Can I make this Sub-Zero fridge work in my kitchen?

KevinMPAugust 18, 2013

I'm going to post this over on the kitchen forum, too, but I thought I'd post it here as well.

I sort of re-did my kitchen last year (there's a whole post on it if you're interested). But to make a long story short, I've been trying to find a different refrigeration option than what I have for two reasons. One, it's not ideal (and actually cautioned against) to have a professional range immediately next to a refrigerator. I don't have an option as to where the refrigerator goes, however; it must be in that corner. Two, it takes up a lot of visual space and sticks out into the room more than I'd like because it's not counterdepth. In a suburban sized kitchen, counterdepth is less significant from a practical perspective, but in this 1826 urban row home, it is (or at least seems to me to be). It has to be a left hinge unit, and because of the bay window and the moulding, it cannot be more than 30".

So I finally found a Sub-Zero 700TCI that was a customer return because of the fit/hinge arrangement. It's never been used, and is in perfect condition. It comes with the stainless steel panels and handles (and has an icemaker), and I can get it delivered and installed for about $2-2.5K less than retail (which, shockingly, is still $5K).

The advantage is that this is a 27" wide, 24" deep, and 80" high unit. So it will be counter depth and integrated (and really counter depth, not the fake counter depth other companies advertise), and it will fill up the whole space. It also gives me an awesome fridge/freezer set up with the two drawers, etc. And because it's only 27", I will have 4.5-5" to play with around the sides. So I can get a filler strip of the cabinet wood next to the Dacor range and a strip of black absolute for very little money (I already have the filler strip left over from the remodel). The backsplash already goes back there, so I thought ahead on that one. I would then have a 1" filler strip run down the side along the wall so that the Sub-Zero is not up against the wall.

There are a couple of issues, however. First, the Sub-Zero is 80" tall, but I have only 74.5" now. That's easily fixed by taking the 18" high upper out and replacing it with a 12" upper (which is only $150). But I should really use a 12" high upper that is 24" deep. The issues with that are (1) the company does not make 24" deep uppers that are only 12" high, and (2) I'd have to relocate the one pot light closer into the room (not a huge deal).

I think the end result would be fantastic, but do you think it is worth all of this, or would you leave the refrigerator as is?

Here's the space:

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I had this refrigerator in my old apartment, minus icemaker.

It was a great refrigerator and they really do keep food fresher longer. Considering its small size, it held a lot of food. (The one in the rental and the one in my house are bigger but hold less--in a less organized fashion). The meat/cheese drawer is awfully small.

Subzeros are not without their problems: I had several hundred dollars in service calls and repairs on it. One was a switch that cost a couple bucks, the other was a burst set of copper coils. The copper coils thing was related to a bad batch of copper during a particular production run. I think the new owner had to have a repair as well.

It's tricky because you aren't really relating apples to apples, because after ten years with a normal fridge most people would get a new one if something went wrong.

You could get the shorter, normal depth cabinet and mount it forward because you are going to have a side panel as well.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 11:56AM
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Great price! I know it will take some extra money to put it all together properly with the different cabinet and pot light change, but it will look very high end when you are finished. Since you will probably be doing some custom cabinetry, you might consider using matching panels for the refrigerator doors.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:20PM
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.....about your need for a 24" deep 12" tall upper cabinet.

Have you considered purchasing the box elsewhere and ordering the 12" doors to match your existing cabinetry?


    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:31PM
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My opinion - go for it! Why have a 24" box? Everything gets lost. Pull the cabinet forward to achieve the built-in look. We did this in our previous home and it worked beautifully.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:44PM
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As I tell my husband when we update/remodel things that still work. but aren't perfect for us in looks and/or function ... "It's only time and money".

I think it will look great. Only you can tell if it is worth the time and money to get it done.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:57PM
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Absolutely, I would do it. You will love the results and can handle the cabinet size problem in one of the two ways described above. The subzero is a much better refrigerator functionally and will look better than the one that is there now, which is the wrong finish and is not up to the finish level overall of the kitchen.

Sorry, posted too soon--- editing to say that we have a 22 year old subz that is in perfect condition and if it died its natural death tomorrow I would not hesitate to spend $8000 (it's wide) on a new one.

This post was edited by kswl on Sun, Aug 18, 13 at 17:26

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Well, I love my SZ.

And I prepared for the day of its is only 72" (74??") tall, that the cabinet directly above it can be removed in order to accommodate the taller fridge that has replaced this one! I'm always thinkin', it's a curse sometimes.

It does keep produce longer than any other fridge...what is the magic? Not sure. But I say, if you think it is a deal, then you should go for it.

So glad to see you and Pal posting again.

Here is the picture of the fridge, and the cabinet above, the one without the handle is the single cabinet that can be unscrewed and removed if a taller baby is needed one day. Cabinet maker enjoyed the fact I was preparing for failure...


    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 5:23PM
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If budget allows, I would not hesitate to do it. If I understand your post correctly, you would also gain a tiny "landing area" to the left of your range - also a huge plus. A good carpenter will be able to utilize your existing cabinet doors and rework into an appropriate sized built in or wine shelf, etc. above. Will look great & will really open up the pretty window. That is a great price for a Sub-Zero ...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 8:39PM
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My two cents worth...I would hesitate. I have no personal experience with Sub Zero, but do have two family members that have had nothing but trouble. One of them has a counter depth fridge. She has been with out a unit for almost 2 months now because of a part problem that no one seems to be able to fix...including Sub Zero cert. guys. The fridge is less than 5 years old and she is being advised to buy a new one.

My other hesitation would be that the fridge would be less width than your range...correct? I would be afraid of always knocking my noggin on the range when leaning into the fridge to reach something. No, I take that back...I WOULD knock myself out every time I leaned into it. lol

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:16PM
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Actually, I can attest to the potential maintenance issues, and fear of the cost of replacement myself, because approaching 10 years one of the reasons I wanted to move is because I feared having to shell out $7000 for a new fridge because my spot for it was not at all adaptable like Bee's.

But its position next to the range doesn't present a problem. The bottom shelf of the refrigerator compartment is the same height as the cooking surface of the range, and the top drawer of the freezer is right there too, and the whole thing is so shallow you Don't reach into it like a deep fridge. The lower drawer is full extension too, you are going to hit your head on the fridge door first if you have to bend much at all. That's one of the great things about it: access.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Leave it up to me to do the impossible! :) Maybe knock an elbow on range while opening the fridge door?

I suppose that you have read the reviews on this unit? See link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Reviews

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:01PM
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The reviews are for a fridge that has been in production for over a decade, so I'm not worried about the relative handful of people who complain on the Internet. Plus I can get a 5-year maintenance plan through my dealer for about $500. Plus they've given me interest free financing for a year, so I don't even need to shell out the money now.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:14PM
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Great! Sounds like you have made your decision. Go for it!

Please post photos when you have it in place. Are you relocating your old (practically new) fridge, use it as a trade, or sell?

This post was edited by newhomebuilder on Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 16:18

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Thanks everyone (especially Pal for the feedback on this unit and Bee for the idea). Unfortunately, my cabinets are semi-custom, so I cannot get a 27" wide 12" high wall upper that would symmetrically fit about the fridge. But, two great things I found out are that the company sells a 3" wide upper and a 3" wide lower that have pullouts with shelves for spices. So I'm going to use those with the "new" space between the refrigerator panel and range with some filler on either side to make it 4" wide, then I'll have another filler or refrigerator panel on the wall side, taking full advantage of the 32" opening I have to work with, and giving me some great storage for spices, etc. (I cook a lot).

The upper above the refrigerator is still going to be a little complicated as I mentioned above. I love Bee's idea, and it could be done with a 30"+ wide refrigerator, but not this 27" wide one (with my cabinet company). There aren't even open shelf options. So I have one option that's actually pretty good. I can mount a 27" wide x 18" high x 12" deep two-door upper abutting the soffit and run the crown along the ceiling. That way, the fridge stack will run all the way to the ceiling and be perfectly symmetrical, and I will still get my 3" wide spice pull out. What do you think?

And, good news today, my homeowners is going to cover the cracked granite (some of you may recall my granite cracking during my holiday party when I left a hot mac and cheese casserole dish on it). So I can replace that granite and the 4" backsplash and be subbed out with my leftover 4" square calacatta gold tiles, and get my new 4" strip for next to the range for my deductible. I haven't decided whether I will do leathered absolute black or honed antique brown (marron cohiba). I'm leaning towards the antique brown, which I have in the bathroom paired with calacatta gold but in a leathered finish). What do you think?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:16PM
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i think a taller builtin subz would look much better and would be worth it! i love ours and it has been problem free for 10+yrs.
i definitely wouldn't pay an extra 500 for a 'maintainance plan'.

i would probably choose the antique brown... what i have seen called 'antique brown' was a nice dark very subtle combo of black, gray and brown that gave a nice dark (almost solid) brown look which i prefer over the black/gray (and sometimes swirly)look of the antiqued ab.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:31PM
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