Am I the only one who doesn't like french doors?

annkh_ndMay 12, 2013

Our kitchen is a U, with the fridge at one end. It is a 25-yr-old top freezer, over 25 cu ft, which is of course is not optimal, but it's a single door that opens toward the kitchen. It is convenient for taking things out and putting away (there's a long counter right next to the door opening).

At some point we need to replace it. I would like a bottom freezer, single door, but the largest size standard depth I've seen is 22 cu ft. We have two teenaged sons - that is no going to be big enough for us! Of course there are dozens of french door models.

It just seems to me that french door is much less convenient. Not just the issue of having to open both doors to see everything - if I have a pile of groceries on the counter, I would have to go around the open door to put anything away. Conversely, if I'm taking something out to put on the counter, I again have to go around the door. Standing to the side of the fridge, opening the door, and grabbing what I need (or putting away) without having to move or reach seems far more efficient to me.

What am I missing? Am I the only one that longs for a single door, bottom freezer bigger than 22 cu ft?

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You sure aren't. We wanted a single door, pull out bottom freezer, with water on the door, counter depth. We had only one company to choose from, and only one size. We ended up with a tiny 17cf model. We figure when our kids get bigger we will add a fridge in the garage..,

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:16PM
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You don't have to open both doors. We keep things somewhat organized. Drinks are all on one side, butter, yogurt, etc. on the other. Most of the time I open just one door. I like not having one big door that opens. Two teenagers here.

You have to get what works for you. There is no right or wrong answer

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:19PM
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I love our refrigerator with French doors. It is across from our island and by having smaller doors, it allows us to have more room between it and the fridge. Like the previous poster, you do not need open both doors all the time by keeping things organized. For instance, our milk and coffee creamers are all on one side, eggs, bacon and meats are on another. The vegetable bins are such that you can open one with just one door open.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:40PM
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I don't like french doors either. Every appliance store has dozens on display and I can't figure out the attraction!

I have had several different types of fridges in all the houses we've live in and I, personally, much prefer the counter depth side by side. I know I lose some storage in the depth, but if things are hidden all the way in the back I forget about them anyway so I'd rather have shallower shelves where I can see everything.

A lot people complain that a side by side has too much freezer and not enough refrigerator storage. For my family's style of eating and cooking, I like having a little more freezer space than a standard top-mount or bottom-mount because I buy meat in bulk and my deep freezer is far away in the basement. The side-by-side freezer allows me to keep my frequently used cuts of meat in the kitchen freezer.

I don't mind giving up some of the room on the fresh side because we eat a lot of veggies and those don't stay fresh long enough to buy in bulk so I don't need a lot of room for them.

I also like having the long, narrow door shelves on the fridge side because I can store lots of condiments there. On a regular fridge, I tend to overload the doors and the shelves eventually break.

It's interesting. . . it really helps to live with different types of refrigerators because you learn what works for you and what doesn't.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:44PM
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Holly- Kay

So true EK. One of my reasons for a total kitchen reno is the custom kitchen that is here now only has room for a 32 inch model. We bought a KA side by side that has a tiny amount amount of freezer space. I hate this darn thing because of the lack of freezer space.

Our other home has a french door fridge that I love! The lay out is so much better for our lifestyle. I am finally getting a 36" fridge for this home and ending up with more freezer space and about the same refrigerator space. Another plus is keeping our side by side in the garage for overflow.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:10PM
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I have a U and a French door, and it's not that much harder to put groceries away. I just make a pile and leave the door open. I think that's what bothers me, since I was trained to not leave the fridge door open too long. But the benefits of a FD far outweigh the once a week grocery-loading ordeal.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 5:17PM
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I can see the appeal in a narrow space, but with my U-shaped kitchen, the "aisle" is 6 feet wide, so the counter on the opposite side isn't a convenient drop zone. I understand that half the groceries/leftovers/beverages will go in the side that is easily accessible to the counter, the other half is not!

Eventually I'll have to choose between capacity and convenience, and I'm not looking forward to that day.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 5:20PM
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I couldn't agree more! We currently have the freezer on bottom 1 door and I LOVE that fridge so much! But we sold it with this house and will have to leave it behind. :-(

We are going with the French door CD, but I'm already dreading the 2 doors. There just aren't many good options, as you said.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 6:11PM
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I am with you! I currently have a single door with bottom freezer and love it! I would like to use the same in our remodel, but unfortunately I need a counter depth to fit in the space. Thus I have to get a French Door model (as I do not want a side by side). I think the only counter depth model I saw was Liebherr (sp?). I just could not justify the cost.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 11:43PM
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Count me in the "dislike French door" group. I'm a happy camper with CD side by side.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 1:52AM
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I don't like them enough to change my kitchen layout to better accomodate one in my upcoming reno - I have no complaints about single-door fridges, so I'm not motivated to change.

My mom is a lot better about organizing her fridge with her current french door/bottom freezer model, though. It also works really better for traffic flow in her small U-shaped kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 6:37AM
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Debbi Branka

I'm not sure where you're getting 22cf as the largest FD fridge. That is true (and what I have) in a counter depth, but you said standard depth. I just went to and looked up fridges. My search said anything greater than 26cf. I got 89 fridges greater than 26cf. There are several that are 33cf.

I love my FD fridge - my 22cf counter depth holds more than the 22cf side by side I replaced. I still have ice and water dispensers too and they don't take up extra space (JennAir model). Like another poster above, I keep the fridge organized and don't often open both doors at the same time.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Nope, 22 cu ft is the largest single door, bottom freezer I could find to fit my space and budget.

My complaint is that I have to choose between larger capacity (french door) and convenience (single door).

The decision might be coming to a head for me - I'm strongly considering a new fridge before construction starts on my new cabinets, so I can size the opening to match the fridge.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:09AM
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I'm sure you are not the only one. But, for some, it's a much better solution. In my kitchen the smaller doors mean our narrow kitchen is more usable. Someone can enter the kitchen when someone is at the fridge. I hardly ever open both doors at the same time unless I'm loading groceries. I just go to the side I need. In our small kitchen there is a counter across from it as well as next to the fridge, so there is no need to go around a door to load groceries. But most of all, it just seems to work great for us. I'd never go back to the side by side I used to have. Hated that darn freezer width. And I never could organize the fridge the way I liked. Oh, and I love the door storage on a French door.

This post was edited by three0h2 on Sun, May 19, 13 at 14:23

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 2:22PM
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I have a new-ish side-by-side, but I often wish I'd gotten FD because I like the look of them so much more. That being said, I like all the door storage on my SxS, both in the freezer and fridge. But FD definitely has better looks.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:01PM
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I like side by side, myself. I don't want to be down on the floor rootin' around for the ice cream.....

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Dislike the French door fridges too. Dislike starts with the look of them and then just builds to ... well, everything about them. I really dislike side-by-side fridges also.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:17PM
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I love my FD.
I used to have a side by side and grew up with a single door./top freezer.
If I had space- I would have 2 units(all fridge and all freezer)

I don't know about the newer SS fridges but my FD keeps food so much fresher and the freezer is really cold. I actually have to let the ice scream sit out on the counter(or put it in the magic drawer) to scoop it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:43AM
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I think opening two doors to put groceries away is what maybe 5% of the time you use the frig? The rest of the time is opening it to get stuff out and 90% of those trips can be accomplished by opening only one door.

The thing some FDs have is a produce drawer that goes all the way across. My parents accidentally got that and that is a pain because you do have to open both doors every time you want to use that drawer. I'd avoid that.

We purposely got the ice maker in the door and like that as well but it might not work well for a big family. The ice container is pretty small. We had no choice as at the time, our frig was in a corner and the left door was against the wall which would have precluded every removing the ice bucket.

Moving the frig was priority #2 in our remodel, right after opening the blank wall in front of the sink.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:59AM
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First of all, I opened this thread because I thought you were complaining about french doors, which I LOVE! WE have tons in our house, and we are planning to add one more set of french pocket doors in our reno.
But now I see it is FD frigdes you aren't a fan, I'll weigh in. My aunt has a bottom freezer with a single door on top, ad that door is HUGE and HEAVY. Seems 10x bigger than a single door on the bottom--no idea why. But it is a big door, with a very large span, and when that door is full of condiments, etc, it really is dangerous!
We have a FD fridge--we were early adopters bc they were being introduced when we needed a new fridge. But we have our island directly across from it, and that is THE landing spot. I unload all the fridge groceries there, then open the doors and load it all in. I unload onto that same spot. I don't think counter space next to the fridge would work nearly as well. And I agree that the vast majority of the time, I only need to open one door, because of the deep storage on the door and the organization of the foods. The exception is the long bottom drawer, where we have our fruits, which the kids access multiple times a day. I'd prefer more half-drawers.
I think it all depends on your kitchen design. With an island there, a full door would not work--it wouldn't fit in the aisle. We needed either a SxS or a FD. If you dont' have the island, I guess a full door might make more sense?
And ours is standard depth, so it holds a TON. I don't think I could switch to counter depth unless I went very wide. I'd rather have it stick out a few inches and have that extra space, rather than have to run to another fridge for certain items. But that is just me :)
Problem that I have: the kids need to climb to reach most of the contents, and I'm constantly reminding them NOT to climb the freezer! So, instead, we usually have a stool or bench in front, leftover from their last refrigerator raid. My children, all 8 and under, love it when they see fridges on the bottom or sxs, because it's all within their reach.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 8:56AM
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I too dislike the French doors. My sister had one, and it seemed inconvenient and lacking storage. At any rate, they would not work in my kitchen as one door would open against the counter top, making pulling out the bins to clean a nightmare.

seosmp - Liebherr, Samsung, and Fisher Paykel all make bottom freezer, counter depth refrigerators.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:07AM
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I'll ditto what home4all6 said about FDs and kids. When we got ours my daughter was maybe 4--old enough that she was getting stuff for herself out of the old top mount. Once we got the FD, she couldn't do that anymore.

I am now living in an apartment with a 20 year old top mount, and I like it so much better than the FD. Maybe I'm abnormal (scratch the maybe, I definitely am), but I seem to be in the freezer a lot, and I hated having a bottom drawer freezer. Talk about things getting lost! And when we switched from the TM to the FD, even though the FD freezer had more cubic feet, we couldn't fit as much stuff in. Why? I have no idea. Configuration I guess.

But I want to replace my refrigerator this year, since this one is old and I have the opportunity for some generous incentives for an energy-efficient model. But, wow, I've discovered that the appliance industry views top mounts as very downmarket. It's not the market segment where they put their nicest features.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Me! Me! I hate FDs! A few years ago before the reno, I figured I'd get a fancy new FD fridge because if everyone had them they must be the bees knees. Then we moved into a neighborhood house when the reno began. My excitement over using the full-depth GE FD 36" fridge there quickly turned to loathing. I'm not a particularly wide person, but I found myself opening both doors every time I needed to retrieve or replace a item. Besides the ridiculous mystery of not knowing in which side of the fridge my desired item was, I just couldn't stand at the fridge with only a 16" view inside. Maybe I have some undiagnosed visual-spatial issue because I actually need to see the contents of the fridge when I open it. If I was just grabbing the milk out of the door, I would just open the right-hand door, but anything else meant opening two doors. And closing two doors. Seems like twice the work to me. I had the requisite landing space across the aisle from it, but I still hated the thing.

Knowing I'd want to bash the life out of a FD fridge with a baseball bat if I had one in my new kitchen, knowing I hated SxS units for the narrow storage, and knowing I didn't want to be on my hands and knees digging in the produce drawers of a top freezer model like I've done for many years, that left me with a bottom freezer configuration. I scored a deal on a 36" BI KA from ebay. I smile at least once a day while at the fridge when I can open one door and see everything at once. The door is not heavy or awkward. I love my single door!

Interior cu ft wasn't an issue for me as we've always had an extra fridge in the garage for overflow. I buy milk three gallons at a time, buy large watermelons in the summer, have a large weekly CSA share through the growing season, host all family holidays and entertain a lot. Even a large full-depth fridge in the house wouldn't be enough all the time.

I find the bottom freezer easy enough to use. It's really not much digging with the factory organizational system of slide out baskets and drawer dividers. Again, a small freezer of any fridge wouldn't be enough freezer space so I have an upright in the garage for our large, organic and free-range pig and cow portions. Like A2, I wish I had the kitchen space for large, separate fridge and freezer units.

Even though I don't understand the appeal of SxS or FD fridges, I'm glad people have various options. For me, even if a full-width fridge door blocked the aisle completely, and mine almost does, I'd choose it in a heartbeat over a half-door.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Breezy, I'm so happy for you! I wish I had room for a second fridge - I would do exactly like you did. I live in North Dakota - we can put a freezer in the garage, but not a fridge (unless we wanted it to become a freezer). Even so, we barely have room for 2 cars in the garage (with a third in the driveway. We have an upright freezer in the laundry room (a godsend after hunting season), but not room for an additional fridge.

I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and choose capacity over convenience. My mom's bottom freezer, single door is 22 cu ft, and I know we can't live with that size in our house.

And in our house, it's not just putting away groceries once a week. DH cooks enough to feed an army, and we have a lot of leftovers at every meal. We stand with the door open after every meal, not just putting away milk and ketchup, but containers full of lunches for the next 3 days.

The only reason this is coming to a head for me is because we're having custom cabinets built, enclosing the fridge. Part of me really wants to get a fridge now, and size the opening to fit the fridge we buy, rather than use generic sizes for some future potential purchase. I want everything to be right, and it would bug me if I had a 3" extra gap beside the fridge if I didn't need it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:11PM
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