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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Kitchen layout, especially refrigerator placement

skeylargoJanuary 26, 2013
We are finally ready to re-do our 30+ year kitchen and want to change layout in the process. The biggest dilemma we have is with the wall that the refrigerator goes on. We can't decide which end of the cabinet run it should go on, should we make it counter depth or regular depth. The spot fridge is at in the plan is by the doorway that goes into LR/DR. The other doorway on that wall is to the hallway, that's where we come in all the time. If we put counter depth fridge I guess it could go on either side but regular depth seems to block in the kitchen and would give less room for table and chairs. Our current fridge is 33" wide and is plenty big for us if we went with 36" counter depth it would give us the same cubic feet space. If I put the fridge in the location on the plan than I have to move the doorway 3" (already moved in the plan) which means that I would have to either repaint (faux finished and stenciled) LR walls or put decorative moldings to cover the change.
I really want to get moving on the kitchen but the fridge really has me stumped. Also worried if there would be enough room in the current plan location to open the fridge and freezer doors, move out the fridge for repairs or exchange etc.

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I posted too quickly :)
To clarify. the doorway on the left is the foyer/hall that we come in. the doorway on the right is to LR.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:26PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
Typically you want to keep a fridge of this type off the side wall 4" because the door handle protrudes another 2" more than the door. In this case, the handle will fall into the door opening so your clearance should be okay (ask you kitchen designer to double check). The location is preferrable as it now stands. Consider recessing it into the back wall, assuming it is an interior wall without pipes, etc. You can gain 4" and then you won't have to repaint.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I did not think of recessing it primarily because it is a load bearing wall and my husband is worried about doing it ( I wanted to do it in my current kitchen). Also my kitchen designer seemed to be against it, not sure why.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Ironwood Builders
In reading your plans I see that the designer allowed just 35" of clear space in front of the refrigerator. Too small! You may be able to access a wardrobe style from in front of the unit, but you better plan on not eating much out of it! Recessing the refrigerator into the wall 4" means backing it up right to the drywall of the living room(?) hall(?). What does that drywall hang on after the studs come out? A cabinet depth unit will help..especially if you go with a Sub-zero or similar unit that is really only 24 inches deep...flush to the cabinets. The standard "cabinet depth" we see so often now is 24" and then you add on for the thickness of the door (and handle). So 28" is the actual depth. Sorry to be so picky. Best to figure this out now, before the cabinets and refrigerator are installed!
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Ironwood Builders - I like picky people as I am one myself :-)
That's why I posted here as the accessibility was one of my concerns :( and now that I am looking at it more, more stuff does not make sense. There is only 30" depth for the fridge on the plan so it would fit only counter depth anyway as I think most regular size refrigerators I saw were 33" deep. I would not be getting Sub-zero - too expensive and would have to get wider fridge and I don't want to give up cabinets (kitchen is small as it is).
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
There are doorways in load bearing walls all the time. This opening is the size of an exterior door rough opening. Since the height of the refrigerator is typically less than a door opening height, there is plenty of room to recess a header without dealing with the double ceiling plate above. You need to be careful when you sawz-all the sheetrock screws or nails from between the backside of the 2 studs and sheetrock on other side because you can create nail pops or tears in that wall. Then put the new relocated framing studs and double 2X or dbl LVL header back in the opening and you're good to go. If you are concerned about the size of the header, you will have more than enough room to oversize it. Pay attention to where the water line for the ice maker is located and where to pull the line through the floor now that the back wall no longer exists. Of course, you will have to deal with any electrical lines or pipes. If you think they exist, recessing may not be possible unless you go to the expense of relocating them. We recess refrigerators quite often.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:14PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
Ironwood - You are correct in bringing attention to "What does that drywall hang on to after the studs come out? If the 1/2" drywall feels too "bouncy" over the opening, we glue plywood to the sheetrock for the entire rough opening and screw the edges into the framing (at an angle of course). This reduces the depth to anywhere from 3 1/2" to 3 1/4" depending on the thickness of the sheetrock. Around here we use 5/8" rock so the span is not an issue.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:33PM
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The Virtual Designer- Kitchens & Bathrooms
Hello there... I re-organised a kitchen that had a room like yours a couple of years ago and suggested the clients go for a more modern layout. One of the windows did need replacing but did give the entire space a very open feeling. That kitchen has been taken away now (re-located to a newly build extension so can't post photos) but the layout was something like the rough plan I've attached.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Thank you for suggestio but in my house it is not a window but a large sliding door to the deck - the only access to the deck so this would not work in our situation, I wish it did.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:44PM
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The Virtual Designer- Kitchens & Bathrooms
A deck sounds very nice out from a kitchen! I hope all turns out as you hope.
    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:12PM
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Yes, we love our deck and the light we get from the door and looking outside.
Any other suggestions how to lay out my kitchen? I just can't figure out what to do with the fridge.
    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 5:18AM
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Arlene Warda, Architect
Hi skeylargo, I see there is another opportunity here if you are open to it. I have been aligning refrig,
one that is larger, and sticking out beyond counter with this idea.

1. place a 'stove niche' for bottles, spices, etc. with the infill 4" or more of space. Here is how it looks in plan.

2. you could move the microwave to the right to accommodate this. See the elevation. Also the plan.

3. I also have a scheme with 2 niches, one to each side, more bottles, or display items. Use undercabinet lighting to light, highlight them.

this is just another idea, opportunity to think about. Thanks.
    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:00AM
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