It Started as a Family Favor
Big Chill started as a family favor. Thom Vernon was designing the beach house of his dreams, and he wanted a vintage fridge to complete the space. Something with a 50s, era-inspired look but without sacrificing modern performance. A fridge that wouldn't need routine ice removal like old-school refrigerators typically do. Something, Vernon said, that wouldn't seem out of place "with our kids' artwork and school photos always proudly displayed" on the front. He approached his nephew, Orion Creamer, recently graduated from a Denver, CO product design school. Orion agreed to help.
The Coolest Thing He'd Ever Seen
Orion Creamer always loved retro design. He antiqued with his family as a child. When he was older, he scoured junkyards and vintage shops for period piece refrigerators, removed the doors, and affixed them to his wall as art installations. His passion for old-school style and knowledge of product design made him the ideal creator for one-of-a-kind kitchen equipment blending form and function.
Orion and his uncle discussed ideas over morning coffee and built the early prototype on the front porch of Thom's Boulder, CO home. They used a stamped metal body, chrome trim, and a pivoting handle to evoke a vintage vibe. In 2003, Orion made his first sale when a passerby noticed the Big Chill perched at the front of Thom's house. He proclaimed it the coolest thing he'd ever seen. He went home, brought back his checkbook, and bought the fridge right then and there.
An Instant Hit
Orion and Thom decided to bring the Retro fridge to the public. Orion curated a palette of vintage-inspired colors for the fridge, an innovative idea in an industry landscape dominated by neutral tones and a trend at the time to hide appliances behind cabinetry-like doors. He took memorable colors inspired by cars and kitchens of the 50s, brightened them for an even bolder take, and made them part of the Original Retro Fridge's style.
From the colors to the chrome to the bold lines, this was a fridge designed for people who wanted to make a statement, who didn't want to have everyone else's kitchen. It was a risk basing a business based on such a uniquely styled product. It was also an instant hit.
Happy Kitchen, Happy Home!
If Orion had one goal with his designs, it was to bring cheer to the heart of the home. Big Chill's Retro Line made kitchens memorable. Made guests feel welcome. He wanted to bring that same experience to people interested in other era-inspired designs. Thus the Classic and Pro Lines were born and Big Chill's product selection expanded. Big Chill's Pro Line brought sleek, contemporary detail to the Big Chill family and included colors both bold and subtle. The Classic Line, launched in 2015, was inspired by the industrial-chic movement and is rendered in rich detail, velvety colors and distinct finishes for sophisticated warmth.
Big Chill continues to be an industry leader in design and color today, with innovative products in a range of styles and sizes coming to market regularly. Our team is deeply committed to craftsmanship and quality, and we live up to our commitment by keeping production close to home—all Big Chill's refrigerators, ranges, hoods, dishwashers, and microwaves are assembled and shipped from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Blandon, Pennsylvania.