Sunday, February 17, 2008

Project week: Installing a microhood

If it is a school vacation week, and it is too cold for gardening, then it must be time for an old-house project, as heaven knows, we have oodles of them. This week's project is constructing a cabinet and installing a microwave-range hood above the range, and in the process, hiding 2 more rows of the ugly tile backsplash (3 cheers!).

Our cape is from the 1800s, and is the classic New England cape with an el with an el with a barn. In other words, if we had livestock, I could get to the barn from the house in my slippers to milk the cows --no need to go outside. Over the years, the interior of the house has been changed many times (staircases moved and added, pesky load-bearing walls removed, indoor plumbing added.) At some point in the past, our kitchen was moved to el #1, modern(ish) plumbing was added, and in the more recent past, custom oak cabinets were built and installed by the previous owner. They are high quality solid wood cabinets and I can't foresee ever replacing them (unless I win the lottery and then I might consider custom built solid cherry cabinets with a natural oil finish --not that I've thought about it.) The upper cabinets are open, however, and this leads to my love-hate relationship with the cabinets.

I love the open cabinets, but hate the fact that the contents get slightly greasy and dusty from cooking, because the kitchen does not have a vent. Since the delicious aroma of caramelizing onion or sauteed garlic isn't being whisked away, the air carrying the aroma molecules eventually leaves an greasy residue on the adjacent surfaces. As my loathing of scrubbing is well-documented, this must stop.

After 7 years of bitching about it, this week we are installing a vent. We first planned to install only a vent, but then saw my pal Holly's nifty microhood when she built her kitchen, and realized we too could install a microhood and free-up some counter space at the same time. More room for clutter, yay!

For now it will be a recirculating fan with 2 grease-trapping filters, but someday in the future we hope to run the vent out of the house through an exterior wall --just not while it is 15° F outside. So, let the fun begin, and forgive me if I am slow to post -- I'll be up to my elbows in cabinet construction.


jeannie said...

Ilove your idea! But that is because I have one too! They are the greatest things for a kitchen.
And that picture of Dan looks like Dad.
And here is an other idea for cabinets .. take moldings to frame in front of the cabinets like doors. then you put screening on the back side like you would a canvas painting. Then seal it in with stripping wood. makes for handy! You can even paint on the screens. Also this is some thing I want to do this year is take a Frame and put large hole screening in it to hang spices on to dry. after I band them I can just hook them on the screening!
Well got's to go, Love you two. Jean

Ali said...

Hi Jeannie,

I am loving my new microhood, mostly because I love the counter space it freed up!

I might have to try your door idea for another project I have in mind, thanks for sharing.