Selecting a refrigerator
Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
July 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Kitchen walls are spicy mustard which flows nicely to the formal area and the family room. My husband likes it, so the wall color is staying. We are considering a retro-look refrigerator, and this is the dilemma: They are much more expensive, so are they reliable or just cute? If reliable, then what color?
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felixgrantham
I wouldn't.
Go for function & get a French door refrigerator with the 2 lower freezer drawers - I LOVE mine!

Stay away from KitchenAid - I hated that fridge so much, it was the first & only time I have replaced a major appliance while the old one was still working. It had bad airflow & things would freeze on the fridge side without regard to the temp setting.
2 Likes   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 8, 2013 at 9:42AM
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bksavy
If you get a French door I agree to get the bottom freezer. The side by side fridge with freezer on the side doesn't allow for fridge space. Upon my shopping I went with the regular top freezer version is stainless. It was narrower, and had more fridge space to me. I didn't care about the freezer so much because I have two deep freezers. Also, my entry doors are narrow i had to keep that in mind too. Measure everything the space, doorways and take a tape measure with you.
0 Likes   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 8, 2013 at 11:09AM
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0825sam
Your kitchen looks to traditional for a retro fridge in my humble opinion. I would get a stainless counter depth fridge.
5 Likes   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 8, 2013 at 11:12AM
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ruthmand
sam 705 nailed it! Counter depth in stainless or black is the way to go. You will love it as it is amazing how more it holds compared to your side by side. We changed over and couldn't be happier. It would also make your kitchen more functional not having that big Fridge stick out into your room.
1 Like   July 8, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Genevieve
I don't know if its my impression but when I was looking for a new fridge they all seemed to have very little room capacity in comparison the ones that were made years ago . A retro fridge will not fit in your kitchen ,not for the paint colour on your walls but rather for the style of it . Remove all the magnets from the fridge it will make you kitchen appear much nicer .
2 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 11:20AM
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goforluca
Agree about the counter depth. I have dealt with an oversized albatross for too many years and can't wait for my kitchen remodel to begin so my new counter depth can go in. I'm still a side by side lover though. I don't want to have to dig through the freezer to find items. I also agree with Genevieve about removing items from the front of the fridge. I recently cleared mine while packing up my kitchen & couldn't get over how much cleaner & open my small kitchen looks.
0 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
Thanks for everyone's input so far. Wow, no one's with me on the cute retro-look 'fridge. Okay, my husband was assuming the French doors with lower freezer. I've been waiting for the monstrosity to die - my husband had it long before we were married, and it's been 10 years now - so I'm thankful that since we're looking at washer/dryers he suggested we finally replace the 'fridge.
0 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 11:54AM
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feeny
Well, I'm with you in spirit, Lanie. I love the retro appliances too (especially the turquoise ones, which perfectly replicate what I grew up with), and we even considered them when renovating our 1920's kitchen. But ultimately I decided they didn't enhance the design of our kitchen. Nostalgia just wasn't enough. Instead, we chose a SS counter-depth french door fridge, with two bottom freezer drawers. It is sleek, beautiful, and I am SO glad we made this choice.
1 Like   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 8, 2013 at 12:06PM
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cwalbrun19
You can have easily have panels made for your new fridge to blend into the cabinetry to keep things looking a little more timeless. That way you can accent in other retro pieces (kitchen aid mixer, retro table clothes, etc) to give that feel without the big price tag.
1 Like   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 8, 2013 at 12:17PM
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decoenthusiaste
Can you manage a nice bulletin board somewhere so you can clear the clutter and magnets off the fridge? Retro's are cute for the game room, bar area, outdoor kitchen, etc. if you have space there.
0 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
Y'all, I appreciate the input, but I like my stuff on the 'fridge. Some of it reminds me of family members who are far away, and some of it I actually use on a daily basis. If I'd thought of it as I was dashing out the door to work, I suppose I could have removed the stuff from the 'fridge to snap a pic for houzz. One day, a long time from now, when I stage my home to sell, I will gladly take down all personal pics and refrigerator magnets. Thank you for the input on the type of 'fridge. Retro was a fun thought but is out. Thanks.
0 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
I appreciate the comments today. But no one has answered my initial question as to whether the pricey retro-look refrigerators are as reliable as the traditional appliances in the $2,000-$2,500 price range. Would a design professional or consumer who has owned one please answer so I can know? We were looking at a Heartland which comes in a stainless/cranberry combo. (There are blotches of garnet in our granite. The purpose of my cell-phone quality pics was to show the colors of the paint, granite and current appliances. Sorry my photography and staging were not professional.) For the higher price and unanimous feedback against retro in my kitchen, we'll probably go with a traditional 'fridge, so I do appreciate the opinions. But I'd still like to know if the expensive retro-look appliances are reliable to be my only new refrigerator for the next 20+ years. Thanks.
0 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 8:48PM
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lntrcrts
All of your appliances are suppose to be the same color makes the kitchen flow.
0 Likes   July 8, 2013 at 8:58PM
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feeny
I would be thrilled to know if there are any refrigerators, or any appliances at all, these days built well enough to last for 20+ years. My old ones lasted that long, but from everything I hear, that is no longer the case with new lines of appliances. Whether that is the fault of planned obsolescence, increasingly complex electronics, or both, I don't know. But I think your 20+ year expectation may be rather optimistic.
2 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 5:09AM
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0825sam
This article and the comments may help you

2 Likes   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 9, 2013 at 5:19AM
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goforluca
I don't know how quickly you plan to buy your refrigerator, but Retro Renovation has an article about a GE Artistry line coming out in the fall featuring a retro look. The fridge looks pretty cool & affordable. You could also ask in their kitchen forum for retro style refrigerator feedback. It looks like they'll be offering this line in both black & white. The link to the article about the GE retro style appliances is here: http://retrorenovation.com/2013/06/26/retro-kitchen-appliances-ge/
1 Like   Thanked by Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's    July 9, 2013 at 7:24AM
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goforluca
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
feeny, all I know is that one my husband had long before we got married won't die! But we're finally going to replace it anyway. I do like what goforluca found. Thanks, goforluca!
1 Like   July 9, 2013 at 2:23PM
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goforluca
Lanie, you are most welcome! It was a stroke of happy luck that I found these links today. I've always loved retro appliances & it killed me to give up my 1930's Tappan gas stove. It was time to replace it & it no longer works in my style kitchen. If I were able to go retro, I would definitely give this line's refrigerator strong consideration. Surprisingly, the suite looks good in a contemporary kitchen as well. Best of luck to you! :)
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 2:27PM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
You're right, sam0705. I remember that houzz article now; it's probably where I saved some of the inspiration pics in my kitchen idea book. Thanks!
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 2:29PM
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kitasei
Are the retro appliances you are considering Energy Star rated? That would be your first clue.
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 2:38PM
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goforluca
For the GE line, according to the second link I listed: "both the new dishwasher and refrigerator are ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances. The bottom-freezer refrigerator costs $49 to operate annually."
1 Like   July 9, 2013 at 2:51PM
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belleandlucy
your kitchen is too traditional for a retro style fridge, I am needing to replace my large fridge in a tiny 9x10 kitchen. Looked at the retro...what I found very expensive well over 2500 depending on model and not energy efficient on any of them I reviewed. I have a Frigidaire which I love and will hopefully try to replace with smaller version. Hopefully that will help. Yes, I had clutter on the fridge and fixed that problem with a bulletin board next to the fridge. Organize pictures, business cards ,etc. looks more clean and organize instead of chaos.
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 3:01PM
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0825sam
Lanie - I found this photo of a more traditional kitchen with a retro fridge. If you are in love with that feature maybe try white to blend with your cabinets. I don't know that I see a funky color meshing with the rest of your kitchen. Then I think I'd add some other nods to vintage with lighting or accessories. I also think a common theme is that these types of fridges have a lot of hardware on them in chrome or stainless. As much as i like mixing metals i am not sure how that would meld with your brass hardware and faucet which are very traditional. If switching those out is an option it might work better. I guess it all depends on if and what you are willing to change to make a retro fridge work more.


0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 3:21PM
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0825sam
In other words are you drawn to this type of fridge because you want to take your kitchen in a different direction or would it be the odd man out.
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Amy Stanley
What color are you thinking? I noticed you have a white sink, gold hardware and faucet, stainless stove hood and other appliances are black? I would change the hardware and faucet to stainless and get a black with stainless handle refrigerator it would tie it all together.
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 3:32PM
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0825sam
Whoops I forgot the other appliance are black
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
We installed the black double-ovens when we bought our home 10 years ago. The black flat cook top and stainless vent hood were already there, and we installed the new granite. I suppose the dishwasher and microwave are black because other appliances are black. Small counter top appliances, however, like the coffee maker and toaster oven, are stainless. The faucet and hardware eventually ended up brass because all the new door knobs throughout the house are brass. I don't have a personal problem mixing the two metals; to me the granite shimmers with both. I do not, though, like the clash of bright white 'fridge with creamy white cabinets. To me, my traditional kitchen borders on old-fashioned, so that's why I think the retro could be cute. Obviously, from the unanimous feedback, not the curvy Smeg retro, but perhaps the sleeker GE Artistry line which goforluca found. We have already remodeled our kitchen once and replaced various appliances periodically, so I'm not unhappy with my kitchen and not looking to overhaul anything. Just trying to select the correct 'fridge since I look right at it every time I enter the kitchen from the back door and I want it to be a decent investment. And no, there is not a wall for a bulletin board, not even in the laundry room. The 'fridge magnets are various gifts and even charming keepsakes I took from my Grandma's 'fridge when I helped my Mom clean out her apartment after she passed. Perhaps when I have a pretty new 'fridge I will move the magnets and all they hold to the extra 'fridge in the laundry room. Thanks for everyone's positive thoughts.
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
Amy, so what color am I thinking? I don't know; partly depends on what my choices end up being when we find the correct model. Is black slimming in a kitchen? I know, I know - counter depth. :)
0 Likes   July 9, 2013 at 8:49PM
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kitasei
How retro could granite counters ever be? Don't they anchor a kitchen to post 1970, probably 1970-90s? That is already dated enough to constitute an era, especially coupled with brass fixtures. Does the GE line enhance or confuse this look?
3 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 1:30AM
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gweire
This is off the design part of this discussion but I have a question. Do the counter depth refrigerators hold as much? I'm guessing the answer is no.
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 5:33AM
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feeny
gweire: The answer is no, but..... They are so well laid out, designed to use every available inch of space, that I actually find ours not only entirely adequate to our needs, but much easier and more efficient to store things in than our old fridge. Things don't get lost and forgotten in the back, and there are more tiers and moving shelves to configure in different ways. But we are a family of three, so I'm not sure it would feel quite as large to a family of five or six.
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 6:16AM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
kitasei, I am more confused now than when I posted the dilemma...
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 6:25AM
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indianpatti
This kitchen is not retro at all .... if you put a retro fridge, it will look really bad.
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 6:30AM
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Margo
I did not read every comment thus far, but what I see is a mass confusion of finish choices. Right now you have a white refrigerator, white sink, gold faucets, brassy hardware, black cook top, ovens,dishwasher and microwave, stainless hood, and toaster oven. STOP- and think about what direction you want to go. To me that is the biggest flaw people make when remodel. All appliances should match in finish, of course there are RARE exceptions :)
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 6:39AM
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ruthmand
Ok, Lanie this may help. These retro fridges look like what was in use in the 40s, 50s & 60s. Does that help? What others are trying to tell you is that your kitchen does not look much like anything from that period.
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 8:20AM
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goforluca
Just to clarify, when I posted the GE link above, I'm not saying it will work in Lanie's traditional style kitchen. She really seems to have her heart in this direction and ultimately, like leaving her family photos where she can view & enjoy them (the bulletin board idea gets my vote), it's her kitchen. IMO, she should go with that she wants. I was actually surprised to see how the GE line can work in a contemporary kitchen. Sometimes mixing styles can work. I just hope Lanie finds something that makes her smile when she works in her kitchen. To me, that's ultimately what it's about.
1 Like   July 10, 2013 at 8:25AM
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Amy Stanley
I think black for color for sure as it will match other appliances- I have no idea on the reliability of the retro look refrigerators- I would google the one you have interest in and read the reviews since I haven't seen anyone on here say they actually have a retro frig in their kitchen probably due to cost- I love the look but since your other appliances are not retro I personally would opt for a normal refrigerator with the options you wanted and put the money elsewhere.
1 Like   July 10, 2013 at 12:08PM
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0825sam
I hope I did not add to any confusion with the white fridge photo! That was an oops forgetting the other appliances were black and the cabinets not a true white.
0 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Lanie Brown, REALTOR®, Martha Turner Sotheby's
kitasei, I surely would not limit granite counters to the '70s-'90s since it's a rare buyer in my real estate experience in Houston who doesn't whine if a house doesn't have granite and new homes in my market area continue to boast granite counters.

Besides that, my husband was not impressed with the Consumer Reports ratings of GE refrigerators in general, so we're not going to take the risk with the new line. Counter-depth, French doors, lower freezer it is. Thanks for going through this exercise with me, but we're back to where we started which is what the wonderful houzzers unanimously recommended.

Thank you, goforluca, for reminding us all that when we post on a design dilemma we are hopefully ultimately helping the houzzer who reached out for assistance. Whether my husband & I choose black or stainless will be my secret because the black cook top and stainless vent hood are still as they were when we purchased the home. I didn't start the madness with mixed finishes; I just try to work with what I have. Except the white 'fridge shows no signs of collapse, and it is time for it to go.

And there is no wall for a bulletin board. This home has so many windows and cabinets and built-ins that there is also no room for the 200-gallon aquarium we used to have. Some ideas do not work in all homes. Thanks, Everyone!
2 Likes   July 10, 2013 at 8:03PM
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