the new fridge

Back in 2010 when we were remodeling our kitchen, Kyle asked if we should consider getting a bigger refrigerator. At the time, I’m sure I rolled my eyes and told him that our 4 year-old fridge was perfectly fine and super energy-efficient and took up so little space at only 24″ wide.

So that was that.

Fast forward 3 years and we now have a new, “I told you so” refrigerator. Ok, so the old one (a Vestfrost/Summit model that we sold quickly on Craigslist) was still working fine but it was starting to get cramped. Turns out, when you have a kiddo and work from home, you eat at home a lot more. Gone are the days of swinging by a coffee shop on the way to work or grabbing a sandwich at the deli around the corner. In other words, I eventually caved. So we went to our local appliance store (Albert Lee Appliance) to scope out what was available. We were specifically looking for counter-depth options that were 30″ wide and surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. But it didn’t matter – in our hearts I think we knew which fridge we coveted more than any other.

Yes, we are architects and yes, we got the Liebherr [insert cliché here]. Or, as I like to say (with dramatic flair), Leeeebeeeerrrr.

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But first, let’s back up to early September when our kitchen looked like this. Yeah. (By the way, all of the process photos were taken with my iPhone. Sorry about that.)

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Getting the actual fridge and installing it was the least of our problems. First we had to tackle expanding the existing opening by 6″, which meant trimming the base board and metal ledge and detaching the pantry and sliding it down 6″. Naturally, there was an outlet that needed moving too.

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…and then there was drywall patching (not pictured) and filling in cork tiles. Oh, and the new fridge has an ice maker(!!) so there was that water line that needed to be installed too.

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Yes, the cork has obviously faded (that’s a whole other blog post).

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I know Bailey, I know. The only saving grace in this whole ordeal is that back in 2010 Kyle had had the forethought to install the fir plywood panels in a way that would make a future expansion feasible. The panels that run along the top of the cabinets are actually one long panel to the left of the fridge and one short panel over the fridge and pantry. Therefore, only the small panel had to be replaced (the vertical panel remained attached to the side of the pantry). Bonus – we even had an extra sheet of fir plywood in the shop.

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After the new piece of plywood was finished and installed (Kyle did a biscuited connection to the existing horizontal panel and then a glued connection where it sits on the vertical panel), it was time for a new piece of edgebanding.

Edgebanding is basically a thin veneer of wood with an adhesive on the backside that is applied using the heat of an iron.

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It’s purpose? To cover things like this:

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The banding went on easily, thank goodness.

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After it had set, Kyle used a chisel to trim the excess off the top.

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A little sanding, a coat of finish (yet to happen) and we’ll be done.

I didn’t have the patience to wait for the coat of finish (this project has stretched out long enough as it is!), so here you go. Looks like it was always there, right?

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The handles, the handles!

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Kyle used his metal cutting chop saw to trim the ledge. Six inches of fridge for six inches of art seemed like a good trade.

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The inside is smartly designed too. I love that we can put gallon size containers in the door. (Also, don’t judge us on all of the beverages – we had friends over for fish tacos last weekend.) 🙂

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Oh, hello big beautiful produce drawer.

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The freezer is pretty straight-forward. There isn’t a ton of room, but we have a chest freezer in our basement for surplus or big items. Also, ice maker! This is the first time we’ve had one since we moved to Seattle! Will this inspire a renewed love for cocktails? Only time will tell.

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The integral hinges have a soft-close (and self-closing) feature which is oh so gratifying.

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It was a splurge, but we’re in love. Refrigerator love. (Kyle says “love” is a strong word to use when speaking about a refrigerator but I’m keeping it in.)

Comments

36 Responses to “the new fridge”

  1. LauraC says:

    Link? Link? Ahhh!!!! I know nothing about Liebherrs. I’ve been looking forward to hearing about what refrigerator you chose. I spent several long evenings looking for a refrigerator last month and this: http://goo.gl/aWNWHM fit our criteria. It’s 27.5 inches wide, better than 24, but 30 would be better. When I saw your first refrigerator was a Summit, I was encouraged. I’d love to look at the specs of yours though. We’re still on track to do the kitchen in the spring, I owe you an email!

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Laura, here’s a link to the spec sheet for the model we bought. I was actually interested in that same Summit (the styling has improved a lot since we get ours back in 2006!), but Albert Lee no longer carries the brand and since it was only 3″ (I believe) wider than our previous it didn’t make sense to do all the effort of enlarging the opening for just 3″. I have specified this same fridge for other projects though and I believe you can order it through ajmadison.com. I’ve heard some complaints about Summit products getting damaged during shipping but overall it’s been a great brand for the price (in my experience).

      • LauraC says:

        Thanks! It looks really nice, but I realized why I wasn’t familiar; price was a factor. I found many fridges that fit our exact dimensions but they were even more, in the 5-7K range! Our current fridge is only 29.5 in wide, so loosing 2 in didn’t seem a big deal, especially since we’re getting 10 in more in height. The Summit has a pretty small freezer, but since we have a full-size one in the basement, we didn’t think it mattered too much. Plus it comes in white, which I wanted. 🙂 I think it’s great you could upgrade and still keep your sleek built-in look.

        • Lauren says:

          Yup, I’d definitely give the Summit a shot in your scenario! The counter-depth fridges get $$$ and Summit is one of the few I’ve found that is counter-depth and more affordable. (Plus, seems like they now have automatic defrost freezers which our previous one didn’t have.)

  2. Phoebe says:

    It looks great! how many cubic feet is your new fridge? hubby and i (we don’t have kids yet) are in the market for a new fridge and am having a hard time deciding how big of one to get!

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Phoebe, ours is 15.5 cubic feet total and the fridge portion is 11.2 cubic feet. Here’s a link to the spec sheet. There are definitely bigger fridges out there (much bigger!) but I like that it’s roomy enough yet things don’t get lost in the back like deeper fridges. I love the 24″ wide models for a lot of purposes, but it is harder to fit in larger dishes or containers in them.

      • Phoebe says:

        I’m impressed! The fridge looks like it’s holding a lot more than what a 15 cubic ft fridge could hold. 🙂

        Question…how tall are your baseboards and what type of paint did you use? (eggshell, semi-gloss, etc). I read that you guys painted the nursery walls in eggshell — would you recommend that for the rest of the house and the ceiling? We are painting one of our rooms white and am confused about what types of paint to use for trim, wall, and ceiling.

        • Lauren says:

          Thanks Phoebe, our baseboards are 1/2″ by 3.5″. We generally use a semi-gloss for trim (since it gets more fingerprints, abuse, etc.) and then an eggshell for the walls. The semi-gloss finish is also more wipeable so makes cleaning easier. Good luck!

  3. dan says:

    Hi, Fridge looks good. We have a subzero 611 which is 30″ wide and might do for the commenter below. Except for some occasional cleaning of the condenser, its been problem free and works great for our family of 4.
    Now a question… you mentioned your cork floor in the kitchen. Can I ask, what did you use to adhere it to the subfloor? We have cork in my sons room and through the fault of the original installer the floor looks pretty bad in spots. I believe the person installing it used thinset which has since cracked below the surface and has damaged the tile from above from being uneven below.

    Thanks and, as always, love the site!

    Dan

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Dan, we used a non-toxic flooring adhesive (that we brushed on) that was purchased with the flooring. We did use a self-leveling compound over our plywood subfloors but haven’t had any issues with the cork being damaged in that way. Here’s the post where we covered all our installation steps.

  4. We went with a Liebherr four years ago (a separate fridge and freezer set) and love them. We didn’t realize how great they were (and how long they made our produce last) until now, that we’re temporarily living in a small apartment with a crappy fridge. Can’t wait to go back home. Oh and the handles are definitely amazing.

    • Lauren says:

      That’s good to hear! Does yours have the special temperature control for the produce (ours doesn’t)?

      • Yes!!! And we looove it. We were hesitant to buy one with that at first but it’s made such a huge difference. Though people always get confused and think the three bottom drawers on the fridge are actually the freezer, not the especial produce drawers.

  5. Martina says:

    Of course you can use “love” and “fridge” in one sentence. Especially the Liebherr. It´s a German name, Lieb(e) = love, Herr = Lord :-))))
    Greetings from Austria
    Martina

  6. PAppel says:

    I am not an architect, but I seriously covet that brand of refrigerator. When I get my dream kitchen, it will include it. (I hope).

  7. Jenn says:

    That is a very handsome fridge, and those handles, sigh. When we were looking for a fridge a couple of years ago, we went back and forth on the Liebherr. The only back part was the cost, at the time, we just didn’t have the funds to cover it. Although I’m not regretting the fridge we did purchase (kind of), I do wish that we had gone for the taller, slim one, like you have here. We ended up buying a counter depth french door Jenn-Air, with panel fronts (which we still haven’t finished, because we can’t seem to come to a consensus on the kitchen design!). Our kitchen is so small, hindsight being 20/20, the way to go would have been tall and slender.

  8. Angela says:

    It’s totally acceptable to say you love your fridge when your fridge looks like that!

  9. Shannon says:

    Oh, I wanted a Liebherr! I simply couldn’t justify replacing the brand new fridge that came with our house. Once the dishwasher gets replaced with a Bosch or Miele, the fridge is next.

  10. Amy B. says:

    It’s beautiful and I love when you guys talk details like the edging. So smart and something I’d never know to do. We gotta work on the culinary savvy though… tomatoes in the refrigerator are a no no! They taste so much better and last a while when left at room temp with the top side down. I have had to repeat this rule in our house on many occasions, but it’s totally worth it.

    • Lauren says:

      Haha, I actually really appreciate that advice. Kyle and I were the pickiest eaters as kids and pretty much didn’t touch vegetables (or therefore know how to store them) till we were adults. (Trying very hard to reverse this trend with Avery!) 🙂

    • Amy B. says:

      One more thought. Any plans to fill in/make use of that opening above the fridge? Ours is closer to a foot tall and it seems like wasted space that could be make functional (or at least pretty).

      • Lauren says:

        I think we’re just going to keep it as-is. This model requires a vent space above and even though it’s only 1 1/2″ I think it would complicate things to add a cabinet and the proportions for our situation wouldn’t look quite right. We used to store things like trays, pizza stone, etc. above the fridge which worked well, but lately I’ve been putting them in our lower oven since we never use it. The only thing we have up there now is the Liebherr wine rack since we probably won’t be storing too many white wines in the fridge till next summer. 🙂 The only downside to storing things on top is that they get dustier over time.

  11. Kristyl says:

    New fridge looks great – and congrats on being so upbeat about having to re-do a room that even Bailey thought was done.

    I had the same question about the space above the fridge – it’s tricky and I don’t like how hard it is to clean. But understand why you’d leave it given the other constraints.

    Looks great – and how much is a lot?

  12. Lisa says:

    Very nice! We were planning put in a smaller fridge but life changes. We had two more move in with us. Now the plan is for a longer one.

  13. Shauna says:

    Looking gooooood. Ice is super handy to have no matter where you live (like for people who fish, or picnics, parties…). I’m frustrated with our not-a-good-brand fridge which broke down after 5 months of use (over a period of 21/2 years). Getting quality equipment is so worth it. Great job.

  14. Dana says:

    Kyle probably wouldn’t approve of refrigerator licking then, would he?

  15. BJ Qino says:

    The fridge looks great. When I’m able to I like investing in things that are a pleasure to own day after day for a long time. Side note, I’m thinking of installing cork with an Osmo finish… any second thoughts on yours?
    Thanks
    BJ

    • Lauren says:

      Hi BJ, the OSMO finish that we used is pretty soft (compared to a polyurethane). The finish is meant to be additive (meaning you keep applying additional layers over the years) which might be part of the issue. We plan on doing a full review blog post soon!

  16. Melissa says:

    I am planning my kitchen reno in Belgium and your kitchen is so inspirational and I love your aesthetic! The Liebherr fridge is pretty aspirational here as well but I am hoping to drive to find a deal in Germany. Query for you: I have noticed in a lot of pictures of American kitchens that even “built-in” fridges have gaps on the top, why is that ( is it a spec thing or regulatory or just aesthetic?) Here in Europe, the fridges tend to be completely built in, which is why I ask and I have always been curious.

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Melissa, I know that our model of Liebherr requires a 1 1/2″ vent gap at the top of the fridge (which could happen above the fridge or above a cabinet, so long as air can circulate freely behind the cabinet). So, maybe this is it? Not sure if the requirement extends to other countries or not.

  17. corrin says:

    What kind of refrigerator is this?

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