ONLY an undercounter refrigerator?

ruthmiamibeachSeptember 17, 2007

Anyone out there surviving with JUST an undercounter fridge? (Using one - or the drawers - for extra items doesn't count!)

Am building a tiny vacation cottage, will be there 2-3 weeks at a time. Don't have room for an upright (even the 24" Liebherr) and am wondering how much one can REALLY squeeze into an undercounter 24" fridge. Only two of us but a looong drive from store or restaurants, also want to stock up at the weekly farmers market.

And what if we get a unit with an icemaker too? Am I delusional?

Any brands people like in particular, if you are doing this?

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I think you might be overreaching a bit. Have you looked into fridge drawers? They come up to 36" wide and two together might give you enough room for what you want. I don't know about the freezer part, you just want ice? Could you get a small icemaker? They sell countertop units that make quite a bit every day.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 10:06PM
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Thanks - do you know if the drawers store more food than the UC fridge? I know everyone swears by them but most seem to use them for extras.

I can only do a 24" width under the counter. My kitchen is all of 6 feet wide along a single wall! Sink, 24" uc fridge, 24" range. I am optimistic, I know. I will look into the icemaker as you are correct, that's all I care about.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 11:01AM
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I had one, same size, in one of the studio apartments I lived in. I HATED it. I had to go grocery shopping just about every other day (since the basic staples - butter, jams, sauces/salad dressings, etc. - took up a lot of the space in the fridge), and there was NO way I could have stocked up at a farmer's market. If I had people over for a meal I had to borrow ice chests and put them in the main room which was a real drag. Luckily I was in a major city with a small supermarket a block from my apartment so it wasn't murder to shop for the next day or two's meals at a time. If I had been a "looong drive" from a store I would have had a very difficult time managing.

As for an icemaker, I didn't get an icemaker even in my full-size fridge/freezer because it took up too much space. (And it's yet another thing to break or leak.)

Is there somewhere where you can put a "backup" fridge/freezer - utility room or garage? In a warm enough climate where you could put it on the back porch (with a padlock to keep random people out)?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 1:31PM
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There's an architect, Ross Chapin, on Whidbey Island, WA that designs small homes and constructs urban/suburban communities. They comprise of a central commons ground encircled by these beautiful small homes, 700-900sf. Many of his designs have both under-counter refridgerators and separate freezers. But his community on Whidbey is right in town with walking distance to stores. In that setting you can shop every couple of days. Tom

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 8:51AM
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Very many small homes in Europe have tiny refrigerators, but it's also common to shop almost daily. Unless you like to use canned foods, and drink warm beverages.......I think a 24" under counter is being too optimistic. I'm with Johnmari in considering putting a fridge in another area for storage in addition to the small unit in your kitchen. Or, if your cottage is built on an open floor plan to invest in a pretty one and not even worry that its not in your kitchen area, as long as it's close enough to access at mealtime.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 1:03AM
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I grew up in Europe. Four kids and one counter-height fridge. We managed. I do recall the fridge being very full all the time, but there are space-saving tricks you can use.

No need to refrigerate unopened bottled or canned foods - just cool what you need. Root vegetables, onions and apples can be stored in a cool basement for quite a while. Use more red wine than white. Stackable containers, smaller containers, removing excess packaging and vegetation (i.e. carrot leaves) can all help.

Like Calliope said, though, people over there tend to shop more often to deal with space issues, but it's amazing what you can fit into a small fridge if you try. We tend to want everything at our fingertips and dislike digging in the back, or removing stuff to get at buried items. That, however, is a fact of life for lots of folks.

I have a very tiny kitchen and the fridge sits in it like a big block taking up space. I'm seriously considering a small one when this one needs replacing. Unfortunately, I rely on frozen foods. A small basement freezer might be the answer there.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Thanks all. We're going to work in a small backup freezer somewhere and go with the undercounter 24" in the kitchen. Wish me luck! I'll either become a whiz at fridge organization, or crazy.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 10:02PM
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Ruthie - Also check to see if an undercounter would be self-defrosting. My recollection is that they are not (ask me how many little office fridges I've defrosted over many years)!!!

Defrosting might not be so bad if there isn't a bad ice buildup and its done regularly, but, the lack of space and very little available ice would be a definite turnoff for me.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 6:22AM
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We are also looking to put a 6 foot, single wall, kitchenette in our coach house. We are just in the developing stage, would love to see your design or the products that you have found to work best.

We are considering a convection oven, single sink and undercounter fridge, and if we can fit it in, a small stove.

Ikea has some interesting small appliance -- does anyone have input?

thanks for the help/Bonnie

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 1:30PM
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After getting rid of the yucky and useless 30" stove in my 'new' very old house with a teensy kitchen, I bought a Salton 2 burner hotplate, convection/broiler/toaster oven and a microwave. I think I'm all set for a long time (on my own... no one else but the cats to feed :-) and I can rearrange things whenever I want (plus I now have all that old-stove space back).

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 6:17PM
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Hi Bonnie. Our 6' kitchenette will look like this:

BELOW - A 20" apron sink (maybe franke MHK-110-20) that sits on top of a 24" cabinet, then 24" of counter with uncounter fridge underneath (probably u-line echelon w/small freezer, 2175RF), then a 24" range. We haven't decided how fancy we'll go with the range yet. There are a lot of 24" models out there, many price ranges.

ABOVE - Over sink, 24" of open plate rack, with room for mugs below, and shelves above for glasses. Over fridge, a 24" of closed cabinets for food storage, and also two drawers built into the lowest part of those cabinets. (Otherwise where to put silverware and utensils? I have linked a photo of this setup from an HGTV Small Space/Big Style show; it looks very nice.) We are still debating if we do a true exhaust hood over the range or if we do a recirculating over-the-range microwave. There is only one 24" model that I can find, an LG LMV1314SV . I don't really need a microwave, but since we don't have a dishwasher I worry that I'll have to wash a pot every time I reheat something so that's why I'm considering one.

Haven't decided on counter and backsplash material yet for my 24" + 4" of counter space! Thinking rustic glazed tile but not sure.

How about you?

Here is a link that might be useful: upper silverware drawers

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 11:30AM
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