Bay Area architect and author Arrol Gellner is one of my idols.
His syndicated column, Architext, appears in the San Francisco Chronicle and I always read it eagerly for Arrol's insights into design and architecture, building and remodeling.
In today's column, Save money on a remodel by planning for later upgrades - Part 2, he wrote:
"since the dimensions of built-in appliances are standardized, the old units can be easily removed and replaced with fancier stuff when money becomes available."
Dear Mr Gellner,
I have enjoyed your architectural columns in the Chronicle for years and highly respect your abilities, knowledge and talents.
However, I must call you on a teensy error in your otherwise wonderful column of January 26, 2008.
While I agree with all of your ideas for lowering costs in new construction and remodeling by buying modestly priced replaceable products and then changing them out down the road; you have given readers the wrong impression about "the dimensions of built-in appliances" being "standardized".
Would that such were so.
Every kitchen designer would leap for JOY at the thought!
This issue probably causes more costly problems, mistakes and delays than any other potential problem area in building and remodeling residential kitchens.
In fact, kitchen appliance cutout sizes vary all over the map.
The only place you are likely to find consistency is with the same manufacturer in the same year. And every manufacturer reserves the right to make changes within a model year, so we have to constantly be on our guard against such changes.
Here are the current cutout sizes for two commonly specified 27" built-in single ovens from KitchenAid and GE:
CABINET OPENING DIMENSIONS
Single Oven Installed in Cabinet
A. 27" min. cabinet width
B. 1" top of cutout to bottom of upper cabinet door
C. 32" bottom of cutout to floor
D. 25-1/2" cutout width
E. 1-1/2" min. bottom of cutout to top of cabinet door
F. 27-3/4" cutout height
A. 23-1/4" min. cutout depth
B. 23" recessed oven depth
Single Oven Wall-Mount or Cabinet Installation (in inches)
27" recommended cabinet width
Opening width 25" min. - 25-1/4" max
Opening height 27-5/8" min. - 28-1/8" max.
Minimum cabinet depth 23-5/8"
Recommended cutout location 32-1/2" from floor
Allow 3/4" for overlap over all edges of cutout.
Here is a Dacor Oven:
Cabinet Width 27”
Cutout Width 25 1/2”
Cutout Height 27 3/8”
Oven overlays 3/4” Each Side; 1/2” Top; 1/6" Bottom.
24” minimum interior cabinet depth.
Back of cabinet may need to be removed.
1/8” minimum clearance from appliance to adjacent cabinet doors/drawers.
Close, but no cigar. In fact, these three ovens are not swappable without alterations to the cabinets into which they are recessed. And, if clearances to doors are taken into account as well, they might not even safely fit WITH alterations.
Our clients, the consumers, don't help much either: they think they can change their minds on their appliances with impunity.
These issues constantly pose threats to the solvency and profitability of kitchen cabinet dealers and designers, since errors and delays are the bane of our existence, and very costly to boot.
Every time a client changes their choice of appliances after the design and drawings and specifications have been completed, there are myriad places in drawings and cabinet orders that have to be changed as a result. And all such changes have to be assessed for their impact on the overall design and fit of the rest of the products in the kitchen.
I have a caveat engraved on every set of appliance specifications I create that says:
NOTE: NO CHANGES ARE TO BE MADE FROM THESE SPECIFICATIONS WITHOUT NOTIFYING DESIGNER.
CHANGES CREATE UNFORESEEN PROBLEMS WITH FIT AND MUST BE ASSESSED FOR THEIR IMPACT UPON THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS OF YOUR DESIGN.
Such warnings are common on architectural plans the world over.
But when the designer is ordering and furnishing many thousands of dollars worth of cabinetry specially built to fit built-in appliances, the words take on special meaning.
Thank you for your great work and wisdom...and Architext!
Peggy Deras, CKD, CID
Good call on pointing out that not all appliance sizes are
standardized. I was thinking more of push-in appliances such as
dishwashers, ranges, compactors and refrigerators and less about
appliances such as wall ovens and cooktops that require cutouts.
You're quite right to complain that the latter are "all over the
map", and this has caused me some grief in the past as well. Maybe
someday all of these will be as easily exchanged as a dishwasher is.
Keep up the good work on the blog, and thanks for taking time to write.