Creative Uses for usable door refrigerator end panels

amhers104August 28, 2012

Today my contractor installed the refrigerator end panel. We ordered doors to go on the end panel to give it a more finished look. Up until today I thought they were just fake doors. I was surprised that they actually open. However, when you open them it is just a flat panel of the cabinet, only about 1 1/2 inches deep. So now I am thinking I can use the 2 bottom doors to create my own "message center" by getting either a cork board or a magnetic board, some pads that stick to walls and pencil, pen holders. My new appliances were delivered today and I absolutely love the counter depth refrigerator, which is right behind this panel.

I have an idea for the two upper doors. Directly behind the doors is the cabinet that goes over the refrigerator. This is a 24 inch deep cabinet so whatever I put in the back will be very hard to get to. I was thinking of maybe having my contractor cut out the panel when you open the upper end panel doors. This will allow me to access the over the refrigerator cabinet from the side, with easier access to the things in the way back. I ran this by my contractor today. After he laughed, he said, "creative.. could work, but I typically don't start cutting into nice cabinets i just installed." He said it could probably be done and may work good for us. Told me to really think about it and make sure thats what I want before he starts cutting brand new cabinetry.

Everyone has been great with my questions this week so I figured I'd ask everyone what they thought. Any thoughts or other suggestions??? Again, when you open the doors there is only about 1 1'2" deep, Maybe someone has a better suggestions of what i can do with this space. I'll post some pics so you can see what I'm talking about.

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Here is a pic with the end panel doors closed.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:58PM
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and here it is with the doors open. Any creative ideas on how to utilize this space would be greatly appreciated:)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:00AM
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If it were in a different space, I'd say spices.
I like the idea of opening the end the way you described. I like innovative stuff.

Can't wait to see what you do!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:29AM
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While I see your contractor's point in cutting into new cabinetry, I think it's genius! Is the opening big enough to put brooms, Swiffer etc? If you hung them on nails they would be flat. Also thought of ironing board with putting the iron on the open part above. But your idea of it being a message center or place to keep those things that I usually tape to the inside of my pantry or cabinet doors is a great idea. I can't stand clutter but want to keep certain business cards in plain view or coupons I mean to use, invitations etc., this would be a perfect place for those. I love "found" space! Good luck, love your new fridge and it looks great in it's new home.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 8:40AM
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Possible ideas if you do not cut the cabinet:
vitamin/prescription/otc drug storage (add some shelves to it)
towel storage (add a dowel or two and hang the towels over them)

Cool space! Love the message center idea. If you get a piece of magnetic sheet metal and paint it with chalkboard paint you could have neat message center. Add some cork squares on top of that as needed.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Might be a good place for that Williams-Sonoma Ultraslim Step Stool.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:36PM
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what a great little space! I like all the ideas so far, depending on if there's enough depth: broom, ironing board, step stool, message centre. I'd probably consider hanging some aprons, maybe BBQ tools too? How about large cutting boards/pastry mat/plexiglass cover for your marble countertop ...

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 1:56PM
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I like the idea of access to the back from the side there. Only caution I'd have would be if it would affect the structural functionality of the cabinet? Guess it depends on how it is cut and hung too.

I think all my ideas have already been mentioned.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Hmmm. First I would hang a broom and dustpan. Then I would hang my apron(I know I am an anachronism). Next, would be dog leashes and brushes. It's possible my floppy garden hat would fit. I would definitely cover the interior of the doors with cork to use as push pin boards, school lunch menu, pool open lap swim hours, etc..... I covet your shallow cabinet.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Wow - creative - ours doesn't do this but we have our pantry behind ours

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Beautiful cabinets and what fun to discover the hidden spaces!
The main panels on our refrigerator side panel don't open, but the one above does. We put a TV over our refrigerator (compromise to keep my husband happy and the TV out of my way). Our cabinets are dark so it blends in unless it's on. Anyway, that left us with the back half of the over-fridge space with only end access. We got some narrow sliding baskets stacked in a metal frame at Container Store. We use them for lightweight items -kind of our "junk drawers". ..... Picture hanging supplies, all the different types of tape, a screwdriver, etc. the baskets are mesh so even though they are overhead I can slide one out and look at most of the contents. we really use them a lot.
If you really needed the space, you could get a full depth pullout unit , but that seems like overkill to me.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 10:53PM
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I love this super skinny shelf.. My suggestions

Thin peg board to hang cleaning stuff like the Williams Sonoma step stool, rags, broom etc. I would add some shelves for a single row of chargers, vitamins etc. Install a message board with a nice fabric over a padded cork board and use push pins for messages. Or use a painted metal sheet with magnets. Those cute kitchen list pads with magnets on top can also go there. . What about a flip down desk.. See plllog's kitchen. You can keep the pen on a strong..

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 1:44AM
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So many great ideas!! Hubby is not thrilled with the idea of having the side cut outto access the back of the cabinet so at this point I have agreed not to. It can always be done later. I wrote down a list of some of the ideas that may work for us. We already have a closet off the kitchen that we use for brooms. I am going to go shopping tomorrow to get some things to create my own little message center. I'll be sure to post some pics of what i come up with. Thanks for all the responses!! :)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 3:37AM
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lalitha- new to GW so I'm still trying to figure out how to find certain posts. I would love to see pllog's kitchen but am not having luck finding it. Any tips on how to find it?? Thanks

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 3:41AM
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    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 10:18AM
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You can find plllog's kitchen here.

I love the way she labels everything on her blog. Hugely useful.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:00AM
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