A Designer Makes the Case for Separating Your Fridge and Freezer

Of all the decisions editorial director Jo Saltz and her husband Scott made during their recent kitchen renovation with designer Jean Stoffer, separating their refrigerator and freezer on opposite ends of the kitchen left them a little uncertain. “It made my head explode a little bit,” says Scott.

And for good reason: Picture any kitchen you’ve been in and the fridge and freezer are likely situated one atop the other or side-by-side. It’s very much the norm. But Stoffer is adamant about challenging that. “Think about it,” she says. “How many times are you really using your refrigerator and your freezer at the same time?”

The Saltz’s new pantry area, with a freezer on the right.It’s a fair point: If you’re opting for a frozen meal, you’re likely not pulling out fresh produce. This is especially true in the Saltz kitchen, where Jo and Scott take on very distinct responsibilities, with Scott preparing breakfasts and lunches and Jo mostly baking or cooking dinner. “The freezer was used mainly by Scott and the refrigerator was used mainly by Jo,” explains Stoffer. Separating the two eliminated the couple’s biggest pain point in their old kitchen: stepping all over each other while trying to prepare meals simultaneously.Countertop, Room, Property, Kitchen, Furniture, Interior design, Cabinetry, Building, House, Ceiling, The refrigerator is behind the column at left, on the other side of the kitchen, next to Jo’s “baking zone.”

Besides this functionality, Stoffer advocates for separation for aesthetic reasons, too: In the Saltz kitchen, she points out, “they needed plenty of refrigerator and freezer space. When you have two columns [side-by-side], that’s a lot of mass. It’s big!” So, instead of having one giant, hulking cabinet containing both, Stoffer designed two elegant, slender columns across the room from each other to house the family’s GE Monogram fridge and freezer. Plus, since the Saltzes opted for a combination of stained oak and painted cabinets, each got its own finish.

Jo and Scott aren’t the only ones who benefit from separate food storage zones: Stoffer even added a refrigerator drawer in the kitchen island, so the kids can grab snacks easily. Suffice it to say, the family was won over by their new separate refrigeration zones: “It feels completely natural,” says Scott.