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Home on the Range

Home on the Range

No need to hide behind wood panels – the custom range hood fits every kitchen style and configuration

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The elephant in your almost-perfect kitchen is too big to ignore. You’ve updated it with granite counter tops and stainless-steel appliances. You’ve invested in new wood cabinets. But the outdated range hood looms above the rest.

Luckily, custom-made range hoods now are available to serve every style and need. Designers, both large and small, offer everything from hoods made of copper and brass to those made of bronze, stone, silver or even distressed wood.

“This is a trend,” says Sarah Kramer, director of marketing at San Francisco-based Zephyr, a designer and manufacturer of designer range hoods. “So many families do their entertaining in the kitchen. They hold their family gatherings there. The center of the kitchen ends up being the range hood. Our mission has always been about changing the perspective of homeowners so that they understand why the range hood can be an interesting visual focal point.”

John Worsham, president and co-owner of Austin, Texas-based Texas Lightsmith – another designer of custom range hoods – says that homeowners today are limited only by their imaginations when it comes to choosing the right hood for their kitchens.

Worsham traces some of the interest in custom range hoods to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Back then, homeowners experimented with copper hoods as a way to add new life to their kitchens. Today, homeowners are exploring a richer variety of hood materials, with brass, pewter and zinc especially popular choices.

As with other home design choices, the more research you do before choosing a range hood, the more satisfied you’ll be with your choice. Worsham recommends that owners not limit their research to design magazines, either. He says designers can show customers computer modeling of what their kitchen might look like with a new range hood.

“Kitchens have gotten so much more impressive over the years,” Worsham says. “They’ve become the focal point of so many families’ lives. It’s not surprising, then, that there are new and interesting products designed for them. Range hoods certainly fit into that category.”

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