Learning to Love the Counter Depth Fridge

I have very firm opinions about kitchen design. One of those opinions is that you build a kitchen to use, not to admire. And hence, when we began to plan our renovation, I was adamant that we would be keeping our old fridge.

It was eight years old; it had never been what you would call lovely. But it offered many cubic feet of storage, and more importantly, we already had it. No working appliance was going to be replaced on my watch, except for the range, and only that because I wanted a bigger one. I could not, in good conscience, say that we needed more than the 28 cubic feet of our faithful old LG. So we planned our kitchen design around the fridge we had.

The appliance gods laugh at such hubris. They smote our still-too-young fridge, forcing us into an unplanned replacement. Whereupon our contractor, who happens to be a dear old friend, suggested we should buy a counter depth refrigerator.

Lose cubic feet? I asked incredulously. But the longer I thought about it, the more the idea appealed. A counter-depth would permit more light from the kitchen window to penetrate the hallway I have nicknamed “the heart of darkness”. It would, I confess, look sleeker than a refrigerator jutting out from the cabinets–and I am not, I confess, entirely immune to such concerns.

Labor Day arrived. I shopped the sales. I agonized–there was a full-size display model on sale for slightly less than the counter-depth we’d identified. Should we? Could we?

Eventually, the Official Blog Spouse intervened to cut short my agony of indecision. Get the Samsung Counter Depth, he ruled. That’s what we’ve been looking at the whole time, it’s a reasonable price, and we can’t spend the rest of our life picking out a fridge.

It arrived the next day. And I not only don’t mind the shallower depth, I think it’s an improvement.

To be fair, it’s only been a couple of weeks. But in that couple of weeks, I’ve come to see that most of the extra cubic footage in our old refrigerator was being used to accumulate stuff at the back, where I couldn’t see it, and would therefore forget it existed … and would therefore have to spend unhappy hours throwing away after it spoiled. Far from being a drawback that we don’t have space for long-term storage, I’m starting to see it as a positive asset.

Of course, we haven’t weathered a Thanksgiving or a big party with this refrigerator yet. Maybe when those come, I’ll rue the day that I ever thought that 23 cubic feet was enough.

But you know, our grandmothers managed with a tiny fraction of the refrigerator space we have available–and their grandmothers managed with no cold storage at all.

Somehow, I think I’ll be able to make do with this.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. MichaelZ says:

    Have had a SubZero for 15 years and would never go back. You won’t regret the counter depth fridge.

  2. George Skinner says:

    You can always get a 2nd fridge and stick it in the basement or garage. I had a smallish all-fridge 11 cu ft Kenmore – energy efficient, but perfect for storing stuff that you don’t use all that often and a Godsend at holidays. We’re currently renovating our kitchen too (and house.). Kind of wish I could get away with a practical replacement, but the boss wants Big Chill Retro appliances. The range is actually a Bluestar gas range, so I can’t complain too much, but it’s a huge premium for a funky powder-coated metal housing…

    1. MichaelZ says:

      Well yes to the second fridge in the basement. As well as a full size freezer as well. These are in addition to the main SubZero upstairs. But who’s counting??

  3. Wayne says:

    Sounds like First World Problems to me.

  4. A. McMeganFan says:

    My experience mirrors yours. Our 29 cubic ft fridge died, & I worried that the 24 cubic ft counter depth model would prove inadequate. But so far we can store all the food we need, even for holidays & parties. The interiors are so well designed that they make organization much more efficient. We do use stackable plastic containers more regularly, & we diligently return condiment jars/salad dressings/jams to their in-door storage niches so as not to use up shelf space. So the counter depth fridge needs a bit of thoughtful usage, but on the whole, I have no regrets. One nice bonus: it’s easier to keep clean because all areas are easy to reach.

    p.s. Yes, pretty kitchens are nice, but utilitarian kitchens rule!

  5. augustr says:

    Yeah but grandma and great grandma probably had small stores on the corner or next block before supermarkets started up

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