Oh Please, Help Me Pick a Fridge!

oldbat2beNovember 7, 2012

As a reminder, here's the space:

If I could do anything, I'd put in a fully integrated, paneled fridge which looked like an armoire. I don't think I can stomach the price though.

I'm happy to build a box around whatever we put in; cabinet above, side panel on left, necessary trimwork, etc. I received some excellent advice on this, in the below thread. I'm pretty sure we will be making the wall on the right less deep, so that doors can open fully.

I have full depth so may as well take advantage of it, vs. installing a counter depth fridge. What do you suggest for a refrigerator? It seems so many are tall (80") which doesn't leave much room for a cabinet above.

Does anyone use all drawers for a fridge/freezer solution? I could possibly put the freezer or freezer drawers in my pantry area. Throwing another idea out there: I do also like the idea of a glass fronted fridge.

Another picture of the space in question:

Here is a link that might be useful: Fridge Against Wall - Panel Other Side thread

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In your pantry, can you put a full size fridge/freezer? If so, I would like to be so bold as to suggest you go ahead and do a 36" freezer/fridge drawer stack there. It would give you more counter room, open up the space even more.

What is in the island, to the right of the sink? Can the drawers go there? I was thinking of the island location because of the ease for prep, but really, getting the stuff from the fridge's current location and plopping on the island isn't that bad at all.

I know I'm jumping all over the place, but at first glance, I did think how nice a glass front fridge would be (I'm partial, you know). But I'm not one to suggest such a wild and crazy idea. And then you mentioned it. I love ours. And it isn't something that drives you crazy either--so many nay-sayers told me that they could never have a glass front fridge. You can't really see in it unless the light is on or you are really trying to look in it, it's not like open shelves. To me, these are the same people who don't like white cabinets because the dirt shows...the dirt is still there. The moldy food is still in the fridge with the solid door, you know what I mean?

So, if there is a way to make sure the counter-top situation could be rectified (because you will need to add counter-top) by using fridge/freezer drawers AND you have a place for a full size unit in a pantry or somewhere then I think drawers would be lovely.

I also think a glass front fridge is a great idea too.

Sorry for being all-over this am with this answer. Coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:15AM
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As far as the over fridge cab, is the top window trim going to infringe on that cab area? Can't tell from the pic but it almost looks like it extends into that area? If it did, couldn't you just box in the fridge (if you want) and have an open shelf over the fridge for display? Unless you need the storage, of course.

I've decided to go with the Frigidaire all-fridge and then either a 20" wide undercounter freezer that Summit makes. or the 24" freezer drawers by Summit, too. Depends on the final width of the room after gutting. (trying to put 10# in a 5# bag over here, lol)

We'll have a deep freeze in the basement and I decided that having to go counter-depth fridge/freezer just cuts down too much on fridge space. If I had your situation, I'd pick whatever full depth fridge fit my space, had good reviews and appealed to me, I guess.

Forget trying to get a consensus on refrigerators, too many opinions/experiences and it'll make you crazy. Although, there seem to be some real lemon brands out there to stay away from.

Have you checked out AJ Madison for reviews, etc? Helpful website, IMO. I find the customer reviews of the various items really helpful.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:24AM
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Be sure to remeasure your opening at floor height - because of the baseboards.

I don't think you can do an undercounter ref without redoing your brand new counters or introducing another material. Plus, I can't tell if the side of the counter closest to the ref has an overhang or a finished edge - both of those might be an issue in piecing in another material. If its flat cut, you'd still need to think about how you'll feel with either a seam there or the spontaneous appearance of wood or whatever.

Just so you know, if the end of the counter is not flat and flush with the cabinet side now you'd likely need to have it cut off on site before installing any kind of panel. It's messy and likely to cost more than $300.

36" undercounter refrigerators seem to run about $2.4k - but you don't have to do anything about the wall - so that part might work out. I'd guess that doing something about the wall would be VERY expensive - it looks like a stub wall that is holding up a beam? I wouldn't know for sure - but it looks like that.

So - these are some other potentials, just in case that beam is really there.

Get a reverse opening single door ref. The handle side would be close to the wall. If you get a 36" one, I'm not sure you could put up the panel because you'll need a little bit of space at the wall for your hand to grasp the handle.

Get a 30-32-33" ref instead. The wider the ref, the more you need to look at the fatness of the door to make sure there are enough inches left over so the door can open to at least 90 degrees. At 30", you likely can have the panel and a filler on the other side. If you want to go crazy, see if you can do a filler pullout there.

Pay the big bucks and get an integrated liebherr that fits inside a 36" cabinet. Pay slightly less bucks and get a steel 36" liebherr and let its full gorgeousness be seen.

Get a 36" deep side panel and pull the ref and an otr cabinet forward to flush the body of the ref to the wall - pop the baseboard off.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:04PM
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OB2B- before you say no to fully integrated fridge, I wold suggest browsing the show floor clearance selections at your local upscale appliance stores. Man of them - thermador, Miele, etc have the hinge that brings the door forward and allow you to open easily. I actually like Bee's suggestion of a glass door fridge.. I think it will look nicer than even an integrated model.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:26AM
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There are only three companies that make a glass fronted fridge, unless I missed a Kenmore. Frigidaire, Northland, and SZ. Only one (guess) is south of $6K. I haven't read good things about Northland (they use a loud, loud commercial compressor). That leaves S$$$Z. Unless you can find a stunning deal on a SZ, which could happen, you're left with the Frigidaire as your only real, budget-friendly, viable choice. Not saying its bad, just a lack of options.

I found my built-in KA on eBay for a great deal, and I've been very happy with it. You might check there, and with any local appliance company you can find. When I was looking for a glass fronted SZ, I called every SZ retailer within 100 miles. Still no great deal for me. :(

My first reaction to the under-counter only option for your space is NO! The counter issue is a big one in my book. I'm not sure you'll really be able to get a good seam match resolution there without it looking like a major after thought.

I guess my recommendation is to go with Bmore's last suggestion. Yes, fridges are tall these days, but you have plenty of storage space in your kit and pantry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ajmadison search for glass fridge

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:53AM
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I am immensely grateful for the thoughtful feedback and have been reading and mulling over your suggestions.

There is pantry space I could use; it is 36" deep x 52.5" wide. This area I haven't figured out yet. Could do lower freezer drawers and upper cabinets/pullouts.

From the other side:

I don't think I'd want the fridge in here though primarily because of pouring drinks (glasses are all in drawers to the right of the cleanup sink (left of current fridge)). And the cleanup sink is far away!

Bee - There is no space available in the island (dish drawers in the island across from the fridge/sink). Which model do you have? Is it all fridge or with the lower freezer? I'm wondering about fitting in everything I have. My side door is packed with condiments, butter, cheese, etc., etc. I do love the look, though.

deedles - Please ignore the window trim, I am redoing that area at some point. I would like to box in the fridge but if I'm going to that work, would like it to be nice. Hmmm, keep me posted with your undercounter freezer choices. Are there any full depth integrated fridges? Will check the AJ Madison reviews, haven't done that yet (but love the store).

Got to go to work... more later! Best, oldbat2be

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:41AM
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oldbat2be, if you like a glass front fridge, you can also try looking at commercial models. they are less pricey than the other residential ones available, though you might need to check if it is up to code, etc. for home-use.
for a better-priced fully integrated fridge (though still pricey in my book), you can check out liebherr. i read lots of good things about them on appliance forum.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:04PM
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I wouldn't recommend commercial units. DH works for a restaurant supply co. For years he tried to get me agree to one, and I almost did until I heard one in a quiet warehouse. They are OMG loud! I had never noticed just how loud they are in a restaurant kitchen setting with the other noise going on for cooking, and I've been in plenty of restaurant kitchens. The decibel level was much more of an issue to me than the higher energy use and lack of any sort of organization in them other than a few shelves. YMMV.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:33PM
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The Frigidaire is also listed as a commercial unit and reviews say it's loud. When I looked it was not that great on energy and had wire shelves spaced pretty widely apart.

Will shortening that wall create a flooring hassle?

I agree with a taller, narrower unit with the cabinet around, or the glorious metal box that fills the space, as Bmore suggested. If you get a tall one, I'd just worry about making it look nice, and not about storage. In this case, you don't need every last inch of storage enough to let it dictate your choices, fridge or designwise.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:07PM
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The wall to the right is not structural, it's just a stud wall. There's a big LVL beam in the attic. I like the separation this stud wall provides, between the kitchen and the breakfast nook, and also the wall space (I'm learning that lots of open space and big doorways equals little room for big furniture pieces).

bmorepanic - Thanks, you pointed out a lot of things I hadn't thought of. Here is a closeup of the edge of the countertop run, the CT is 1/16"-1/8" shy of the base cabinet.

If I add a panel/cabinet, would I put a filler here or caulk this gap?

"Be sure to remeasure your opening at floor height - because of the baseboards" -- this is if I add a standalone fridge, right? If I do something integrated, I would remove these, no? Thanks for pointing out the need for a new countertop surface if I did an undercounter ref, hadn't thought of that.

My goal is to make this run as lovely as possible. As mentioned above, I will be redoing the trim work around and above the window; perhaps a valance connecting the left cabinet with whatever we end up with on the right. I would like to smile when I look at this wall.


Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Kitchen And Bath Jessica Williamson


Traditional Kitchen design by Boston Architect Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc

So lalitha, I don't necessarily want to give up the integrated fridge option if that will give me the best end result. We are heading to an appliance store in Boston this weekend to look at fridges and to check out their outlet section. If I could find the right fridge for the right price.... I will get an education on hinges at the same time. I love the look of the glass door but am trying to picture all my condiments, etc., which I keep in the current door and wondering where they would go...

Hi breezygirl. Yes, yes, I'm very much hoping for a stunning deal on a SZ:) I am in no hurry to complete this so with the luxury of time, I may find one. Calling around for the SZ is a great suggestion, I'll post another thread soliciting names of appliance stores in the area to check.

I will ditch the undercounter option in this spot (but am still thinking of putting an undercounter freezer in the pantry). And yes I do have plenty of storage. Whatever I put in place above the fridge should add to the look vs. detract.

michoumonster/breezy, thanks for input on commercial units. I've wondered about those...

rhome410 - good question on the wall shortening. It will mess up the existing floor but I need to get my flooring guy back in for round 2 on the hardwood floors in the rest of the house; I can have him tackle this. (He's terrific; we bumped out the front of the house 5 feet and he wove in new hardwood to match the existing, did a great job).

Thanks all, this has been very helpful.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 7:36AM
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My fridge is all fridge. I was slightly worried about the door condiment issue myself. I had a 48" Thermador with lots of stuff on the doors. But, when you go to a 36" all fridge....there is so much room inside, no need for the door at all.

I got a steal on mine. (Some people pay more for cd fridge/freezer combo than I did on this baby) The store we used (the Delaware one) knew I wanted the PRO model, but they didn't know that the model had slightly changed and they were not going to change out their floor model. (Even after calls to their SZ rep) Two other stores told me that they sold their floor models just before we were there. Anyway, the Delaware store called me later and told me that this one was available, they had told me before it was sold. It wasn't the PRO, but I still loved it and we just put in the stacked freezer drawers and all is well. I'm actually kind of happy it isn't the PRO because with the freezer drawers under the counter, I have more counter space.

Here it is, the freezers are to the left of the ovens.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:05AM
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A 32" wide all fridge CD could be boxed in and trimmed out nicely to fit your space. I'm thinking of the Frigidaire that we'll be getting. They offer the 'built-in' package , too, for the look you might want. It's a really pretty refrigerator and if you look on AJ, it's the highest rated by far of the all-fridges. Now, I'm sure the price accounts for the number of ratings vs. SZ or others but nonetheless, it's a nice fridge and looks good. I've gone back to our local appliance store about 6 times just to look at it and drool, lol. Gobs of space, too.

Someone here had the Whirlpool sidekicks all-fridge/freezer, kept the fridge in the kitchen and put the freezer in a pantry area just like you have.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:50AM
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We have had the professional Frigidaire all-refrig for about 3 weeks now. We really, really like it. It is quiet, and there is a lot of space. We are debating freezer drawers in our dining room built in buffet which is just off the kitchen. For now we have a chest freezer and another frig/freezer in the basement. For our budget and neighborhood price point, it was far smarter to go with the Frigidaire vs. SZ.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:20AM
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bcafe: not to hijack but do you find the produce drawers are enough? That was my only thought of what could be better was bigger produce drawers. Did you do the built it kit or leave it free-standing? PIC?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:27AM
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Just saw this counter depth fridge on Lowes today, might be a great inexpensive fridge for your kitchen...


Frigidaire Gallery 22.6 cu ft Side-by-Side Counter-Depth Refrigerator (Stainless Steel) ENERGY STAR

Item #: 330225 : Model #: LGHC2342LF


Was: $1,399.00 (Save 28% thru 11/21/2012)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:37AM
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This one is narrow but not much space in it. Thought it might work.

fisher & Paykel 17.5 cu ft Bottom-Freezer Counter-Depth Refrigerator (Stainless Steel) ENERGY STAR

Item #: 357194 : Model #: RF175WCLUX1

Height to Top of Case (Inches) 68.8
Height to Top of Door Hinge (Inches) 70.0
Width (Inches) 32.6


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:24PM
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I don't find the produce drawer to be too bad. It is expandable for longer things such as celery, etc. We were not able to use the trim kit because we needed to keep our soffits. We had too much electrical and duct work in them and tearing them out would have been far too costly.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:14PM
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