Asked on Feb 16, 2014

How to tie in an above the fridge cupboard and an existing bulk head?

My kitchen was remodeled by the formerowners and we just added an above the fridge cupboard for extra storage. (We are retired and willnot be able to totally redo this kitchen or even this wall.) Normally you add spacers to fit acupboard onto whatever is next to it. I am not sure if in this case, with thedepth of the fridge that using spacers is possible? I "think" I canhave a contractor build a wooden piece over the wallboard piece to cover up themetal exhaust fan but can there be a way to cover the open space and make itlook good? There is no room for a cabinet on the opposite side...will this idealook lop sided or out of scale? How do I counteract this lopsided-ness?
The new maple storage cabinet above the fridge.
You can see the wallboard and wallpapered bulkhead with the exhaust fan under it. I'm looking to make it look more seamless now that the new cabinet is over the fridge. Ideas anyone? I'm not able to do major makeovers here...
A slightly closer image of our appliance wall showing the open space I am talking about left and right of the exhaust fan.
  28 answers
  • The cabinet you want to add is just sitting on top of the frig? You will not be able to balance symetrically 2 cabinets since your line of cabinets goes to the wall. In any case, you do not need to be symetric unless you are worried about what a designer would think. I have my over the frig/freezer cabinets mounted from the ceiling with 2x4s and 2x6s so they come out to the edge of the frig and the doors are off and I have stemware hanging. Check out my "fab kitchen rehab" on here and you will see what I did. You could easily build a frame on the ceiling on your studs attach and then build a frame on the cabinet so it hangs down to the top of the frig. Use thin plywood/paneling to box in the gaps on the sides and underneath.
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  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 16, 2014
    No, the cabinet is actually attached to the back wall with 8 screws in the studs as part of this installation. The contractor who installed this cabinet is a custom kitchen contractor and he made the decision of location based on his experience and the situation he was working with. He was trying to make the height line of the top of this cupboard in line with the other cupboards that are already on the wall. Thanks for your ideas.
  • you could do this yourself if you mean to fill in the top of the cabinet above the frig, right? you can look for an oak board or (even furniture grade) or even call or google up the manufacturer to find any cabinet fillers in your color of cabinets. you will have to measure the opening to see if this will work. But it is not a hard fix if you do hire a contractor/woodworker because they will just match your stain and cut an oak board above the cabinet. good luck
  • Jean Kahler Jean Kahler on Feb 16, 2014
    I always had to stand on a chair to get to my over the fridge cupboard which stores pie pans & cookie sheets, etc. Now, recovering from a stroke, induced during surgery to place a clip on an anneursym on my brain, I cannot safely "stand on a chair!" Even with the "Pick Stick" my husband got me - I cannot retrieve said items - - - I now have to wait til he's in the house, to get those things for me. I wish we'da hung a curtain rod from the ceiling, with a piece of cloth over it. Surely a lot less expensive than another cupboard to match the rest of them in our kitchen! Who gives a Rat's a s what it looks like if it's not safely accessible to the main cook!
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 16, 2014
    Can the fridge me moved anywhere else? If so, you an add another base cabinet and extend the countertop to create a larger prep area.
  • Diane Woods Diane Woods on Feb 16, 2014
    I can see the challenges you are having with this space! The shelving that runs to the corner complicates it even more. I would put a shelf on the left side of the range hood at the same level as the top of the cabinets, but so your corner cabinet can open below it. Put a piece of wall art on that side below the shelf that is a similar height to the cabinet above the refrigerator. You could even put one of those inexpensive push lights under the shelf to highlight the artwork inexpensively too. Above the cabinet that was just put in above the refrigerator, whether you drink wine or not it is the perfect space for that kind of built in. When we renovated our kitchen we had a verticle space similar. Everyone thinks we are fancy, but it was just creative problem solving. There is a bit of dead space behind the bottles, but it looks intentional. You could put wine, or display something else.
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    • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 16, 2014
      @Diane Woods The wine display looks like you planned it all along. What a smart use of this odd space. Love your green paint too. I am totally a green person!
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 16, 2014
    I thought I was going to have to use a stool, but even at 5 ft. 4" I can actually reach my cookies sheets in this cabinet. I am thrilled! Hope you recover soon and regain your former health!
  • DeMarie I DeMarie I on Feb 16, 2014
    The wine rack is a great idea or just use the space to display some pretty pitchers or a stand with a large decorative plate or two. I went back and looked at it more closely and I see that you have very little space, but it does look like you have enough space that could put a single line rack for wine bottles
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 16, 2014
    How much space is between the window jamb and the cabinets to the right of the window? Perhaps they could be shifted over so you could add some upper cabinets to the fridge wall. The cabinets to the left of the window could have a small 12" cabinet added as well to balance it out.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Feb 17, 2014
    Oh boy! What a dilemma you have here! Have you thought about building a small frame above this cabinet and then placing plywood or sheetrock on the frame. To that you could attach a beautiful wallpaper. You have black appliances with white what about a black and white geometric pattern of wallpaper on that newly framed in area. If you wanted to balance it out, build a couple of shelves that have a front lip for the other side of the vent and paper the lip to coordinate!
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 17, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. Actually I do have wallpaper on the walls a very soft green color and pattern.
  • Kate Allen Kate Allen on Feb 17, 2014
    The easiest way to handle and make the new cabinet less obvious is to paint the entire wall and cabinet the same color (cream?white?) whatever your walls are..the cabinet won't look so obvious then.
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Feb 17, 2014
    I would rather have seen the cabinet hung higher, close to the ceiling, and then put antique cookbooks horizontally in the space between the fridge and cabinet as a design element and to keep the space from becoming dust central. I see that you have items on top of some of your other wall-mounted cabinets; books might work on top of the cabinet. We are near a flea market that sells books 10 for a dollar, some are quite old. You could glue books together, cover to cover, and lay them horizontally to fill in that space and make it less jarring.
    • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 17, 2014
      @KathrynElizabeth Etier Thanks for your answer, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. The cupboard were here when we moved in and for whatever reason they were hung at this level. So the new fridge cabinet was hung in line with the older cabinets. The bottom drawers of each cabinet rest on the countertop and our granite countertop was positioned according to the cabinet drawers so that is where they will be staying. It's like a puzzle, each piece fits into the other piece to make the whole fit together.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 17, 2014
    That's a great idea, thank you. However I won't be painting the maple cupboards or the wall. Even if I did paint them, I'm afraid that it would look odd over my black appliances which aren't going anyway any time soon.
  • Lori J Lori J on Feb 17, 2014
    I would frame it up so that there was drywall above.
  • Pamela Sandall Pamela Sandall on Feb 17, 2014
    I'd go with molding! Build up the height with a wood panel and mix different widths/shapes of trim for a custom look. You can wrap this same finish over the top of the exhaust and, if it were me, I would do the other uppers above the sink. Realistically, it's dead, dust collecting space. You can take a door/drawer to your local paint store and they should be able to custom tint the stain if you don't like the idea of painting. Let me know if this sounds interesting, but is confusing and I can look for an image for you!
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 18, 2014
    Thanks for your comment but I am hoping for other ideas too. That is an idea but then I would have to take off the wallpaper and also do all the kitchen cabinets to match too. My husband does not do this kind of work, and I'm hoping for a less work/less cost solution....
  • Roberta Eagleston Roberta Eagleston on Feb 18, 2014
    It is positioned same as other cabinets. It looks fine without doing anything but balance the other side with shelf that will clear the cabinet door. I am thinking long narrow shelf with the top same height as cabinets. I agree do not paint cabinet! That would make it stand out not diminish.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 18, 2014
    I like the idea of an open shelf or two but the cabinet door positioned to the right of the sink/window would open up into any shelf put there. So that seems to end that idea for me. Thanks!!
  • Phyllis Phyllis on Feb 18, 2014
    I would add a shelf on tbe other side of the range hood for the microwave. Remove the upper cabinet doors so they would not interfere with the microwave. This would balance out the wall and the cabinet above the refrigerator wouldn't appear so obvious. Or you could use glass doors on the cabinet above the refrigerator and make it look more like a design element. It wouldn't have to be a clear glass.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 18, 2014
    Are you suggesting removing the doors on the cabinet that is already there-or from the cabinet you are suggesting go above the microwave? (NOTE:The cabinet that is there is filled with spices and cooking supplies, not very pretty. Additionally, we have no A/C and live on a gravel road so I usually avoid open shelves and items hung on the wall as it means almost daily dusting to keep the dust and road dust at bay. Not fun. I'd rather be out in the garden working there!!)
  • Nuclear Nana Nuclear Nana on Feb 18, 2014
    Remove the bulk head and have a matching cabinet built to cover the exhaust. This will add additional storage around the exhaust for tall less used items. Paint the part of the hood that shows with black metal paint to match your other appliances. The white hood just doesn't go with the black appliances.
  • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on Feb 18, 2014
    You have a lovely kitchen! I like the idea of building a wine rack above the fridge cabinet, although, as someone pointed out, it appears that that cabinet is about the same height as your others so it could be left as is and be perfectly…well, perfect. As to the vent bulkhead, how about covering it with something? I used copper metal flashing in my last kitchen to wrap around an exposed vent-pipe. Worked nicely, though it was too narrow a width to work in this instance, unless you did several layers, overlapping each an inch or so. Or how about covering in tin ceiling panels? Or beadboard paneling? If you use the latter, you can either buy paneling sheets in white or stain-your-own tongue and groove boards. You could get a paint store to get them to match the stain of your cabinets. In a lake house we built in the '80s, the hub used stained pine lapboard siding as paneling in our great room. That would work here too, or you could use plain pine boards in a similar manner, laying them horizontally. Just a few suggestions. :^)
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 19, 2014
    Thanks for the idea.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 19, 2014
    Thank you everyone!
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 20, 2014
    This is what I did to fill in the space in the short term.
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  • Jane Jane on Sep 05, 2014
    Have you considered balancing out the look with a tile border that runs along your backsplash and up each side of the exhaust hood? Tiling is a fairly easy job, and relatively cheap. It wouldn't have to match the existing tile if you used a border. If you get really fancy, you could remove a square of tile from above the stove and put in tile to match the border, or even a tile picture, which you can get a tile stores.