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The disturbing case of the Fridge, and cabinets built by Dr. Seuess. * Updated with pictures

By Andrew Pollack on 08/23/2008 at 12:21 PM EDT

After 20 years of wanting one, I've finally got a fridge that has an ice maker. Unfortunately, that's the beginning of the story not the end. You see, our kitchen cabinets where built by Dr. Seuess. When I measured for the width of the fridge, I checked the measurement at the floor, at counter height, and then again with the upper cabinet. All were fine. Tight, but fine. Then the fridge came.

Although all the widths were fine, they were unfortunately offset from one another by as much as half an inch.

I suppose I could have returned the fridge and gotten one that was narrower, but with three kids and my wife and I we need all the cold space we can get. I'm also not giving up my ice maker.

As I got into this job, I discovered that indeed the counter and cabinets were built by Dr. Seuess -- or someone who studied carpentry under his influence. As near as I can tell, there isn't a true right angle within 10 meters of my kitchen. There are many that are close, but none that are true. I used a t-bar to draw a right angle line off the backsplash toward the the front across the counter top. Since the bar was too short, I went to make a matching line, using the front of the counter top to square the angle. The two lines met -- at a shallow angle. Even the front and back edges of the cabinet aren't quite parallel. Who builds like that?

I've spent the last two days cutting an inch off the end of both the lower and upper cabinet. These are built in place cabinets, not buy them and hang them kind. The side panels are 3/4 inch plywood. I was able to cut off both side panels, then trim them so they now fit inside rather than outside the frame of the cabinet. Trimming the laminate counter top was tricky to do without damaging it outside the cut area. I used a very fine tooth jig saw blade and went very slowly.

Two full days of work later (a job a pro could have done in a few hours, I'm sure) I'm finished. Just cleaning up while waiting for the stain to dry then I can push the fridge into place and have done with it (yes, I've tested the fit before staining the cabinets).

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: The disturbing case of the Fridge, and cabinets built by Dr. Seuess.By Nathan T. Freeman on 08/23/2008 at 12:20 AM EDT
Leave it to Andrew to basically remodel his kitchen in 48 hours.

re: The disturbing case of the Fridge, and cabinets built by Dr. Seuess.By Craig Wiseman on 08/23/2008 at 12:18 PM EDT
Typical RCD (Rapid Cabint Development). If they'd used a true OO approach it
would have been perfectly constructed and you could have easily extended it to
add new features like an ice maker.


I feel your pain, as I had a similar (but less painful experience) replacing
our built-in microwave. These are the times when I channel McCoy: "I'm a
computer geek, not a carpenter!"
re: The disturbing case of the Fridge, and cabinets built by Dr. Seuess. * Updated with picturesBy Bruce Perry on 08/23/2008 at 05:35 PM EDT
Must have been the same guy that built our house. When we got a china cabinet
for the dining room, I had to shim one front leg 1/2 an inch and the other 3/4
inch. Without those, the cabinet wobbled and looked like it was starting to
topple over.

And yes, the dining room floor is that warped.
re: The disturbing case of the Fridge, and cabinets built by Dr. Seuess. * Updated with picturesBy Danny Lawrence on 08/28/2008 at 10:35 AM EDT
A couple of thoughts. How old is your house? It is possible that the walls
have shifted over time which would cause things to go out of true (and come to
think of it didn't you blog about issues with your foundation many moons ago?
That could be the source of your problem.)

How did you get the water line in for the icemaker, I don't see any evidence of
its being there in the pictures.
Nope, I don't think that was me.By Andrew Pollack on 08/28/2008 at 05:09 PM EDT
Our house isn't all that old. Less than 50 years anyway. The fridge was
Nixon-Era so I'd imagine that would be about the age of the house. I'd have to
look up the title to tell you the real age.

There's no such easy excuse for the shape of the cabinets either. For example,
no amount of settling will explain the front and back edges of the counter top
not being parallel to one another.

Oh well. It looks good now that I'm done, and the new fridge is great.

As to the plumbing for the ice maker....

Prior to the delivery date, I'd purchased a 15 foot long braided steel jacket
hose line with the proper fittings, and run it behind the cabinets and the
dishwasher to the sink. I'd taped it in with a simple self tapping fitting and
was ready to go. You can see the braided metal line in some of the pictures.
If you're used to copper tubing, you might have missed it. I prefer this kind
of line as it doesn't kink or develop stress fractures.


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