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36'' CD Fridge Owners: More fridge or more pantry?

marcolo
8 years ago

I currently have horrendous pantry space, with one deep tall cabinet with no pullouts. I have to send in a small animal to see what's in the back of it. And despite the renovation my new kitchen still won't have yards and yards of pantry storage either.

At the same time, I can fit only a CD fridge in the layout. There are usually only two people in this house, and there will be a basement fridge for extra Christmas pies and such come the holidays. However, I do cook and do chill white wine and don't want to have a panic attack the first time I load my new fridge.

I can do one of two things:

1. Take one 15" wide space that is under counter depth and put in a narrow UC fridge. It's not huge but it could make a difference, especially after a wine run!

Or

2. Keep it as pantry space.

Note that while I am adding pantry space, I'm not doubling it. My current space is around 18" wide but with no pullout.

Which way should I go?

Comments (42)

  • cookncarpenter
    8 years ago

    I'd go pantry. Those 15 wide U/C fridges are pretty worthless for space. A wine cooler would make more sense if anything. We will soon be going to a 30" from a 32", which they don't make anymore, so count your blessings you have room for a 36"!

  • breezygirl
    8 years ago

    I would also go with pantry. I have a 36" BI with a family of four. My fridge is routinely packed with food, but only around CSA drop box day during the height of summer or in preparing for a large party or holiday do I actually curse the 36". With my extra fridge and freezer in the garage, the trek outside isn't too often or cumbersome. I do stand at the open fridge after a grocery run and amaze myself with the creative ways I can stack and wedge food into the fridge. It can hold a surprising amount. A loss of pantry space would be a bigger deal to me. My corner step-in is decently sized and I would not give that up. Your paltry, sorry, space would drive me up the wall faster than the fridge issue.

    A 15" fridge is precious little additional space. Maybe a few bottles of white? I drink red more often anyway. Pantry, still.

    This post was edited by breezygirl on Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 21:37

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  • marcolo
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I've heard other 36" owners talk about cramming successfully and it scares me. I'm remodeling to become cram-free!

    Oh and I don't want a wine cooler because it's not versatile enough. You can't store food in it. I don't really need a place to store reds; they don't last long enough to cellar around here.

  • deedles
    8 years ago

    I had to weigh this same thing. Back and forth. I decided to go with an 32" all-fridge and 24" Summit undercounter freezer drawers. Those CD fridges just didn't seem to have the fridge volume that I need, esp since our place is an hour round trip driving to the nearest grocery store, and we garden and I cook from scratch so fresh food storage is paramount. I've got what I've got for dry pantry storage and the rest will be in a basement pantry. Which do you need more? Do you buy in bulk or make frequents trips to the store? I know in my current giant 36 french door, I'm STILL taking things to the garage fridge during holidays. I'm just was too nervous about the CD fridge/freezer capacity.

    What I'm saying is... it sounds like you think you need more fridge than you're going to have. Maybe you could re-think what you're choosing for a fridge. What about a narrower all-fridge, freezer drawers and a pullout pantry, if it could be made to fit?

    30" all fridge + 24 Summit or 27" SZ freezer drawers = 54 or 57 out of 66". You could work a pull out into that space even taking into account 3/4 for a panel b/t the fr/frz. And you'd still have the upper cupboards.

    I went with more fridge, since I figure I'll run up and down less for dry pantry items than for refrigerated.

    Just my thoughts~

  • poohpup
    8 years ago

    I had a 36" sub-zero before this remodel and it was one of the things I couldn't wait to get rid of. I needed something bigger. But we're a family of four with a son getting ready to turn into a teenage eating machine. I think a 36" CD fridge would be just fine for a family of two with more refrigeration in the basement. It sounds like more pantry space is the way for you to go.

  • breezygirl
    8 years ago

    I cram gently, not in the roughest sense of the word. Maybe "turn something up on its side instead of storing flat" would have been a better choice of words on my part as food items aren't being squished or crushed.

    Pardon my observing this again, but in a small kitchen like yours, somethings got to give. Wedge in the pantry or wedge in the fridge. You can't get both in your space. Sorry for the tough love. :)

  • GreenDesigns
    8 years ago

    I second Deedle's suggestion to think about doing an all fridge with freezer elsewhere. Maybe a freezer drawer in the kitchen and an all freezer downstairs.

  • MarinaGal
    8 years ago

    I would go for pantry, but that's b/c I plan and cook that way. I like to have lots of pantry basics on hand. I shop for produce pretty regularly and turn that over more. Like Breezy it is only at CSA time that I am looking for more fridge space.

    As an aside, switching to square and rectangular glass pyrex from round storage containers has dramatically changed my fridge space for the better. It seems so obvious now, but it took me almost three decades to figure it out.

  • deedles
    8 years ago

    F&P makes this, which is pretty neat looking but it's 33" so probably not for you.

    Here is a link that might be useful: cooldrawer

  • francoise47
    8 years ago

    We have a 36" integrated fridge with a bottom freezer
    and find that it offers plenty of storage for our family of four
    Like you, we have a spare fridge in the basement
    which is a big help for parties, holidays and wine, beer, and seltzer storage.
    I would want the extra pantry space in the kitchen rather than the extra fridge.

  • lalithar
    8 years ago

    Depends on what you feel the need to refrigerate.. Is it the usual produce, dairy, leftovers and condiments only? Or do you need space in the fridge for flour, oils, open space for dough, etc.. With 2 adults, I am going to guess your prepared food storage needs may be moderate.. No enormous family size lasagna pan storage.. For parties, you can always transfer to your basement fridge. If you do plan to do an undercounter fridge, I would suggest under the prep island and keep prep specific things there. That would be useful.

  • taggie
    8 years ago

    Pantry all the way. You can always put a freestanding beverage fridge elsewhere in the home and you get the best of both worlds that way.

    It might be nice to have a small fridge elsewhere in the house regardless (e.g. if you have an exercise area perhaps, or want the wine closer to the boudoir, etc.). Not joking on that last part. We have a beverage fridge in an upstairs exercise room which does double duty for water and wine. Occasionally I'll take a glass of wine and a book upstairs at night, and it IS handy to be able to get a second glass if I feel like it, without traipsing downstairs in a nightgown.

    Plus the savings on a freestanding vs. built-in fridge will fund a pretty great wine run or two!

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Hmm. I'll check into different configurations. But one issue is that the aisle is tight, which is why I went to the French door. And I need fully integrated.

  • desertsteph
    8 years ago

    " I have to send in a small animal to see what's in the back of it."

    have any returned to you?

    what size fridge space do you have now (pre remodel)? calc that space vs what you'll have in the new CD version fridge space. Does the 'now' fridge usually have enough space for you even when you need to chill a bottle or 2 of wine?

    If it's close, I'd go with the pantry space. If the fridge vs fridge space is even close you could probably get away with it by moving something else to the basement fridge while the wine chills.

    pantry space gets used up very quickly. I went from no pantry to one about 42" w x 18" D and flr to ceiling - and I'm wondering where to put stuff in my new place already. and I live alone and seldom cook.

  • angie_diy
    8 years ago

    One question: how often do you shop? I have a 36" CD, and have had no problem at all with fridge space (excepting, perhaps, CSA days as others have noted). However, I am blessed/cursed with the ability/inclination to shop more days than I don't! (What can I say, the gourmet grocery store is on my walk home.) How 'bout you: How often do you tend to shop? What size fridge do you have now?

  • cooksnsews
    8 years ago

    I have a 36" CD fridge, and a family of 4. I'm not in love with this particular model, but I make it work. Rule #1 says that wine and beer are kept in the basement fridge, unless a party is currently in progress. I'm pretty good at organizing the leftovers, and use lots of stacking containers to maximize space utility. There simply isn't room for another cooling appliance in my kitchen - a full depth fridge wouldn't even fit.

  • deedles
    8 years ago

    Well, let us know what you come up with!

  • westsider40
    8 years ago

    Fridge for me. In our 10 x 18 kitchen, we have 2 15" wide pullout pantries and I put the extra groceries on basement shelves.

    We have a 36 wide 25 c.ft. f.d fridge and a 6 cu ft. Elux fridge drawers unit. The big fridge is 34 1/4 deep and the cabinetry encloses it up to the handles. Some websites call it c. d. We have a full size freezer in the basement. I would still love additional freezer space upstairs.

    I do refrigerate and freeze baking items, flours, nuts, seeds, etc. When in doubt, I freeze or stash in fridge.

  • a2gemini
    8 years ago

    I would consider an UC fridge drawer but not the UC fridge. The drawer can store all of the soda and beer etc. I might try to put one of these in the pantry when I update it.
    I have the cd fridge but a nice chest freezer in the basement.

  • scrappy25
    8 years ago

    Is it too late for a 42" cd or built in fridge and a 24"pantry? The 24" pullout shelves will probably hold nearly as much as two side by side 15" pullouts (practically the shelf width will be about 3 inches less than the two 15" shelves combined, not 6 inches less), and there are definitely microwaves that will fit into 24" width. The 42" cd fridge is about the same internal space as a 36" full depth fridge.

  • quiltgirl
    8 years ago

    Definitely pull out pantry. If I were to have an under counter fridge I would put it somewhere other than next to the main fridge. How about your baking area?

  • pricklypearcactus
    8 years ago

    I have a 36" counter depth freestanding SxS fridge. Only two of us live here, though in the past I've prepared/stored batches of home made food for my 100+lb German Shepherd dog. We have a garage fridge for beer (and overflow) and at most I only put 1 or 2 bottles of wine in the refrigerator on occasion. In general the fridge has enough space, but it isn't roomy. The freezer is often fairly stuffed. I don't shop at bulk stores, but I do often buy groceries for 1-1.5 weeks. There is certainly room enough for us and I having the extra fridge in the garage handles any overflow.

  • beaglesdoitbetter1
    8 years ago

    Even w/ the two of us and me not cooking, our 36 inch fridge is often too crowded when we come back from Trader Joes or when we're having people over. I would definitely add the extra fridge. There are always places you can stick overflow pantry stuff if you have a lot of pantry items at once, but it is much more of a pain to not have the fridge space I think.

  • breezygirl
    8 years ago

    Beatles--I wonder if your fridge is so packed BECAUSE you don't cook. IOW, you're buying more packaged foods instead of whole foods so that takes up more room than do my raw items. Maybe?

  • sandra_zone6
    8 years ago

    I have a 36" CD LG fridge, has as much useable space as our 15 year old side by side although much better use of space. We are a family of 5, I shop once a week except for milk and juice, cook from scratch daily. I do not have another fridge, I do have a small chest freezer in the basement. Our 3 kids are 12, 13 1/5, 15 two boys and a girl, all are athletes and eat us out of hosue and home.

    I cannot see how 2 people cannot survive with a fridge this size. I'd opt for the pantry space.

  • beaglesdoitbetter1
    8 years ago

    Could be breezygirl, although most of whatever we buy that is pre-packaged is freezer food. The fridge, when it gets full, is mostly full of fruits, cheeses, jars of sauces, veggies, dips and meats.

    What surprised me though was how much the freezer drawers on my 36 inch CD freezer could hold. They look small, but they really can fit a lot. For whatever reason, it seems like we can fit larger volumes of stuff in the freezer drawers than the fridge, perhaps b/c the fridge stuff doesn't stack as well whereas the boxed freezer stuff does...

  • palimpsest
    8 years ago

    Pantry.

  • cookncarpenter
    8 years ago

    ..we raised two boys, both athletes, with a 32" CD free standing bottom freezer. Yes, we do have a garage refer. but I don't see how two can't get by with a 36" CD

  • cluelessincolorado
    8 years ago

    Marcolo, I'm tired and I haven't read though all the entries but are my $.02 FWIW. We have a small kitchen and four people (two adults, 11 yro DD, and 8 yro DS) are fed from said small kitchen. We have a GE Cafe CD 36" fridge. I like it, but I have to admit that I wish I had stood my ground on my desire to have AT LEAST an undercounter fridge drawer for produce. We eat a lot of greens and veggies and my space is often crowded after shopping. During the summer my bottom lip MIGHT be at an unattractive angle as I try to carefully wedge in one more perishable whatever. I think it all comes down to what you buy, and how often you shop. If you go with the 36", and it will probably be fine for two, but please look at the storage for produce carefully.

  • cluelessincolorado
    8 years ago

    Marcolo, I'm tired and I haven't read though all the entries but are my $.02 FWIW. We have a small kitchen and four people (two adults, 11 yro DD, and 8 yro DS) are fed from said small kitchen. We have a GE Cafe CD 36" fridge. I like it, but I have to admit that I wish I had stood my ground on my desire to have AT LEAST an undercounter fridge drawer for produce. We eat a lot of greens and veggies and my space is often crowded after shopping. During the summer my bottom lip MIGHT be at an unattractive angle as I try to carefully wedge in one more perishable whatever. I think it all comes down to what you buy, and how often you shop. If you go with the 36", and it will probably be fine for two, but please look at the storage for produce carefully.

  • westsider40
    8 years ago

    I have a teeny bit of trouble pulling the 15"wide pullout pantry because the pantries are so full. I doubt that you'd easily be able to pull the door of a wider pantry. I have super duper hardware, maybe 450 lbs., and it's smooth but heavy. A wider pantry might be good on paper, but difficult to move. There's a lot lotta stuff that fits inside my pantries.

  • francoise47
    8 years ago

    Hi Marcolo,
    Chiming in again on the extra fridge vs pantry question.
    A few years ago when I was soliciting advice on GW about buying a new fridge,
    several people advised me to look at the layout of the fridge
    in addition to the size and cubic storage when making a decision.
    I'm sure that you've done that.
    But I want to emphasize the point because I didn't at the time realize what valuable advice that was.
    But with hindsight I now realize that it was very sound advice.

    Our new built-in, bottom-freezer fridge has 16.2 cubic feet of refrigerator storage and 5.2 of freezer space.
    That is almost the same capacity as our old 36" Amana counter-depth, bottom-freezer fridge.
    Yet, my old fridge felt cramped and my new fridge feels plenty roomy for our fresh food needs.
    The kind of door storage, sizes of crispers, ability to customize the shelf heights -- it all makes more of a difference in the amount and kinds of food one can easily store in a given space than I realized.
    Sounds obvious!

  • remodelfla
    8 years ago

    I didn't read thru all the responses; but have you thought about fridge drawers? We are two with a Liebherr 36" CD freestanding and when I do need to squeeze... we do. Otherwise we have more then enough room. It holds a surprising amount. We have a small frig for beverages in the screen room and that frees up space. There's an extra frig in the shop that we fire up when entertaining/during the holidays.

  • melissastar
    8 years ago

    Marcolo...my 2cents from my experience, fwiw. I'd go for more pantry space. I've found my 36" CD fridge is sufficient for my 2-person family, at least for regular week-to-week needs plus a fair number of refrigerator "staples"...mustards, capers, pickles, etc. The only times upstairs fridge space isn't sufficient is pre-party or holiday times (and then as you do, I use the extra one in the basement) and after a big farmers' market haul. In that case, the situation is also very temporary...the produce is cooked, preserved or otherwise disposed off in fairly short order.

    On the other hand, I find it really nice to have enough space to keep lots of non-perishables close by, so I don't have to make a trip to the grocery store when I decide I want to make X and need superfine sugar instead of regular granulated for it or a can or two of diced tomatoes or kidney beans or whatever, when I have everything else at hand.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Wow. Thanks for all the input. I think I keep changing my mind with every answer I read.

    To answer a few Qs:

    - I can't do fridge drawers because that means sacrificing the entire bottom of the pantry

    - I asked about the 42" Jenn-Air CD fully integrated on Appliances but didn't really get any reviews. Whether that extra 6" of space makes a big difference or none, I never found out.

    - Considering the bite that the micro shelf will take out of the pantry area, we really only increase pantry space if I don't do the undercounter fridge. Otherwise it comes out to roughly what we have now, which is an 18" pantry. True, there is a huge difference between a pullout and a black hole of shelving, but I am definitely the kind of person who likes to have superfine sugar and Wondra on hand.

    - We shop around once a week. I used to shop more frequently when we lived in the city.

    - We have never had a full sized fridge since moving to Boston. In fact, my current fridge is a 19 cu.ft. Whirlpool. I'd like more room but I'm surviving with this. Worst part is that crap gets lost in the back for decades.

    - Is it OK to turn a basement fridge on and off? I don't want to run two fridges all the time.

    I might try to draw up a new config with a 42" wide fridge. However, as with so many things in a reno, you never actually get to see a lot of this stuff until it's too late.

  • melissastar
    8 years ago

    I'm wondering about turning the basement fridge on and off too. Now that my son is out of the house, there's even less need for it...no cases of beer and gatorade to be chilled and stored! My instinct says that as long as one provides enough time for it to chill down and doesn't do it too often, it probably makes sense to turn it off and on. But the extra power needed to chill it originally means one wouldn't to do that more than a few times a year.

    Hoping someone with more energy efficiency and/or mechanical knowledge weighs in on this one...

  • islanddevil
    8 years ago

    I'm in the same situation so I feel your pain.

    There are 2 of us and we have a 36" counter depth and a 24" floor to ceiling pantry with no pull outs and both are crammed. However I would not give up the pantry space since it's the only cab in the kitchen that holds food.

    I think they key to the fridge is the config. Ours is a side by side and I HATE it. Always have to rearrange things. Not enough room for something wide like a platter or left over pizza in a box, or beverages, but a French door would solve a lot of that and that will be my go to next time.

    If I had the space I would do a standard depth and box it in for more of a built in look.

    If you have another fridge in the basement I don't think an under cab fridge adds anything unless it's a dedicated beverage center. It will just be another fridge to rearrange, another energy draw, and another appliance that could go bad and then you have to find a replacement in the same size.

    We have a pantry cabinet in our attached garage just outside our laundry room and it's great for holding extra canned goods and bottled goods, but I still wish I had more pantry space for opened items, condiments, etc. No room for an extra fridge, but I think a French would be a big improvement.

    Do you have pantry space in the basement near your 2nd fridge?

    Also there are a lot of instant wine chiller gizmos out there.

    Please let us know which way you go. I learn so much from these posts.

  • desertsteph
    8 years ago

    " Worst part is that crap gets lost in the back for decades."

    my fridge is 18 cu ft. I also got tired of losing stuff in the back. I went to goodwill and looked for trays that would fit on the shelves. found several - now I put stuff on the trays and can slide them out to get stuff in the back. I'm hoping it also makes cleaning it easier. (I'll find out next week) The trays I got have an edge around them so you do lose space there.

    Someone does make slide out shelf inserts specifically for the fridge. Look on Amazon.

  • Circus Peanut
    8 years ago

    You won't lose anything in the back of a Liebherr CD, promise.

    I haven't contributed since Mr. Peanut and I are apparently the sole freakish American couple who do just fine with a 30" CD Liebherr. The only thing we ever have an issue with fitting are large platters - take any of these you might regularly use in prep/storage to the appliance store to make sure of depth fit.

  • canishel
    8 years ago

    Your sketch indicates the side of the frig is against a wall. Will the door open sufficiently?

    As far as undercounter frig vs pantry: I have a 24" frig/freezer that is used primarily for various drinks. That means that a shelf had to be removed. That means that the types of stuff stored in the mini-frig are limited. The freezer portion, in case you're thinking about one, takes forever to freeze a tray of ice cubes. But it does serve the purpose for which it was intended.

    If you store flour, rice, and the like in the frig, then you may need less pantry space.

  • marcolo
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    You know, this holds a lot of sway:

    another appliance that could go bad and then you have to find a replacement in the same size

    Especially right next to the other fridge.

    I'm now leaning toward pantry, partly for that reason. Also, I can see running downstairs for more wine, but not for gathering ingredients for a meal. We do have an old root cellar in the basement that's fine for overstock but not as a primary storage space.

    There's also the fact that I've been making do with a slightly smaller fridge already. It hasn't been ideal but it's been survivable.

  • beaglesdoitbetter1
    8 years ago

    We plug and unplug our garage freezer w/o a problem as long as we leave the door open when it is unplugged (learned that one the hard way)

    Our fridges all also have vacation modes too, you could look into a basement fridge w/ a vacation mode that uses very little energy if you didn't want to have to worry about plugging and unplugging.