Kitchen Design and Oversized Refrigerators

Deep refrigerators add complexity to cabinet layout and installation. April 20, 2007

I do kitchen design; I am not an installer. I am currently trying to design cabinets around a 60"W x 32"D Wood's fridge. My concern is with the 32" depth. I'm trying to have the fridge not stick out too far from the rest of the cabinets on that wall. I'm using 2-24" deep cabs over top, an 18"W x 24"D pantry on one side (at the end of the run), and a 25" or 30"D full height panel on the other side.

I'm wondering what installers think of recessing a big fridge like this into a non-bearing wall? It's only an inside 2x4 wall, but I think I could gain maybe 3". With the door open 90 degrees, the thing is 56.6" deep, and would really crowd the island.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor J:
I would be concerned about the back edge of the door (hinge side) striking the cabinets on that side.

From contributor A:
If I were installing that case and was told I need to rip out the wall for the refer, I probably wouldn't be too happy, and the client might not be either. You should build the cabinets to fit the refer and make the island work in the kitchen. If it makes the island too small and the client doesn't like it, then maybe they should pick a smaller refer or one not so deep. You can fit a nice subzero refer in a 29" deep case. We just did one recently. You can also place two side by side, refer/freezer. The subzeros and the GE monograms I believe are 36" wide each with double doors. So you have to open two doors to get into the refer or freezer, but they don't open as far out. Some models might have one larger door. Just do some research.

From contributor R:
There are two doors, actually. I'm thinking of making the two bridge cabinets over the fridge 30" deep, then using 30"D fridge panels on both sides, pulling the pantry out 6" to make it also look 30"D. You've raised a very good point, though - I need to check and make sure 30" won't interfere with the doors opening.

From contributor S:
Do you have some electrical to deal with? Usually the plug-in is in the back wall, so you will have to move it to a side wall and allow room for the plug. I think that it is a lot of work to gain just 3". Most people don't stand there for too long with the door open 90 degrees.

From contributor Z:
I worked for a home builder years ago who would use stick built cabinets done by the trim carpenter. These guys were always getting the fridge too close to the dishwasher so the dishwasher door couldn't open up all the way. More than one time we took a chainsaw to the wall and recessed the fridge to the back side of the sheet rock. Pretty crappy deal... Can you imagine how crooked the sheetrock will get on the back side after a while? Why jump through all these hoops? Get a cabinetmaker to bid the job with custom cabinets and make it work. Use an angled island to provide clearance for the door opening.

From contributor W:
In a house I used to own, there was a deep refer already in and I did not want to buy a new one, nor did I want it sticking out too far. I recessed it into the wall, which worked fine. Not too much work. However, on another note... Having owned that deep of a refer, I will say that I will never again have one of those. I would rather have a wider, shallower one. It is a pain in the rear to have to fetch something from the back of it, if you can even remember that it is back there to begin with. I agree that you should get a shallower refer. There is more to them than just cubic feet.

From contributor F:
I have actually recessed the fridge into the wall several times on remodels, but not for a long time now, as we're seeing more and more counter depth fridges. I would take a close look at door swing and how it interacts with side cabinets when opened. Also you might want to take a close look at the guys that might be doing this. A little tricky cutting out, etc. without screwing up the wall behind it (gotta be good with a sawzall). You could either mount the outlet above or to the side of the fridge if you had the room, or possibly in the back of the cab above the fridge and run the cord up through like an over-the-range micro. I think I actually may have cut a hole in the stud before and installed an electrical box on the side of the opening.