Focusing on the Hood for Function

Have you ever wondered why the designer and contractor are so focused on the hood? It’s because it’s actually really difficult and terrible if it is wrong.

There are two key components in designing a kitchen – the center of the kitchen sink and the center of the hood. It is my job to accurately locate the center of each one because everything moves out from those two dimensions.

The hood is particularly difficult because it is located directly above the cooktop or stove and will have an exhaust pipe that vents to the exterior. Creating this vent is a logistical challenge to keep it visually contained inside walls, ceiling or floor joists with as few bends as possible and located as close to the exterior wall as possible.

The exhaust pipe also has to be appropriately located in height and diameter to the make and model of the selected hood. Each hood is designed differently and there is a plethora on the market – no two are alike. So it takes a lot of time from the contractor to figure it out to be spot on – within ¼”.

Code requires the distance from cooktop to hood to be 30 – 36” and many of the hoods are now 24” deep so it’s important to consider human scale and function when selecting your hood. Additionally, most code is 400 CFMs (or how strong the exhaust will be) before make up air needs to be added to the house. This is a fairly technical detail so I suggest connecting with your code enforcement officer BEFORE purchasing a unit to make sure that you are properly complying to code.

The design of the hood comes in three options:

  1. A Microwave Exhaust
  2. A Cabinet Hood
  3. An Exposed Finished Hood.

This is quite simply a personal choice. With a cabinet hood we install them connected to the upper cabinets on each side of the hood. With the exposed hood we usually leave a 3” – 5” gap on each side of the hood for visual space.

Bottom line, a hood can be a very important functional appliance in your home and a key design element. It’s well worth the time and effort to design it right at the beginning of the project so that everything moves smoothly during installation. Let me know if you need any help!

Here are a few of my favorite companies to consider when choosing a hood:


Baron’s Appliances

Clarke Appliances 


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