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Kitchen & Cooking

Decorative and essential, this kitchen fixture can be a focal point

Bring on the vent hood

A modern kitchen with a white range hood over a stainless steel stove and oven. Credit: Getty Images / drewhadley

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Far from sexy-sounding, the vent hood is one of the most essential kitchen fixtures. It assists with removing cooking odors, smoke, moisture, and heat. It also keeps you healthier by removing pollutants and gases.

Glenn Meader represents a majority of custom kitchen designers who in recent years have been discussing the ins and outs of ventilation hoods. Assessing their technical aspects is half of what makes up these exchanges. The other half is about the growing aesthetic role the former ugly-duckling fixture plays in today’s kitchen.

Meader, founder of Good Life New England in Norwell, Massachusetts, says, “Much like a great room fireplace, the vent hood holds a dominant role in its space and can set a signature look unique to a homeowner’s individual style. The sheer variety of custom styles, materials, scale, and cost range often makes this signature piece among the more challenging decisions for homeowners.”

A simplistic kitchen with a white range hood over a stainless steel stove and oven.
Credit: The Design Studio

A vent hood can add a signature focal point to your kitchen.

As kitchens have evolved from utilitarian to utopian, their increased size and hub-of-the-home functions, including entertaining, encourage homeowners to look at them much differently from even just a generation ago.

Caroline Harmon, Lowe’s trend strategist, says, “As kitchens become more open and airy, this trend creates the perfect opportunity to showcase a hood that is functional and beautiful.”

Using different materials, colors, and designs, homeowners can personalize their space in the same way they select tile and light fixtures.

Lowe’s offers an abundance of hood options from stainless steel, black, and white to wood and copper.

For minimalists, Harmon suggests the Samsung 36-inch ducted stainless steel wall-mounted range hood, which provides a bright and updated feel to a more traditional space.

(1) A blue oven and vent hood in a kitchen. (2) A white vent hood over a stainless steel oven.
Credit: The Design Studio

What's your style of vent hood?

Mixing materials is also trending in the kitchen,” notes Harmon, “especially bringing wood tones into the space. This hood made from wood and metal is a fresh and modern combination. Matte black is also a very on-trend pick, and [it] layers beautifully with any other finishes in the kitchen.”

Good Life New England designs beautiful custom wood vent hoods and also designs and sources hoods in mixed metals, plaster and stone. Among the company’s favorite resources are RawUrth, which fabricates architectural metal hoods with an artisan vibe, and Francois & Company that has a Moderne collection blended with old-world styling and crafted scagliola stone.

The Design Studio is another designer that has gotten creative about concealing the mechanics of ventilation by incorporating them into the overall design of the vent hood.

A green oven and range hood from Smeg sits in a blue kitchen.
Credit: Smeg

Smeg's Portofino line comes in a variety of colors.

Lisa Lally, residential designer at The Design Studio in Hull, Massachusetts, explains, “It can be as simple as a cabinetry-style carcass to blend in with the surround cabinets with the vent insert concealed within. We love getting to incorporate a statement vent hood and often use this as an opportunity to introduce a new material, color or texture. Cladding hoods with a continuation of the counter slab material or backsplash tile is another good way to create a seamless aesthetic.”

If a pop of color is what you’re after, Smeg offers its Portofino line with unique hues inspired, says marketing manager Christian Boscherini, by the “olive, orange, yellow and red colors of the buildings lining the shores of Portofino.”

Smeg’s Portofino line is available through Wayfair, serving a millennial demographic that, says Boscherini, has accelerated the decades-long trend of kitchen supplanting living and dining rooms as a gathering space.

“If the kitchen isn’t just a place where food is made, but a place to entertain, to come together, it needs to look the part. The tools in the kitchen need to be more than just appliances, they need to be elements of interior design, works of art in their own right.”

Not to be outdone, DIYers have something to say about attractive range hoods, too. Las Vegas-based designer Jessie Thomas and her husband, Nathan, prepared an online tutorial on how they DIYed a modern farmhouse vent hood that includes supplies, tools, and a detailed how-to with pictures.

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