85 Comments

  1. Towey
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:26 am

    Do you have enough space for a sufficient number of refrigerator drawers to meet your needs? Assuming you are OK with the freezer in the basement (what do you do for ice for beverages in this arrangement?).

    Reply

    • Ross
      October 25, 2017 @ 11:36 am

      That is what I will be doing in my 1894 kitchen.

      Just a HUGE island with everything tucked below it, including refrigerator drawers and ice maker.

      Reply

  2. Sharyl Murphy
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:29 am

    Victoria,

    I bought the cheapest panel ready fridge I could find (there is one made by Kitchen Aid) and I still regret it to this day. The freaking $8000 fridge is the only way to go. Tell self to swallow hard and suck it up on this one!
    Sharyl (Sage Farm Antiques) Murphy

    Reply

    • Nicole
      November 3, 2017 @ 5:30 am

      I bought that one as well when in sticker-shock over panel fridges but I think it is fine, I am curious to know what you don’t like about it? I live in France for most of the year and, here, you can by panel ready fridges at IKEA for dirt cheap (granted, they are not what I would call high end appliances but they do the job) so I expected that a bit of googling would turn up something similar in the US- obviously, I was deluded. This baffles me. For any other house renovation item, I have 10x the choice in the States vs Europe EXCEPT for panel refrigerators. A mystery…

      Reply

  3. Dianne Averill
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:30 am

    Having just purchased a new fridge (after, oh, about four months of looking at every model made on the planet) I feel your pain. Our issue was height. Not that anyone actually uses the cabinets above the fridge except to store the wedding gift ice bucket and the extra lettuce spinner, but taking them down would leave a funny hole in the layout. So we bought what would fit and met the other requirements as best as possible. Namely, French doors (because the big dog is always on the floor in the kitchen at mealtime and I couldn’t possibly make her get up every time I wanted to open the fridge), the ability to accept magnets on the door (I know, how gauche) and ice. And you know what? We are happy and the large box has been assimilated. Life goes on.

    Reply

  4. Nancy Bonham
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:33 am

    Paul must be a very patient person. He sounds a lot like my husband. And the photos look achingly familiar. We have been through this twice. I got “icky” feelings while renovating: sketched the kitchen, took photos from every angle and scrutinized, visited home improvement centers and haunted their kitchen departments, drew it on graph paper and cut out little miniature fridges, cabinets, etc. and arranged and rearranged them, collected a stack of Kitchens and Baths magazines as high as my knee. Hiding the refrigerator was SO costly. After obsessing over it for months to the point of even considering PAINTING the fridge to disguise it; we bought a generic sidebyside, and I am almost (after 7 years) over it. I wish you much luck with this, and am looking forward to the solution you come up with.

    Reply

  5. Ross
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:33 am

    still life: *woman faces existential void.*

    This made me burst out laughing.

    Enjoyed all the other words, too.

    However…now I can never again go into my kitchen as I must, obviously, avoid the horror of being offended by my who-knew-this-was-an-aesthetic-insult refrigerator.

    Reply

  6. Kate Sparks
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:37 am

    I hate asking this, but did you consider fridge drawers instead?

    Reply

  7. Laurie
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:45 am

    Hi, Victoria,

    The fridge issue is a complex one. We struggled for a month (that’s all the angst I could allow myself!) In our 1930’s house with a 9×9 kitchen, we elected to place a two drawer under counter fridge, thus avoiding putting the big, hulking box of a thing in the breakfast room. We have a chest freezer in the basement and while it takes some coordinating of leftovers and keeps me from stocking up on fridge items, it does work for us, (DISCLAIMER!) a couple with no kids. Ours is an Electrolux model that we bought at Sears and it has worked great. Stainless steel, very quiet, two deep drawers. I first saw the idea in a historic home with such strict restoration standards that they could not make space for a full size fridge to be added. Just another consideration for you.

    Reply

  8. Sue
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:48 am

    Although I have no solutions for the lack-of-symmetry situation, I will say I totally shared your attraction to panel-ready refrigerators and are-you-kidding-me reaction to their price. Although I won’t say ours was cheap, we did get a rather huge discount by checking with the local you-must-be-stupid-rich-to-shop-here specialty appliance store, which had a paneled double door refrigerator as a display model. By putting down a modest deposit and waiting 3 months for them to do their seasonal display switch, we got the refrigerator for way less than list. Then the folks who made our inordinately expensive cabinets were able to clad it with panels that matched the cabinets. I speak to it sweetly every day, secretly praying that I die before it does, because the complications entailed with its replacement are too horrible to contemplate.

    Reply

  9. Brenda
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:53 am

    I completely understand your paralysis. But I am just wondering how you guys are functioning without a kitchen? Where are you preparing food? It has been a looooong time to live without a kitchen!

    Reply

  10. Nikki
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:54 am

    Oh appliance shopping, how fun! *twitch twitch*
    Currently in the same boat of required remodel (dishwasher explosion due to rusted pipes + glued-down carpet (whyyy???) = ridiculous sticky mess of a floor… and broken plumbing). I don’t like the look of appliances either… current idea is to get a very sharp-edged boxy fridge and then wrap in black vinyl and maybe frame it, make it into a chalkboard-looking dry erase board. Now to convince everyone else it would be amazing…

    Good luck to you!

    Reply

  11. Charlotte Des Fleurs
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:54 am

    At one house I put my fridge in the garage right next to the door that opened to the kitchen. A little inconvenient, but it made my kitchen look 1000% better.

    Hubby and I are remodeling our kitchen as well. We just bought a floor-model, slightly scratched, panel ready, 36″, counter-depth, French-door Kitchen Aid. Retail is over $5,000 PLUS the cost of panels. We paid $1,000 and are making the panels ourselves from recycled French Armoire doors. So far, we LOVE it! There are 2 of us and there is plenty of room for everything we use in a week. We don’t stock up on many frozen things but if we wanted to, we would just get a freezer to put in the garage. When we have a party or visitors, we simply turn on our little dorm fridge in the garage and store extra things in there.

    Our great grand parents did not have ginormous fridges. In fact, many of them did not have fridges at all. Unless you are a serial entertainer, who needs a big fridge?

    Reply

    • Karyn
      October 25, 2017 @ 4:55 pm

      Hi Charlotte! Can we see photos of your magnificent creation?

      Reply

      • Charlotte Des Fleurs
        November 4, 2017 @ 11:53 am

        Hi Karyn, We just returned from a house-hunting expedition in southwest France. Our heads are jam packed with new ideas. A few days ago we had a structural engineer out to visit to get the go-ahead to rip out the ceiling in our kitchen and family room. (I started last night!) We are raising the roof, paneling the ceiling and adding hefty wooden beams. Therefore, we are holding off on paneling the fridge. Don’t want it to be damaged during the demo.
        I think VEB and I have the same crazy remodeling genes because I, too, can function with a half demo’d kitchen because I can already see the “after”.

        Reply

    • Laura
      October 26, 2017 @ 7:15 am

      You didn’t mention how you got a 5K fridge for 1K – did it involve sexual favors?

      Reply

      • Charlotte Des Fleurs
        November 4, 2017 @ 11:56 am

        Hi Laura, I tried to reply to this last night. Sorry, no special favors involved. As I am nearly 70. However, I think the seller was trying to put as fast one on us because he told us to wait 48 hours before turning it on. We discovered that it did not work at all! Fortunately, I had contacted the manufacturer BEFORE giving the seller our money. The unit was still under warranty. So, a factory-trained tech came out and made the corrections. It works perfectly and the repairs were free!

        Reply

        • Charlotte Des Fleurs
          November 14, 2017 @ 10:33 pm

          TO KARYN and LAUREN: UPDATE MY KITCHEN: It is now officially a wreck! The entire ceiling is out, half the cabinets are out AND I just found a La Cornue Albertine range for a steal (another Floor model that has only been used once at an Appliance Show). It’s just what I have been looking for – Gloss Black with chrome and brass trim. So, had to buy the range! Electricians have been ripping holes in my walls to put in more outlets, a special outlet for the range because it is European and NEEDS a special circuit, an outlet for the special hood that the special range requires and on and on. My panel-ready fridge is doing its duty as a fridge but is somewhat naked at the moment. Don’t know how to post photos or would show Karyn the armoire panels she asked to see.

          Smiles from Charlotte

          Reply

  12. Peggy
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:56 am

    I think refrigerators should go in the pantry. But then you have to have a pantry big enough for the refrigerator.
    Also, I want to add that I also follow you on Instagram and you have inspired me to plant dahlias next year. Your photos of your flowers are beautiful.

    Reply

    • Ryan
      October 27, 2017 @ 5:22 pm

      Pantry, that’s what I was thinking. The big kitchen addition looks large enough to build a butlers pantry that could house the fridge. Daniel @ Manhattan Nest hosted quite the debate on fridge in pantry of old house kitchen on his blog last year. Many people were against it. I’m for it but my fridge lives in the basement so even more inconvenient. I also don’t have a shower because i don’t want to ruin the layout of my single 1920s bathroom. I will rearrange my life if necessary to avoid ruining my home with modern conveniences.

      Reply

  13. Toni
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:59 am

    I feel like I’m nearing the end of a movie and hanging on a cliff to see what happens! Thanks a lot!%$@#😜

    Reply

  14. Stashy
    October 25, 2017 @ 12:16 pm

    I know it’s not your first plan but this (or a similar) DIY option would at least be dressier than standard/off the shelf option with no adaptations.
    http://littlegreennotebook.com/2017/10/21507.html/

    Reply

    • Patricia
      October 25, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

      I loved this. But you must love black fridges to work. Can correctly sized cabinet doors be glued/ Velcro-ed to the box of ugliness? Or covered in mirror mosaics to resemble a box shaped disco ball? Or gift wrapped with giant red bows? Or painted to look like a Victorian mansion?

      In other words, turn that giant box into something you’ll love… decoupage Don Draper to the front.

      Reply

    • Colleen Mitchell
      October 25, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

      Came here to say that Stashy. Jenny did a great job!

      Reply

  15. Jeanne Holbrook
    October 25, 2017 @ 12:19 pm

    You are in my head ….I have done all the same or similar research and I still have a standard refridgerator… so frustrating.

    Reply

  16. NevadaNy
    October 25, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

    Fridges ARE ugly. I live in a cabin in Nevada. What I did was cover the front of my new plain basic white fridge in old desert weathered wood boards. Then I screwed in beautiful old iron handles made by my Blacksmith great-grandfather.
    Then I hammered in some small nails and hung a wood framed old photo of my great -grandmother riding her horse on the front of the fridge. Love it. Everyone loves it.
    Your fridge is a creative opportunity.
    Maybe you can find a local craftsman to make you some custom fancy doors?

    Reply

    • Cindy
      October 25, 2017 @ 1:08 pm

      OMG can we see a photo?

      Reply

      • Karan
        October 25, 2017 @ 2:43 pm

        I’m with you on that one Cindy!!! NevadaNY, would love to see your refrigerator!
        Karan

        Reply

    • Maryanne
      October 25, 2017 @ 3:03 pm

      What? Please show a picture!! How did you attach the first layer of boards? This is the most fascinating thing I have heard of in a while!! VEB could totally do something like this!

      Reply

    • Shannon
      October 26, 2017 @ 6:24 pm

      Wowed! Please share pic & instructions…

      Reply

  17. JeanFB
    October 25, 2017 @ 12:43 pm

    I feel your pain. There are some great suggestions in the comments section, but somehow I’m feeling maybe the fact that you are moving where your fridge goes is making way for GFTs along that wall???? Can’t wait to see! Good luck to you.

    Reply

  18. Katie Howard
    October 25, 2017 @ 1:07 pm

    You should obviously just turn all of your drawers into refrigerator drawers and get that think Out. Of. Sight.

    Sure, no tall things are allowed and freezer items have to go in the basement but beauty is pain so it is what it is. You also could just buy a cheap fridge and put that in the basement also. Besides, we all know the only important refridgerated items live in the wine cooler.

    Reply

  19. Lena Baitman
    October 25, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

    Personally, I have 2 fridge rules:
    1) Never stainless steel (which leaves me with white)
    2) New wall decal every couple if months. Right now I have matte gold stripes all over my boring ugly cheapshit fridge, and it looks, hmmm… daring.

    Reply

  20. Chania Allen
    October 25, 2017 @ 1:12 pm

    Why don’t you put in a Smeg fridge in a fabulous color. They look fabulous.

    Reply

  21. Sascha
    October 25, 2017 @ 1:16 pm

    I don’t know which I’ve enjoyed more – the post or the comments on the post. And I am currently reconsidering all my life choices in light of my complete lack of refrigerator aesthetic discrimination.

    Also, am I the only one who thought of Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, opening her fridge to another dimension??

    Reply

  22. Marianne in Mo.
    October 25, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

    I truly never thought of how ugly refrigerators are until I read this. Where have I been focusing my attention? Oh yeah, on the fact that this current kitchen AND previous one are the exact same —we rebuilt the same house, only on a lake lot now! We did love that house so much that we had to continue living in it, with the exception of the kitchen and master bath. While we solved the problem of the bath, we were unable to find a solution to the kitchen without adding square footage, which meant $$$ we didn’t have. So we thoughtfully figured out the issue in the past was a side by side fridge. It MUST remain in the end run against a wall, and we could never get the freezer side opened fully without PULLING IT AWAY FROM THE WALL! So we got a french door this time, figuring we STILL had the open door issue, but at least we could get to the entire thing with one door opened. (freezer is on bottom, drawer-type) WRONG! I recently found a spill had happened in there, and discovered I could NOT get the shelves, drawers or much of anything out of there WITHOUT PULLING IT AWAY AT AN ANGLE FROM THE WALL! When we moved in, that space was SO TIGHT, we scraped the wall pushing the fridge in place. Now I’m afraid to pull it out. So I cleaned as best as I could, and left it be. It haunts me every day when I open the door and see yuck between the glass and a plastic support for the veggie drawers. I’m considering converting our screened in porch that overlooks the lake view into a huge pantry, so the fridge can have a home, WITH A LAKE VIEW!!!! I am so sympathetic with you on words, words, words! My brain wants to turn to mush.

    Reply

  23. Loran
    October 25, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

    Why not two fridges? Do the drawer thing (maybe two of them) for the basics, the stuff you use everyday, and then put the *real* fridge downstairs with the freezer? I know, maybe not the most convenient but then you get the space back that is making your brain itchy, you save $41,000 and life can go on.
    When I first looked at the house I eventually bought, that was built in 1937, the previous owners had their enormous fridge in the DINING room, because the kitchen had a built in area that modern fridges, for the most part, don’t fit in. Since my previous house had been built in 1925 I actually had a fridge that fit the new house but was 2″ too tall. A handyman and $500 fixed that and now it lives where the builder intended it. One real estate agent suggested I put my fridge in the separate breakfast room but I think my frozen glare stopped that lunacy. I mean, how COOL is it that there is this whole separate ROOM to put stuff in, complete with built-ins??? Now if I could just finish painting and get the final hinges on the corner cabinet, stuff could get put away, I could have a party and life would be grand!

    Reply

  24. Cheryl
    October 25, 2017 @ 2:11 pm

    I completely agree and am putting all my refrigeration into a butlers pantry. Maybe you can come up with a butler pantry space where the old stairwell used to be????

    Reply

  25. Liz
    October 25, 2017 @ 2:13 pm

    I went through the same painful experience when renovating our older home. We had a very strict budget which I could not go over. All was going well until the fridge nightmares. The only one that worked for me was a subzero with custom panels to match my cabinets, which made it virtually disappear. We were not putting in an over the top high end kitchen, but I just would not compromise on the fridge. You would not believe what I had to give up in order to fit the fridge into the budget ( new furniture, hardwoods, landscaping, etc.) – everyone thought I was crazy, but I am in love with it, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than to have someone ask, “Where’s the fridge”.

    Reply

  26. Mellissa
    October 25, 2017 @ 2:30 pm

    Oh my. We just had this same issue with the microwave. We have a small kitchen in our villa and so the microwave must go above the stove or half of our counter top would be gone.

    It needed to be vented from above, have a mute button and white (in that order). The mute button was absolutely necessary and it was tough to find one with it. I wanted it to be less ugly but there just wasn’t an option below $1k and I wasn’t paying that for a microwave I barely use.

    How are there not be more options? I kept telling myself that others didn’t care so I shouldn’t care. But I still do. The rest of the kitchen is all white and the microwave really stands out.

    Yes, it is quite ugly. It is large and even thought the frame is white the center is black-ish. But for less than $30 we are having a custom made vinyl decal that we can apply to the outside that will camouflage it (kind of).

    (I WISH I had known about there being a fridge that was all fridge and no freezer when we replaced ours. Such a great idea!)

    Reply

  27. MicheleFromBoston
    October 25, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

    Ever think about doing a used commercial fridge with a glass door? Some are column shaped. You could do a column of refrigeration and a column for a freezer unit with something in between for symmetry.

    Reply

  28. Rebecca Grace
    October 25, 2017 @ 3:11 pm

    I feel your pain, sister! Been there, done that. We were saved by the Home Depot EXPO Design Center going out of business within a year of opening, and I was able to score a kitchen-full of brand new Viking appliances from one of their display kitchens, at the cost of mere ugly appliances… You have great taste, a great sense of humor, and you guys are very resourceful. I know you’ll come up with something great.

    Reply

  29. Lauren
    October 25, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

    I like MicheleFromBoston’s idea – I was going to say, what about a built-in wall-mounted oven on one side, the fridge on the other, and counter or cooktop in between? Or a full-height, glass-fronted crockery cabinet to balance off the fridge?
    Planning our kitchen very nearly endangered our marriage. No one could comprehend that I had a VISION, people, not just a desire to be able to make soup and store mixing bowls.

    Reply

  30. Samantha
    October 25, 2017 @ 5:01 pm

    Too late to frame out a Butlers pantry? Then you could also install a small fridge in the island, for the hinge you use everyday, or will be using later that day.

    Reply

  31. Kelly
    October 25, 2017 @ 5:06 pm

    THIS is everything that has been happening in my headspace! Our dishwasher leaked, we’re in a forced kitchen remodel, and I’ve long-hated the awkward BEAST of a fridge we inherited with our house. Been looking at slim 24″ models, but all the ones that are tall and have amazing storage space/organization are only made and sold in the UK or Asia! There’s similar fridges starting to trickle into the U.S., but they’re all twice the price and shoddy. Seriously considering fridge drawers. The drama.

    Reply

  32. Tasha Lanum
    October 25, 2017 @ 6:59 pm

    So … when we remodeled our kitchen, I decided I wanted a lovely kitchen, but a fancy fridge was not my deal….my neighbor has a fancy fridge and she knows her repairman far too well. So my architect came up with a seriously easy idea and just made all the cabinets deeper (36″ I believe), to allow for a standard size fridge that would be cabinet depth (I think standard is 30″ deep?). Granted, I still have a plain, boring, white fridge BUT my kitchen is absolutely gorgeous, because I spent the money on other (non-fancy-fridge) stuff and you don’t even notice the white fridge. And the two years I took dithering on Houzz and Pinterest paid off. Procrastination can be an underrated successful behavioral strategy! Take heart!

    Reply

  33. Candace Ford
    October 25, 2017 @ 8:09 pm

    I think you should hold out for the $7,000,000.oo refrigerator!!!

    Reply

  34. Kat
    October 25, 2017 @ 8:27 pm

    Our second home is a cabin. The giant basic black fridge was taking over the entire space. I convinced my husband to move it to the lower level laundry room. We have a $150 dorm fridge in the kitchen – my husbands junk gets priority! The dorm fridge will have a custom counter built over it and it blends in with the older stainless stove next to it. The entire kitchen is now unfitted and homemade and I love it. My real house has a large pantry and we are kicking around the idea of sticking the fridge in there. I would remove the fridge surround and replace my current free standing hutch with a bigger one.

    Reply

  35. Sandi
    October 25, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

    I did a glass mosaic on my side by side in a harlequin pattern. It was pretty cool, in white and cream. I’m thinking of doing a wide stripe pattern on the current one. BTW, couldn’t Paul make something for the front of the fridge? Panel ready or not?

    Reply

    • fixitchick
      October 27, 2017 @ 11:39 am

      picture please. and some step by step instructions

      Reply

  36. sweetfe
    October 25, 2017 @ 8:48 pm

    Okay…so I have always thought the paneled fridge doors looked gorgeous but never actually investigated the cost of one. I knew they would be expensive but it never occurred to me they might run into the 47k region. Wow. SO I decided there must be a workable DIY solution. I looked at google and I looked at Pinterest. Some looked pretty horrid to me…but then I ran across this Houzz link….which referenced this part:
    https://www.hafele.com/us/en/product/refrigerator-door-hinge-brown-plastic/56816007/

    If you are doing custom cabinets anyways (guessing), why not get extra material and build a cabinet to put your fridge in. That dohooky will open the fridge good when you open the cabinet. I also ran across a comment in here than mentioned making the cabinets deeper on the fridge wall. What a brilliant idea!

    Anyways, you may want to check out the Houzz reference yourself: https://www.houzz.com/discussions/2702816/connecting-a-wood-panel-door-to-a-fridge-door-to-open-together

    I am sure whatever you decide on will be fabulous! It does seem like some glue and wood in some combination should do the trick.

    Good luck!

    Reply

    • Kim Hill
      October 30, 2017 @ 10:14 am

      I had the same thought as you. Why not build a cabinet around the refrigerator to hide it when not in use? That way you could have a larger, practical unit, but it would be masked by a cabinet door. Those links are great.

      Reply

  37. MB
    October 25, 2017 @ 8:53 pm

    I feel your pain. Old house, similar problem. Solved it by turning a small adjoining room into a pantry and located the refer there. It doesn’t mar the kitchen & works fine in the pantry.

    Good luck!

    Reply

  38. Suzi Prassas
    October 25, 2017 @ 10:05 pm

    Your posts just make me laugh. I totally get you!

    Reply

  39. Angela Tims
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:01 pm

    I found this entire post completely relatable. You are not unreasonable at all as far as I’m concerned. However, my ultimate fridge is Yolanda Foster’s, it’s basically a marble walled closet with a glass door.

    Reply

  40. K
    October 25, 2017 @ 11:07 pm

    I have that 36in sub zero you’re looking at (with the interior water dispenser) and the 24 in freezer. Paneled. I love them more than one should love inanimate objects. You will never regret that purchase. It almost didn’t happen but because my contractor didn’t get my kitchen planners final design, i realized i didn’t have to get yet another regular fridge that wouldn’t really work and i’d curse every day of my life. Fate intervened. I also got a spice pantry, a floor to ceiling oil/vinegar pull out and a regular pantry. (All things that were not on the plan yet should have been obvious to my kitchen planner… but… 🙄)

    While you’re emptying your bank account… might I also recommend a scotsman under counter nugget ice maker? Life. Changing.

    Reply

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