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New Downdraft or Keep Same Cooktop?

last month

We are planning to reface our kitchen in the near future. Keeping cabinetry and layout but replacing cabinet doors, countertops, backsplash, sink, faucet, lighting, and refigerator (it just happened to go out - you may have seen another topic I posted about this). This is not our ”forever home” so a full gut remodel is just not in the budget, but the current kitchen is definitely dated, not very functional, and the cabinet doors are in embarrassing shape. A freshening up of the kitchen will go a long way for my mental health over the next 5 years or so and hopefully for resale too.

As you can see in the pictures (slightly skewed b/c they’re real estate pictures), our current kitchen features a peninsula with a 36” Wolf gas cooktop and a large vent hood. As part of the countertop replacement, we are going to take down those bar height counters such that the peninsula will be one level. Pretty much everyone (professional and family/friends) who has seen our kitchen says the vent hood has to go, in order to open everything up. The vent hood also awkwardly blocks some upper cabinets. There is really nowhere else to put the cooktop in this kitchen layout. (As an aside, whether the vent hood stays or goes, the pendant lights are definitely going away.)

Recognizing that ventilation is a must, would you keep the current cooktop and vent hood, or would you switch to a downdraft cooktop (specifically, the JennAir)? We have a storage room under our kitchen, so I think downdraft ducting would be relatively simple. On the one hand, I agree with others that the vent hood majorly disrupts the flow and open-ness of the kitchen. Based on the age of the other appliances, both the cooktop and vent hood could be as much as 20 years old, so they may go out soon anyway. On the other hand, I am concerned about the effectiveness of a downdraft gas cooktop, particularly as it relates to air quality/safety. I’m also worried about losing all of the cabinet space below the cooktop. No one I’ve talked to seems to be concerned about the downdraft, but the internet seems to hate them! We are not serious chefs, so we’re not doing a lot of complicated cooking on the cooktop. We have very young kids, so the cooktop is mostly seeing eggs, quesadillas, pasta and rice!

Would love any and all thoughts as to what to do. I’m at a complete loss. Also, if anybody has any brilliant ideas for moving the cooktop around, I’m all ears, but I think it would involve a significant renovation/layout change/flooring work.


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