Kitchen Cabinet not so....Standard?

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Forum topic by rdlaurance posted 01-21-2010 10:42 AM 1679 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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367 posts in 3550 days

01-21-2010 10:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinets cupboards design refrigerator question resource tip

Observations that I’ve noted over the last few years with regards to production and hand-made kitchen cupboard/cabinet standards or measurements.

My observation is that when a cupboard surround is constructed adjoining and bridged over a refrigerator that the cupboards are the standard (I assume) depth from the wall, yet refrigerator standards seem to have a deeper measurement. The net result is that after the cupboards are installed and the refrigerator is set in place the look (IMO) is a design fiasco…. the refrigerator extends beyond all the cabinetry and lacks a sense of harmony with the surroundings. Just a big (normally) white box sticking out from all the beautiful new cabinets while the cupboards above the refrigerator are harder to access because of the height and inset depth just to the door plane without regards to further distance back into the cabinet.

Are there no pre-thoughts to this design situation? It’s almost as if the designer of the cabinetry has never been in a truly harmonious designed kitchen or lacks good design skills.

I am in the process of building up my kitchen (from below ground level to finish) and at least have resolved this situation in my instance by building a self-ventilated (from a buried pipe outside) pantry behind the area where the refrigerator sits. This has allowed me to build in the refrigerator with flush walls while yielding this space as useable (better reached) from inside the pantry.

I realize that this isn’t possible for most people while just renovating the kitchen but having a deeper cabinet to sit (harmoniously) flush with the refrigerator certainly wouldn’t take up too much floor real-estate in the cook’s abode and I believe adds a much nicer and cleaner line to the plane of cabinets to appliance.

Anybody have comments or other observations in regards to this?

-- Rick, south Sweden

11 replies so far

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3771 days

#1 posted 01-21-2010 11:26 AM

What you’re seeing isn’t necessarily caused by a lack of standards, but rather is caused by a dramatic increase in refrigerator sizes over the last decade. Cabinetmakers haven’t completely caught up yet. (You can get cabinets in the new depths in some places.)

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3267 days

#2 posted 01-21-2010 12:40 PM

A lot of homes have what is called a soffet. Anyway the older ones like my home. That is why they are so shallow. Plus the larger size of the refrigerators.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View poopiekat's profile


4386 posts in 3937 days

#3 posted 01-21-2010 05:33 PM

Watch out for the swing of the fridge doors! I always understood that the fridge has to extend into the room a couple of inches, so that the fridge doors can swing 180 degrees without hitting the adjacent cabinet. Not usually possible if the fridge is flush with the cabinets.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View rdlaurance's profile


367 posts in 3550 days

#4 posted 01-21-2010 08:16 PM

That makes a lot of sense then… if the ‘frig’ companies are supersizing their appliances to fit the American TV watcher’s refreshment breaks during the growing number/duration of commercials…. LOL

That hadn’t even occured to me, as I live in Sweden (going on 10 years now) and seems the European sizes still seem adequate at the standard depth (here) of 60 centimeters (23.6”). The population here has not yet gotten supersized.

poopiekat… again it must be the American standards vs European, as I just checked our Bosch ‘fridge’ and it has no problems with flush to the cabinet plane (1.5” space from side of fridge to wall) as the hinges of the appliance allow the door to open no greater than about 120˚.

-- Rick, south Sweden

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3403 days

#5 posted 01-21-2010 10:08 PM

rdlaurance, they do make cabinets that are 24” deep for over the fridge, and sell 4 X 8 sheets of prefinished ply wood. Cabinet installers cut the ply to the correct hieght and depth, removing an extra 1/4” for an edge moulding and attach them to the cabinet to make a fridge hut.They also make 24” deep refrigerator panels that are three inches wide with a trim finished cap facing out. This takes up valuable space along the wall. Some cabinet makers have started making these as pull out storage for can goods.

There is one draw back to having the deep cabinet over the fridge and that is getting things out when you need them. Most people end up putting things that they hardly ever use in the back and just have a few reach-ables in front. Also, they make cabinet depth fridges here too, but what they lack in depth they make up for it in height. At 7’ tall, an over fridge cabinet really becomes a decorative piece with no practical use. Every-time you want something, you almost have to launch an expedition to retrieve it.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3674 days

#6 posted 01-22-2010 12:08 AM

I guess sweden is behind the times a bit. Sure, low-end designs are probably a bit less custom. That’s no reason you have to build yours like you bought them an walmart. Maybe you need some new magazines over in Sweden.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3793 days

#7 posted 01-22-2010 12:31 AM

I think the answer is more like budget. Modern refridgerators are getting to be cabinet depth and are essentially built in. Otherwise the refridgerators are in the 30 inch range in total depth, making the box of the refridgerator about 27”. I make my refridgerator cabinets 25 or 26” and I have full panels on both sides, even if it is against the wall. That way the countertop does not extend past my cabinet and have an ugly corner. But it goes back to budget. Most kitchens only have a 12” deep upper above the ref. with no panel. So you see the entire side. But in my experience this is only true in cheap production cabinets. We also offer a pull out shelf system above, so that it’s easier to get things out of the cabinet.
The soffit can be easily built out to accomodate any situation.
By designing things certain ways, accomodating for certain things, and going above and beyond the norm, you can rest assured that you will stand out from the rest.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View rdlaurance's profile


367 posts in 3550 days

#8 posted 01-22-2010 10:32 AM

kolwdwrkr thanks for the pics… that is exactly what I’m taking about and an absolute beautiful solution as seen in the pics. Size of fridge has nothing to do with the problem, as the design solution is fitting the elements of the kitchen into a harmonious package. You probably hit the nail on the head with ‘the answer is more like budget.’

For me I would not even consider NOT spending the extra money to get the package that says, ‘kitchen complete.’

misc54 _ LOL

The observations that I had made in the original posting had nothing to do with Sweden, but were from the kitchens of friends, acquaintances in America that have had new cabinets made and installed, over the past number of years. My brother is also a cabinetmaker and owner of a manufacturing company selling cabinets to Home Depot (and others) and sending full containers to Japan for their market as well. I’ve seen this problem in some of his designs as well.

Sweden’s standards are uniform in the kitchen measurements of appliances and counter depths inclusive of cabinetry depths as well, so it is an issue that I’ve never witnessed here.

As for more new magazines in Sweden…. LOL…. I receive three mags/month (all free subscriptions to homeowners throughout the country, as advertising foots the bill) that are solely about interior design inside and outside the home. Quite sophisticated actually! And though Wal-Mart is trying to get the OK to open up in Sweden (LOL-hope that never happens) I’ve got a wonderful harmonious kitchen in the makes already as I’m smart enough to find workable solutions to others problems. But thanks for the input.

-- Rick, south Sweden

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4127 days

#9 posted 02-05-2010 08:19 AM

Your design statement brings to mind dish washers. Why are they all built low? Why not lift it up and put a draw under it? I would think it would aid in the draining process as well.

View a1Jim's profile


117337 posts in 3780 days

#10 posted 02-05-2010 08:53 AM

That is a cool solution Keith

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3310 days

#11 posted 02-08-2010 08:58 PM

Do you mind if I steal this idea? You guys are forcing me into kliptomania ever since I joined LJ. I’ll have to discuss this with my doctor next week.

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