Fridge surround -- I don't think this is right

brightmAugust 3, 2014

Short version:
Cabinets above fridge--doors protrude in front of end panel
Cabinets next to fridge--doors are flush with end panel
(sort of hard to see in this pic, details below)

Longer version:
Our fridge will be SZ Integrated 36". There aren't many pics of it out there because it's fairly new. And the pics on the SZ site (link below) show it with slab, glossy white cabinets and fridge panels. The specs call for opening of 84" and say that it CAN be from 83.5" to 84.5" (if I'm reading it right.)

I already was questioning that the KD ordered a custom 11"? 11.5" ? cabinet which left the opening a bit too tall at 85.5" and had spoken to the installer about the need for a filler. The floors aren't in yet, so not sure how big it'll be. But this morning was measuring to see if it's a consistent 85.5" or not. And it's not. I know the cabinets are level, but the floor and ceiling are not. There's a bigger gap above the end panels at the back wall, compared to at their front. Consequently the height in the back is 85". Then I looked up and noticed that the 'bridge' cabinet doesn't go all the way to the back of the end panel. That's fine. But then I noticed that they mounted it (without the doors) flush to the front of the end panel, so the doors protrude out in front of the end panel. And since the fridge is integrated, that means that the doors will protrude in front of the fridge as well. I'm pretty sure.

I'm already frustrated by no word from the GC as to when the installer (or electrician, or drywall guy) will be back to finish up. The installer's work WAS to be just cosmetic (moldings, aligning doors, etc.) so the counter and appliance installs wouldn't have been dependent on him. But, THIS changes that.

Please tell me if I'm right that this is wrong or wrong and it's right.

Lower cabinet to the left of fridge surround

Bridge cabinet between fridge end panels

Here is a link that might be useful: Our fridge SZ IT-36CIID

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Maybe, assuming he needs to take the bridge cabinet down and move it back 3/4", he can shim the end panel more and trim it at an angle to get a consistent gap at the ceiling. I don't know what will happen at the base of the end panel. Should there be some kind of molding there? If so, that'd cover it.

Maybe this is a good thing (if I can get all the necessary players here at the appropriate times to correct it.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:37AM
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The panels should be flush with the front of the doors, or in cases where the door has a beveled edge, the bevel should be just proud of the panels to look "right." This is my own opinion, and others may differ.

My advice is to point out the issue to the contractor, give him the photo printed out and write on the photo what you want corrected.

Then walk away and let him fix it.

The cabinets are lovely, and the install looks very nicely done. These little details and frustrations are so common and do not necessarily mean there is an overall quality issue, just be specific on what you want corrected and see it though. I think it will turn out right for you.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Thanks. I just want some people to back me up before I go to the GC. He's been less than responsive, and I'd say this necessitates him getting someone here tomorrow if it's not to delay my flooring. And I don't see that happening, which is REALLY freaking me out.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:24PM
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All of our cabinets, including the one above the fridge, that butt up against an end panel have the end panels sitting just slightly proud of the doors. I'm not an expert but those cabinet doors jutting out just looks odd to me but maybe it's one of those details that no one would ever notice once the kitchen is finished.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I just looked at ours and they are the same.

The over fridge cabinet box ends flush with the panel so the doors sit in front of the panel like yours. The over fridge cabinet doors are even with the doors on the oven cabinet next to it. None of them were ordered with a custom depth so they are probably intended to be that way - they are deeper than the base cabinets by about an inch and a half.

It's hard to tell from your pictures, but it doesn't look like there is space for your bridge cabinet to move back 3/4". Ours sits like yours and is mounted against the wall as is the oven cabinet next to it.

The base cabinet drawer fronts sit slightly behind the end of the fridge panel. Out counters have a 1 1/2 inch overhang past the front of the base cabinet boxes. The counter ends even with the panel. To me that looks right.

If your ceilings and floors aren't level, you still want the cabinets to be installed level. Part of the purpose of molding is to compensate for that filling the uneven gap. I'm not sure what you think the installer could have done differently there.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:55PM
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For a fridge that's not integrated, the fridge doors sit in front of the end panels, so that wouldn't be a big deal. But this fridge is integrated so the cabinet doors, as is, would sit out in front of the fridge doors (I'm pretty sure.)

The installer and I spoke at length about the uneven ceiling and this being the best that could be done and the fact that, he'll have to rip the starter molding at an angle to counteract for it. But I'm thinking that if he takes down the end panel in order to move the bridge cabinet back (there's room...25" deep end panels and 24+3/4" cabinets + doors) he could shim it up and cut the end panels at an angle rather than the starter molding. Maybe not worth the hassle, but I'd think something that could make the top look better would be preferable IF they put some kind of molding around the bottom of the end panel anyway (which I don't know one way or the other...didn't think about it before).

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:50PM
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How deep are your end panels? Remember you need to add the thickness of the panels to the SZ dimension, so if those end panels are 24" deep, your upper is installed correctly, and the doors will be flush with your refer panels.

oops, just re-read your post stating that the end panels are 25" so yes, the upper needs to be moved back, or just pull the refer forward 3/4" for an easy fix...

This post was edited by ctycdm on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 15:54

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:53PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I agree that they shouldn't stick out. Here's a pic of mine. My fridge (not a SZ) has to stick out to allow the door hinges to open. Everything else is flush.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I installed a similar bridge in a previous remodel, the house was very old and the ceiling was wet plaster and had a 2" slope from one end of the room to the other, which was only 9' wide. Over the fridge, the side panels were made to be flush with the slab door on the 36" bridge cabinet. Above the cabinet, the filler strip sat flush with the edge of the cabinet box, about 3/4" behind the door fronts, so the slope in the filler was not that apparent. Unless I stared at it. But nobody else ever noticed it.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:58PM
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Beautiful kitchen Babka! I'd love to know about the little shelving unit on your counter. Did you buy it? Have it made?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:58PM
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How deep are the end panels? and what model # SZ is it?

I assume you are going for flush inset?

83.5-84" in height is for all SZ

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Babka NorCal 9b


These were custom cabinets and there were scrap pieces we use to make the little shelf.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:11PM
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End panels = 25"
Flush inset, yes.

"*831/2" (2121) MIN TO 841/2" (2146) MAX"
From the design guide (the installation guide just says 84")

Here is a link that might be useful: SZ Design Guide for Integrated models

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:15PM
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We always shoot for 84...85.5 is too high to jack the fridge up to make it seem flush and fully integrated.

Maybe they ordered taller door panels for the fridge to extend up to cover the space...doing that they would then install a small filler between the bottom of the cabinet and top of fridge and all would be hidden when the doors are shut

If doors are not taller, I would request a new cabinet to be made

Upper cab has to be pushed back so that the doors are flush to the face of the end panels

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:31PM
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ajc71 -

I know there are differences of opinion re: floors before or after cabinets. We were advised cabinets, then floors. Our floors are scheduled for Tuesday. I REALLY, REALLY don't want to delay floors or countertops.

We're getting porcelain tile floors. Things are shimmed up to allow somewhat for the tile. Would we have to delay the floor for this? Or would they be able to take down the end panel and bridge cabinet after the floors are installed? And if they can, would the fridge install have to wait?

ETA: Another option to solve the height issue would seem to be to get them to send us some taller doors, if not the taller cabinet.

This post was edited by cal_quail on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 15:43

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:42PM
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I would think that they would be able to switch out that cabinet after the floor was need to take the end panels out, we would probably cleat them to the wall while modifying that cabinet and then slide that cabinet back in.

You could also order longer doors for the bridge cabinet instead of a whole new cab...if you do that, have the carpenter push that cabinet back 7/8" tomorrow before tile goes in and you will be all set

Make sure that the install several inches of tile in the fridge surround, and what is not tiled make sure you put plywood to get it flush with the tile...will make install of fridge a heck of a lot easier

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 3:50PM
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My thing is, I don't think I'll see the cabinet guy tomorrow. The cabinet is attached to the end panels only, since it's sitting out from the back wall.

Could they switch out the cabinet after the floor install and before the fridge install?

Could they also switch out the cabinet after the floor and fridge installs?

(This speaks to whether I'll push for a new cabinet or not.)

Also I want as much as humanly possible done that affects FUNCTION before I return to work on 8/11. I'm already taking at least a partial day off for some appliance installs on 8/13. If it's something that I don't HAVE to be there for, I can have someone else be there with workers. But I REALLY need to be there for counters, etc.

Thanks so much ajc for talking me off this ledge.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 5:13PM
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Cal- not an expert on integrated fridge so will defer to others. Mine is not inter grated and I was just noticing how I can open my cabinet door completely and how the cabinet handle fits perfectly.
Have you tried to open your door to the left of the fridge? I think it will bump- so either a hinge limiter or silicon dot will help solve any bumping issues.

Beautiful cabs!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 9:48PM
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Thanks a2g. The top door, yeah, it bumps. I have a few. I've already asked about hinge restricters. I have layers of blue tape for now. :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:25PM
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I don't understand why they can't put in the floor, then fool around with the cabinets to make it right? It seems like until that's in the final size of the opening is mostly an educated guess.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 6:50AM
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I hope so. With you and ajc71 saying they should be able to, I'm going with yes. It'll be very interesting to see WHEN I hear from the GC. I emailed GC and KD late yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. I notified them of the depth issue (on the GC) and mentioned the height issue (on the KD and had already mentioned it to her, but am now a little less willing to be accommodating about it.)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:01AM
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