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Kitchen & Bath

Edited by Dave Holbrook


Range Hoods

Laundry Rooms

Out of Sight.

A custom range hood provides the flexibility to either match or be concealed within any kitchen design style. The SHL Series stainless steel range-hood liners are available in 36- and 48-inch widths and a whole slew of airflow options driven by in-line, roof, or wall-mounted blowers. A mufflerlike silencer can be fitted in the duct run to reduce noise levels. The price varies according to options selected, generally starting around $1,500.


Fantech, 800/747-1762,

Cheng's Hood.

Despite the universal habit of matching range-hood and stove widths, research indicates that bigger is better — a range hood should extend at least 3 inches beyond either side of the cooktop for maximum capture efficiency. The Okeanito, designed by concrete-countertop virtuoso Fu-Tung Cheng, fits the prescription with three widths: 36, 42, and 48 inches. A 600-cfm built-in blower provides more than enough ventilation above a conventional range, with a 1,200-cfm remote-blower option for high-output professional-type ranges. The retail price starts at $2,800.


Zephyr, 888/880-8368,

High-Power Vent.

Don't mistake the low-key profile of this extraction canopy for a lack of what-for. The U120 Slim-Line Under-Cabinet hood can be paired with an external blower capable of 1,500 cfm. That'll just about suck the grease off a steak, so hold on to your toupee. A sensor that detects excess heat buildup automatically ramps up the blower. Dual halogen lights provide brilliant cooktop lighting. Prices start at $860 for a 30-inch hood with an internal blower.


Broan-NuTone, 800/558-1711,

Friction-Free Extraction.

The Magic Lung blower in this hood uses centrifugal force to liquefy and contain grease vapor within a cleanable housing, eliminating the typical baffle filter arrangement. Without the airflow resistance that comes with filtration, the Emerald VI range hood boasts an equivalent cfm of 360 in a 250-cfm­rated unit. It's ideal for replacement installation and comes in four widths — 24, 30, 36, and 42 inches — and four finishes — black, biscuit, white, and stainless steel. Price ranges from $533 to $745.


Vent-A-Hood, 800/331-2492,

Laundry Rooms

Slick Duo.

Since the typical consumer spends 5,987 hours doing laundry during his or her lifetime (I just made that up), why can't the room have a little ambience? I'm thinking mood lighting, piped-in music, and two of the slickest-looking, quietest machines available. The Nexxt Washer's stainless steel drum can spin up to 1,200 rpm at a hushed 60 dB. The Nexxt Dryer is controlled by an automatic moisture and temperature sensor that protects delicate fabrics from overcooking. Optional pedestal bases make laundry transfers between machines less back-wracking. A range of high-tech options means a range of prices: for the washer, $1,199 to $1,479; for the dryer, $769 to $879.


Bosch, 800/921-9622,

Dryer Vent Solution.

Plastic dryer hose is a fire-hazard no-no. Flexible aluminum duct is safer but easily crumpled in the struggle to connect and position the appliance. The solution? The Dryerbox, an aluminized steel receptacle that installs between wall studs and allows the dryer to be positioned without damage to the flexible vent. A down-venting version recently joined the line. New-construction models cost about $18; a powder-coated Retrofit Box costs $21.


In-O-Vate Technologies, 888/443-7937,

Sink on Steroids.

A washing machine no more eliminates the need for a laundry tub than a dishwasher does for a kitchen sink. Heck, it's where I rinse out my latex paintbrushes. The SinkSpa Jetted Sink was designed to emulate the action of hand-washing, using three jets to swirl the water around in a 11 1/2-inch-deep basin. The jet velocity is adjustable for more vigorous action. The acrylic-finished fiberglass sink has a suggested retail price of $599.


Whirlpool, 269/923-5000,

Two-in-One Combo.

When space can't be found for side-by-side laundry machines, you've got three options: Get a clothesline (and a chiropractor); get a stacking unit (and a chiropractor); or get the LG Wash & Dry Combo, a single unit that combines both functions and occupies the same space as a standard 27-inch washer or dryer. A direct-drive motor propels the front-loading drum with up to 60 percent less vibration (read "noise") than a belt-driven machine, the maker claims. Space can't be found here to list all the innovative features, but I can squeeze in the retail price: $1,900.


LG Electronics, 800/243-0000,