Inspiration and Design for Our Kitchen Range Hood

One big goal of renovating our kitchen is to be able to remove clutter. A real culprit for gathering clutter is our current built-in range hood surround, which has a four-inch deep shelf that goes all the way around its rim, and a two-foot long bar for hanging pots and pans. For our re-do, we’re looking to simplify and get rid of the potential for mess. Here is what our hood looks like now:

None of us can seem to resist putting stuff on this shelf. It doesn’t look good, and grossest of all because I cook so much anything we put here gets coated in a thin layer of oil. It’s the nature of the beast.

The same goes for the hanging bar. If we don’t use and clean a pot or pan that’s there every few days, it gets disgusting. Dust clings to that sticky cast-off oil such that things are both greasy and dusty incredibly quickly. YUCK.

So, time to get rid of both the shelf and hanging bar! We don’t have much room to work with for the hood, which makes things both easier and more difficult. Easier in that we don’t have to choose a shape, we can simply build in a rectangular box similar to what is there now, but with a simplified profile and no ‘backboard’ like is there now to house the hanging bar. We also have to choose a material and color

Here is some inspiration …

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A simple moulding is all this hood needs. Love how the backsplash runs from corner to corner of the hood. This is just what I’d like to do.

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Here’s the same moulding (by the kitchen GENIUSES at DeVol), but in a light color that matches the wall and soffit. I really like this idea because I would love to lighten up our kitchen. Its original wood beams are gorgeous, but adding a dark hood like is there now is very visually heavy.  The main thing I don’t like about this profile is that it is still very shelf-ish.

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Above is another example of a simple profile with a color that matches the walls only in dark green, from the OTHER kitchen geniuses at Plain English. (Side note: the British are just killing it with kitchens lately. Pretty much any time I see a beautiful, simple shaker kitchen it is by a British company). However, these folks have a light bright ceiling so can pull off a dark color. I can’t.

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Doing some kind of corbel on a hood, like the above, is very popular. While I really like the profile, how the backsplash goes up to the edges of the hood and the uniform wall, cabinet and hood colors here, I think a corbel would be a little too much detail for us, and make our small hood look heavy.

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Here is the most straightforward option, which is a simple framed box. I really like this, but think that the look is too plain and modern for us.

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Above is pretty much precisely the moulding I’m thinking of for our hood. Simple and clean.

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Here it is from the side. Nice of Plain English to test-drive it for me with both shaker and flat-front cabinets! Looks great with each.

So, now to combine the simple profile, the corner-to-corner backsplash, and the rectangular shape! I rendered this out in Sketchup, which gives a good idea of how I want the profile to look:

I think I will run backsplash behind the range and under the windows, rendered here in gray:

I would also love to get rid of the soffit above the range! Right now there’s recessed lighting in there, but given the kitchen was last done a couple decades back and recessed lighting has changed so much, we may be able to get something with a much thinner profile and lift up the soffit about three inches to the antique beam height. Which would be great in that it would add light and let us see more of the kitchen’s antique bones! I didn’t render this out simply because we won’t know if we can do it until we tear out the old soffit. Fingers crossed!

So here is what the kitchen hood looks like now:

And here is what I (hope) it will look like after:

A note on history and keeping our restorations and renovations historically accurate and consistent with our home …

Our kitchen is the classic ‘concept’ of an antique colonial kitchen. I say ‘concept’ because of course there were no kitchens as we know them in the 18th century. Everything was cooked over a large fireplace in the keeping room, which would have housed a long table, with the few pots and pans in a household within easy reach.

In other words, an actual historical kitchen would have looked like this one in Colonial Williamsburg:

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Basically, when modern kitchen appliances came around and people put ‘modern’ kitchens in antique homes, they did them in a style they thought was what the Colonials would have done if they’d had indoor plumbing, an oven, dishwasher and range. It’s a little silly, because first, kitchens aren’t historical anyway, and second, we have so much more STUFF than the colonials did that imposing a primitive open-concept style just creates mess.

I refuse to believe that those thrifty New England colonials would have tolerated mess and clutter. For the Puritans, the Quakers and the Shakers, simplicity, cleanliness and order were paramount. For me, simplicity, cleanliness and order is the dream! Especially in the kitchen.

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