cabinets deeper on one side than the other? will this look weird?

whisper2345October 4, 2013


I have been lurking for months and months, and all of a suddden the stars have aligned and we are planning a kitchen renovation to start in 6 weeks. Yes, 6 weeks. Which means we need to order appliances now. no that was not my idea. DH is impulsive! i'm rolling with it for now but plan to postpone if this gets too stressful.

We are going to get a full depth fridge with cabinets built out to the depth of the case. I went to the store planning to get the GE cafe and fell in love with a super-capacity samsung that was right beside it.

So here's the dilemma- cabinet builder was planning to build cabinets/pantry/counter out to 29" on one side of our u-shaped kitchen. If we get this fridge that I want we would have to bump it to 31". It is a whole wall with pantry, fridge, then upper and lower cabs and counter.

We'll have to give up some island space, which I'm ok with, but I'm wondering now if it will look weird? I am not motivated to load the plans right now, but it is a classic u shape. When you are looking at it, hood and range on back wall, pantry and fridge on the left wall, sink window and dishwasher on the right. there are cabs to ceiling on left and back walls. on right wall there are just lowers, no uppers.

It is not totally clear on the plans what the depth on the right side will be but it looks like 24". wah.

i just had an idea- instead of pantry, then fridge, then countertop with cabs, all at 31". we split pantry and put it on either side of fridge(all at 31"), then go back to a standard depth for the other cabinets and countertop? like a bumped out fridge/pantry area?

not sure if that would be better or worse.

help. i am prepared to choose another fridge if it just won't work.

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I don't think absolute symmetry is all it is cracked up to be, and some variety adds interest. Our kitchen which we put together recycling cabinets original to the era of our older house and new custom-built replicas has counters of different depths. To my eye it is fine, but others may disagree.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Hard to tell from this shot but the cabinet run on the sink wall and the range wall is 24" deep. The run on the left side wall is17" deep.
We've lived with this configuration for 3 years and never notice the difference.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:06AM
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best to load the plan, or provide a sketch. In a U kitchen, I wouldn't care for the protrusion of one of the 33-34 in deep fridges....door and handle makes for even more "sticking out". I would want the side panels provided by cab company.The need is usually driven by an area of counter the occupant wants at greater depth rather than accommodating the fridge, as the panels provide that aesthetic blending when sides of fridge are on view. Have you ruled out the slightly more shallow depth fridges, or recessing the fridge back a few inches. Fridges are avail between 24 and 34 in deep,depending on size and brand and styling.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 4:15AM
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Thanks for the input so far.

Here is the basic layout so you get an idea. There have been changes since this drawing but the basic shape is the same. This drawing shows 29 in deep on one side and 24 in deep on the other. We would be extending the larger side by 2 inches.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:26AM
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And here are the two sides of the u. Like I said, there have been changes since this to the cabinets but what we have now is similar to this.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:32AM
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and back wall

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:35AM
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I think it look fine like that.

Here is another idea though ... Turn the studs in the part of the wall that is behind the fridge so they run 4x2 instead of 2x4. Then recess the fridge into that alcove. This will gain you the extra 2" that you need and you don't have to take it from your aisle width. You can even leave the Sheetrock off and leave it open to the studs (in that spot only) which will gain you another 1/2".

27" is extremely deep for pantry space. Have you thought out how you will access the back of that space ? Where is your trash going ?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 10:37AM
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I agree that if you can you should recess the refrigerator (see pic below - partially recessed, but also deeper than the adjoining cabinets, with panels surrounding the fridge)), but I also think it won't look weird at all to have one counter run deeper than the others. In my last kitchen (the one pictured), the refrigerator was deep, then the oven less deep, the entire run perpendicular to that was "normal" depth (except part of it was a deep prep area where the window boxed out), and then perpendicular to than (peninsula, with sink, dishwasher and wine fridge) was much deeper - and I lived it!

It looks like I can only load one photo at a time on my ipad so this one is the peninsula - I'll load the fridge pic next.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:02AM
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Here's a picture of the fridge side.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Thanks all-

We actually have a recess of 2" already, in the right spot. However due to our current fridge plug it still sits about 2" off the wall.

We could move the outlet, but would we want to push it all the way to wall even if we could? Samsung says "leave sufficient space" but I don't know what's sufficient. 1"? less?

I can choose another fridge if need be, I just liked it better than any other I saw, and there is also a great sale on it right now at best buy. Msrp is something like $3299 and has been marked down to 2200. RF323TEDBSR if anyone's interested.

My trash will be in the island across from sink. There will be pull-outs in pantry, so I hope that will help with access. Thanks for bringing that up. I will play around with it and if i don't think we can reach maybe we'll use a filler.

We will def use panels on the sides of fridge whether it ends up being flush with the counter or not. sjhockeyfan and willtv, thanks for sharing the pictures. i am going to talk to cabinet guy today and just go for it if he thinks it will work. The cabinets are custom so he can do anything but he's going to come over and have a look for the aesthetics.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 3:09PM
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I think it can look very nice. I don't think the asymmetry will be an issue - the island already adds asymmetry since you have an island overhang on one side.

I don't have a U kitchen (more of a wide galley kitchen) but we have 31" recess on one side and 24" on the other. We have a peninsula on one one side, so it's not that comparable -- but we don't notice the difference at all.

Here's a picture (from Houzz) of a frame built around a full-depth refrigerator.

Traditional Kitchen by San Jose Design-Build Firms May Construction, Inc.

A couple suggestions:
1) It helps to be a bit more specific on dimensions. The picture above is like our kitchen in that the countertop depth matches the depth of the side panel. With the overhang, your lower cabinets will probably go out 1.5" less than that countertop depth. The point being -- base the dimensions on the countertop depth in this case, not on the cabinets.

2) I have a Samsung and they require 2" clearance behind the refrigerator for proper ventilation. There are a lot of reports of their refrigerators not cooling correctly when you use less clearance. Other vendors have a smaller requirement but you have to go off the vendor recommendation and not an industry standard. The 2" clearance requirement was the reason I went down to the Samsung RF263BEAESR/AA, which is slightly smaller depth.

This post was edited by calumin on Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 18:09

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:08PM
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That's a great BS in the picture Calumin posted.

I have nothing to post a picture yet, but I ordered the GE Cafe, and it will be flanked by pull-out pantries. Were it not going in the short wall, I would have happily put it next to a counter, as in the picture above. Then I'd have a loading spot.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Wish you had pictures, bookworm! I did like the Cafe too, and would have happily purchased it if the samsung hadn't caught my eye. Enjoy the hot water!! do you have a plan you could post? I'd like to see how you're doing the pantry. We though we were limited to keeping fridge where the recess is, but he said we can easily make new recess anywhere on that wall.

I'd love to put a pantry on either side. He said it's no big deal and will look fine to keep the big fridge- we just trimmed the island by a little.

also great point calumin about the countertop vs the cabinet depth, thanks.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 10:22PM
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