6 Ways to Hide Kitchen Appliances

Modern machines are the anachronism in a period kitchen—here are 6 ideas for disguising them.

Handsome cabinets in a 1920s Tudor hide modern intrusions, like this all-but-invisible double-drawer dishwasher by Fisher & Paykel. 

Blackstone Edge Studios

Old-house owners have come up with ingenious ways to maintain the illusion of another time, even in a functioning kitchen. Some keep the big fridge in the back hall or pantry; others use a reconditioned or reproduction stove. Many simply hide or disguise modern appliances. A refrigerator may disappear into an “armoire”—or behind an icebox façade. The dishwasher can be faced with a faux drawer front or antique lumber. A “hutch” attached to the wall can include electrical connections for the small appliances it hides.

Built-In Fridge & Freezer

Built-in fridge and freezer. 

Blackstone Edge Studios

More convincingly hidden than most, a very modern Liebherr unit disappears into a floor-to-ceiling bank of cabinets in the kitchen of a 1908 Tudor. Bin-style drawers below mask the pull-out freezer; well-chosen hardware furthers the idea. The old woodstove draws all the attention.

Appliance Garages in a Hutch

Appliance garage in an old-house kitchen. 

Gridley + Graves

Microwave ovens, coffee makers, and blenders (and all their plugs) are even more distracting than one big appliance. Here they’re hidden but readily accessible in a custom hutch built by Kevin Ritter of Timeless Kitchen Design. This new kitchen went into an existing addition to an 1816 house.

The Icebox Disguise

Modern refrigerator disguised as an icebox in an old-house kitchen. 

Bill Ticineto

Here, the modern refrigerator is not hidden in a cabinet, but rather disguised as an icebox. The homeowner built the paneled façade for a new French-door refrigerator with bottom freezer. Icebox hardware is antique.

Refrigerator in a Drawer

Refrigerator drawer in an old-house kitchen. 

Courtesy of Crown Point Cabinetry

Several appliance manufacturers offer pull-out refrigerated drawers, which may allow the use of a smaller main unit. They are easy to disguise behind drawer faces, as in this cabinet by Crown Point.

Customized Storage

Custom appliance storage in an old-house kitchen. 

Courtesy of Crown Point Cabinetry

Small appliances may be kept out of sight—not in the pantry, but right in the kitchen. In a Craftsman-style island by Crown Point, a generous storage area hides behind a door panel disguised as drawers.


Tags: appliance kitchens OHJ April 2014 Old-House Journal Patricia Poore

By Patricia Poore

Patricia Poore is Editor-in-chief of Old-House Journal and Arts & Crafts Homes, as well as editorial director at Active Interest Media’s Home Group, overseeing New Old House, Traditional Building, and special-interest publications. 

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