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Is it a design fail if ref. door hits drawer when opened together?

HU-976385665
last month

I have a refrigerator door that opens fully, but when the cabinet drawer next to it is pulled out at the same time it hits it. A 90 stop would not fix the problem as it hits at about 85. Just to be clear they do not hit, and open fully, when opened one at a time. The manufacturer website shows nice kitchen pictures with the same design situation I have, but the appliance specs say that you must avoid interference of cabinet doors when opened. What’s correct? Is this a design fail that the KD should pay to fix?

Comments (83)

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That is what I mean.....

    You have a doored/angled pantry to the left of the fridge, drawers to the right. Probably was a case of pick a poison. If you are asking us what to do? Nothing, because there IS nothing to be done - its too late.

    You still aren't posting the entire plan, every SubZero has specific specs for clearances.

    Was there a better location for a pantry? Maybe. Was there a better location for a fridge. Maybe.

    We can not hazard a guess, we aren't seeing four "walls" of your kitchen and we aren't seeing the flat on paper, 2 dimensional cabinetry plan that got you the kitchen and this situation.

    Full context, full disclosure would tell US more but probably won't do a thing to fix your issue.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    WHOA....... I had a feeling this was where you were going

    "Living with it for almost two years and it is driving me crazy, the KD does not think it’s something that needs to be fixed. Should I sue them to get them to pay for the fix?"

    You can FORGET it.

    You saw a cabinet plan, you signed off on the design, and the order was placed. It was delivered, installed and paid.

    You have no shot, nada , zero and really........you need to let this go.

    It's an annoyance, nothing more, and it sure as hell isn't a safety issue or life threatening.

    If you want her to replace the drawer base with a right hinge DOOR? and lose drawer space? Tell her that, and you will pay for that change.

    If you want to pay for a new Sub Zero? Sell yours and get over under as below ?.....hinge and handle opposite side? That solves the issue with the drawer base.



    That assumes you NOW have 36 as below and some clearance at the pantry



    Other than that? Live with it.......

    Every foot and inch was on the plan two years ago, including the 43 inch La Cornue and the SZ

    ( a 36 inch range and zero issue,,,,at the planning)

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  • vinmarks
    last month

    Move whatever is in those drawers that you need to keep going into while fridge is open to other drawers.

  • blfenton
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It is always suggested that a fridge have a landing area right next to it. That landing area (the counter) is going to have cupboards above and drawers below. In order to prevent an open fridge door from hitting an open drawer you probably would have needed more fill between the two. But even then, if the fridge door was open could a person actually get in to open the drawer? And if there was more fill the drawers would have been narrower and would you have been happy with that. Your drawers would have been narrower and you may have lost symmetry around the range.

    These design compromises may have been discussed with your KD. But to sue her? No.

  • PRO
    Minardi
    last month

    This thread just went completely off the rails into cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

  • darbuka
    last month

    I have a similar setup with my SZ FD fridge. 8 years in this house, never been an issue.

    I mean, I can’t imagine anyone opening the fridge, when the drawer abutting it was open…or, vica versa. Not even my less than careful son, has ever done that. Oh, and that top drawer is the silverware drawer…as the kitchen table is just beyond it.


  • PRO
    The Kitchen Place
    last month

    I always put drawers next to refrigerators but I always use 1.5" or 3" wide refrigerator end panels, so that helps. Hard to tell, but yours looks like 3/4" thick end panel with frameless cabinetry. She probably did that to give you more storage elsewhere due to the shorter space for your range. There are compromises in design. Would you have been just as annoyed if the door hit the freezer drawer handle? Or If the cabinets were too narrow for your pots and pans?


    If it bothers you that much, have the cabinet switched out to something else at your expense. This is not something you would sue for.


    When my clients go with full overlay or frameless cabinets, I always educate them on the tight clearances....appliances and against walls...etc.

  • anj_p
    last month

    yeah that pantry/DW situation would annoy me way more.

    Move whatever is in that drawer that somehow conflicts with the fridge opening somewhere else. That drawer in my kitchen is pot holders. Once you're at the stove there's no reason to open the fridge - at least if you cook mise en place - so maybe consider pot holders there. Changing the organization will solve your problem much better than an unsuccessful lawsuit.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    There's a world of difference between wood door and drawers kissing each other occasionally as opposed to a stainless steel fridge door smacking the rigid corner of a stainless steel oven door at eye level.


    Sure you can go 20 years, but it only has to happen once.

  • Andee
    last month

    Oh wow. My cabinets are in production right now, and I will have that situation. But as I read all these comments, and think about how I work in the kitchen: how long does a drawer stay open? Open it, grab whatever, close it. Then open the refrigerator and stand there for a while, gazing and grazing. Don't open the drawer during that time.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The real issue here?

    Perhaps all the money went into luxury appliances, and the cabinetry seems mid grade at best. More suited to the high end range would have been inset cabinetry . I see other things...as in a beefier housing was needed for the fridge, or filler right of the fridge. Maybe the pantry should have been ditched from the plan. Who knows, and you did sign off and approve.

    That's why we ask for context and a whole picture.

    Ask any KD the things they advise, are fought on, and then are presented with the "flaw" they had warned about, and went unheeded. Just ask...



  • PRO
    Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.
    last month

    This is a lovely kitchen and the cabinetry is beautiful. There is no need to denigrate a person's finished kitchen with unrelated commentary. She asked if it is a design flaw for a refrigerator door to hit an open drawer. The color of her pantry door has absolutely no bearing on that.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    HU-976385665 - Living with it for almost two years and it is driving me crazy, the KD does not think it’s something that needs to be fixed. Should I sue them to get them to pay for the fix?


    Truth is you can file a law suit for just about anything.

    Getting a judge to hear the case requires a bit more work.

    You have to:

    • identify the grounds for the lawsuit (The party you are suing did something wrong),
    • identify your loss (what they did caused you some type of loss or injury)
    • identify what action will make you whole.

    If you satisfy the judge that you have a case then you have to go to court. The judge will hear both sides of the case and decide if the person you are suing has done something wrong that caused you harm and the amount you should be compensated (if anything).


    Out of the 44 responses here I did not see one person who believes that your KD did something wrong. Why would a judge believe your KD did something wrong?



  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    HU-976385665 - Out of curiosity, what do you think your designer should do? How do you want her to fix this problem? What is the answer?


  • Tish
    last month

    Filing a suit is a good way to lose 10K+ in legal fees. Plus have everyone in town laughing at a non anonymous person who can’t figure out how to close a drawer before they open a refrigerator.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month

    The litigation words make me absolutely crazy.
    Together, my KD and I just 'fired" a client. It is astounding how many times a client isn't fully "present" during the design phase. Or will argue to the death what they need or want, despite all warning that want is impractical.
    Aside from the fact that this client was rarely present, rude, literally unavailable in any reasonable time frame for decisions? The final straw for my KD was after counter top install and matched solid surface splash. All much discussed at the fabricator on three separate occasions involving BEGGING for the presence of the client. Areas marked showing exact placement of tones and variations in the surface.
    Install went perfectly, all involved agreed it looked amazing.........until......clients arrived home.
    The kd gets a text: "really unhappy with tops and splash" ......
    Exhausted KD replies, "Not understanding. It looks beautiful was executed to perfection, is exactly what was agreed to on three occasions at the fabricator........and there is nothing to be done"
    Her dinner is ruined, she is a nervous wreck if only because she is as nice as she is talented. She does the hand wring, nausea inducing thing until a text from same client an hour later. " The tops are fine"
    So. "Sue me", but some folks are just nuts.


  • beesneeds
    last month

    Now I know for sure the OP is an American- can't accept personal responsibility for signing off on something? Let's sue!! It's potentially annoying but not any endangerment? Let's sue!! It's been a couple years and working fine? Let's sue!! I just feel like it? Let's sue, sue sue!! Might be some money and a whole lotta petty to be had! A couple internet strangers might not be disagreeing with me, that for sure must mean sue someone! There might be a few bucks for emotional distress to be had too, or perhaps coverage of medical fees to console you through the troubles.

    It would kind of be one thing if there was something seriously wrong at the time of remodeling. But it's been a couple years use without hazard. It's like eating your meal at the restaurant and then deciding you didn't like it and want to be comped.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month

    If we shoot all the lawyers, this knee jerk reaction might diminish?

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @ JAN MOYER - You are not alone in "Firing" clients. I remember when I was new to owning a business and had an unreasonable client and was telling my sister about them.


    I had that mindset as a new business owner that "the customer is always right"


    She told me to fire them. (She had owned her own medical practice for years when I opened my business.)

    She said "explain that you understand that they are dissatisfied with the service I/my staff/doctor provided and that they should find another service that is more to their liking." Then offer to provide the names and numbers for others offering the same service.


    You don't gain anything positive from a negative customer. They will complain to everyone they come in contact with and are much more likely to sue. You won't make them nicer, more reasonable people, so your best move is to limit the negative exposure.


    Best advice I ever got. Over 25 years and 50,000 customers I probably fired 150 customers. Not often, but there were some who were never going to be happy.


  • grewa002
    last month

    Beautiful kitchen, job well done, absolutely nothing to sue about

  • blubird
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Funny story about firing a client, unrelated to the OP.

    Many moons ago when my kids were little I was in the pediatrician's office when the pediatrician told me about this parent who was very argumentative during her child's visits, so he suggested she find another pediatrician.

    A couple of years go by and here was the parent again. When he questioned her why she was back after going to another pediatrician, she said, ”He didn't like me either!”

  • bpath
    last month

    The best fix would be a single door refrigerator, hinged on the left. That lets you access whatever you need with one hand, and whatever you pull out goes right onto the counter beside it or on the island. So, better on all counts.

    In my kitchen, the dishwasher and the drawer and cabinet door perpendicular to it hit if either is not fully closed. We’ve been living with it for 20 years and two other families lived with it for 40 years before that. Who we gonna sue? (but yeah, ours is definitely a design fail, so I have a smaller knob on that drawer than on all the others, and whatever dishwasher is installed, it cannot have a handle, lest the doors not open more than an inch, just oke yiu see in design-fail blogs.)

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Fear is what keeps most from firing, or just hanging on too long with the hope something will change. That's not usually going to happen, as the only human being you can or will ever change, is you. When you finally realize that you are the sane and reasonable one in the relationship, and the others are not? Cut the cord ! It is never the last job, the last client.

    It will free you from anxiety, and free your time for someone , some other project, far more enjoyable.

    The former variety simply sucks air and life from any room : )

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    last month

    Listen to acm at the very top of this thread and just don't open them at the same time!

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month

    Yes of course, do not open simultaneously. But the op doesn't feel he should have to use his head or logic. Thus....."Is this a fail" .

    " To be clear, there is no issue when opened separately"

    It should be noted he has been annoyed for two years.

  • PRO
    Minardi
    last month

    Incorrect expectations does not make someone be "at fault" for not satisfying unrealistic incorrect expectations. The quickest fix for this is not only not opening the doors at the same time (duh) but for the OP also adjust the ridiculous bad attitude of festering resentment that they have had for 2 years. Probably because their KD told them the same thing: "Don't open both doors at once.". Lawsuit! :rolleyes:

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    "Listen to acm at the very top of this thread and just don't open them at the same time!"


    No. People hire designers to save customers from themselves. The very essence of the value of a good designer is keeping a DIY designer from making these kind of mistakes. That would certainly be the value proposition I would be selling, were I in that business.


    Time after time after time, DIY designers submit plans here which are quickly critiqued by professionals.


    A homeowner may have common sense and use it, however, they may have a child, neighbor, guest, or senile parent who does not. Following this "reasoning" handrails on stairs are unnecessary because those traversing should just "pay attention", "balance themselves", "check for obstructions" and "wear proper footwear".

  • vinmarks
    last month

    So Joe by your logic kitchens can not have drawers next to a fridge, drawers next to a corner unit such as lazy susan or LeMans, or a cabinet door next to a dishwasher.

  • Lorraine Leroux
    last month

    My pantry door hits the wall to its left even with a 4" spacer so I put a bumper on the wall so it does not make a banging sound. FIXED.

  • chispa
    last month

    This photo shows one of the reasons why I remodeled my previous kitchen. The door handles hit the counter and you could barely open it enough to force the fridge drawer out when it needed to be cleaned. The previous owners designed it and lived with it for 10 years with 6 pre-teen and teenage kids. Of course this issue wasn't apparent when buying the house as you tend to look at the "forest" and not the individual "trees". Never crossed my mind to sue them!

    When I remodeled, I got new fridges and moved them to the left of that arch. A few steps more from the work zone, but well worth it.


  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month

    It has a simple fix as he was advised

    Sell the current SZ, get the classic SZ single door /over under with a left hinge, right handle.

    Should it have been there to begin? Possibly, but in two sides to every story? He may have already owned the existing fridge. May already have had heart set on a 43Inch La Cornue range. "Shoulda woulda coulda" in so many ways.

    There's two sides to everything....: )

  • bry911
    last month

    Regarding the lawsuit question… I don't see your position as reasonable, but feel free to file a small claims case.

    I don’t think you have a case at all, which means you only have about a 40% chance of winning in small claims.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    5 -10% at best. The two years alone renders it unreasonable by any standard, even in small claims. Worse if you get Judge Judy.: ) lol who will cite statute of limitations and have you produce the contract you signed.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The two years alone renders it unreasonable by any standard, even in small claims. Worse if you get Judge Judy.: ) lol who will cite statute of limitations and have you produce the contract you signed.

    Why make a comment if you so obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about? Assuming a written contract, THE LOWEST statute of limitations is three years. In fact, the number of states that have a ten year statute of limitations exceeds the number of states that have a three year statute of limitations.

    Furthermore, your assertion is actually the opposite of the truth, judgments typically favor those who waited to file over those who file too soon. The courts want people to attempt to work things out. This is obviously something the OP has tried to work out as they have apparently had conversations the problem with their designer and given it time to see if they could adjust to it not being bothersome.

    The percentage I gave was obviously tongue in cheek but is meant to convey a point. Contractors lose sure things in court every single day. Ask Joseph Corlett, LLC about his sure thing in small claims court. I would not want to be a remodeler, designer, or contractor in small claims court no matter what. I don't think the OP will prevail but the odds are certainly not zero.


    ETA: The term "statute of limitations" has a specific binary meaning... Either you are under it or not. No judge would "cite the statute of limitations" unless you were actually over the statute of limitations. Nor would a dispute going on for two years even register as unusual or long.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Did I say zero? No.. I said 5% to 10% and also said or implied both are "unreasonable ", especially after two years.

    At the point of installing the kitchen? That was the time, if at all.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    bry911 - dealt with courts enough over the years to think you could be right - you never know what a judge may do and some have strong biases.


    She may also end up getting something if the designer has E&O insurance. They may settle rather than let anything go to court.


    I still haven't gotten an answer from the OP on what she believes is the remedy. You can't go to court without asking for something. Does she want the entire kitchen redesigned or the drawers nailed shut?


  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    "So Joe by your logic kitchens can not have drawers next to a fridge, drawers next to a corner unit such as lazy susan or LeMans, or a cabinet door next to a dishwasher."


    No. While I probably should have been more clear and as I stated earlier, there is a world of difference between the occasional kiss of a couple lower wood cabinet drawers as opposed to the eye-level one-time catastrophic clash of a refrigerator door into a wall oven corner.


    There is no design error in the last two pictures I posted; a right-hinged fridge door would have prevented the problem.


  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    last month

    "Ask Joseph Corlett, LLC about his sure thing in small claims court."


    That would be the time the judge disregarded the sink manufacturer's installation instructions which under Florida law one is required to follow for code compliance.


    And she admitted the testimony of an unlicensed Florida "plumber" as evidence against me.


    I had all the facts and law on my side, but that's no match for the sympathy elicited by an 83-year-old plaintiff. Hey, he could run for president!


    Lesson learned.

  • HU-976385665
    Original Author
    last month

    Would like a small filler put in between refrigerator and drawer cabinet, then make cabinet or doors narrower to accommodate the filler. then put a 90 degree stop on refrigerator to keep from hitting drawer. It sounds like the KD is not responsible for this based on most responses, how difficult is this to do and how much should this cost?

  • darbuka
    last month

    For goodness sake…why can’t your family learn to wait until the fridge is closed, before opening the drawer, and visa versa? Is everyone in your home too impatient to wait two seconds , before say…the person removing forks, spoons, or whatever has gathered and removed the needed utensils?

    Instead, you’re going through machinations to chop inches off the lower cabs/drawers, adding a filler…altering the esthetics, and reducing usable space? For all this, you’ll be paying a pretty penny to a tradesperson…hopefully competent? Sheesh.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    To make it a little smaller... you will need to competely rip out the existing cabinet there and get another cabinet made to your desire. It would likely be a custom build- if that's a standard and you want it an inch or two narrower thats custom, and if it's already a custom size, narrowing it will likely be more custom. If it's a standard order cabinet, you may just need to go to whatever is the next size narrower from the manufacturer. The filler could be whatever size you want/need. If the finish is from the factory, you will need to match that finish- or have all the cabinets painted to match the one you want replaced. You might need to get a new piece of counter too, depends on if that piece can be worked off or not, and if it will still fit the top with a new cabinet setup there- and if it has a warranty, be aware that removing the counter usually voids the warranty.

    How difficult will it be and how much? Depends on your contractor.

  • PRO
    Minardi
    last month

    That's easily a 5K+ change. That whole section needs to be redone, with a new cabinet and filler and base board, and not destroy what exists, or you will be doing the fridge panel and the crown molding all over again too. The existing aged paint will not perfectly match the fresh new cabinet coating, even if it's the same exact coating that the original cabinet maker used. It may be close enough for most people, but you aren't most people.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    Ohhh, good point about the paint not matching after two years of aging. That can be difficult to match. So maybe have the whole kitchen painted to match the new cabinet rather than trying to match the cabinet to the existing kitchen.

  • Michael Maxwell
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    The insane ammount of people REPEATEDLY negging the OP on here has me seriously doubting the viability of the socail community on Houzz. The supposed professionals on here seem to get seriously triggered by someone calling out what is clearly a design mistake. I truly sympathize with people who paid a lot of money for bad design. The truth is, a designer is not only for layout and aesthetics, but to inform people of choices that will diminish the mechanics and ergonomics in use. Even Ikea warns people against design choices like this. From what I can tell, their designer lacked either experience or care. Why do I think this? I designed my own kitchen, as a first timer, and made the same mistake. I would never make it again. It is an issue at the very least, monthly, but as often as twice in one service. My kitchen is not so big, and the drawer next to the fridge is the most logical place for my silverware, so, when one person is cooking while the other is setting the table, there are many times when someone simply has to wait for the other to close, otherwise, CRASH! The simple fact is, this is not the same as a cupboard door swining into an open oven door, there are different mechanics and ergonomics involved, and a cabinet door swing can often (not always, obviously) be changed at no cost without interfering with what is on the opposite side. And instinctually, most people avoid an oven that is open except the person opening it. Dishwashers create the same issues, but there should be very little interference with cabinets or drawers on either side, unless either appliance is shoved in a corner, in which case ther is no standing room for another person to open something that would interfere. To clarify, in my situation, this mostly happens when someone is looking for an item in the fridge, and the door being open prevents full opening of the drawer. if another person simply isn’t paying full attention, it happens. And in a cluttered, somewhat chaotic kitchen with 2 young children in the mix, it is jarring, and yes, ANNOYING! And the lame ”you just need to be patient” admonishments really chap my hide. Who here has ever seen a 7 year old boy be patient every second of every day, particularly when theyre hungry? The annoyance that other posters here have never experienced in the same design tells me there is something either fundamentally different in either their use of, or, the users of the kitchen. But to lambaste her when she paid for someone to design her very expensive kitchen and for them to make that mistake? I would be livid. That being said, I am on the hunt for a french door refrigerator with drawers that come even with the countertop, thus solving our problem, but I have yet to find one. I do not have a $15k Sub Zero refrigerator, and I am hoping my solution will only cost me a few thousand, as my garbage Samsung refrigerator and its horrible icemaker design is nearing the end of its usefulness after 9 years. And it seems like every time I look at the fridges at the box stores, the drawers on the newest designs seem to be creeping higher and higher. I feel like an appliance maker may some day soon answer my prayers. Clearly the ”PRO” designers are triggered by even the mention of litigation, and frankly, there are cheaper ways to fix this problem, like switching out the fridge, as one poster mentioned. But I work in a very litigious business, and I find most of the people who are afraid of getting sued are either doing something shady or are just simply bad at their jobs. serve your clients, steer them in the right direction. If they override your better judgement, make sure its in writing. And stop kicking people who simply want the job done right.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    If you read the thread you will see it took the poster TWO YEARS to begin complaining.

    Nobody argues it was less than ideal design. Bet a million, the op insisted on the walk in pantry.

    You did a kitchen? Good for you! Ask what happens to designers who caution over and over for mistakes, a better way to a great kitchen..........................and even with a signature would hear "I hate this". Do a dozen kitchens a year for twenty or thirty years: )

  • Jennifer Hogan
    yesterday

    @ Michael Maxwell - If you were going to redesign your kitchen today, given the same footprint that you currently have, how would you change the layout and avoid this issue?


    In the OP's kitchen, how would you have designed the space that the refrigerator was not next to a cabinet with a drawer?


    I am working on designing my kitchen right now. I have played with a lot of options. I know the largest current pain points and am doing my best to avoid creating new pain points, but I only have so much space to work with and I can't get rid of the blind corners and leave three doorways and have ample pantry space unless I find a way to stop doing laundry. Damn that washer and dryer taking up valuable space for a task that I hate doing.


    My point is that design is often about making the best use of the available space and within the available budget. Unless both space and money are pretty generous you often end up with some level of compromise and not absolute perfection. Even the most talented designer will have to work within the constraints of the project. They can't magically produce more space.


    On many posts I have been the first to stand up for the owner and say the designer/fabricator/installer made an obvious mistake. In this case I didn't see a mistake, I saw a very common compromise. Not every kitchen has ample space and can avoid placing the refrigerator next to a drawer without giving up needed drawer space.

  • dadoes
    23 hours ago

    Just to say ... paragraphs make long posts easier to read.

  • PRO
    Zumi
    23 hours ago

    Not everyone has a 10 acre kitchen to put in space wasting fillers everywhere for ideal clearances. Compromises are made all the time with clearances, when a kitchen is smaller sized.

  • anj_p
    22 hours ago

    We have this situation in our kitchen as well. And we are in a production build house, so every house like ours has the same situation. It happens all the time and guess what? I never noticed it was a problem. Why?? Because that drawer holds pot holders and trivets, things that are never needed in conjunction with the fridge being opened.

    Put something else in that drawer if it's being opened consistently with the fridge. Simple solution. Just because it's the ideal spot for silverware (or whatever) doesn't mean you can't put that stuff somewhere else. But instead let's blame others and try to sue over it. Sheesh.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    17 hours ago

    Thai is such an entertaining ‘dilemma’. My fridge doors open 120° so by some arguments on here I would have to have a 30” filler so I could have the fridge door open and pull open the next cabinet. I also have full overlay cabinets with 110° hinges so I would have to have 6” filler between every cabinet so that every door could be open simultaneously and not touch. Obviously I haven’t done that. My silverware drawers is right next to my fridge and it’s not a problem because we are adults and dont just kick the fridge open.

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