Web Analytics

Deuce Cities Henhouse

We’ve basically been living at our cabin for the last six months, so we’ve got to know how it functions pretty well. One of the things that really tends to grind our gears is the refrigerator! Not only are drawers constantly cracking and breaking, but shelves fall too – and sometimes those shelves are holding bottles of champ, and I just can’t risk having those bottles break. All jokes aside, it really does function poorly. The door swings into the kitchen in just a way that it makes it impassible if someone needed to get through. The freezer is on top so that means you have to lean over or even get on your knees if you’re looking for something way in the back of the refrigerator. Plus, it’s just small. It doesn’t hold a ton of stuff and that’s especially hard when we’re having guests up and they bring food to share as well.

The obvious solution would be to get a new fridge, but I’m afraid it’s just not that easy. I love this weird little kitchen, it’s very efficient given how small it is, but there are some downsides. All of the cabinetry is basically one piece of plywood, the cabinet boxes are not individual boxes built independently of each other or the wall(s). Instead they are one solid unit made up of a front frame, a bottom board and then typically the ceiling or floor is the base/top (depending on if they are upper or lowers) and the actual kitchen wall is the back of the cupboard.

All of those words to say that when it comes to replacing the fridge, we need to find something that fits the space exactly because it’s not easy to adjust the cabinetry to accept a new size of anything! For instance you might remember that time I built a cabinet box in place of the panel dishwasher, or the time I built a set of four drawers in the hole a cabinet used to be?

After looking at every single refrigerator on the internet, the only fridge that fits the fridge hole is a unit that would end up being nearly exactly the same as the one we had.

We didn’t want that.

So, our next best option is to find a fridge that nearly fits the hole, has all the bells and whistles that we desire, and then retrofit the existing cabinets to our liking – which is way easier said then done.

This is where my BFF sketchup comes in and reassures me that if I follow the plans set forth it will all work out. The fridge that we would like to replace the existing refrigerator with is a Fisher & Paykel 32″ french door refrigerator. It fits the width of our tiny space perfectly, but height is where I run into trouble with the cabinets. This refrigerator is 67″ high, and the existing hole height is 65″. OF COURSE IT IS!

The way I see it, I have two options. Remove, shorten and replace two inches of the existing upper cabinetry which would then involve patching tile, replace duct work and reinstalling the hood vent OR I could just cut the base of the cabinet (in place mind you) and raise the height of the right set of cabinets just a few inches, then build out the cabinet so that it encloses the refrigerator. This seems easier to me in a whole lot of ways, so I think it’s what I’m going to do. Visually, I don’t think it looks too terrible to have cabinets at two different heights, especially when everything is white and has the look of a built in, which I think will look nice.

It took for me to write this post to finally pull the trigger, commit to this design, and order this refrigerator after sitting on this concept since March. I ordered it from Build.com (not sponsored) which I have used a few times before for cabin deliveries and I’m always very pleased. Most place (ie Lowe’s, Best Buy etc) don’t have rural delivery options, so this is really great. The downside is that they also don’t offer hook up or haul away, BUT for this item, it’s something we can figure out. We plan on moving the old refrigerator to the basement so that we can have overflow space for our guests! That just takes muscle and a good set of knees.

Stay tuned for an update in 2-6 weeks!

in Plans, The Cabin
8 comments… add one
  • Monica August 12, 2020

    I think this is a great solution! One “learn from my mistakes” tip, though – you might want to wait until the fridge arrives to set the final height of the cabinet bottom right above it … depending on whether you need to use the adjustable feet on the bottom of the fridge to level out uneven floors etc, that will change the in-place height of it, and you may also want the 2″ of recommended clearspace above the fridge for ventilation/heat exchange (especially if you end up not having clearance on the bottom.)

  • Kelly August 12, 2020

    Love it! What will you use for the side of the fridge enclosure? Is wood safe beside a range with higher BTUs?

  • yasmara August 26, 2020

    Yes and besides what @Monica said, which is an excellent point, we discovered that some fridges are overfilled with insulation on the top, leading to a doming of the top, and making the vertical measurement a LIE. Best to fit it in place.

  • Taylor September 3, 2020

    Great solution! I don’t think the two cabinet heights are going to be an issue at all. I’ve seen a lot of kitchens where they’re different and it never stands out. You are making the right choice for how you live in the cabin and that’s much more important than the cabinet height. I can’t wait to see the result! I love your posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and processes.

  • Elizabeth Deuhs September 12, 2020

    I think this is a great find for your cabin., or anywhere someone needs a fridge, for that matter. The access to the way back of the fridge will be so efficient on the daily too.
    I know you’ll get it set in that spot . Because that’s what you do, plan , solve, act. I hope to have an ice cold sip of bubbly from that very fridge one day in the not too distant future! Again, good job. I like the plan.✍️Mother Approved

  • RoseAG September 19, 2020

    I second Kelly about whether the new panel next to the stove will be OK.
    The side of the fridge offers value as far as a surface that can be wiped down without messing up the paint or whatever.
    I don’t think the two different heights will be odd, but getting the new doors to look like the old might be a challenge.
    My other question is: what’s in that storage over the fridge? Is it worth all this work to keep it?
    Stuff I store over my fridge mostly gather dust.

  • Jess October 25, 2020

    Let me guess… it was the budget GE that actually fit… I’m having the exact same quandary, and my built in really isn’t easy to change.

  • Paula C October 29, 2021

    I ordered the 32″ French Door Fisher & Paykel for a cabin in Colorado. My only alternative was a very low end (probably GE, a good brand for sure but I wanted higher end). I was aware that it did not have an ice maker, only ice trays, but I was fine with that because the cabin was vacant for months at a time, and filling ice trays made fresher ice that was not in high demand anyway at 10,000 feet for most of the year. What I wasn’t aware of was the freezer does not have a light. My sales/install man was also surprised that there was no freezer light on such a high end masterpiece appliance. So, that required another light source for mid night snacking and freezer cruising. A little bit of a bummer.

Leave a Comment