annals of bad design: stove window

We’ve just added this image to our file called “Bad Ideas”: ideas that look great, but practically speaking, are impossible to maintain. Most seem like a good idea for about a minute, until you try imagine the harsh realities of living with the them (which is our test for anything we put in our home…)

It would be lovely to have that gorgeous view as a backdrop while we’re cooking…but when we look at that pristine window abutting high-btu burners, we foresee it covered with a film of oil, spatter, and steam drips in no time…that is, IF anyone is really going to cook on that serious stove (We’ve discovered that a lot of high-design kitchens are owned by people who do not cook).  Cleaning the window would mean leaning over the burners, or climbing onto the counter to reach the top half…?

We use bad design like this to teach ourselves about good: a practice of envisioning the impact of using something beforehand, in order to build insights about “real use” into the design.

What do you think?

via FreshHome

Related post: When Pretty or Cool = A Bad Idea

11 Responses to annals of bad design: stove window

  1. nameStephanie 09.17.2010 at 10:20am #

    This picture makes me cringe! As a kitchen designer, I do not EVER advocate this design and have been known to refuse jobs where the client is insistant to do this. Besides the fact that it is impossible to maintain, in my state it is a firehazard and insurance companies wouldn’t cover the cost of replacing it if there was one. Shame on this designer! The only good note, the view is priceless!

  2. Sally 09.17.2010 at 10:55am #

    Every once in a while we wonder “Are we CRAZY, or is this really as bad as we think?” Thank you for affirming that this really is ill-considered on many levels. And yeah, the view is great.

  3. Monique L. 09.20.2010 at 6:04pm #

    I understand where you’re coming from…but, if it weren’t an obviously expensive setup – I’d say it was a great improvisation. Natural light and a way to vent fried and steamy foods right by the stove sounds good to me.

  4. Nina Saltman 09.28.2010 at 7:46pm #

    I would like to see this in person, and ask the user how it functions. There is a depth dimension to the window that is important. Also, does the window open? How strong is the fan? What other methods, if any,are in place to clean the window? Is there a sprinkler overhead? It also looks like there may be a vent at the bottom of the window on the rear of the stove. Also is there a baffle/protective plate (plexiglass? Tempered glass?) between the stove and the window?
    It may be a work of genius….

  5. Sally 09.29.2010 at 8:58am #

    Good questions, Nina. We asked ourselves many of them and felt that the essential problem remains. We haven’t seen an exhaust system yet that could vent out splatter and residual grease flying in the air, though it is possible, and the film that inevitable begins to cover things in the field of the stove. You’re right, though, we don’t know all the considerations that went into this; perhaps it is a work of genius who has devised a system to handle all these concerns.

  6. Nina Saltman 09.29.2010 at 11:38am #

    I am looking even closer at this photo. Note that on each side of the walls closest to the back of the stove there IS a “baffle” made of, presumably, plexiglass. It appears to be removable for cleaning. Quite frankly, I am not seeing this as substantially different than many stove installations that have walls behind or next to the stove. They all get splattered, no? So you clean them…in the meantime, these folks have an AWESOME view while cooking…not to mention a REALLY nice stove and oven!

  7. Sally 09.30.2010 at 9:44am #

    You maybe right, Nina. Having a powerful stove, it’s not really about seeing grease spatters, it’s seeing the grease through glass where it becomes something ELSE, and because the view is so beautiful, having to be aware to keep that window together. But it all may be moot, because we really don’t know the levels of consideration the designer may have built in. Thank you for looking closely, thinking hard, and giving us your feedback.

  8. KevO 05.23.2011 at 9:09am #

    I’m thinking out of the box here. This could be an opportunity for a video monitor. It could have beautiful screen savers (if it’s possible to improve on the view out that window) or recipes or instructional videos. If it had one of those Lexan cover screens that pull out and tilt horizontally for easy cleaning, I’m in! Great idea…

  9. penny 09.29.2011 at 11:58am #

    Glass is a whole lot easier to clean than much of the natural stone and grout lines that we’re seeing behind stoves. Especially the stone that has a distinctly uneven surface, herring bone design, etc. I think they’re undeniably beautiful but can never see them without asking myself, “how incredibly difficult would that be to clean and keep clean?” I’d opt for glass and a view if those were my two options. Although I’m not sure if that view is real. And if it is, then my entire backsplash would be glass, not just behind the stove. :)

  10. E. 10.11.2012 at 5:49pm #

    What IS the optimal stovetop backsplash material?

    We built our home, have a super serious hood/exhaust vent on an exterior wall and actually prepare a multi-course meal on a 5-burner cooktop six nights out of seven in the week. A pending visit from a European friend prompted me to evaluate the hood’s interior surface and wall. Sooo yucky! It has been thoroughly cleaned in the past, but it could be cleaned weekly and still not be decent. It took an entire day for me to disassemble the exhaust unit and scrape and wash the congealed grease off of the hood and wall. The wall surface, plain as it is, did not hold up well to the grease removal process. Paint came off and grease remained anyway. I now have installed a laminated map behind a sheet of plexiglass as a provisional solution. We’ll see how it holds up.

    However, covering that wall with ANYTHING simply means the grease accumulates on it. This includes tile and grout. Window glass is manufactured to all sorts of tolerances that could be fire-rated. Also, glass can be grease-free when cleaned with alcohol — remember your glass slides in high school microbiology labs? (please refrain from pointing out that alcohol is flammable – if you don’t know this, you should not ever cook with fire….one does not clean glass with alcohol in the presence of any flame or spark…..)

    In our next house, my husband & i hope to locate a waterproof stovetop outdoors and clean it with a hose—- no back splash necessary! Result – minimal grease on surfaces in the house.

    But maybe prior to our next build, genius will strike some very practical thinker with a greasy kitchen and present a simple, yet efficacious solution….

  11. CHARLES 01.16.2013 at 11:48pm #

    The majority of the people in my city name the opening of a package and microwaving or steaming something as cooking. One does not see the free standing stoves with cooking fat running out two feet on the floor and finishing at 45 defrees to the top of the stove any longer. We no longer need to shovel fat out of kitchens, and, strip walls of sheeting because its impossible to clean.
    The funny thing is that a bigger percent of the population is now more obese and die of certain cancers than when they cooked and ate tons of pork fat.

    On asking a client who actually cooks real food and feeds the family, many friends and entertains in the Dining room, how is she going keep the glass and bench tops clean; she replied “as I have always done”; she covers the glass window and benchtops with cheap Chinese clear plastic “cling wrap”. She sometimes needs to tape the joints on a surface.

    Many of my clients have two and three kitchens or cooking areas to avoid making a mess of the Kitchen in the main part of the house.
    My rich Chineses clients cook the tradional food outside under large verandahs; the rich Italian clients always have an external bbq and cooking area plus a second kitchen indoors for frying and boiling large amount of food for family and friends.
    Where have the Chinese and Italians peasants gone, the cleanliness of today is overwhelming. Then again my rich clients are not obese or sickly they do not eat junk food that is made in a factory using the left overs of the food industry and food impregnated with pestocides to last a lifetime.
    Shit eating is part of the culture of the uneducated poor masses.

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