Boxing in Fridge with Cabinetry - Momplex Vanilla Kitchen

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 01/09/2014 - 12:38

There will only be one time in my life that I shell out $500 cash for not quite a whole sheet of plywood.

Well, two times.  Because I bought two pieces actually.  

This was, of course, back when I thought building your own kitchen was an impossible task for a DIYer.

When I ordered our kitchen for our house, the salesperson asked me if I wanted the fridge boxed in in cabinetry.  

I said yes, and Cha-ching!  The price went up $1500.

I reasoned that shipping that huge fridge cabinet all the way to Alaska was definitely worth the $1500 bucks.  I imagined this huge crate being craned onto a ship, headed north.

But instead, we got two sheets of 3/4" plywood - not even whole sheets - and an above the fridge standard cabinet.  And that was it.

I felt robbed.  I still feel robbed.

So when it came time to build the Momplex kitchen, you can bet I wasn't going to spend $500 on a 30" wide sheet of plywood.  

This is how we boxed in the Momplex Vanilla Kitchen fridge ...




And it costed more like $200 to do, and you'll be amazed at really how easy it is.  And the funny thing is, if you order the kit - you still have to install it yourself or pay someone to install it.  And that's really the majority of the work!




First things first, we figured how big we needed the side panels to be.  We measured the fridge to the doors, so the doors could still freely swing open, and added 1" to allow for the back cleats that we add to attach to the wall. 


We also knew we would be adding crown moulding, so we cut the panels down to 1" less than our overall ceiling height.  This allows the panels to be put into place without damaging the ceiling.


And then we drilled 3/4" pocket holes along the bottom inside edge of the two panels for attaching to the floor.  We do have a in floor heat system, so we carefully found safe spots to drill and marked them first. 


NOTE: We used unfinished birch plywood (PureBond) for the side panels as they will be painted.



On the front edge of the plywood, we ironed on edge banding,



And then trimmed the edge banding down with our handy edge bander tool.




And then lightly sanded the edge banding to remove any sharp edges.


We did this on both panels.





We wanted three sides finished for the panels, so we propped the two panels up, unfinished plywood edge down, and secured with a cleat.




A coat of primer and paint later, we lightly sanded the panels for a smooth finish, and we are ready to start fridge boxing-in!



We took scrap pieces of 3/4" plywood and cut to 36" wide (our fridge requires a 36" opening).  We drilled pocket holes on each end of the plywood pieces, and attached to the two panels.



We placed the plywood pieces so the utility box and ice box are not covered, one at the top, bottom, and two in the middle.


Now it's time for the cabinet!





We built a standard above the fridge wall cabinet, but did alter the height so it filled in the gap between the top of the fridge to our crown moulding, factoring in our overall ceiling height.  If you go with a standard above the fridge cabinet, you can use filler strips to fill any gaps as well.




Fits perfect!





We added blocking on top for crown moulding (will do a post on this soon) and then clamped the cabinet in place with MANY clamps.



And then used 2" self tapping trim screws to screw through the face frameinto the plywood panel.  Predrill holes - trust me, it's not worth risking splitting a face frame this late in the game.




Since the face frame overextends the cabinet by 1/4", we used wood shims to fill the gaps, 




And then screwed through the cabinet, through the shim, into the plywood panels.


NOTE: We had to use a shorter screw here - 1-1/2" I believe.



Then we screwed the plywood panels (with shim between) to the neighboring cabinets.



One last chance to check for level ...




And then we screwed through the back cleats to studs in the wall.




And attached the panels through the pocket holes drilled at the beginning to the floor.  You could also use a metal L bracket here.





Fridge cabinet secured in place!


NOTE: We floored around the cabinets as the floor is floating and finished out the base in quarter round moulding - more details on that coming soon.




We dressed up the top with crown moulding (will share a post on this soon too), 





And added doors from Cabinet Now ...




And if I can say so myself, that looks pretty darn nice!  Even a budget friendly fridge looks pretty inside that cabinet!


Next up - we'll be sharing how we installed the rest of the cabinets!


Thanks for reading and following along - hope this post has been helpful!


XO Ana+ Family




Sat, 03/26/2016 - 00:00

Fridges dissipate heat on their sides. Old fridges used to have black heat grill on the back, but this is embedded in the walls of modern fridges. I feel that a fridge boxed the way this one is illustrated, would use about 2-3 times the energy to power, and seriously damage the compressor.

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