotten with input from our KD and from GW.

GW got us to accept a 'hallway' (that I originally called the 'hallway of doom' -- it's currently poorly lit) and even extend it with a pantry-row rather than switch to a kitchen entry (which freed up a bunch of money to spend on appliances that really excite our main cook).

GW also got our cook to realize that moving the stove off the peninsula was a bigger win on prep space than the loss of being face-to-face with guests/family while at the stove (he's really psyched about that big 6' stretch of open peninsula counter now and I don't think you could convince him to accept a layout without it now), as well as clued us in to using custom cabinets so we don't have wasted filler pieces and can fully utilize cabs under the 34" peninsula (we're going beech, clear glaze which saves oodles more $$). Way better option than even semi-custom.

There are still compromises (always are). I don't like that the oven door opens near a (secondary) kitchen entry. That it is a side-opening oven does help, though (and we went to a Purcell Murray showroom to see the Gagg in operation and they have one mounted next to a walkway in the functional kitchen (across from seating even) and said it wasn't a hazard and it felt reasonable -- we play acted with it in that position). I also don't like that the microwave (speed oven) is not near the fridge. It would have been very convenient to have the microwave near the fridge and dishware cabinets, so leftover meal/snack prep doesn't even have to enter the main body of the kitchen. While we could put a counter microwave on the counter by the fridge, we plan to try to live without and just use the speed oven as MW. If our main cook was smitten with a steam oven enough to justify the price, then the oven stack would be steam and convection oven (gaggenau) and we'd do the mini microwave over by the fridge. A prep sink on the peninsula would be really nice as well, but we don't want to give up counter/cab space for it. Everytime I suggest it, our cook gets a pained expression and goes "nooooooo ... don't touch my counter!" We also got a portable induction unit and really like it -- much more than we thought. We'd love to have both gas and induction, but that would take at least 45" of space and require a bigger hood. Not worth it, alas. We are considering putting in a 220v outlet near the range and upgrading the portable unit to a more powerful one.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:38PM
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There's always the option of a 30" gas range and an induction hob. FWIW... I absolutely positive ADORE my Miele induction cooktop. By far, the best thing I have ever ever cooked on and as crazy as it sounds... my food has been much tastier. Even DH commented that he cannot believe how delicious the food is that this kitchen puts out compared to our other kitchen with standard appliances.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:01PM
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I am in the process of doing the exact same thing,only we are putting an icemaker in the island cause I use alot of ice. So glad to here all the positive comments on the idea!Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:45PM
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This is hard to read (why dont they standardize this stuff), but it does show the same thing you describe --- you technically leave our kitchen, cross part of the entry hall, enter the pantry, and that's where you find our freezer.

If you are eating at the breakfast area, all the way to the far left, you have the added advantage that anything you take out will be defrosted by the time you arrive back!

In one week, I have visited my freezer twice. Once to fill it, and once to remove waffles.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 10:46PM
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mtndredux: wow -- interesting to see such a similar placement in a house of so much greater scale than ours! Love the defrosting bit.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 3:12AM
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zartemis, I'll mention here f.y.i. that there are three strong arguments to make to consider now whether a 24" freezer is a better choice. One is the pure efficiency of a volume that is more cubic in shape and less longitudinal, another is the ergonomics of a wider shelf, and the third one is that refrigeration appliances from 15 years ago consume so much more energy, that there is a strong financial argument to make too. A "kill-a-watt" measuring device can be inserted between the plug and the outlet to tell you how much electricity consumption is over a certain time period. The "old fridge/freezer" might be costing more in recurring costs than you thought possible.

... if you had any inclination to send one of your other freezers/fridge-freezers to recycling, now is a good time to do it.

About space and volume: any 24" appliance holds a lot more than an 18" one, and especially a freezer because it has 3" thickness walls. The thicker the walls, the more the loss of space is when the shape is long and narrow, and the more the gain is when the shape moves back towards a cube.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 8:36AM
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