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How The Big Chill Business Was Born

A glimpse inside the vintage-inspired refrigerator design



Photo by Julia Vandenoever

You could say that Boulder-based entrepreneur Orion Creamer is fridge-obsessed. How else to explain a guy who used salvaged refrigerator doors as art for the walls of his college apartment? In 2001, while studying product design at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Creamer’s uncle Thom called to tempt him with a project. Thom wanted a 1950s-style fridge with modern functionality for his California beach house but couldn’t find one in stores. With a love for nostalgic design and junkyards, Creamer jumped at the challenge. Two years of trial and error later, he had crafted an improved version of yesteryear’s icebox, and the Big Chill business was born.

Now, in its 16th year, the company long known for its beach blues, buttercup yellows, jadeite greens and fire-engine reds offers more than 200 custom colors and a variety of sizes and styles, as well as ranges, hoods and dishwashers. Thus, it can be said that Creamer and his production crew have successfully colored our worlds (or at least our kitchens). “When we started, there were really only black, white and stainless steel box refrigerators on the market,” says Creamer. “We’ve been a major disrupter in that field.”

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