Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Venting at the New House

I hate that "new house" look and feel. So fresh, so perfect, so...uninteresting!

In fact, I hate it so much that long before our builder started on our new house I made plans for architectural details that would give the place an old, country look. With a little demolition, anyone can add these types of details to their home.

Take my kitchen vent hood for instance.

On second thought, DON’T take it. I wanta keep it right where it’s at.

After the kitchen walls were constructed in our new house, the carpenter marked where the cabinets were to be placed. I wasn’t liking it. Even though he and I had had “the talk”, he wasn’t giving me the space I needed for the vent hood.

“OK,” he told me, “I’ll start Monday. That gives you two days to build your vent hood before we begin on your cabinets.”

Two days? Talk about pressure.

So ignoring the marks on the wall, my husband and I started building, keeping in mind the standard vent hood innards I'd bought at a box store. I already knew the design I wanted – something big to go with the 10-foot ceiling, something recycled to go with the rest of the d├ęcor, and something unique that would match the future fireplace at the other end of the room.

I’d been hoarding barn wood from a friend’s dairy for this project. I just didn't think I'd be building with it so soon!

(Note: If you're using old barn wood, know what it was originally used for. I would not want to use wood from a chicken house [yuck] or chemically-treated wood [dangerous fumes]. My boards came from a hay fence but I still gave them a good scrubbing.)

Old wood has good features and bad. On the plus side, you can make mistakes or mishandle the wood and all mars disappear among the rest of the interesting, aged marks.

On the down side, the wood can be crooked, bowed, and rough, making it hard to work with. Also, when I had to rip or cut a piece, I had to get out my craft paints to make the newly-revealed fresh wood look just as old as the rest of the boards.

Late, late, LATE Sunday night I put the final coat of varnish on our beautiful vent hood. We’d made the deadline. Monday morning, after remarking the cabinet placement, the carpenters started building our kitchen cabinets.

On his last day of work at the house, the head carpenter confessed that when he walked into the house that Monday morning, he was shocked (in a good way) at what we had designed and built. Hooray for DIY!

P.S. In case you're wondering, the microwave is in a cubby below the counter top, an easier position to work with for us short cooks.


  1. Fantastic! It is YOU all over! Glad the contractors worked "with" you. Nice.

  2. Greetings from Falls County,
    It looks like your having fun with the house. Can't tell you how nice it is to have you back.

    1. Thank you. You and Helen are always so nice to say welcome back...and then I disappear again.

  3. VERY cool! Love it. Want a job?

    1. Yes, have hammer, will travel...if you pay my way down under! LOL.

  4. That is awesome...what a great job you did!


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