ice box tops

March 12th 2015 Comments: 15 Topics: , , ,

Of all the appliances in the modern kitchen, the refrigerator is, well, the elephant in the room. It’s a necessary and common appurtenance in our life today but how do you dress, disguise or harmonize a cumbersome box?
Over the years, we’ve come up with a number of ways to beautifully and gracefully accommodate this unwieldy frigid casket. Following are a few of our adroit solutions.


Here, the unit is paneled in a stained pecky cypress.  It’s mass is balanced with a matching pantry cabinet which mirrors the refrigerator’s design.  Bookending the range, this composition creates a nice niche for the cooking station.


This is another exampled of a wood paneled front but, in this case, the painted units sandwich the large picture window, creating a nice spot for a serving buffet.


This kitchen, which is totally open to the grand salon, required the refrigerator to do a complete disappearing act.  The appliance (located discreetly in the rear right), was covered in wall board and was custom painted to match the rest of the room’s elaborate wall mural.


Here’s one we’ve only done once.  This client, unafraid of a design challenge, happily allowed us to upholster her refrigerator with pleather (a vinyl equivalent of leather).  Nickel nail heads helped further bedeck this icy armoire.


The refrigerator in this contemporary kitchen (located on the right) was clad in wood fluting creating a seamless appearance.


A twist on the typical stainless door panel, this unit was dressed up with quilted stainless steel, giving it a distinct French-meets-diner aesthetic.

The takeaway message I offer here is: don’t be overwhelmed with the daunting task of costuming the elephant in the room; clever design can overcome any burdensome challenge.


Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley


  1. Bonnie Pineau says:

    I have a huge freestanding glass door sub zero in my kitchen and I love it! No hiding here

  2. There are some great ideas here. I love several of the kitchens as well as the refrigerators. The Pleather ‘fridge might be my favorite!

  3. admin says:

    Refrigerators and beds are so similar in their necessity and imposition on a room. Well done, as always!

  4. Atlanta Guy says:

    That upholstered Sub-Zero is my new favorite! Do that again.

  5. Miabella says:

    I love everything about the quilted fridge, well and actually that entire kitchen. Which of your houses did you design the kitchen for?

    A majority of the pictures I’ve pieced together for my next house are your designs. When I’m actually ready to have an architect map it all out, I’ll definitely be in touch.

  6. Melinda says:

    Thank you for the clever ideas! The mural is my favourite.

  7. Angela says:

    The older I get, I realize the world needs more of the likes of pleather. That’s just awesome.

  8. Angela says:

    I very much appreciate the ingenuity of the pleather. The homeowner is to be commended.

  9. Angela says:

    The pleather adorns with sublimity an otherwise pedestrian speciman.

    Now I’m just messin’ with ya. 😉 Have a good evening.

  10. madeline rivers says:

    Fabulous and creative! How were the pleather and nailheads applied?

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