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I'm designing the kitchen (renovating a 100+ year old house) and I would really really like to make it a "G layout" kitchen (like a U shape but with breakfast bar peninsula) but in order to achieve this the fridge would need to be INSIDE the wall with the door flush with the wall! The back wall is already filled with cabinets and the sink so that is why I wouldn't want to put the fridge there. See my 3d model I made with ikea.com:

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My question is:

What could go wrong? I'm basically just doing a sanity check and making sure this isn't a terrible idea. (I'm having a hard time googling this as this is not a common thing to do I guess)

Alright in order for you guys to answer the question you'll need much more info. Here's what I can tell you:

  • The room that the fridge will go into is the laundry room. There is nothing in the way! It's an ugly, utilitarian room and we don't care if the back of the fridge is facing the washing machine) though boxing in the fidge would be nice).
  • The laundry room in which the fridge will go into is a bump-out extension of the house.
    • When they added the extension, it's like they left the exterior of the house exactly as it was and made that the interior of the new laundry room. The old asbestos shingles are still there on the wall, the soffit from the old roof is right where it always has been, and there is a big window right where the fridge will go! In fact it is almost tall and wide enough to fit the fridge in it, but it's a few inches too far to the right.
    • the floors between laundry room and kitchen are not on the same level. And the corner of the floor (concrete) on the kitchen where the fridge will be nearest, there is an obvious rise in height making a concave shape in the floor. (I mean, its maybe an inch total, like you wouldn't notice it but it could screw with stuff).
    • the wall is a load bearing wall. However I don't think there'll be any problems installing a header or just moving the window header up a little bit.
  • the ceiling in the kitchen is low! 7 feet to be exact.
  • the electrical circuit breaker is in the laundry room. Thankfully its a couple inches to the right of the fridge so that won't be a problem however there may be wires running bellow the window frame but I suspect that there is not.
  • the door to the laundry room will be to the right of the fridge, as shown in the 3d model.
  • the whole kitchen is 11 feet wide and 21 feet long but we intent to use much of that space for a dining area. The other kitchen layout option we are considering is making it an L shaped kitchen by loosing the breakfast bar and puting the fridge there (to the right of the window) but we don't like that layout as much. Too open.

So, is this doable? How would YOU tackle this project? Are there any restrictions or code requirements? Would it be just like a cased opening? Thanks!

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    seems like a great idea! – Octopus Jan 24 '17 at 23:01
  • According to National Electrical Code, receptacles in laundry areas have to be GFCI protected. So if that code applies to you, you're going to be plugging the fridge into a GFCI protected receptacle. – Tester101 Jan 25 '17 at 1:53
  • It's common to put refrigerators in nooks, just make sure you obey the manufacturer's documentation for clearances – Tester101 Jan 25 '17 at 1:55
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On the refrigerator, don't box it in so badly that you block airflow to the coils. Remember how a refrigerator works. It pumps the heat inside the refrigerator and dumps it outside through a set of cooling fins in the bottom back area. If you box it in too much, it won't get enough fresh air to cool well, and it will run inefficiently, fail to cool well, or breakdown prematurely. It's not a big deal if you provide space for that.

Bonus points if you can access the back of the fridge to clean the fins, as you should every few years. Try to set it up so dryer lint isn't drawn into the cooling fins.

The fridge needs to be leveled. The manufacturer has a spec for this. Generally the fridge is slightly "tilted back" on purpose, so the doors will self-close by gravity freely and firmly. When set up right, it's a thing of beauty.

On the electric service panel, remember you must have clear space around the panel as described in the link here.

Also don't forget that since this is a remodel, you must bring the remodeled area fully up to new electrical code. Figure on dedicated circuits for each of dishwasher, garbage disposal, microwave if built in, at least 2 (I recommend more) circuits for kitchen counter receptacles (honestly in the age of USB you just can't possibly have enough kitchen receptacles). Might be worth thinking about fitting a 50A circuit for an electric range/oven, also consider providing outlets for in-cabinet or under-cabinet lighting since the LED options these days are marvelous and cheap.

I recommend a dedicated circuit with a SINGLE receptacle for the refrigerator. Have that be non-GFCI if you can convince your inspector to allow that.

  • Yes I plan on updating all the electrical. I've already stipped out most of the old wiring (no ground wire) and have began replacing it. My understanding is that every section of countertop needs an outlet and if it's more than 2 ft then it needs multiple outlets. Which I have no problem with as we have plenty of little kitchen appliances. I've also began wiring the overhead lights - we're going with 8 can lights sense the height of the ceiling is a little low. Then I'll probably install a light above the breakfast bar and above the dining table – Dan Mantyla Jan 25 '17 at 15:17
  • And thanks for the pointer about keeping space around the electric panel. The fridge and dryer will box in the panel into the corner a little bit, a large person would not be able to get to it. But there is some wiggle room with the dryer which can be scooted it it's right a few inches and I think that will help – Dan Mantyla Jan 25 '17 at 15:18
  • One more thing: you're right about adding the 50A circuit for an electric oven. The oven we have now is gas but my girlfriend wants electric glass top so I'm going to install everything necessary to accommodate both gas and electric. I already have the 50 amp wire (#6-2), breaker, and outlet. – Dan Mantyla Jan 25 '17 at 15:21
  • Why would you swap gas for electric range? Keep the gas lines there and cap them off as surely the next owner will want the option. – DMoore Jan 25 '17 at 15:44
  • The clear space around the panel is not a suggestion, an inspector could make you rip it out and redo it. . Don't let it happen to you, check with the inspector first, and don't sugarcoat it. – Harper Jan 25 '17 at 16:52
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I don't foresee any issues with this one - I actually did something very similar in my first property. I would advise boxing in the back of the fridge, mostly for aesthetic reasons, but also partially because it will help keep the back of the unit clean from any of the dust or lint that tends to accumulate in a laundry space. I boxed mine in because it backed into the dining room and I didn't want it exposed.

You may have planned for this already, but you would need to consider how you want to power this thing. You could locate an outlet inside the box you've constructed, but this would require a little bit of extra clearance at the back or on one side.

Your other options are to run the power cable through a little hole in the new wall into an outlet in the laundry room, or run the power cable out past the front of the appliance and into an outlet in the kitchen. The first probably doesn't conform to code, and the second won't look that great.

--SOMETHING I JUST THOUGHT OF-- Consider the size of fridge that you might purchase in the future. It's ill advised to make reasonably major changes to the structure of the wall without considering that at some point you're going to want to change that fridge out. Maybe have a quick look at some dimensions online to make sure you aren't limiting yourself

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Restrictions or code requirements...show and explain your plan to the local building inspector. As doable...sure, why not? You could even close in the fridge, heat shouldn't be much of an issue as some fridges are put into pantry style cabinets. If it was something you worried about you could cut a vent in the back side of the wall. If your current window opening is the right height, you would have no need for a header replacement. If your opening is wide enough and could handle 2 extra jack studs, I would install those, other wise no need. Realize that the window there is not bearing the load, the wall around it is. If you need to make the opening larger, then you would need to do some new headers and jack studs. As far as leveling the floors, add what you might need to the floor under the fridge to bring it up to the kitchen height.

Now for the ugly part....asbestos. If you plan to remove any, you need to get an abatement team. I can't tell you the cost or time involved, but I doubt it will be cheap or quick. Best bet there is not to disturb it. You could have it tested to be sure it does contain asbestos.

Several things will have to be factored into which design you go with. The biggest is the asbestos issue.

Maybe a smaller fridge? Maybe moving the fridge into the door opening and making a new door opening where the window is. Again, if you have to remove the siding to make anything work....remember the word asbestos.

  • In some places, homeowners are allowed to remove asbestos from their own property. So you'd have to check with your local government, to determine if an abatement company is required. – Tester101 Jan 25 '17 at 2:50
  • Yup, I imagine it will be just like installing a door or large window. – Dan Mantyla Jan 25 '17 at 16:16
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Your plan is certainly doable but I hope that your renovation includes stripping the walls down to the studs as new kitchen codes require a multitude of outlets at your counter as well as dedicated circuits for microwaves, ovens, etc. In fact, before you start, you should make sure that your box will accommodate a few new breakers. You're already pretty lucky to have the breaker box so close to the kitchen!

I've just done this work and by the time you've fished and drilled all of the holes through plaster and lath needed to get those circuits in place, you'll have realized that just tearing out the old and putting in the new sheetrock would have saved you many headaches and much time. You can pretty much bet that the insulation in your exterior walls is next to useless....assuming there's insulation in there at all.

edit: Asbestos is not weapons-grade plutonium. Many regulators waive notification and disposal requirements for homeowners performing small projects on non-friable asbestos materials like floor tiles and shingles. If you have doubts as to the friability of your asbestos shingles, you can simply paint them with some old latex paint and keep your pieces as whole as possible. Find your community regulations for homeowner handling of asbestos materials; below are a few details from a Maryland Department of the Environment information leaflet, as an example:

Why doesn't the EPA regulate the removal of asbestos from individuals’ homes? Single family housing units are not subject to the regulations.

Who can remove asbestos containing material (ACM) from a single-family residence in Maryland? Non-friable asbestos containing material can be removed from a single-family residence by a licensed asbestos contractor, a non-licensed contractor, or the homeowner.

Who can remove my asbestos roof? If a contractor will be cutting, abrading, sanding or grinding 5,850 square feet or more of roofing material it needs to be done by a licensed asbestos contractor.

Where can I take asbestos containing material after it has been removed? You can dispose of non-friable ACM at landfills that accept non-friable waste.

  • Agree with all of those. Some and most governmental entities will allow a home owner to remove asbestos themselves, however, dumping it won't be easy. Yes, you can hide it in your garbage, but safe, legal....no. When I definitely agree with a complete year out of walls being that old. And for the outlets, my inspector allowed the dishwasher and the garbage disposal to be on the same circuit. Since the garbage disposal is a momentary use. And most of the time both are not running at the same time. – Jeff Cates Jan 25 '17 at 14:04

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