How we are hiding the refrigerator in our kitchen remodel.
My last post detailed our refrigerator conundrum… read it if you enjoy stories about a vapid woman grappling with not-real-problems.
Here is the synopsis:
In our kitchen, the refrigerator makes our layout not symmetrical.
Lack of symmetry is unacceptable.
At some point, there was a doorway here (in the layout below, the * asterisk denotes doorway.) Possibly a service entrance, possibly some kind of landing to the basement?
It’s hard to be sure, given that we do not know what the layout looked like before the parade of previous owners remuddled the space, and put on an addition, (where we added the wall of windows.)
We discovered it when we redid the ductwork that originally ran across the ceiling in the world’s weirdest soffit.
Adding ductwork to an old house is always a challenge, (pre-high-velocity) but this was egregious… it was like they asked themselves, HOW CAN WE DRAW ALL OF THE ATTENTION TO THIS SOFFIT?
This doorway was a portal to ALL OF MY IDEAS!
Let’s reopen it and put a small porch! a LARGE porch! a year-round SUN PORCH! just stairs down to the yard! a glass door would bring in so much light! maybe some kind of wraparound porch thing extended from the front! an elevated deck along the side of the house!
LET’S BUILD MINI VERSAILLES!
Spoiler alert: there will be no Versailles.
Because while it galls me to squander a space suitable for French royalty, hedonism, and scandal; putting the fridge here will give us approximately 297% more functionality, and apparently 297% is the magic number.
This section of our exterior is not fields of wildflowers and butterflies… so to do any kind of appealing outside space, we would need to move (or camouflage) the AC compressor unit… plus, consider the bilco doors.
Theoretically, we could get rid of them; we have access to the basement from inside the house. BUT! The bilco doors, (while rarely used,) are REALLY USEFUL when you need them! Trying to get a water heater, chest freezer, washer/dryer, down old-house, twisty basement stairs is an exercise in me getting yelled at, while Paul tries to not be crushed by 4,000 pounds of appliance.
Although, to his credit, Paul spent time figuring out how to build a landing that hinges, to accommodate keeping the doors accessible under an imaginary-deck-area… blah blah blah.
But ultimately, considering how we already have a mile-long wraparound front porch, and how this will completely change how we can layout the rest of the kitchen, I’m pleased to announce that for the first time in my life, I am embracing FUNCTIONALITY.
BUT! Please do not worry! I KNOW that YOU would do A SUNROOM! A LIBRARY! A SOLARIUM!
I’m really looking forward to the chorus of: YOU ARE DOING THE WRONG THING! It’s the best part of blogging! The way the Internet lets you know LITERALLY ANYTHING OTHER THAN YOUR PLAN IS A BETTER PLAN.
Just move windows!
Just move doors!
Just move walls!
Chop off the back of your house and rebuild it!
RENT A BULLDOZER TONIGHT AND TEAR IT ALL DOWN!
If the bulldozer rental place is closed, BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN.
Above is the wall where we are moving the fridge… (getting a straight-on photo of this space is impossible unless the far wall is totally empty, which is never the case.)
Our previous kitchen plan had us acquire this this near-ceiling-height, antique Victorian bookcase for dish and other storage (and also because fancy old bookcases are my favorite thing to hoard. Count them! One bookcase, two bookcases, three bookcases, and the bookcase to end all bookcases, the Elvis Memorial Library.)
Also, random aside of importance: the above photo is not complete without showing you why my husband is truly the very best thing that has ever happened to me… I was feeling so sad, dreading the anniversary of Elvis’s death… and on that morning, when I got up and trudged downstairs and into the kitchen.
I CANNOT EVEN.
I do not think I need to write a bunch of mushy mush, because I think you will GET how uglycryface I was.
Anyway. Back to the below photo.
I loved the bookcase we had there. And I loved having storage that was beautiful, non-kitchen-y, and unexpected.
But keeping this space OPEN, is better.
It will allow us to use a panel-ready fridge and keep it totally flush with that wall.
I may or may not be trying to figure out how to DIY some version of below.
Ok. I’ve lost control of this post. Proceed at your own risk of death-by-boredom.
Despite appearances, I DID TRY TO EDIT but there is no transforming this into something five-second-internet-attention-span-friendly that has no words, just pretty pictures!
Now, addressing some questions from my last post… I was surprised at how many of you are also somewhere in refrigerator hell, and if you haven’t stumbled yourself on these options, they might be worth considering for your project!
Did you consider counter-height refrigerators?
Yes… we considered both simple undercounter, and refrigerator drawers, (both in panel-ready.)
For us, the drawers caused just as many layout issues as they resolved… I DON’T want more base cabinets, and we would have had to add them/extend the line of cabinets on the window wall, and where it ends now is a natural transition and none of the rearrangements we came up with were satisfying.
Also, I imagined myself doing what I do with every other storage system: OPEN EVERYTHING AND STILL NOT FIND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.
If you are considering them, go and see them in person! The way I use our refrigerator involves LARGE and BULKY items, and the undercounter options just seemed like something I was going to be fussing with– needing to organize and manage the space; and I am someone who struggles to move the laundry from the washer, to the dryer, and then again to a folded state… so “managing” my refrigerators sounds dicey.
Also, I clearly envisioned the very first day in our new kitchen:
Paul– *opens all the drawers* where is? do you know? which one?
Me– rip all of these out.
Did you consider comercial fridge columns?
We also considered glass-front comercial fridges (all-fridge columns) which are relatively inexpensive– this Frigidaire runs $1,700. Not bad!
BUT that is the only one I could see in person, and the shelves/light didn’t thrill me, and overall it was not right for this kitchen, but I think that style could be a great option; I am someone who likes a glass-front fridge! But for this space, I am envisioning something different— I want all the kitchen stuff to be as unobtrusive as possible.
And this question:
HOW are you living without a kitchen?
We’re not! But I see how it appears this way!
We have a working sink, dishwasher, microwave, stove, and a place to prep food. This IS a kitchen. It’s not pretty, but it’s completely usable… I have restrained myself from telling Paul how fast I would make decisions if I were reduced to making sauerkraut in the bathtub.
And one last detail: the family who bought the bookcase has a blog! Called Living in a Fixer Upper. You will like it! They are also suffering through self-inflicted, old-house idiocy! HIGH FIVE!
Only the husband came for the bookcase, he said his wife was not feeling well; but I am certain that she was just doing me a solid: demonstrating to Paul that ALL HUSBANDS DO CRAIGSLIST WITH GOOD CHEER AND ENTHUSIASM!
October 30, 2017 @ 12:34 pm
Well those fridges behind the awesome armoire and glass fronted doors are spectacular. I never even knew that was a possibility. I guess you can’t DIY due to the refrigerator needing to “breathe” all that hot air somewhere? Wouldn’t that be cool with the piano island.
October 30, 2017 @ 12:39 pm
I wasn’t prepared for ELVIS. Ugly cry is right.
October 30, 2017 @ 1:08 pm
I think your embrace of functionality gives you an excellent solution. How many of us have struggled with the looming presence of a refrigerator in our kitchens? We made some structural changes in our renovation that permitted a wall of cabinets encasing the refrigerator, with pullout pantry drawers on either side, and that works well for us, but I put money into a Lacanche stove, custom cabinetry (necessary to fit the kitchen) and marble counters and did without a panel ready refrigerator. And I don’t have a Paul. If you can manage a DIY version of that beautiful mirrored door (who knew such options existed?), you will have united beauty and functionality.
By the way, something has happened and your blog is nearly impossible to read on an IPad. The same thing happened on Maria Killam’s blog, and she had it fixed. The scroll function doesn’t work, content refuses to load, and you can’t type a comment and read what you’re typing, so you get crazy stuff, and when you try to correct it, the backspace button goes on automatic and wipes out what you’ve written. I had to go to my computer to read your post properly and write this comment.
October 30, 2017 @ 1:10 pm
Just a hopefully helpful thought……I LOVE the mirrored refrigerator doors! Had never seen that. One thought, I have to wipe my refrigerator doors at least once and twice a day to keep them presentable (I have a black fridge). If you are a clean freak, doing mirrored doors that often would be challenging. Just for consideration. Sounds like your “kitchen remodeling” is gaining momentum once again! Yippee!
October 30, 2017 @ 1:14 pm
OMG! How cool are those fridges? I’ve been following your remodel and wishing we still lived in an old house, but right now we’re stuck in our 1994 southern subdivision ranch model! Plus, after 48 years of marriage I KNOW I’m not married to a Paul, so I am just going to have to be diligent about tearsheets, color cards, appliance dimensions, flooring and tile samples, and THEN hope that we find the right contractor!
October 30, 2017 @ 1:29 pm
Please don’t think I’m weird. But armoire fridge just made me alllmooosssttt text my husband with pictures, and the words “This…*this* is what will earn you certain intimate favors you really want, and are on my ‘aw, helllllllzzzz naw’ list…”
I’m not. Cause we’re broke, not in the middle of a beauteous kitchen remodel, and simply put, I don’t have a “Paul”(may his name be praised….lol). I do have five children, an elderly indoor corgi (rescue), and a husband who likes stability and lots of large scale cooking (he made 7#s of Mexican beef this weekend… delicious, but 7#??).
Thank you for adding to the mental image of the “when we win the lottery kitchen redo”…
And hugs, for Elvis…🐱💓
October 30, 2017 @ 1:33 pm
Your ideas are brilliant! Something is bothering me though, what happened to marble slabs you were going to use on the top of the piano island?
October 30, 2017 @ 1:42 pm
Love you and your hilarious ramblings! 😹 High fives to you for your choice of a husband! 👌🏻
October 30, 2017 @ 1:50 pm
Wait, so I don’t understand the mechanics of the plan. Here is what I have understood. There used to be a doorway in this spot, so now there will be a fridge, and it will be flush with the wall. I am left to conclude that you cut a hole where the door used to be and stick the fridge through it so it sticks out into the yard? From the angle of the outside photo, it seems that there is a living room window there? Do you have to get rid of/cover up the window for the scheme to work? How do you make the outside non-hideous? Are you going to like the visual of a fridge-sized box sticking out on the side of your house?
October 30, 2017 @ 2:00 pm
I love love love your blog. Thank you. You make me laugh out loud. My father (now gone over 6 years) would have been a “Paul” if my mother had been a you- she didn’t have your inherent design qualities. Daddy would have made anything work, would have figured out it. My husband (love him!) is NOT a Paul, either. I *think* you really do realize what a gem you have there…keep appreciating him…that’s special. I love love love all these ideas and things are looking so great! I was at the nearby antique mall on Saturday and saw a couple of thread cases… Very pricey! Lovely though. I bought a 6-drawer library card catalog cabinet 3 years ago- I had just had surgery and under the influence of narcotics- told myself I wouldn’t go over $50 and got it for $103. 🙂 AND I STILL HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING WITH IT!
October 30, 2017 @ 2:00 pm
Which bookcase was sold? I love the Craigslist finds, and I adore bookcases. And that armoire fridge, where in the world did you find that?? I want it! My husband is a Paul. They could be brothers. He feels Paul’s pain We just renovated a 1940’s craftsman bungalow, and our own, modest ranch is next.
October 30, 2017 @ 2:01 pm
My husband is really glad that I wasn’t following you when we first designed our kitchen. It’s a not done yet either. Why are kitchens so fraught with problems? I went with white cabinets , matte black pulls, white farmhouse sink, and I wanted soap stone countertops ( ended up with silestone matte black- after looking several weeks on Craigs list for a couple of slate pool tables-NADA ). The appliances are GE slate and I really like them. The wall the refrigerator ended up on has to be rebuilt—-long story.
I shed a tear for you and your Elvis ( Paul is a keeper) , we are owned by a too smart black cat named Squeeks who is 15 and we consider him our four legged son. I can’t imagine life without him.
October 30, 2017 @ 2:11 pm
Loved these fridges. The last 4 photos showed me fridges I never even knew existed, I’m grateful. …I don’t know what to do with the information but I love them.
October 30, 2017 @ 2:26 pm
I am so out of touch with reality. We have two kitchens, one in our primary residence and the other in our Mexican home. And yet somehow I neglected to become familiar with what a “panel ready” refrigerator is. You have now corrected that deficiency in my vocabulary, if not my lifestyle. I also do not share your need for symmetry since I am a painter and symmetry is anathema to interesting compositions. Symmetry = bo-r-r-r-ing. But I am ecstatic that there is your blog so I can vicariously own and buy all those gorgeous old Victorian antiques that I would love to have but have no where to put them and my practical side will not allow.
Elvis lives indeed. 🐈 (sorry there’s no black kitty emoji.)
July 16, 2019 @ 4:08 pm
Like you I get annoyed when people humble brag about their love and need for symmetry. They don’t know they just confessed to possessing only one skill set. Balance creates interest whereas symmetry lets the eye rest. Meanwhile I am worried her fridge is adequately insulated sticking out like that especially if she has a water dispenser copper pipe which could freeze and burst. Still it looks great and maybe she lives where the weather is mild.
I don’t understand the Elvis worship at all though. Elvis treated women like dirt and he raped his wife as well as innocent 14 year old virgins. Of course that is only “statutory rape” and “marital rape” which doesn’t really count as real “rape rape” (to quote Whoppy Goldberg on Polanski) as long as the stain is cleansed by the bleach of talent, fame and money. The public is so wonderfully forgiving. I am pretty sure the fat bloated constipated King of Rock & Roll is dead. His corpse is safely rotting in the ground, while his disease soul is roasting on a spit in Hell.
June 1, 2020 @ 3:04 am
Victoria had a precious cat named Elvis. That she ADORED. Like her child. In fact, was her child. If you read her blog from the beginning ~ You’ll see the magic of Elvis. and regardless……positivity is on short supply in this world. Try.
October 30, 2017 @ 2:33 pm
The part about renting a bulldozer, or burning the house down had me laughing out loud. I love you.
October 30, 2017 @ 2:35 pm
When I read your last post my first thought was to use the old stairwell space! My sister turned her same space into a pantry. She too has a second access to her basement.
I think it’s the perfect solution for your frig! And I LOVE the armoire idea!!
October 30, 2017 @ 2:41 pm
I have never before in my life seen such beautiful fridges as those you posted at the end; please, please, please do something like that! Elvis <3
October 30, 2017 @ 2:45 pm
I do not have food pretty enough to deserve any of those drop dead beautiful fridges. And I most certainly couldn’t afford both a dazzlingly beautiful fridge and Pinterest photo ready food to place in said fridge. While I’m not sure what you’re going to ACTUALLY do with or to the fridge to meet your high standards, I look forward to seeing the finished reveal. Because this may be the slowest reveal in blog history….
But well worth the wait, no doubt.
October 30, 2017 @ 2:52 pm
Just a thought….in the build out to accommodate the amazing refrigerator I know that you’ll pick, how about a window seat under the window in the area of the frig/future thing of beauty? I can’t really say without seeing more pics of the space but I think it would work out and keep instyle with the house and it is also an opportunity for great molding and pillows and prettiness.
October 30, 2017 @ 3:57 pm
You are adorable and hilarious! I am not in an old house, but a home that is begging for updating!! The light fixtures have become entertainment for my friends – my lack of grace and fixture demise (probably a dusting accident) if my husband doesn’t get on board soon…
Loving your foster kitties. You have a sweet husband – and I would have ugly cried as well. I have a feeling Elvis II will catch your heart very soon.
Thank you for your glorious posts!