Sunday, August 7, 2016


Not a rummage sale
So what are all my platters, teapots, vases, and so on doing piled on my dining room table?

Not sitting in the cabinet over the refrigerator, that's what.

Just one problem . . .
Last September I acquired a new Frigidaire french door refrigerator.  Well, not "new," exactly: it was a returned-and-refurbished model from the Big Blue Box Store, marked down to where I could consider it, then further marked down for me, as an employee, to a figure where I could actually buy it.  Yay.

But in my enthusiasm at finally finding an affordable white french door refrigerator, in my rapture at getting rid of the inefficient 1997 side-by-side model that was in the house when I moved in, I never thought to measure how tall the thing was in relation to the existing over-fridge cabinet.

It fits in the space, yeah.  With maybe a half inch at the top to spare.  But the doors and so on at the top front of that new Frigidaire are 1-1/2 to 2 inches higher than those on the old one.  And it wasn't until the installers were gone that I noticed that I couldn't get the platter, teapot, vase, etc., cabinet open.  And try as I might, I couldn't roll the refrigerator out to do anything about it.

Well.  There was a leak in my old icemaker supply line that prevented the BBBS installers from hooking up the water when they were here in early October.
Push fitting to the rescue,
because I can't solder pipes,
and saddle valves leak
I fixed that myself later that month, thanks to a push fitting (and I guess I could have blogged about that, right?).  But it wasn't till mid-December, after one of the store assistant managers put his foot down, that the installers came back to attach the new icemaker supply line.  I still had to hook it up to the
Bad photo,
good connection
pipe in the basement myself, but at least I was able to catch the guys before they left so I could take the doors off the cabinet and get access to my crockery.

And thus it remained till a couple weeks ago.
No, that's not exactly true.  Once I saw the problem I began to think of ways to solve it.  Buy a new, taller fridge cabinet?  Too expensive, and it wouldn't match the existing.  Shorten the doors on the one I have? They're plastic-clad, and they wouldn't cut off neatly at all.  Piece on something at the bottom of the existing cabinet to raise it higher?  How is that going to be structurally sound?

Best solution:  Buy new plywood panels for the sides, cut them to fit to make the whole cabinet a couple-three inches taller, and attach the existing over-fridge cabinet to them.
Ne'er more shall they meet
Only weakness in this plan is that there'll be a gap in the cornice where the fridge cabinet now meets the pantry, but I can deal with that later.

I have the plywood, 1/2" pre-primed finish grade birch.  Got it half price last December, when we BBBS employees have our holiday double discount.   But I've done nothing with it, because I Still Couldn't Roll the Refrigerator Out!  And I was convinced I had to have it out before I could start this project at all.

Fast forward to last month.  I was having trouble with the freezer.  Such bad trouble I had to take all my freezer food to my friend *Frieda's to keep for me. Repair guy came out (on warranty, thank God), and discovered the wire basket in the freezer was sitting crooked and was keeping the drawer from closing entirely.  Basket realigned properly, ice build-up cleaned out, all is well.

But before he came, I'm thinking, maybe he'll have to get behind the unit to fix it. Maybe it'd make easier access in my narrow kitchen if the fridge cabinet were down, at least on the lefthand side.  It also dawned on me that it would actually be easier to get that upper platter, teapot, vase, etc., cabinet off the wall if I could set it down on the top of the refrigerator once the wall screws were out.  [In fact, it hits me just now, why shouldn't I just leave it there on top of the fridge until time to reattach it to the new tall cabinet sides?]

Ghost of wallpaper past
So I cleared out the crockery.  Moved out the pie safe.  Knocked the cornice moulding off and set it aside. Brought the filthy bowls and things down off the top of the cabinet.  And dusted and brought down the even filthier pieces of shelving I keep up there so the bowls and things don't get lost behind the cornice moulding.

The repair guy didn't need to get to the back of the refrigerator.  Never mind.  I had received the impetus I needed to start this project and was now ready to demount the upper cabinet.  I undid the screw that ran through some blocking into the lefthand side of the tall cabinet.  I readied my trusty ratchet screwdriver to do the old lefty-loosy to the two big screws that attach the upper cabinet to the wall.  Annnnnnnd . . .

Nothing.  Stuck.  Next day, I tried it with my power drill on reverse setting.  Still nothing.  Bit just popped out.  Drenched those screws with PB B'laster until the kitchen stank.  Still nothing.  Stuck, stuck, stuckity-stuck.

I said to heck with it and went and focussed on the front door woodwork instead.

I need either A Strong(er) Person or a more powerful drill/driver.  Or else some way to drill those screws out.  But right now my ladder is in the front room, and it's staying there until the work in there is done.  I have plastic over the doorway to the hall to keep paint stripper off my stairhall woodwork, the living room is full of furniture from the front room, so I can't bring the ladder back into the kitchen and try anything right now.

Oh, I could fetch the wooden ladder up from the basement . . .

Hush.  I'll live with the crockery on the dining room table awhile longer.

EDIT:  This morning (8/8/16) I recalled something about the icemaker line business that I guess I'd been happy to forget.  And that's that last fall, between the first week in October, when the delivery guys installed the new refrigerator, to mid-December, when they returned to hook up the new icemaker line, I had no--- I repeat--- no cold water to my upstairs bathroom.

Yeah.  The existing saddle valve apparently had been stuck open for years.  I had no idea.  Since the icemaker stopped working in 2008 or 2009, I assumed the water supply was off.  But as soon as they disconnected the vinyl hose from the old fridge, boy, did the water spurt!  The older installer handed me the line to put my thumb over the end, and tried to turn off the saddle valve in the basement. But it failed at the first good turn.  Only solution: to close the branch valve in the pipe that feeds the icemaker.  Immediate crisis halted, but it also halted the flow of cold water to my main bathroom.

So, for two and a half months, for my morning drink I had to snatch the coolish water from the hot side before it warmed up, or bring up a glass of water the night before and have it waiting.  Washing my face was a delicately-timed process, as I got the washcloth under the tap just enough so it wouldn't get too scalding.  I went farmhouse style flushing the toilet, keeping a bucket in the bathtub and dumping a couple gallons of lukewarm water in the potty every three or four uses.

The installers could have come back any time after I got the push fitting in and bought the new copper line, and several times they were supposed to . . . on a "they'll stop by when they're in the neighborhood" basis. But manpower is limited at the BBBS, and as an employee I was pushed repeatedly to the back of the line.  It wasn't till the ASM actually put me on the installation schedule that I got results.


Mayfair Mistress said...

Do the doors sit inset at all into the opening? If not, then why not mount a piece of 1x across the bottom of the opening, then remount the doors correspondingly higher on the cabinet to allow them to open fully. Or, there's something obvious I'm missing. It's late, so lets go with that one...

Mayfair Mistress said...

You know, I was only here to get your e-mail, which you appear to not have on the page. Drop me a line when you get a chance -

Kate H. said...

That might be an idea about the doors, except that if I remount them higher they'll bump into the cornice moulding. Oh, well!

Hey, the cabinet sits crooked anyway. New sides will enable me to even it out.

I'll send my email.


Sharon @ Laurelhurst Craftsman said...

We had that same "too big for the space" refrigerator problem in an earlier house. You have my sympathy. The woodwork in the dining room is sure looking good. Nice job.