Built-in Refrigerator

Finishing the nook has started me on a kitchen finishing rampage. All the little details that have haunted me for the past two years are getting crossed off the list.

This past weekends victim…the “built-in” refrigerator. In our wonky house the fridge is actually inside a small space that is inset in the wall (basically a closet). This was not some clever space saving design decision. It’s just the way it was when we bought the house, and with no other space in the tiny kitchen for a fridge, it remained there.

We think the space originally might have been a pantry and at some point the doorway was sloppily widened to house a refrigerator. The floor of the space is the same tongue and groove hardwood as the rest of the house, but it is 4″ higher that the rest of the floors. And it gets even wonkier…It is also the only access to our attic. Gotta love old houses.

When we designed the new kitchen, I wanted the fridge to have a purposely built-in look. As opposed to the “cut a big hole in the wall” look. But something got lost in translation between the carpenter who installed our kitchen and my built-in fridge dreams. The rough cut hole was still there, the bottom of the cabinet left exposed, and the “baseboard” hanging off by a single sad nail. It actually looked a bit worse. He thought it looked great, and being that he had screwed up a bunch of other stuff in the kitchen we decided we would fix it ourselves… and two years later we did it.

*A little side note on the mechanics of this cabinet: The space that houses the fridge is 40″ deep. Which is deeper than a standard base cabinet. The carpenter cut the back of the cabinet box off, so there is a 4″ frame of cabinet box that attaches to the walls. He then took a piece of light oak melamine and cut it to the depth and width of the space. The melamine sits on cleats that you see in the photo above. Being that this space is also our attic access, a normal 24″ deep cabinet would not have allowed us to get up into the attic. This was very smart of the carpenter (I will give him that and that alone).

Now back to making things pretty… The first thing we did was unscrew the cabinet frame and slide it back so the doors would be flush with the vertical trim, giving the cabinet an inset look. We then detached the top trim piece cut it down and reattached it flush with the rest of the trim. We then cut back the cleats that held the melamine bottom. This was to enable us to attach a small piece of molding on the bottom to hide the shelf and be flush with the doors. At the very top, we attached cove crown molding to match the original cabinets on the opposite wall.

Built-in refrigerator cabinet

With the cabinet done we focused on cleaning up the fridge opening. We fixed the corner cut in the upper right corner, allowing us to finish the rough edge (to the right of the fridge) by adding a piece of corner molding. Finally, we added a 5.5″ baseboard at the bottom (remember the space the fridge is in is 4″ higher than the surrounding floor).

We then caulked all the little gaps and nail holes, and finished everything off with 2 coats of paint.

Built-in refrigerator ashandorange.wordpress.com

Built-in refrigerator ashandorange.wordpress.com

Built-in refrigerator ashandorange.wordpress.com

It took an entire day to finish and was so worth it. These little details make all the difference between the kitchen looking like a crappy DIY job and a well-designed, custom kitchen.

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2 thoughts on “Built-in Refrigerator

  1. I love it! You guys did a great job. I think you should build me a little house in your backyard and I’ll live there, happily!

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