My refrigerator / home design problem

I have a stupid little home design problem involving my kitchen and refrigerator and I’m at my wits end.

I need a new refrigerator for my NYC apartment, desperately. I’ve been stalling for years because I keep running up against the same issue and I can’t stall anymore.

My current refrigerator is 14.4 cubic feet and is dimensioned at 63"H and 28"W and 25.5."D. The cabinetry was designed around it and is cut pretty tight to it, I have maybe an inch and a half of play at the top and an inch or so on the sides. The door is almost flush to the countertop on each side, it protrudes maybe an inch.

Apparently they don’t make anything in this size anymore…not even close.
I seem to have 2 choices

  1. Purchase a smaller fridge…around 10 cubic feet, which will look really freakin’ dinky and will be about 3 inches shorter and 4-5 inches narrower than the current one leaving ugly gaps in the cabinetry. It will, however, be flush with the countertop

  2. Purchase a 14-15 cubic foot model, there is a good selection that has close to the same height and width as the current fridge. The problem is the damn depth, they are all about 5 inches deeper than my current fridge, which means it will stick way out beyond the counter in my narrow galley kitchen and I’m afraid it’ll look really big and clunky and make the kitchen look smaller.

I guess I’m leaning slightly towards “2”, but I am really twisted about having to make a major purchase that I know in advance that I’m going to hate.


You don’t really want to give up 4.4 cubic feet of space in your fridge. That’s several gallons of milk, or a lot of bottles of salad dressing, or a lot of apples and oranges.

Don’t hate the new fridge, hate your existing countertop design, it needs to be updated.

What you have is called a ‘counter depth’ refrigerator. They are still made, but not as common as in the past.

I had replace my 1985 vintage one a few years ago. I had to go with one 30" wide - it barely fit.

They are ungodly expensive. Good luck.

A few of the manufacturers make appliances that are specially designed that way, I think the keyword you should be searching for is “counter-depth”.

Google for “Summit FF1251W” and see if that wouldn’t fit the bill.

I know it can be a big PITA to find a fridge that fits in a particular-sized spot, since they keep designing them bigger and bigger and bigger, but the old style kitchens won’t always accommodate those monster refrigerators.

Damn…one inch too tall, I’ve run into many close calls. I’ ve checked lots of counter -depth ones but they are all too tall.

I am long overdue for a remodel on the the kitchen but I need cold food in the meantime. Now I’m thinking if I can get the doors replaced on the existing one I might be able to get another year out of it…otherwise I will go oversized and cheap it out so I don’t feel so bad.

Darn, I was hoping that one would work for you since it wasn’t $3000 like most of the counter-depth ones I found on a quick Google for you. I wonder if it has detachable feet?

Here’s it’s slightly smaller cousin:

I am not usre wether you are renting or it is your apartment so maybe this is not applicable.

I had much the same problem with the kitchen in our house. Decided to have a bit of a renovation but was stymied by the fridge size and it’s “spot”.

Got some guy in to give us quotes and he suggested moving the fridge to another spot just outside the kitchen. “Can’t do that- the fridge has “always” been there!”

On reflection he was right. We moved the fridge to the other side of our dining table taking advantage of what was not really useable space, had the kitchen done up and have a heck of a lot more space there as a result.

And a honking big 700 litre fidge/ freezer.

How about getting the smaller fridge and ALSO getting one of those little dorm fridges (the kind that are only a few cubic feet and don’t usually have a freezer per se) and put it somewhere else?

I don’t have much to offer except sympathy - our current house and our last house were both built in the seventies, and I’ve lost track of how many times we went to replace something, and the sizing has changed in that time. I guess I can understand things changing in 40 years, but it’s still a pain in the ass (what a lovely door - too bad it doesn’t fit our door opening).

This may be an obvious question, but have you tried the used fridge route?

Moving this thread to Cafe Society where some kitchenestas may have some good advice.


Have you considered simply having your existing refrigerator professionally rebuilt?

You say the fridge was 1" too tall. Is there a cabinet above it or a trim piece? If it’s a cabinet, check that it doesn’t have a trim piece added to the underside of it, thats sop to get a tight fit.

I think this may be the best route, now I need to find someone to do it.

It seems like parts are still available for the existing refrigerator, the real problem is the interior door panel, the formed plastic is cracked and has fallen off in places, exposing the insulation…also it has made the inside door unusable, reducing the storage space.

I wish I could find a place that sold the entire door preassembled but it doesn’t seem to work that way. I think rebuilding the door from parts is a little beyond my skill set although I am good with stuff like this. if it wasn’t the refrigerator I would give it shot but I can’t afford to screw it up or get stuck because of a missing part, etc.

But I am concerned that the insulation is less effective…I have the fridge turned to full cold which in the past would actually freeze the liquids, it doesn’t do that anymore and I’m also noticing a shorter shelf life on milk ( and as I am probably one of the only adults in the country that still loves milk as a beverage this sucks ). I like the way my kitchen looks but I hate going for a glass of milk and finding out that it’s spoiled.

Oh well

One way people handle the fridge depth problem is to remove a section of the wall behind the fridge (just the framing, easier on a non-load bearing wall). It’s cheaper than getting a counter depth fridge, and you don’t sacrifice the fridge space.

This is an excellent idea, but get someone with construction experience to do it.

The previous owners of our home did this in the bathroom when they bought a toilet with the wrong distance from the plumbing to the wall and we’ve got a not so neat nook behind the toilet.

Unfortunately this bathroom is last on our renovation list.

Can you get a hold of a big piece of cardboard (from, say, a fridge box :wink: ), and create kind of a false front 5" out from your current fridge to get a feel for how it would look in the space? That may help you decide.

I went to take a look at this, and wouldn’t you know it, the wall behind the fridge is poured concrete.

But while I was poking around, I had that flash of inspiration that has been eluding me.

There is a 2 door cabinet above the fridge—2 tiered with 1 shelf. It looks like I can easily remove the cabinet doors and knock out the bottom of the cabinet, converting the cabinet into an open shelf. That will gain me 10 inches and open up a world of refrigerator options beyond “does it fit?”…I might even have my choice of colors and maybe I can even find a bottom freezer unit.

And that kind of light cosmetic construction is well within my skill set, I can probably knock it out ( so to speak ) in 15 minutes…I may go ahead and do it this weekend.

Thanks so much to all for helping me break through the stagnation…I love the SDMB !!!

Awesome news!

And yeah, I would have suggested getting the bigger fridge and just figuring it out, cause there is little sense in spending on a new fridge that just isn’t gonna work out sizewise, whereas you could, might, *did * find a way to aesthetically work around it. Good job :slight_smile:

This might be stating the obvious, but since I have no idea of your level of carpentry skill, I’ll do it anyway: before you knock it out, see if there are screws holding it to the wall. You might be able to just raise the whole cabinet a few inches.