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Kitchen Design/Remodeling/Refrigerator Placement and Plumbing in Island


Thanks in advance for your volunteering your expertise.  I'm in the midst of a kitchen/bath remodel.  I had a designer draft a design and my contractor talked me into enlarging the shower which took out one cabinet in my kitchen.  Now I realize why you should stick to the designer's plan.  Where the contractor moved the sink means I won't be able to open the dishwasher while standing at sink.  

Now I'm trying to piece this puzzle into some sort of workable layout.  My two specific questions: placing a frig in a corner - how much room is needed for the side against the wall?  Next, what plumbing considerations are there for putting a sink and dishwater into an island?  If I do move these to the island - I'll have to move the plumbing - is there a rough cost estimate I can expect (under is a full unfinished basement).

Thanks again for any advise you can offer.  Let me know if you need further details.


Hi Kris, thank you for your question.  I will try to help you with your situation as best I can without seeing the actual cabinet design.  If you have more questions at the end, please feel free to forward me your design and I'll see if there are other suggestions I could make.

First, with the corner refrigerator.  I assume you mean a refrigerator at the end of a run, but up against a wall.  The term "corner" normally refers to a refrigerator set at a diagonal in the corner.  This is rarely done because it takes way too much wall space in both directions to ever make it an efficient use of space.  

A refrigerator up against a wall on one side, while not ideal, is done quite often.  I try to leave about 3 full inches of space between the refrigerator and the wall.  Most refrigerators open within their overall width (with doors at 90 degrees open), but some have a hinge point that makes the unit wider.  The type of refrigerator you use will make a difference as well.  A simple top mount freezer is usually no problem up against a side wall.  But with a side by side or French door unit, full access to a slide out drawer might be affected.  

I have a similar issue in my own home, but normal day to day operation is not a problem.  When we want to clean the freezer really good, it is sometimes easier to pull the refrigerator out to allow that door to open fully.  If my room were just a little bigger, I would have put in a small 12"-15" pantry cabinet to keep that door off of the wall; and if you have room, that would certainly be a suggestion to consider.

Second, sink and dishwasher in an island.  I do lots of primary sinks in islands.  Some of my customers prefer to have their focus directed to a group at the island instead of having their backs to the guests while working at a sink under the window.  While I would not be able to give you an expectation of plumbing costs, I will say that with an unfinished basement, your costs to move lines & drains will be cheaper than with any other basement situation.  When I go into a home with an unfinished basement or drop ceiling access, the customer has much more flexibility in creating a new design.  With a finished basement....I try to stay away from moving plumbing as much as possible.  

Thank you again for your questions.  I hope this has been of some help to you.  As I mentioned before, if you have further questions, please feel free to send me a cabinet layout so I can better address your concerns.  Congratulations on your future new kitchen!!!

- Scott

Kitchen Design/Remodeling

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Scott A.


I can answer questions regarding the kitchen & bath design process. My specialty is problem solving and advising clients about realistic expectations and proper procedures. Please feel free to use this forum for fact gathering and overall questions about the remodeling process and how to get started. I take special pride in solving unique design issues (issues unrelated to interior design).


I am the general manager of a kitchen & bath design showroom that offers complete sales, design, and installation services. Our products include cabinets, countertops, flooring, and appliances.

I have been working in the field of kitchen & bath design since receiving my B.S. degree in Architecture in 1992. I also own my own residential home design company, and have been designing custom homes for local builders since 1993.

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