Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Brief rant on form and function

Putting up a few photos last night, got me thinking again about what was the most important improvement in our kitchen. We did many things, so this might seem a difficult question. But it's not. When we moved in to this house, you could set off the fire alarm by boiling water - or at least that's how it seemed. It got so before dispatching the truck, the fire chief would call us up and ask what was for dinner. By far the most important improvement was in ventilation. We now have terrific ventilation.

The point of this post, though, is not to admire our own work - it is to pose this question -
Why do people make, sell, buy, install, and tolerate the hood-shaped, but functionally deficient products generally available to homeowners?

Certainly there are many people spending big money on kitchen renovations today who do not actually cook. And for these, the functional deficiencies of their hoods will be no problem. But if you cook? What then? How is a hood offering coverage little or no larger than the underlying range supposed to capture the plume of vapors rising from the stove? How is a hood set so far above the range-top supposed to work - especially on an island? How are those flat-bottomed items without any enclosed circulation space supposed to handle a grill? How are any of these fans (if high-CFM) supposed to work without make-up air? How do people designing, manufacturing and selling such hoods for thousands of dollars sleep at night? Beats me.

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