Fridge against wall - panel other side

oldbat2beOctober 28, 2012

I'm trying to design this fridge area, so that I can place an upper cabinet on top and a side panel on the left. Can't order the upper cabinet and panel until I figure out the fridge.

I am interested in all options: A) keeping current fridge (that would be the most cost effective solution) or B) selecting a counter depth/integrated/panel ready fridge.

The space is 37" wide. Side wall to the right is 36" deep, but is not structural (i.e., we could make shorter). We could do away with this wall, but currently have an outlet and a light switch on it and I like the wall space it provides. (Reducing width by 12 " will not affect outlet and switch).

Fridge door opens to the right. Pulling out bins to clean them is currently a struggle, due to lack of clearance on right side. Irritating, but I can live with this.

Option A - keep current fridge, which is 34.5" wide x 30.5 inches deep.

I would choose a deeper, upper cabinet, which was flush with the front of the fridge. What I am unclear about is how to retro-fit a panel on the left side of the fridge and whether some sort of trim work to box it in, all the way to the floor on the left, would also be required. Losing any add'l space would exacerbate my door clearance issue and I am concerned about this.

Can you think of a way I can add the panel on the left? I was wondering if it could just rest on the countertop but can't figure out how to secure it there.

Here's a closeup of the countertop edge:

Option B) Select a new counter depth/integrated/possibly panel ready fridge. How do counter depth fridges deal with counter top edges jutting out past 24"? Do I still need 2-6" inches clearance on the side(s) where the doors will open? I was thinking about French door but am now thinking it's better to stay with the right opening door. As with option A, I think I would need to reduce the width of the side wall.

Thanks for any help. I feel like I'm researching UCL lighting again ... so many options and questions ...

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I think you will need a box built to match your cabinets on the left. Something on the counter looks like it will interfere with the window crown.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 10:43AM
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Thanks Nancy. Please ignore the trim work above the window, that is going to be redone at some point.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 12:02PM
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If you reduce the width of the wall to the right of the fridge so that it is short enough to allow the refrigerator door to open all the way, won't that solve your door clearance problem? Right now you have trouble opening the door because this wall is too wide. Reducing it's width will allow you to put the panel on the left without exacerbating your door clearance issue. Our full depth fridge is boxed in but the doors are clear on both sides (i.e the "box" stops before the door begins) so that the sides of the "box" does not impede the door opening in anyway.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Like Allaboutthefood, our fridge doors stick out just far enough so they clear the panels on either side of them (french doors). You may want to shorten the wall to allow for this clearance.
Not sure if you have the room to add a panel to the side of the fridge. Ours is panelled on both sides with a cabinet over the top, but the panelling adds 3 inches total to the width of our fridge. Could the panel and overhead cabinet become the wall to the right of the fridge? Maybe the light switch and outlet could be relocated.

The view out your window is breathtaking! It would be hard to dislike dishwashing with that view.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:00PM
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I did something similar....but I also have an upper cabinet on the side with the panel.

I think you can attach the cabinet above the refrigerator to the back wall & side wall and then attach the panel to the cabinet. I also put a panel b/w my refrigerator and the wall to make the "framing" the same on both sides.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Oldbat2be - we retrofitted a refrigerator in our last remodel very much like yours - black. Our cabinet maker built the box and cabinet for the frig. Vast improvement when it was installed.

The current refrigerator appears to fill the space. Most CDs are 36" and this really does not leave any room with the "box". Is it possible to remove the wall to allow for a cabinet? Thie outside panel could be decorative to match.

I caution you to think this thru before making a decision. Look at all options and decide what will be the best in the long run.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:32PM
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I used a similar solution to buehl's in my beach cottage - a more casual kitchen than hers, which is beautifully done. I had a 12" deep 36" wide cab over the fridge that abutted a wall on the right. I pulled the cabinet forward (carpenter mounted it to the side wall and..) and mounted a plywood panel full height along the side of the cabinet, down to the floor - voila, a boxed-in KA french door counter depth fridge. I didn't box in the wall side because the lights to the deck were there - it was fine. And the box stopped short of the doors, so like others describe, I could open both all (or on the right side, most) of the way and pull bins out with no problem.

There's one more thing to keep in mind. A free-standing fridge needs room to breathe, unlike integrated fridges, so you need to leave 0.5" - 1" of airspace around it, depending on the manufacturer. An integrated unit will have very specific "cut-out" specs - it may even need a 36" wall, so if you install the cabinet and build the surround before you've made a fridge decision, you may have to make more alterations down the road.

Out of curiosity, have you ever just pulled your fridge forward from the back wall so it can clear the wall to the right?

You have a lovely kitchen, beautiful bs tile, and I'm psyched to see the window wall grey again. I think you could use an upgraded fridge, but Rome wasn't built in a day. I guess the question is, is it worth the cost of a new fridge to you, to be able to feel you are done with the kitchen?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 1:53AM
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Mine is very similar buehls only I did not include a panel on the wall side of the fridge. I made the opening about 36 3/4 and put a 3/4" spacer of cabinet material between the wall and cabinet above the fridge to give me plenty of room to slide the fridge and for it to have ventilation.

I added the little wall next to the fridge specifically to function as one side of the fridge and protect it from the door from the garage that opened into the refrigerator. I built it a specific depth so the counter depth refrigerator doors would open completely.

I attached the panel to my upper and lowers on the side and then I attached the above the fridge cabinet to the panel, the back wall and my new side wall.

I assume you have an overhang on the side of the counter so if you butt a floor to upper height panel to that counter than you need to add a spacer piece between the cabinet and panel to take up that gap. I would also put a dummy piece back on the wall in the same location (back to front) so you can gang the tall panel to the exsiting cabinet in front and secure it to the dummy piece in back. Does that make sense? Then attach it to the cabinet above the fridge and attach that cabinet to the back and side walls. Then the whole thing should be quite solid.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Hi all, very much appreciate the responses. I have been reading and thinking them over.

itsallaboutthefood - yes, you are correct, if I make the right wall shorter then I can slide the fridge over a tad and build a panel on the left.

However... do I really want to go to all this work for my current fridge? Shorter wall I think will mean the black is even more visible.

camphappy - thank you for the measurements. I do not have 3" to spare. Regarding the French door(s), where do you put things you take out of the fridge? Beyond the French doors or behind you? Thanks for the compliment, the view is very nice but as I've said before, I am now the ultimate nosy neighbor :)

Hi buehl, your pictures were extrememly helpful, thanks. I do see how to build it now. (Love your cabinetry btw).

Motherof3sons - you definitely identified my hesitation/quandry. Yes, building and paneling existing fridge would be an improvement but if if I had my druthers and the budget to match, what would I do with this space? Is it really worth the expense to order panels and build a structure around a temporary fridge?

EAM44 - it is all about the fridge, thanks for the reminder about the free-standing fridge vs. integrated fridge different requirements. I think that's part of why I am struggling - I can't design the space until I know what fridge I'm using, old or new. The island makes it hard to pull the fridge forward enough and still get the door open. Glad you like seeing the wall colored grey again, I am quite pleased too... Still, I want Rome, now!

hags00 - great description and I do follow. We do have an overhang on the side of the counter, your solution makes sense.

Off to put the kiddos to bed. Thanks to all. I am still thinking about solutions and what I would do for a long term solution, with all the money in the world.

Oh I know this answer!! Take out wall, insert fabulous, paneled Thermador (not white, definitely contrasting color, maybe match island but probably wonderful pop of new color) fridge. One of the ones which looks like a huge piece of lovely furniture.

I should probably start a new thread to ask this but - does anyone use all drawers for a fridge/freezer solution? Leaping in yet another direction, I do also like the idea of a glass fronted fridge.

Best, wafflingOldbat2be

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 9:11PM
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