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Remodeling 101: Discover the Magic of Ceiling-Mounted Recessed Kitchen Vents

CEO Khai Intela
Are you tired of those clunky range hoods that take up precious space and ruin the aesthetic of your kitchen? Well, we have exciting news for you! A new, discreet option is emerging in open...

Are you tired of those clunky range hoods that take up precious space and ruin the aesthetic of your kitchen? Well, we have exciting news for you! A new, discreet option is emerging in open kitchens with center islands. Introducing the ceiling-mounted surface vent. It's so sleek and subtle that you might not even notice it at first glance.

Above: In place of an intrusive ceiling hood, this setup has an inset stainless-steel-framed vent over a stainless steel island from German kitchen systems masters Bulthaup—island and cabinets are from Bulthaup’s B2 line. (See Good Küchen: 9 German Kitchen Systems for more details.) Above: In place of an intrusive ceiling hood, this setup has an inset stainless-steel-framed vent over a stainless steel island from German kitchen systems masters Bulthaup—island and cabinets are from Bulthaup’s B2 line. (See Good Küchen: 9 German Kitchen Systems for more details.)

What are these vents?

Ceiling-mounted recessed vents are remote-controlled hoods that are ingeniously inset in the ceiling. The only visible parts are a sleek stainless-steel frame and panel, often with dark glass and integrated lights. These vents are strategically positioned directly above the cooktop to absorb cooking odors and grease. While they have been popular in Europe for some time, they are just starting to make waves in the US.

Above: To decrease the distance between stovetop and vent, a Siemens ceiling-mounted recessed hood is set in a soffit in this newly remodeled kitchen belonging to Norwegian blogger Nina of Stylizimo. Above: To decrease the distance between stovetop and vent, a Siemens ceiling-mounted recessed hood is set in a soffit in this newly remodeled kitchen belonging to Norwegian blogger Nina of Stylizimo.

Where do they work - and what's the catch?

These vents are typically ducted to the outside, which means you need to have a house to have one in your kitchen. Additionally, there are strict requirements for ventilation in many states, and not all recessed ceiling vents meet these codes. It's important to consult local appliance specialists for the details.

For optimal effectiveness, a ceiling-mounted recessed vent needs to be larger than the cooktop it serves. For example, if you have a 36-inch cooktop, you would need a 42- or 48-inch hood. The distance between the ceiling vent and the stovetop is crucial. Matt Avery of Faber recommends that the distance should not exceed four feet for optimal performance.

If you have a powerful commercial-style range and do a lot of frying, a ceiling-mounted recessed vent may not be sufficient. However, for regular cooking and if the distance between your stove and vent is not too great, this open-plan option can be the perfect problem solver.

Above: A recessed hood draws steam in a Corian model kitchen in the UK. Above: A recessed hood draws steam in a Corian model kitchen in the UK.

Who makes these innovative vents?

Several well-known brands have started introducing flush ceiling vents, including Best (check out their Cirrus models), Miele, Futuro Futuro, Falmec, Zephyr, and Faber.

Above: Cloud, a ceiling vent by Italian company Falmec, is shown here at Expo Milan 2015. Photograph via Edilportale. Above: Cloud, a ceiling vent by Italian company Falmec, is shown here at Expo Milan 2015. Photograph via Edilportale.

Are there other unobtrusive kitchen vent options?

Yes, there are! Under-the-cabinet hoods are another popular choice, especially in apartments. Additionally, downdraft hoods that rise in the back of the range at the press of a button can be an excellent option, especially when paired with induction cooktops.

Above: A Miele stainless steel Extractor Unit with dimmable halogen lights is neatly incorporated in a shelf over a cooktop. Its price, $1,699, including external blower, is in the ballpark for most ceiling vent brands. Above: A Miele stainless steel Extractor Unit with dimmable halogen lights is neatly incorporated in a shelf over a cooktop. Its price, $1,699, including external blower, is in the ballpark for most ceiling vent brands.

If you're looking for more kitchen appliance advice, be sure to check out our posts on Compact Refrigerators and Beyond Gas vs. Electric: A Quick Guide to Kitchen Stoves and Cooktops. We also have a comprehensive guide on Kitchen Hoods & Vents in our Remodeling 101 series.

Remember, a well-designed kitchen should not only be beautiful but also functional. With clever options like ceiling-mounted recessed kitchen vents, you can have both!

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 13, 2015.

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