The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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« KBIS 2008 - In The Pantry! | Main | Kitchen Resources - By Readers »

Kitchens - Go Ahead and Vent!

elica%201.jpgAt KBIS, I took a 1/2 day sort of refresher course on venting. There is not a whole lot new in venting concepts, but, it did reinforce and remind me of the "ick" factor, which I'll explain. 

Here's what's happening. First, our kitchen floor plans are more OPEN to other rooms. This means that pollutants from cooking have more opportunity to freely move about your home, hanging out in your furnishings, your artwork, your pillows, walls, flooring, you get the idea. Just as an fyi, grease from cooking turns into vapor and floats in the air as particles for as long as 72 hours!

ADD TO THAT, the tighter construction of newer homes, which can encourage mold growth and trap pollutants, and your health becomes at risk for allergies, asthma, lung disease, and who knows what else.  A very impressive ick factor, yes? AND, if that is not enough, indoor pollution is considered to rank within the top 5 environmental risks to the public, according to the EPA.

miele%20hood.jpgHoods now do very cool things. They sense heat and turn on automatically. They sense cool temperatures and turn off automatically. They are much quieter than they used to be.  They operate via remote control. Some have hidden controls with a memory feature. They have a delayed shut down mode and a 24 hour anti pollution mode. Some hoods move up and down at the touch of a button to get out of your way, and some hoods move in and out. And, some are energy star rated. Hoods do amazing things these days. Look more deeply when you are in the market for a hood. It's substance, not only style!

More to the story are cfms, duct runs, turns, duct diameters, and other elements and information with which to design a proper venting system, but that is for another day. Today's purpose is twofold: 1) to get you aware of all that is floating in and around the kitchen after you cook and 2) to show you some new hoods (which you really, really, need!)

Please run your mouse over the image to see the brand names.


elica%202.jpg miele-hood-1.jpg miele-2.jpg sierra.jpg zephyr%202.jpg

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Reader Comments (12)

I was so proud of my downdraft ... now I learn there are much smarter hoods around. :(

No, honestly, it's funny that you write about hoods today, Susan. I found KBIS news at the LA Times' Home & Garden section today (I'm a lurker there, too), and they published photos of these lamp-like Elica hoods. I don't know if they work well, but they definitely look gorgeous. I especially like this one: http://www.appliancist.com/hoods_vents/star-extractor-hood-elica-remote-control.html. Looks great in an otherwise sleek space, I think. (It should be dishwasher safe, huh? Or how do you clean it?)

I personally don't like these view-blocking hoods like the secone Miele. They are impressive, but to me they are a bit overwhelming in a residential kitchen. As I think of it - it's funny. At least in Europe, kitchens look very little like kitchens, i.e. you hardly see any appliance anymore. But the hoods become bigger and bigger. Astonishing!

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

I meant "second" Miele. Wanted to correct it, instead pushed CREATE button. *rolleyes*

Btw - the NYT told Trudy that a new home building blog is going to start this summer. :)

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

All these mod-looking kitchen things make me want to get a second home -- maybe a loft in Tribeca? So cool looking.

Me, I will have a nice boring (but very pretty) mantel-style hood, which will look much more at home in my old house. I left it up to my KD to select the actual venty thing that goes inside. I guess I should make sure it will be adequate for my powerful European-sized range. I'm not sure I'M adequate for my powerful range! I expect to burn a few things and create some pretty toxic fumes until I get used to all those BTU's, so the right vent will probably be very important.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJean

I have my new hood and I await installation of the Wolf range beneath it. It won't look sleek...more like a huge box hanging on the wall that I'm making a "feature not a flaw" by cladding the edge with barnwood and metal straps.

The vent thingie for it on my roof is HUGE and really looks ridiculous. I'm told there's no real way to hide it. It's the dark side of these powerful units, I guess.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

What about those "recirculating" hoods - are they any good? We live in a 100-year-old home and there's never been a hood. The kitchen doesn't have an easy way to vent to the outdoors (a pipe would have to run through the mudroom), so I was thinking about those recirculation versions ...

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

Not to be too self-promotional, but we did a big piece about crazy vent hoods on Thisoldhouse.com. (I won't link to it because I don't want to be spammy, but email me if you can't find it after it drops off the homepage.) There's been a lot of pushing of the envelope in terms of design. In fact, many don't look like vent hoods at all. It's really interesting that vent hoods are such an object for self expression. Or bizarre.

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Sorry I have not responded till now...busybusybusy!

Connie, yes, I know of that "hood" by Elica. If I'm not mistaken, I do believe the cfms are a very small 250. I remember seeing it at ICFF last year and speaking to the people there. They said sometimes they do two, one next to the other to boost the cfms. 2 for the price of one? I doubt it!

I do like that Miele hood, above. I think they wanted it to look sort of industrial/sculptural. I IS very cool, how it expands!

Yes, I heard the news about the Times' new blog. I'm sure it will be an entirely different point of view. It has to be!

Jean, yes, yes! Pay attention to the hood thingy! :) You want the hood to be wider than your cooktop, which it sounds like yours will be and not too far in height from the cooktop, the right cfms and a good duct path, with the right size ducting. Report back!

Wendy, I know I asked you for pictures before, your kitchen sounds delicious. And, that hood sounds fantastic! Please send me images. Sounds like you're having fun too, designing it, yes?

Pauline, well, I suppose it's better than nothing, but not by much. I am wondering if a downdraft could work in your situation. Or, you could mask a duct path as a beam or soffit. I know of kitchens where just the raw duct is exposed. Not for everyone, and very industrial looking, but interesting nonetheless. I'd exhaust all ducting possibilities first before you consider the recirculating ones.

Hi Jennifer! I hope you are feeling better...what a time to come down with something at KBIS where there is zero time for resting! I hope you don't mind that I'm telling the internets that you were under the weather. You were a trooper when I saw you, that's for sure. Sure, bring back the link. I really think it's great that it is used for self expression, that was a good way to put it.

April 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

I just got the list of appliances from my KD yesterday, to order this week, so actually easy to check the venting. We're getting a black Cornufe (my absolute favorite thing -- and biggest splurge -- in my kitchen. My pulse quickens when I look at pictures of it! Of course, my mother cannot understand how I could spend that much money (and she doesn't actually know how much) on an oven that is not self-cleaning!).

I know the hood is quite a bit bigger than the range (which is 43 inches) because that was important to me. No skimpy hoods for me! So I assume that the size is right. I see we are getting a Best PIK45, although I don't think the 45 refers to the size, size not listed. We will have an exterior fan of 1200 cfm, which will be ducted directly above the range. I only know that because I was shocked to see the sky through a large almost round hole high up in my thick solid brick wall right over where the range will go. Not sure how the heck they managed to cut a hole like that, but apparently it was quite noisy.

Speaking of skimpy hoods, went to an open house at a house for sale on my block. The family relocated a year ago, and just put the house up for sale. Before they put the house on the market, they put in a new kitchen. The old kitchen was easily 50 years old, and not nice. Like most of the 19th century houses I've seen, the pre-reno kitchen was cramped and laid out badly, even though this house has a banquet-sized dining room. The kitchen badly needed to be reconfigured -- it is small, and has a separate "breakfast room" that is only about 8 by 8 feet and feels like a tomb. This in a 6000 square foot, 7 bedroom house. Rather than move some walls around, easily done, to make a comfortable eating space, they left the layout as is. Installed lovely, probably pretty expensive cabinets, nice granite, some nice extras. Including a gorgeous Bertazoni stainless steel range. And over the expensive range is a cabinetry hood that is several inches narrower than the range! It looks idiotic, even my husband noticed it, and I'm sure does not adequately vent the range. They spent all their appliance money on the Bertazoni range, and got a standard-depth fridge which sticks out and just doesn't look right, and left a blank spot for a wine refrigerator, and an empty cabinet for a mircrowave. I hate flip kitchens! Do you ever design flip kitchens?

April 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Who makes that copper hood?

By the way check out "Texas lightsmith" if you ever need custom copper or blacksmithing work. They do sinks, light fixtures and hoods. They have priced several hoods for us. All custom with handmade brackets etc. Not cheap but they do great work.

I’m looking for a cheaper copper hood for people with a smaller budget. Something that looks handcrafted not like it was made on an assembly line.

April 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Mike, thanks for the source! It's by Sierra Copper. http://www.sierracopper.com/ Very nice people, beautiful products.

April 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

No, Jean, you can't tell your mother how much you're spending. She'll say it looks like you picked it up at a flea market! But, I'm with you...it's gorJUSS!

The Best PIK45 is good and powerful, that's great.

And, that house...the hood was narrower than the range?? Wow, that's a huge mistake! No, I don't get calls to design flip kitchens, but I really should, because it's almost more important that a flip kitchen be designed well to sell! Makes me crazy when these huge houses have these tiny kitchens.

April 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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