Operation Heart of the Home : Hood Prep Edition  (not to be confused with the rapper style of Preppy in the Hood)

One of the biggest challenges in the kitchen was trying to figure out how to do a hood over the stove top.  The existing stove top has a down draft ventilation system which doesn’t work very well.  And since steam goes up, we figured that we should befriend Mr. Science and go with the flow (literally). 

After we removed the overhead cabinet, we started brainstorming ways to get an overhead hood without having too much trouble (aka work….aka we are lazy bums).  We thought of a bunch of different options but in the end we found the simplest one was the best for us.  Here’s what we wanted:

  • no bulkhead
  • vented hood
  • built in cabinetry look for around and above the hood

The real problem was this:  What the heck would we do with the ductwork?!  

Jer suggested that we run the ductwork into the wall and then down through the studs to the existing vent.  No bulkhead?  check.  Vented hood?  semi-check….I felt like that would be ineffective…remember Mr. Science?!   Instead of going down, we thought of a way to go straight up and then out to the left to the exterior wall.  Did we have room in the floor above?  No. 

If it went above the current cabinetry and left the ductwork in the kitchen, it would mean a bulkhead.  That left us with one option…going through.  At first it sounded crazier than wiping out the national debt….but the more we brainstormed, we realized that if we could go through the wall, the ductwork would enter the laundry room…which has room for a bulkhead above the current cabinetry in that room.  Oh yeah.  We ate a bucket of cookie dough ice cream to congratulate ourselves for our genius brains.  Not a joke.

Like I mentioned before, we  chose the Broan ducted or non-ducted range hood.  We actually went with the 30″ range hood even though we had room for the 36″ because we wanted to have room around it to build the ‘cabinetry’.  Then came the time to figure it all out.  We first researched the distance that it would need to be from the stovetop.  A lot of people recommended 28″ for maximum venting….some went as high as 36″.   We decided that we probably would like to be no higher than 30″ so we had some demo to do… 

We marked the spot where we wanted the tile out…

And Jer penciled across the tile so that we could knock it outta here…

A day or so later (yes, we are just like you guys with busy lives so we squeeze in an hour here or there…hence…we might get a prize for longest kitchen remodel ever), we decide to chisel out the tile.  We scored those beauties first and then just bang bang bang.  Insert dirty joke here.

 Apparently the tile didn’t want to be removed.  So that led us to the next assumption…we are gonna have to do some tiling IMMEDIATELY after the cabinets are painted.  And with some tiling comes some redrywalling.  joy

You may have noticed that little square hole.  We figured that it was probably a safe bet to cut a hole in the drywall (later to be covered by the hood cabinet) to check for any random pipes or stray electrical lines.  What did we find? 


Yup…this house of ours apparently has insulation on interior walls.  Which normally I would say, wow…good job Napolean for making this house a little more sound proof!…but in this case I said “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!?” followed by a choice word or two.  Yeah.  Thanks Napolean for making this house a little more of a headache for a pregnant girl.

Okay…now fast forward a day or so…past my complete and utter frustration about the insulation thing…we knew that we would need to run electricity to the hood…put a little Bower Power in the hood per se (I’ve been dying to say that!)…so Jer checked out the nearest outlet to see how everything connected. 

You’re welcome :)

And in the end, we decided that we would have to remove the insulation entirely from where the ductwork goes through the wall.  So we cut a bigger hole. 

Note the marks on the wall….the vertical lines are the studs….so we knew where to attach the cabinet back to the wall.  The horizontal line on the bottom marks the bottom of the cabinet.

After cleaning out the insulation (good job Jer)….my darling boyfriend drilled a hole in the stud so that the wire would have a way to pass through from one stud shaft to another.  Saying stud shaft makes me snort by the way. 

WAHLA!  Hole in the stud.

Okay…so now we have a big hole in the drywall with a little hole in the stud which leads to the neighboring stud shaft that is directly above the power source that we are tapping into…



This is when Jer decided to test out the stud shaft to make sure it was clear for the wire.  He checks things like this for reasons I have no idea about.

Basically he uses his long flexible drill bit and tapes the wire to it and pushes it down the shaft to make sure the wire will reach the power outlet.

Here he is testing it out through a little hole in the drywall….

okay…now here is where surprise #2 happened. 

We hit a cross beam.  Apparently the vertical studs holding up our ten foot ceilings needed a cross piece to prevent bowing.  Imagine us with an open palm to the forehead. 

So Jer pulled out the drill bit, cut a square in the drywall in the crossbeam shaft and drilled a hole in the crossbeam and restrung the wire. 

This is what it looked like when it was all over…

FINALLY…a line for power for the hood…

The other end came out to the outlet so we could tie in to the existing power source.

Now that the power was semi-ready…we had to move on to ventilation.  In order for us to have a ducted vent hood, we needed to cut through the laundry room wall for our pipe.  After a little measuring and doublechecking that we were indeed gonna clear the cabinets on the other side, Jer cut our hole.

See it up there?  That’s where the duct work will come out and run to the exterior wall.

I held the camera over my head to snap a close-up shot…when I pulled the camera down to see the photo…this is what I saw :)

 Jer figured out that the 6″ elbows were gonna line up just peachy…

So he moved on to the cabinet.  The cabinet we removed we decided to keep and use as a upper support for the hood.  Not only did it already have the right measurements but it also had the little rope detail that was on the rest of the cabinetry so it would blend in.   

After Jer marked where the duct would go in the bottom of the cabinet, he used a drill and a jigsaw to cut out the hole.

Then he cut a hole in the back of the cabinet as an access hole to the passthrough to the laundry room…

Basically how it works is the duct comes up from the hood, through the bottom of the cabinet, attaches to the elbow duct and turns through the back of the cabinet, through the drywall into the laundry room.

Jer clamped the cabinet in place and pulled the wire through the cabinet.

Self explanatory photo…

Jer attaching the first piece of ducting onto the hood.  I think this bad boy is called a reducer.  Or a reductor.  Or a reducimiser. 

And then we slipped in the hood to the cabinet to see how it looked.  

We actually thought it looked a little too high.  Since functionality-wise, it would have worked, we were really going for what looked ‘right’ to our naked eye.  And the eye said high. 

So that meant a little more of this…

This time around we figured ‘what-the-heck, we-already-have-to-replace-drywall-immediately?!’ so we just hammered those extra tiles out.  And when I say we…I totally mean I sat on my siatica while Jer did it.

The tile was way easier to remove if you just smacked it really hard in the middle and then chiseled out the grout area. 

So that’s where we are at.  I figured forty or so photos would be enough for one update.  Next I figure we can go over how we built the cabinetry part around the hood….it was very technical…it involved cardboard and bandaids. 

p.s.  I don’t know if it was all your good advice or emails or prayers but amazingly, this past Sunday my sciatica pain has dulled to a fiercely low roar.  It’s now a punched-in-the-crotch feeling that I had with Will….it sounds terrible to have the feeling of your taco as a pinata but I would take it every day of the week over the stop-you-in-your-tracks-bum-seizures.  So thanks guys.  And yes, I still plan on seeing a chiropractor…but you should know you get the credit for the pain management :)



  1. says

    Katie – I had horrible sciatic pain, had to get an MRI and what not. However, my doc told me to go to a massage therapist. She did a deep tissue massage on just the butt check. Sounds weird, but the pain is ALL gone. And they were talking possible surgery and steroids. So try a massage. Or if Jer wants to do it, he can use his elbows. It’s gonna hurt like the dickens, but afterwards it was AMAZING!

  2. bonnie larner-langer says

    Why do we need hoods at all? Our parents/grandparents lived without them.
    After cooking something that burned, we simply opened the window. and stuck
    a window fan in backwards to draw out the smoke.

  3. Jeanie says

    Look at you guys cruising along on that kitchen! It really is going to shape up so nicely.

    I laughed at the photo of your husband peeking out from the vent hole. Surprise!

    You look like you two make a great team. It’s nice to see a couple working out like that (on a blog). Also it’s fun to see your pregnancy move along because my sister is due the same week as you (hers is baby girl #3) so it’s just fun to see her in person and you online both racing to the finish. Godspeed, Katie.

  4. Jessie G says

    Hi Katie! I have a question about your hood! We are planning to do the same thing as you guys did. Get a 30″ hood to build around it to a 36″ space. My question for you guys is how good this hood has worked out for you guys… Is it efficient? All the power packs and inserts are a small fortune so I have been wondering if perhaps this would be the way to go. Save that $$$

      • Jessie G. says

        THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! This is JUST what I was hoping to hear! Let me place my order! :) BTW, you guys ROCK!

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