Designing the Modern Cooking Hearth

The kitchen is definitely the heart of the home and traditionally the fireplace was the center of this space.  Vestabul designers see the cooking zone as the perfect place to emulate the fireplace by designing a functional hearth as the kitchen’s focal point. A cooking hearth surrounds the cooking zone encompassing the cooktop or range. It’s design echoes that of a traditional grand fireplace and often becomes the focal point of the kitchen or great room.

The most popular way to outfit the cooking hearth is with built-in cabinetry, but it can also be developed with other materials. See in the following examples how a cooking hearth can be part of any design style and may be a feature you want to incorporate into your kitchen.


Traditional is a design style that welcomes the introduction of a cooking hearth. The dark stained cabinetry surrounding the cooking hearth, along with the raised panel millwork in this example gives this hearth a furniture feel. The addition of pewter decorative hardware and carved corbels keeps with the theme. The pot filler installed on the back wall above the pro range makes this cooking hearth super functional, allowing stock pots to be filled with water at the source.


This Farmhouse style kitchen features inset cabinetry painted yellow. A cobalt blue pro range is the center of the compact hearth. To protect the interior of the hearth from heat, a stainless steel backsplash was installed around the sides and back at the 12″ height. Above the stainless steel, decorative tile was installed on all three walls to make clean up a breeze. Notice that the Vestabul designer ensured optimum access to all of the storage in this area by allowing the cook to access the narrow base cabinet to the right of the range from the end.


In this Farmhouse styled kitchen, the hearth was fabricated from pine cabinetry in a combination of blue and natural stain & glaze. The decorative details including barley twist moulding, rosettes and fluted pilasters. The upper cabinets to the countertop on either side of the cooktop open to reveal adjustable shelves, keeping all of the cooks condiments handy. The open shelf under the cooktop reminds us of a fireplace opening and is right at home incorporated into this hearth design.


The Vestabul Designer of this Farmhouse styled kitchen made the cooking hearth the focal point of the room by specifying a decorative tile accent for the backsplash behind the cooktop. The unique herb pot design reminds the home owner to step outside to the actual herb garden for fresh additions to her dishes. Since the back wall space in a hearth is typically larger than a standard backsplash, this is the perfect place to add this type of decorative detail.


Another way to add interest to the backsplash area in a hearth is to do what this Vestabul designer did. Since the family room was on the other side of the kitchen, she specified a cutout behind the range to connect the cook to the family room activities. In this kitchen design it was not feasible to open up the entire wall so the opening was a great solution. The designer also specified a custom pullout condiment accessory inside each of the side portions of the hearth. Including the corbel as part of the pullout optimized every square inch for storage.


Hearths work really well in Craftsman styled kitchens. The whole philosophy of the Art’s & Crafts and Prairie style movements just shout hearth & home. This example shows how you don’t have to go with modern stainless steel appliances to accomplish the look. The white range complements the white island and window trim giving a fresh feeling to the space. The large hearth at the end of the room anchors the space and provides ample storage for the cooking zone.


In this Transitional styled kitchen a cooking hearth was designed on an angled wall at the end of the kitchen. By using the entire wall the Vestabul designer was able to develop a large cooking zone that is in proportion with the rest of the space. To vent the cooktop, a slim line pullout extractor hood was specified with the rest of the hood incorporated into the hearth structure. This produced a truly transitional design that marries traditional and modern elements. The simple diamond pattern backsplash was a classic choice.


Stainless steel was the material of choice to develop this Modern styled cooking hearth. A large custom stainless steel extractor hood tops the hearth and bridges the oven towers. The entire backsplash is clad in stainless steel, as is the section of countertop between the two stainless steel cooktops. The modern interpretation of a cooking hearth in this example is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The contrast of the metal with the vertical grained wood veneer cabinets is a perfect combination.


By introducing wrought iron elements into this cooking hearth, the Vestabul designer created a one-of-a-kind piece. The side columns of the hearth house decorative cooking items with the wrought iron providing a decorative element. The apron across the top of the hearth hides the control housing for the vent extractor and is accented with additional decorative wrought iron. The dark stained cabinetry and slate floor are additional elements that give an overall Mediterranean feel to this kitchen.


This cooking hearth gets it Mediterranean style from a different construction approach. An enclosure was framed and plastered to form a cooking hearth as part of a kitchen upgrade. To really make the hearth a focal point of the great room a highly textural and decorative tile backsplash was installed, complete with niches for oils and condiments. Additional tile accents were added to the front of the plastered structure. To vent the cooking odors, grease and smoke from the pro styled range a custom metal liner was installed along with a strong CFM extractor/control housing. This cooking zone can now tackle any exotic Mediterranean dish!


This final example in a Timeless styled kitchen shows how a hearth can be designed into a space using a standard hood. In this case a pro styled range, hood and matching backsplash were surrounded by cabinetry in a variety of depths to emulate a heath. This is a great option that adds a custom element to the kitchen design and provides a ton of storage.

As you can see there are many ways to design a modern cooking hearth into your kitchen. Vestabul designers recommend hearths to many of their clients because of the functionality that they bring to the cooking zone along and the great aesthetic appeal they give to a space. Keep watching our blog to see how many more you can spot over the years!



3 thoughts on “Designing the Modern Cooking Hearth

  1. AvatarDarnella Armitage

    I have been away, nice to come back to your great ideas. Love the tile flower decor, sure gets me thinking about changes in my kitchen, being familiar with your work I ‘d be contacting you if I did decide to make some changes

    1. Designer @ VestabulDesigner @ Vestabul Post author

      Thanks for the comment and support of the blog Darnella. Small changes can make a big difference. I’m here to help any time!

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