The decision has been made to replace the existing refrigerator for the new kitchen. It had been discussed during the planning process but wasn't a necessary purchase, and so it took a back seat to other, more important, items such as an exhaust fan over the range.
But now that we are hitting the home stretch, it has become apparent that a counter-depth refrigerator will fit the space much better than the super deep behemoth we currently have. The catch, we only have about 30" of width for the new refrigerator and finding the combination - stainless steel, counter-depth, 30" wide, not a million dollars refrigerator - is proving to be a bit difficult. And while I can afford maybe an extra inch in width, I definitely can't afford two, making many appealing products no longer options.
The mister also prefers no exposed ice/water dispenser, french door top refrigerator with bottom freezer, and an ice maker. I'm pretty much on the same page, though, I could deal with an exposed ice/water dispenser.
Here's what I've dug up so far:
1 - Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmartTM Fridge, $1,999.00 Fisher & Paykel make a number of options that might work for us. In addition to this french door, bottom freezer model (coming in at 31-1/8" wide), they also have a similar, though not french door, 25" wide option. I used to spec their dishwasher drawers quite a bit while working in NYC and so I don't doubt that their other products are equally as well-made. This is the only french door option I have found. The french doors are preferable for our kitchen because we only have 48" between the fridge/pantry column and the cabinets just across the aisle. Each door, therefore, will only open into the aisle half of the length a single door would, allowing for a person to walk by even when the refrigerator is open. I am unsure about the ice maker option on this fridge if you don't also have the exposed water/ice dispenser. A little more research is clearly needed.
2 - Blomberg BRFB1800SSIM, $1795.50 I have zero experience with this brand, but this refrigerator measures only 29.5" wide and would fit perfectly within the 30" wide cubby I've already laid out. This refrigerator is a single door top refrigerator, bottom freezer, and comes standard with a right hinge (I do not think you can reverse the door). I'm thinking that we may prefer a left hinged refrigerator, although I go back-and-forth on this, and perhaps this could be special-ordered. I like that it has dual evaporators, separating the airflow of the freezer and fridge compartments, and an ice maker.
3 - Liebherr CS1400, $3259.00 Yea, so this is definitely out of our budget but I love this refrigerator. It is a true counter-depth refrigerator at just 24-13/16" deep. This model requires a cabinet width of 29-9/16" wide, making it a good fit for our 30" cubby. But the price, oh the price! It also happens to be the smallest of the options so far, coming in at just 14 cubic feet. Though we had originally discussed selling the existing fridge, perhaps moving it to the basement for beverages and general overflow might make the smaller holds of these 30" wide, counter-depth models more realistic for a family.
4 - LG Style to Spare, $699.99 Um, so this is my least favorite, but look at the price! This is the moment when I need to remind myself that this is not our forever home and that what we are after is a refrigerator that won't protrude into the kitchen aisle any more than 3" (a typical door thickness). And this refrigerator meets the bill. Not to mention the fact that it won't break the bank. But, as much as we are looking for an upgrade to a top refrigerator, bottom freezer model, wouldn't future buyers as well? One could say that buying this fridge would be a major waste of money - spending a pittance only to meet one check-box in our list of preferences. Sigh . . .
So, the search continues. This afternoon I'll head to a few more stores to hear salesperson opinions and view more models in person. Please help!