Exhausted or Not?

Apparently some people have very strong opinions about exhaust hoods. Either you love them, can’t cook without them. Or you think they’re generally a complete waste of dollars & energy. I’m torn.

So here’s what my kitchen looked like before it was gutted and how it’s going to change.

kitchen, before with plan

That wasn’t totally my original plan though.

There were a few things I discovered after everything was completely gutted –

1. Holy crap there’s the original wood floors under the Wonderboard, under the tile! And the Wonderboard was only screwed down (not mortared). And they’re in decent enough shape to refinish. Score.

2. No island feels really good. There’s SO much room to walk around the table! My original plan included a fixed island 26″ deep x 72″ wide. New plan chops that down to 18″ deep and only 48″ wide – plus it includes casters so I can roll it out of the way when I have lots of people around the table.

3. The brick wall is awesome. I should totally forgo my original wall of upper cabinetry and leave as much brick uncovered as possible.

Here’s what the kitchen looks like in masking tape (not pictured are some open shelves, probably over the dishwasher/sink, that I haven’t figured out yet)

kitchen, main wall with labels

The point of contention lies right behind that coil of electrical wire hanging from the ceiling.



No Hood.

The whole “range hood” thing seems to be a relatively new concept in kitchen design. I would say the majority of kitchen photos I look at have them. If I do a hood, it would be chimney-style and vented to the outside.

The thing is, I didn’t grow up having or using an exhaust fan or hood. My mother (a professional foods teacher by trade) thinks they’re generally useless. Not having one would keep the brick more open (although I will likely add some open shelving either way). I’m not so completely in love with the look I HAVE TO HAVE one for aesthetics sake.

That said, I think the idea of moving smoke outside vs. the dining room is generally a good thing. I don’t (& won’t) have a ceiling fan, so opening a window or back door would likely be the solution to burnt garlic, if I don’t do one. Perhaps it would help the open expanse of brick look more intentional (there will be some open shelving as well).

What say you, blog friend?

No Exhaust:


Exhausted but totally hidden in a concealed ceiling vent, so it looks like no exhaust:


Exhausted via range hood:


Do you have an exhaust hood? Wished you did? Or generally think they’re totally unnecessary?

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13 Responses to Exhausted or Not?

  1. Kate says:

    We just installed a larger hood vent. The reason for this was not aesthetics but because my husband cooks on a cast iron grill pan which creates tons of smoke and grease. The larger hood had to happen because our first floor family room would fill with smoke and the smell of food which lingers much longer than one would desire. Just something to think about. Perhaps the photos you saw without hoods have a stove with the down draft exhaust. That might be an option to keep the brick open. Good luck either way, your home progress is beautiful!

  2. I wish I had an exhaust vent. Cooking in the winter can suck when it is too cold to open a window, but all the bedrooms are filled with the smell of burnt everything. I really like the one above that is hidden in the ceiling.

  3. Mercedes says:

    I’m thinking that the exhaust hidden in the ceiling might drag the smoke and grease upwards across the cabinet face leading to yucky build-up on those lovely white doors.
    Perhaps, if you’re going with the exposed brick, that might be something to consider. Seems like you’ll want to minimize build-up as brick would be tough to clean.
    We’d don’t have a hood in our kitchen a grease/dust layer form on the white walls. It’s something I need to keep on top of and with 9′ ceilings, it’s not much fun.

  4. Ken Walker says:

    Wish we had a functional hood in our place. Sarah’s an amazing cook, but having the whole place smell like her latest dish 30 minutes before dinner takes something away from the experience.

  5. Breanne C. says:

    We have a small hood, and I love it. Especially when I’m experimenting with oil and oops – hit the smoke point. As far as aesthetics go, totally a personal choice! Me, I love the metal with the brick, so I’d get one. But what if you got far enough with the kitchen (lower cabinets in place or something) where you could photoshop your different options in and see more concretely what you’d prefer before making a decision?

  6. Jennifer says:

    When we did our kitchen we put in an over-the-stove vented microwave. That was about 12 years ago and we still have not hooked up the venting. That being said, I do like the look of the industrial style vents but I think that it would be installed more for looks versus actual use. I can only think of a few times that I wished that we had it connected and in those cases we just opened the doors and windows.

  7. Robin says:

    I understand not wanting to block the brick but as an HVAC engineer yes you absolutely need one. Just because an old home you had didn’t have one doesn’t make that a good design choice and I’m willing to bet there was lots of grease deposits on the surfaces around the stove you don’t remember. On top of that it’s required per national code in the IMC 2009 section 505 and 403. Having a window in an adjacent room does not apply.

  8. Erin says:

    Derek votes for hood. He says especially if you aren’t gonna put in a ceiling fan it’s a necessity for extracting smoke, steam and air born grease while you cooking. Plus I vote hood too cause I like it aestheticly! Can’t wait to see!!

  9. katie says:

    our old kitchen had a small hood that had a recirculating vent. we decided to install a true range hood that vented to the exterior with our new kitchen and i love it. it’s so much quieter than the old one, plus it does a much better job with steam, smoke, and smells. we have tile behind our hood, and i really like the way it looks – so i think a range hood over brick would look really nice!

  10. stephanie says:

    our new home is the only place i’ve ever lived at WITHOUT an exhaust hood. our stove is built in to the island in the middle of our kitchen. there is an exhaust fan that raises up from behind the stove when cooking – but honestly it really doesnt catch anything from the front 2 burners (the ones we use most b/c of size)… the smoke, the smells we deal with now – i really miss having an exhaust hood!

  11. jip says:

    Eh, when we bought our house we had a hood. During the renovation process, we realized that it didn’t go anywhere– there was no vent outside. So it was useless. We’re still renovating the kitchen, and we’re still not sure if we should go with a hood or just forget about it. Someone above said you’d be breaking national code, but our old one didn’t even do anything… so what’s the point? It really does seem to be for looks these days.

  12. Can I tell you, in the 7 years I’ve owned houses I’ve probably actually turned the exhaust on at any of them *maybe* five times. Usually when I’ve accidentally set dinner on fire. My current kitchen has one of those downdraft exhausts so it’s not a “hood” and I did turn it on once, just for kicks…. I do kind of like the look of a proper hood though. So. Totally unhelpful comment.

  13. kasey says:

    We don’t have one at the moment, but not by choice. I definitely think that we’ll end up getting one when we make changes in the kitchen because, in the times that we do need a hood, we really need one!

    I like the looks of the exposed hoods, especially if they include special mood lighting features.

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