Island Cooktop Vent
What's the best way to vent a cooktop that's installed in a kitchen island?
We'll soon begin construction of a new home, which
will have a kitchen with an electric cooktop on a large island. The
problem is that the kitchen will open to a great room, and the ceiling
above the island will be about 11 feet high. We'd like to minimize the
visual impact of the hood, so I'm wondering if it can be made of
something clear, like glass or Plexiglass. I sketched out a design and
showed it to the interior designer at our local home center, but he said
it might cost as much as $15,000 to custom-build! Could it really be
— Fred, Montrose, California
Steve Thomas replies: That doesn't sound way out of line for a custom hood. But
before you invest that kind of money in something you'd rather not see,
why not use an off-the-shelf downdraft ventilator? Some versions mount
into the counter immediately behind the cooktop and simply pop up when
needed; others are an integral part of the top. You'll lose some cabinet
space underneath to exhaust piping, and you won't capture all the steam
and grease that your cooking generates, but you can't beat these units
for their minimal visual impact.
For what it's worth, if it were my
kitchen, I'd move the cooktop off the island and place it against a wall
that could accommodate a standard overhead hood and a proper
backslash — which would also keep the cooking mess out of full view. I
put a cooking island in my kitchen, and I wouldn't do it again.