The Perfect Fit: Counter-Depth Design

Nov 07, 2013

Without proper planning, even the most expensive kitchen redo or renovation can look thrown together. Having the right appliances to fit your kitchen isn’t just good design sense; it’s a key element in helping you create a more efficient and harmonious space in which to cook and entertain.

If you’ve been paying attention to the latest trends, designers and architects have placed the kitchen at front and centre of today’s homes. Instead of being tucked off in a corner of the house or hidden beyond a formal dining room, the modern kitchen is becoming the heart and soul of our living and entertaining areas.

The Right Ingredients

With new approaches to living spaces come new ideas for how to integrate kitchen appliances, storage, and workspaces into the mix. Gone are the days of the stand-alone icebox thoughtlessly plopped over by the basement door—or the fridge that sticks out from the surrounding cabinetry like, well, a sore thumb. However, built-in refrigerators and other custom-installed solutions can seriously complicate design plans and significantly add to the price of a kitchen.

A New Kind of Cool

Newer alternatives, including lower-profile counter-depth refrigerators, are bridging the gap between built-in and standard-depth options. Counter-depth options, including the Samsung RF24, are a great way to have it all: custom-built looks, configurable interior storage, and flexibility to enhance any kitchen. If you’re cooking up plans for a kitchen update, here are a few facts and points you may want to consider.

  • • Notes on dimensions. Counter-depth refrigerators, as the name suggests, are designed to fit alongside the typical kitchen counter, which measures between 23” and 27” deep. Standard-depth refrigerators, by comparison, typically measure 30” to 34” from the front door panel to the kitchen wall—more if they lack enclosed cooling fins. For both formats, remember to allow up to 4” door handle width.

  • • Counter-depth advantages. Both counter-depth and custom-built/built-in options place all kitchen appliances on or close to a single plane, to create a streamlined appearance and more floor space than standard-depth models. It’s also easier to see and reach items stored in counter-depth and built-in refrigerators. Counter-depth refrigerators deliver these benefits at a far lower cost than built-in solutions.

  • • A tall order. To avoid sacrificing storage capacity, counter-depth refrigerators often are slightly taller than standard-depth ones. Be sure to account for this difference if your plans include above-refrigerator shelves or cabinets. If you’re working with a designer or architect, carefully review your options before any work begins.

  • • Door-swing arc. Measure the doors of any refrigerator you’re considering. Be sure to account for door-swing arc, the amount of space needed to open the door at least 130 degrees. (Note that most counter-depth refrigerators have two-door designs—either side-by-side or French door—to reduce swing arc distances.)

  • • Counter height matters. When choosing a fridge to complement your kitchen, consider counter height, too. Features like temperature-adjustable, configurable storage space at counter height make it easier to store large items and reach the things you use most.

  • • Check the sides. Matching exterior finish on all three sides permits greater flexibility for installation adjacent to other counter-height appliances, or at the end of a counter row (without the need to install a return or other enclosure). And premium design features such as a solid-metal front surface can help create an outstanding look—without standing out.

Fits Everything—Including the Way You Live

Cookie-cutter houses and one-size-fits-all attitudes about kitchen fixtures are long past their shelf date. New approaches and clever design solutions are remaking kitchens into living spaces that we love coming home to.