In this post: How we built our DIY custom range hood cover over a regular vent fan.
When we started planning our modern farmhouse kitchen makeover, I knew I wanted Dean to build us a DIY custom range hood cover.
The trick was coming up with a design that I really liked.
Inspiration is never an issue, there’s plenty of that to go around. Deciding on something that I want to live with for years to come is another story though!
I know you know what I mean.
I get emails all the time from readers just like you who like all.the.things and are drawn to many different styles, and yet can’t seem to make a decision and commit to one. But the truth is, you have to choose. I have to choose.
Thankfully I know that. And thankfully I LOVE the final design we came up with!
Table of Contents
First Step? Choosing a Range Hood
Before we even came up with a design for our DIY custom range hood cover, we had to find a range hood that would work as the ‘base’ for our design. The elements that were very important to us were:
- Easy to install. Since we would be building a custom cover, in the middle of an entire DIY kitchen makeover, the unit itself needed to be easy to install.
- Quiet operation. Because our kitchen is wide open to our living room, the fan couldn’t be a traditionally loud exhaust fan. You know the ones that you can hardly hear someone talking while standing right next to them.
- Effective. Obviously the fan needed to be effective – no one wants to smell burnt anything wafting through the house! (Not that I ever burn anything. Ahem.)
- LED lights. We leave the range hood lights on at night, so that if someone needs to come downstairs in the dark (a guest or even one of us) there’s no toe-stubbing happening! With hydro costs rising, LED lighting has become the standard in our house.
- The option of a white range hood. Typically people will choose a range hood that matches their range/stove. Which makes sense in most cases. BUT since we were building a white range hood cover, and attaching the range hood to the white shiplapped/tiled wall, it made more sense for us to choose a white range hood/exhaust fan so that it blended in with its surroundings instead of standing out.
- Easy to clean. I’d seen gross exhaust fan filters enough to not want to scrub one. Ever.
- Switches on the BOTTOM. This was because we were building a diy custom range hood cover around the actual range hood. We didn’t want to have to reach behind the cover to get to the switches.
In the end we chose the Broan Corteo 30″ in white, which is actually quite sleek and beautiful on its own and would look fabulous in an all-white kitchen (picture it under some gorgeous cabinetry).
The Corteo also ticked all the boxes for our must-have list above:
- The Captur™ system’s advanced blower design features a forward positioned centric inlet to remove smoke and odor faster. A smooth-flow blower wheel and high flow filters ensure quiet operation.
- 250 CFM blower operates at 1.5 Sones at normal speed
- Bright, single intensity LED modules – supported by a 3-year warranty – illuminate evenly and are tested in cooking environments to ensure long life without dimming
- Hidden two-speed on/off rocker switches control blower speeds and single light level
- Dual dishwasher-safe, open-mesh filters provide efficient grease removal
- EZ1 brackets make it easy for single-person installation in less than half the time of traditional methods
DIY Custom Range Hood Cover
Typically most of our DIY projects go something like this; I come up with an idea and a sketch, Dean builds it and I finish it by painting it or styling it or whatever. This project was no different.
After I looked at inspiration photos galore, I was finally able to sketch out what I wanted for our kitchen.
Then Dean set to work building it – all the while keeping in mind that you may want to build one for your house too.
Unfortunately, given that all kitchens are different, we can’t give you exact measurements for how to build one for yourself. But we took a lot of photos (some with my ‘good’ camera and a few with my iPhone when we were really busy, so excuse the slightly fuzzy ones) to document each step of the process so you can SEE how we built ours from the guts out.
A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Here’s ROUGHLY how we built and finished our DIY custom range hood cover. (Use our illustrations and photos to customize your own.)
- Broan Corteo 30″ Range Hood
- wood – 1″x6″x 5′
- wood – pine project panel 1″x36″x60″
- 1 length of MDF door stop
- 2 unfinished pine corbels
- 1″x 3″x8′ MDF
- brad nailer and nails
- wood filler
- paint brush
1. Build a simple frame as shown, with a back, a bottom and side supports. This takes the place of the traditional cabinet over a range/stove that the range hood/exhaust fan would be attached to and vented through. We used scrap wood for this because the frame gets entirely hidden from sight when the project is finished.
You will need to make cutouts for the venting and ductwork, but exactly where these go will depend on your home and where the vent is in relation to the location of your stove. As you can see our vent to the outside and the electrical wiring were not centered above our range. Someone before us had even moved the electrical wiring over closer to center as seen by the extra holes in the drywall.
Note that how high you mount the frame will depend on your particular kitchen and range. Our range’s user manual stated that the bottom surface of any range hood or upper cabinetry had to be at least 24 inches away from the stove top surface. You can make that measurement bigger, but definitely don’t make it any smaller.
Also note that you will need to be sure you mount the frame to studs in the wall so that it is sufficiently secured to hold the weight of the entire range hood and cover. You should be able to use a stud finder to find the location of your studs. Since we had installed wood shiplap, we used the location of the brad nails as Dean had made sure to nail those into studs.
2. Once the frame is mounted securely to the wall, attach the range hood itself to the frame. Use the instructions included with the exhaust fan for mounting it to the underside of a cabinet.
3. Connect the electrical for the fan and lights. Again reference the instructions included with the unit itself for how to do this. If you need the help of an electrician, please use one.
4. Next connect the ductwork, as described in the instructions (included with the range hood). Tape joints in the ductwork if necessary with appropriate tape. Test the lights and fan to be sure everything works well before you begin to build the cover.
5. Build out the cover, piece by piece and layer by layer.
The first piece is essentially a box that slides over the range hood frame, fitted with door stop as simple trim.
Then measure and cut the top pieces and affix with the brad nailer and nails, as the photo shows.
Measure, cut and nail on a simple MDF frame on the face of the range hood cover. Also attach the corbels to MDF and nail to the wall, as shown.
6. Fill in all the nail hole, let dry and sand smooth before painting. Caulk all the joints and seams. Caulking is THE KEY to getting a well-fitted and professional looking job!
7. Paint the entire range hood cover. Repeat as needed for full coverage. We painted the range hood cover the same color as our trim, rather than the walls.
And voila – a DIY custom range hood cover!
Honestly this project is a bit of a blur, given that we had already been working on the kitchen for a couple of weeks when we completed it. But I know that it was fairly easy for Dean to put together once there was a design sketched out. And I honestly couldn’t be happier with the finished product!
Have you a kitchen in which you could make a DIY custom range hood cover? Maybe by removing a cupboard above your stove?