Kitchen & Bath

Contents: Towel Warmers

Range Hoods


Compact Comfort.

Panel radiators pack all the Btu punch of baseboard heat into a more compact package, making them a natural for the bathroom, where both space and a desire for warmth are at a premium. The flat-tube Omnipanel is designed to double as a towel warmer. Models are available in hydronic or electric configurations for adaptability with all types of general heating systems. Electric panels come in 16- and 24-inch widths and 26-, 35-, and 44-inch heights. Hydronic models come in five widths and five heights. Accessories include pull-out drying racks and color accent strips of solid brass with integral towel bars or robe knobs. Hydronic panel prices start at $434; electric start at $661.

Runtal, 800/526-2621,

Cozy Canadian.

An apparent multi-tasker, the Boléro provides 1,250-watt forced hot air, 750-watt radiant heat, a 2,000-watt combination of both, or room-temperature circulation to help promote drying. Adjustable towel bars and robe pegs round out its versatility. The unit requires a 240-volt hard-wire connection. New features include a draft detecting, two-stage electronic thermostat that automatically activates the fan unit for even, uninterrupted room heat. The Boléro comes in white only. The price will be announced on the company website toward the end of 2003.

Convectair, 800/463-6478,

Get 'Em While They're Hot.

There's more to towel warming than mere comfort; there's also more to comfort than warm towels. Dry towels don't support smelly mold or bacterial growth and can therefore reduce laundering. With eight heat settings and seven-day programming, Zehnder's Towel Radiator allows the bathroom to be heated independently, according to the occupant's daily needs. The infrared remote controller requires no direct wiring and eliminates the need for a programmable thermostat. Radiators can be purchased as 120-volt plug-in or direct-wire models and in over 100 "designer" colors, with prices starting at $700.

Zehnder America, 888/778-6701,

Towels Only.

Unlike closed ladder-type configurations, the Hinge-It system's serpentine tubing allows a towel to be easily removed and replaced at any level on the rack. The all-electric line operates at 150°F to 170°F, intended to make only towels, not rooms, toasty. For best results, fold towels once across the length, then again, and fold over the heated bars. This ensures the most comfortable, center-heated towel, according to a company spokesperson. A five-towel rack consumes 70 watts; and the smallest, two-towel unit uses only 35 watts. Unit configurations include wall-mount, swivel wall-mount, back-of-door hinge-mount, and an ultra-compact spiral wall-mount. Finish options include polished or brushed stainless steel or white epoxy-coated stainless steel. A stainless-steel outlet cover plate is included for direct wiring; plug-in units are also available. The most expensive model costs $130, leaving no excuse for omitting warm towels from your next bathroom job.

Hinge-It, 800/284-4643,


Remodel the Range.

Here's a quick kitchen upgrade: Pull out the old hood and the cabinet it hangs from, repair the wall, and install a new Rangemaster RM50000. At 270 cfm, this hood provides a good rate of evacuation above a 30-inch cooktop, following one recommended standard of 50 cfm per square foot of cooktop. The hood is available in 30- and 36-inch widths ($690 and $754, respectively) and comes with two 40-watt incandescent lamps and a built-in backdraft damper; finish options include stainless steel. Now suggest losing the gold-fleck laminate and that 1972 harvest gold stove.

Broan-Nutone, 800/558-1711,

Blow Your Own Way.

If you're not bothered by virtually unlimited options, Rangecraft has the vent hood you're looking for. Specializing in copper, brass, and stainless steel, or any combination thereof, the company offers an extensive design line as well as full custom fabrication services. All hoods include halogen lighting and "micro baffle filters" and can be ordered in 600-, 900-, or 1,200-cfm internal fan capability. External fan mounting is also available. How much would you like to spend?

Rangecraft, 877/724-6637,

Low-Profile Power.

Many islands are home to a cooktop, but, without a capturing wall, cooking heat and vapors tend to wander. The solution is a wide canopy and a more powerful motor. The 48x29-inch Axia Isola spreads more than 9 square feet of aerodynamic-looking stainless steel over the heat. A 600-cfm motor mounted in the chimney lets the canopy maintain a slim profile and keeps the view uncluttered. Four halogen downlights provide the chef with bright illumination. A noisy motor can discourage exhaust use, but this manufacturer claims a peaceful 3.5- to 6.5-sone range, depending on the three-speed blower setting. The 48-inch model lists for $3,450; a 36-inch-model is also available, listing for $2,900.

Faber, 508/358-5353,

Under and Out.

In kitchens as well as automobiles, it's what's under the hood that really matters. The Tamburo range hood combines undercabinet utility and style, housing a variable speed, 400-cfm, 5-sone blower and two halogen lamps beneath a stylish curved canopy projection. A clever adjustable panel at the rear incorporates a utensil hanger and allows the hood to install flush between cabinets 10 inches to 14 3/4 inches deep. Finish options include black, white, and stainless steel. List prices start at $439 for the 30-inch model.

Zephyr, 888/880-8368,