Recently, cabinet-depth refrigerators have become available. These are great for two reasons - they sit flush with the cabinets, and they're not so deep that you need a search and rescue team to get to the leftovers that got pushed to the back. Alas, they are expensive - easily twice or three times the price of a regular fridge.
So most of us are left with an ill-fitting refrigerator. The fridge sticks out 8" or 10" past the cabinet fronts, but leaves a gap on the top and sides unless you buy a huge model. To add insult to injury, the fridge is topped with a little cabinet that could be useful... if only we could get to it. A 12" deep cabinet on top of a 32" deep refrigerator is not easy to reach.
Such was my situation. And while the gap provided a convenient place to store my Swiffer WetJet (an awesome invention, by the way), I wanted better access to the cabinet.
Building a cabinet around the fridge seemed like the best solution. I would just need a sheet of plywood to make the side of the cabinet; the hurdle was that the plywood would be too big to fit in my car. Brainstorming ideas in the shower one day, I suddenly remembered I had two doors sitting unused in my basement. I'd removed them while doing some demolition. Yay! There was my solution!
I brought one of the doors up, removed the doorknob, and attached it to the end of the counter. I covered it with beadboard wallpaper painted black to match the cabinets.
To support the trim on the other side, I attached a simple 1" x 2" board to the wall.
I pushed the fridge back in place and placed the cabinet on top.
Then I simply trimmed it with door casing and crown molding.
The top cabinet now sits only a few inches back from the front of the refrigerator, just enough to clear the fridge door hinge. I can access the cabinet contents easily. :)
And I think it looks nicer, too.
Total cost of this project was about $22, which was spent on the trim. I had the paint and wallpaper on hand. (If you didn't happen to have an unused door sitting in your basement, you'd probably pay about $35-40 for a sheet of 3/4" plywood.)