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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the glass door refrigerator

In trying to decide which room in the farmhouse to show you next after the entry (click to see the entry) I realized that if you were actually here visiting the natural protocol is to greet you at the door, usher you into the kitchen to get you your libation of choice, and then to proceed with the house tour!

So... the kitchen it is!

It came to my attention a few weeks ago that the refrigerator should get a post of it's own when our electrician who is working on the barn room renovation (post to follow) walked through the kitchen and commented..... "I have never seen a refrigerator with a glass door. You must have to keep it perfect all the time." I've seen and heard this comment, or ones like it, many times on various blogs, but when the electrician said it I realized I didn't want the refrigerator to be the only thing that you saw when you come into the kitchen, so, I thought I would show it to you first!

I have adored this Sub Zero refrigerator since it first made it's debut several years ago. It reminds me of the original commercial Traulsens glass fronted refrigerators of old, and the varied antique refrigerators that first found their way into home kitchens back in the early part of the 20th century.

In Dallas I had this same model with a solid stainless door, which I dearly loved, but it seems a little more contemporary. In this 1850's farmhouse I felt this refrigerator fit the kitchen perfectly!
I love the casual feel the glass front gives the room. I think it softens the room, and makes it feel very accessible since everything is right there in view!
In reality the glass actually has a deep greenish tint to it, so everything in it isn't as "visible" as you might imagine. While it has an interior light that you can leave on all the time, I generally do not, as at night I find it competes with the other lighting in the kitchen.

My secret weapon in having a glass door refrigerator is .....organized chaos!
I liken it to my boxwood-hedged garden back in Dallas. I had a garden that was completely bordered with clipped boxwoods. In it I planted roses, herbs, flowers for cutting, and any and every plant that I just couldn't resist at the garden store (you gardeners know how that is!) It was wild and chaotic, but because of the trimmed boxwood hedge it all looked completely organized, planned, and intentional!
Hence, organized chaos!

The same principal works with the refrigerator. I keep all labels facing forward (think: Jeff Lewis!), and before you tell me you don't have the time... it takes all of an extra 30 seconds to straighten the labels!! Everything else is willy-nilly, but because the beer, water, milk, yogurts, etc. are all facing straight ahead you get... organized chaos!

So, there you have it- the refrigerator! I'm curious... after hearing my explanation/secret weapon have I changed your mind about having a glass door refrigerator, or is it something you would never want to or could ever do?!
do tell!!

(post script...)
Wave "hi" to Linda!
If you look really, really close you will see Linda from Lime in the Coconut hiding behind one of the Perrier bottles! I've cleaned and I've cleaned, but she's still there;)!!
love ya Linda!!


  1. Love my solid door sub-zero, we call it the beast since it's the biggest one they make. I thought about the glass front but was worried about "styling it" all the time. Sure wish I had this post around nine months ago!

  2. Thank you! I've admired them since the first time I saw them and my friends all poo-pooed the idea saying that 1) you don't keep house well enough to have something like that, and 2) it's too commercial. It's totally wrong for your house. I was thinking I needed to go back to an icebox if I wanted it to be right for the house. But know you've got me thinkin'!

  3. joan, I absolutely love it - although my husband might be a little peeved that you introduced me to such a beauty.....I might just have to have one....

  4. I LOVE your glass-fronted refrigerator and have been craving one just like it for our kitchen. We have an early 1920's bungalow, and I think this would look great in our kitchen. I have some vintage glass refrigerator dishes which would "display" nicely in a fridge like this. Questions: do you miss not having shelves on the inside of the door for storage? Are there vegetable bins? A cheese drawer? How do you like having the freezer on the bottom? Can't wait to see the rest of your kitchen.

  5. It's beautiful. I too, love Subzero refrigerators for the same reason. I would happily put a glass-front refrigerator (or pantry door) in my house. If for nothing else, it would MAKE me have to be more organized. :) Thank you for sharing, and I can't wait to see more!

  6. I used to want a glass door fridge, I thought it would stop everyone from opening the door a million times to stand and stare at the contents and then ask me if there was anything to eat.

    Now, I have no children to make fingerprints, leave things out etc and I find I am more anal about neatness and the fridge would take too much attention. Plus, sometimes I like to Not see what is in the fridge.

    It looks great in your kitchen, I like your Organized Chaos idea.

  7. Hi all!
    Bungalow- Your vintage glass refrigerator dishes would look fabulous in it! I too use glass dishes for storage and have often contemplated those- love them! I don't miss the shelves on the door, since it actually has the same square footage as the other (shelf door.) The drawers are deeper, and I keep everything that I used to keep on the shelves in the drawers. I actually find it is easier to find the smaller jars since I can see them from the top and they don't get hidden behind the shelf edge or a taller item. Yes, there are vegetable bins and I use one of the compartments for cheese.
    I love, love, love the freezer on the bottom. It makes so much sense to me to have it there!

  8. I just love reading your posts. Yes, Sub Zero refrigerators are amazing as well as their freezer drawers. I am always working on organizing our fridge and it would look great if I was the only one who used it. I have a drink shelf, a dairy shelf and try to keep everything organized. However, I think everyone else in my family just puts food back where ever it is easiest and fits. I don't think I could maintain this well enough, but I love the idea and it looks fabulous in your house.

  9. I would love to do this-- I definitely follow your logic.

    Oddly enough I think the fridge is one place where I am consistently organized. If an item is not fresh -- it's quickly compost.

    It never occurred to me not have the labels facing forward -- it's either second nature or the curse of being an art director.

  10. Looks terrific. I like the idea of organized chaos. It's how I approach my pantry closet to keep it from looking crazy.

  11. hi joanie,

    i love it. i wanted one for my house but we ran out of money. i'm lucky i got the one i have. i see coors light and peppers but no linda. was she visiting? how cute.



  12. I love glass door refrigerators; my parents had one in the early 60s, very unusual for the time. I hope the Sub-Zero model is quieter than the Traulsen; when I have used the commercial frig for residential projects, I put the compressor in a remote location.

  13. I love it Joan and I want one too!

    xo kelley

  14. Joan, when we redid our kitchen about two years ago I had wanted the glass front Sub-Zero. DH was not quite wild about it so I settled for the stainless larger side by side Sub-Zero. I am sooooooo envious of your glass front. I wanted it sooooooooo badly.

    I hope you and your DH have a wonderful and Happy New Year.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  15. thank you for the comment about the other montana blog you came across - it is great, and her mom has a blog as well! Double fun!
    I love your fridge! If I didn't have kids and a husband who most assuredly do not share my OCD love of keeping things neat and orderly, I would get one! Maybe someday!

  16. Hi Joan!
    I'm loving that we're going to get a room by room tour of the farmhouse!
    I adore your fridge tremendously and would love to have one but I think it would end up causing me great stress. I have a "visual" problem and cannot stand to see a lot of little things grouped together...I think all the colors and sizes and labels would eventually drive me nuts! Isn't that crazy...It doesn't bother me though in other people's houses, just mine.
    It does have that old icebox feel to it and fits perfectly in your kitchen - which I can't wait to see more of. Is that a marble island I spy?
    Hope your holidays were wonderful and Happy New Year!

  17. Love the tour of your home. I have always loved glass front refrigerators and you have confirmed my attraction. Love your analogy of the tidy boxwoods and the unruly garden! What a great tip. Happy new year, Joan! This will be our year ...... I just know it!!! xo Ann

  18. Ooooo YAY! A full house tour! YIPPEE!!! I have coveted for I don't know how long ... at least 5 years, those sub-zero glass front fridges. Scott and I looked at a house in Texas before we bought this one and the kitchen had one ... it was all I could do not to write an offer on it there and then ... but, alas - we ended up here. Oh, I don't know if I even told you that, Joan ... I'm from Texas, too!! :) A small town in West Texas called San Angelo ... where I lived for 17 years (from birth) til' I went to Baylor University for my BA in English Lit, and then off to Iowa (Drake in Des Moines) for my MBA. I then ended up in Austin, then back in San Angelo where I met Scott, and then he drug me here ... kicking and screaming! :) LOL ... anyway, my long drawn out personal story for your gorgeous fridge ... sorry!!! :) xoxoxo, A

  19. Maybe everyone misses the point- with the glass door showing everything you will try harder to keep it looking good. We're all willing to keep our counters wiped off and our stove tops looking good, why not this too? Think about how many times people open the refrigerator just to peek in and see what's there...this will save you a few of those open and close moments! I just told my husband recently that one of these glass door units was a dream of mine. Well anyway, I think it's pretty nice!

  20. Hello Joan!
    I love your glass door fridge...I agree with you about it softening the look. Yes I would have one for sure...but I'd sure have to keep my fridge a lot better organized than I do now ;) Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful kitchen. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas...enjoy the last of this year and all the best to you for 2011!
    Maura :)

  21. I love your fridge, but am really in love with your counter tops. Have they been hard to maintain? Are they everything you had hoped?

  22. Love this fridge! Glass door and all. Can't wait to see the rest of your farmhouse. We live in a PA two front door one and I am still wrestling with the how to's of decorating for beauty and function. Hoping for some more great inspiration.

  23. Joan,
    Wishing you a Very Happy New Year! Jealous...No, GREEN WITH ENVY! Not only with the fridge but the organized chaos! I wish I could depend on everyone in my household to keep it looking like that. Since 'fridge fairy' is not in my job description, I think I will stick with the solid door. The glass door is beautiful with your cabinetry. I am so looking forward to 'the tour'. May you, Dan and Ella have a glorious New Year filled with wonderful adventures!

  24. Hi Joan and Dan: I can't wait for the upcoming blog posts! I view your sub-zero as a piece of art; just beautiful. Having the freezer on the bottom makes so much sense; we love having what we use most at eye level. Wishing you and Ella a very happy new year.

  25. I would LOVE to have a glass door refrigerator! Like you, I have had people gasp at the thought of having to keep thing organized in cupboards with glass. They don't get that I will keep things organized, glass or not,so why not show it off! This is my dream refrig. Good for you!

  26. Brave soul...and a wise one too. So many things in life only take 30 seconds to do 'right' - and yet we shy away from them! I think a glass front fridge is beautiful. I might miss the tray on the door, but I need to have something to keep my ever unruly ways a little bit corralled.

  27. Hi Joan and Dan,

    I can't tell you how excited I am that you are posting your kitchen, as I know you did have a few problems with it initially.

    All looking good though, like there was never any doubt!!!! I have never seen one of these frig's 'in the flesh'. Don't mind the look of them as all, but don't know if you could get them here.

    I know what you are saying about having all labels at the front. I do this in my pantry and my fridge. I will admit to also doing this for some of my drinking glasses that have writing on the top. Even though the doors are solid it drives me nuts if people just put the glasses back in the cupboard willy nilly! ha!!

    Anyway, look forward to the next post!

    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  28. I LOVE it! Our house already had a big sub zero with solid doors when we bought it or I would have considered this one as well. With 3 kiddos we DO have lots of condiments on the door though (jelly, sun nut butter, ketchup, salad dressings, olives,etc. What do you do with all that stuff? Maybe when the kids go to college and we need a new one. Does it have enough storage for say a family of five?


  29. Hi all!
    To answer some of the questions:
    Janet- Linda has been hiding in there since we moved in!:)
    Devoted C.- yes it is super quiet! I have read that about the old refrigerators!
    Sarah- Yes, a marble island!
    Annon- I love my countertops! Yes, they are everything I had hoped! I have soapstone on the counters and honed marble on the island. The soapstone is much easier than I anticipated- you oil them regularly in the beginning (first year) and now just occassionally. If anything spots the oil will get it right out. I had heard they chip easily, but luckily I have found mine to very dense (I'm thinking this depends on where it is quarried). The marble I love too. I did extensive research, so I knew what I was getting into! It 'does' etch, but not as badly as I had expected. I'll talk more about them in the kitchen post. You'll be sursprised what I use to get the etchings out!!
    Laurie- I think the key is that anything that goes in and doesn't come out (beer, water, yogurts, etc.) goes in straight and stays straight and then everything else that comes out and goes back in is willy nilly!
    Kim- Since it is the same square footage as the stainless front model, I would say yes- but never having been a family of five;) don't quote me on that!! Sub Zero makes a larger version of this that has the freezer on the side, but sadly we didn't have enough wall space for it as it's HUGE! There is a really deep drawer that I keep the things that I used to keep in the door (all the things you mentioned) Oh, and I also removed one of the shelves so that I could keep tall things (think an opened bottle of wine;) on it. I put my tall shelf directly straight in, so there is really no lifting of heavier items, but I have seen it where people have it as the top shelf.

  30. Great Granddaddy would be proud!

  31. Wouldn't you find it easier to use if the door opened the other direction? It is probably made to open either way & can be easily changed.

  32. annon- no, that would feel totally awkward for me personally since I am right handed. since the island is directly across from the frig it "works" perfectly!
    and, it's actually not something that is easily changed, as the refrigerator would have had to been "ordered" that way.
    but thank you for your concern!!

  33. Your glass-door refrigerator is absolutely gorgeous! It looks wonderful in your kitchen (which I'm looking forward to seeing in more detail, too). Doesn't everyone store stuff with the labels facing forward? Just makes sense to me so you can see what you're grabbing, saving time and confusion. I love your fridge in your home, but I couldn't have it in mine, not because of chaos, but because my home is so small, I have to keep things looking less "busy"; more empty-looking, smooth, un-busy. Love it, though!

  34. Hi-
    What a treat to find your blog this afternoon.
    I live in South Texas-
    Enjoyed visiting, and I will be back-
    I am a new follower-

    White Spray Paint

  35. Bravo to you!!! Your fridge is wonderful, and your kitchen peek is such a tease, looks beautiful!
    We had the same naysayers for our glass door cabinets...I love taking the 5 seconds (if that) it takes to turn a glass to the proper direction (am I sounding to Martha?)...I even do it inside the regular cabinets...sshhh, don't tell anyone.

    xo J~

  36. Love it too. I have a stainless (ha, all finger printed, no stainless there) french door/bottom freezer but I could go with the glass...easier to see the leftovers I bet! I have a glass back splash behind my cook top that is so easy to clean.

  37. I love your fridge and your reasons for getting it. As I am obsessed with organization, if I had one of these, I would likely ENJOY getting everything lined up just so...sick I know!

    Happy New Year Joan!

  38. Joan,
    What kind of libation exactly?
    Oh and the fridge is fabulous too.

  39. Oh Joan, you speaka" my language!! I have wanted a glass door fridge since the first time I saw one on the tv show "my sister sam". It was seen every now and then in the background, I was only a teenager, but I knew I wanted one!

    I can't afford the Sub Zero but hope to soon have the next best thing here in the barn. The Electrolux line of commercial fridge and freezer. Soon, I hope.

    And hats off to you for figuring out the key, Organized Chaos. It really is as simple as keeping things together and placing lables to the front. I also use only glass refridgerator dishes instead of pyrex. They're beautiful, cheap to find at yard sales and look fabulous on the shelf!

    Love it!

  40. OMG Lovin it! Why do I feel as if I am cheating on my new Samsung.(It never hurts to look)Lucky lady!

  41. I have always wanted a glass front refrigerator. Thanks for the tip on how to keep it looking nice. I think your's looks great. I would have had one when I bought my home because I needed a new refrigerator but a glass front one was like $1,500 more than than my $500 one I bought. I just couldn't justify the expense now...but I can dream. Seeing your's....just confirmed that I do still want one.

  42. I so want this but where do all the condiments go ie salad dressings, mustards, etc?

    1. In the two drawers! Larger condiments, like ketchup are on the bottom shelf.

  43. I love this glass door fridge Joan.It is so beautiful!Thanks


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