Appliance garage - what's yours like, where did you get it?

aliris19July 23, 2012

Hi - I'm interested in installing a Tambour door-fronted cabinet, aka appliance garage I think. That is, I guess there are a few ways to make an appliance garage. Blum and Hafele sell doors that swing up and out but I'm interested in the kind that rolls up. I think this is called a "tambour" door.

Have any DIY-ers out there installed these? Lee Valley has one but it's just 24". Rockler has a bigger one and; I imagine there are more such places out there. But I'm wondering what you did? Are there commercial varieties of this out there?

Thanks for sharing any experience or advice on the subject.

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FWIW, I inquired about an appliance garage a few weeks ago when I met with a Kitchen Designer at Lowes. He advised against it, saying that they were generally unreliable. For that reason, Lowes had pulled all from display (at least by his report).

I'm not saying I agree, just passing on the information I was given.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:17PM
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I had one in my old kitchen and hated it. It was hard to open/close and it was always open. I also think they appear dated - at least the tambour ones like you wanted. Just my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:23PM
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alisris, if you decide that the tambour door isn't a good decision because of the reliability issues the other two posters mentioned, what about having either a "garage door" style door or 2 doors that open and slide back into the cabinet when open? For both options, you would need the doors to be inset doors, so if you aren't doing that through your kitchen, you may need to go with custom cabinets (not sure if you are) to mix overlay and inset. A third option (if you aren't able to go inset) is to have the door rise up above when opened - potential drawback on that being that the cabinet above won't be able to be opened while the appliance garage is open. I have seen pictures of all three, but don't have them handy right now.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Hi andrea and no.s & uncle -- thanks. As an appliance garage, I agree with all you say. I don't have one in my kitchen and was never tempted. I don't actually have a problem seeing appliances sitting on countertops (obviously; if you've seen pictures of how I live you will notice a certain high bar an tolerance for clutter).

But you're right, andrea, it's the tambour door I'm after, not the appliance-housing capacity. I wondered about that reliability issue. If you install them yourself is it any better do you think?

I'm pretty much anticipating the door being open much of the time. It's intended for waist height in a floor-ceiling narrow-ish stack used for linens and things. It's located on a hallway and I think having a drawer at chest-and-above height will not be so good. But I'm worried about cabinet doors opening smack-dab at chest height into the walk-way. So I was thinking at that mid-height to nix the doors altogether with a "roll-away" one.

I saw those swing up doors but worry about their stick-out-edness the same as swinging cabinet doors. An open shelf could work but I'm afraid it would look a little cavernous.

So andrea - what's a "garage door" style door if not a tambour door? Maybe, having wider slats? I don't know the lingo. I've seen those open and slide back type doors on cabinets intended for TVs ... I could look into finding the hardware; it must exist. That's a good idea. I hadn't followed up on that. But you'd need to keep the side areas of the space clear. I can imagine when housing a massive TV that's easy enough, just position it on top of a shelf, which they do. When the space is intended for kchatkes, I'm guessing it might become a nightmare and unusable very quickly.

Good point about the cabinet above needing to stay closed for the up-and-out hinges.

Actually, best would be a tambour that slid horizontally all the way around - not up but sideways. I bet that would be better-functioning. You wouldn't be fighting gravity...

I haven't settled on the making of these cabinets. But we had our kitchen done by, basically, a maquiladora. That's a whole nother set of options when on the border. For some reason I feel a little queasy about this, though I'm no fan of nationalism --- anyway, that's what we settled on before. It worked well-enough in the end, but it was something of a fight that I've been reluctant to return to the fray of. Still, it is likely where we'll wind up. And yet, none of it is settled. They certainly could do inset but it might look a little funny? Though the tambour is essentially inset, so there you have it....

Thanks for thinking about this, all.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:18PM
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I'm putting 2 of them in, no tambour, but it will have 2 doors(inset) that open. One is for my microwave, the other for the toaster oven and small 1 cup coffe maker. I am totally OCD and don't like clutter, or seeing those things.My toaster oven always looks dirty, even if it's not, and I just wanted it hidden.Not in yet, so not such if it is going to be a pain.Prob. not as easy as not having it, but i'd rather that than seeeing it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Here are some different things:

This first seems to have a standard door that slides up behind - no idea of the mechanism or any details:

Traditional Kitchen design by Seattle Kitchen And Bath Warmington & North

Here's what I was talking about in terms of "garage door" style - it's not hinged like a garage door, so it pulls straight forward and then slides back. Actually, it would be more appropriately named "barrister case" style.

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Kitchen And Bath Divine Kitchens LLC

This was the lift up style that you didn't want (but I'm including for others who may be searching):

Traditional Kitchen design by Other Metros Kitchen And Bath Mullet Cabinet

And this one has the barrister style at the top and then the slide back doors below:

Contemporary Kitchen design by Boston Kitchen And Bath Divine Kitchens LLC

I don't know if any of those are helpful. I'm a rather visual person, so I'm trying to visualize what the area looks like. Just trying to brainstorm, but is this cabinet sandwiched between walls like a closet? If so, what about a pocket door, or if that isn't possible , a "faux pocket door" where the track is mounted at the top inside the cabinet area.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Thanks, Andrea - those are really helpful to visualize all together. Yes, "barrister style" -- I've always loved those glass-fronted book cases. Shoulda bought a ton that were at my used furniture outlet awhile back .... though I'm sure they have something else there good [wandering, always looking away from the problem...]

So now I see the garage door you're talking about, it's like old-time garage door. Nowadays these things seem to be more tambour-like. There's probably a different name for them.

I have a real aversion to folding doors though I understand they don't all come out of colonial-style homes with dank closets hiding disgusting secrets inside. But they do in my mind so even if that were possible, it's definitely out. But I don't think it's possible anyway and it's not really want I want in the space; I don't want to access everything at once.

Anyway, thanks for this.... back to the drawing boarduter.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:33PM
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If you go to the Ikea website, kitchen cabinets, special cabinets, there is a tall roll front cabinet (4 sizes)there that might help you visualize your space. It's aluminum "tambour" but doesn't look like the older-style wooden ones. I've played with it at the store, and it is very neat!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Hi Bemsue -- that cabinet is actually exactly what got me started on this line!

I started out with it here:

But have since nixed it from that location.... but thought it might be useful in this new one.

I know I've seen such cabinets with roll-to-side fronts for intended applications such as "media" -- it's not new either. My parents have a beautiful set of furniture that stored -- still stores in fact, old old records.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:23PM
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Not to veer this too far off it's course, but I love barrister cases as well. My mom has one that belonged to my grandparents, and I've always loved it (my grandma used to keep little animal figurines in it that we would play with when I went to visit her) needs a little TLC, but I've asked my mom that if at some point she no longer wants it, if I can have it.

Veering back on track, I hope that you find a good solution for what you want.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:32PM
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