This 64-year-old house in Palmdale, California belongs to Kathrin Luton, the winner of our Healthiest Home on the Block contest, sponsored by Broan-NuTone.

Kathrin has owned her home for almost 20 years, and she needs some upgrades to properly ventilate her kitchen and one of her bathrooms.

We’ll add the right ventilation systems and make some changes along the way that will give her home more pizzazz.

Install a Cabinet

Kathrin’s kitchen has two problems: it needs a range hood to remove cooking fumes, heat and odors, and it needs an additional cabinet on the left side so everything looks balanced after the range hood’s installation.

The cabinet we’re installing won’t make this home any healthier, but it will make the space more functional and it needs to go up before the range hood.

To make the new cabinet match the existing cabinet on the right side, we will add some trim. A miter saw is the perfect tool to make the cuts.

So, we cut four inches here and four inches there, and apply the trim with Titebond III Wood Glue. Then we press on the trim until we see excess glue. (That’s how you know it works!)

Next, it’s time to install those ventilation systems.

Install a Range Hood

We have to attach the range hood to studs, but they’re not where we need them. So, we’re installing some blocking in the walls. This will let us install the range hood’s motor.

The new blocking allows me to mount the vent hood motor, then I can figure out exactly where to place the roof vent. Once I drill a small hole at the center of the new vent location, I go up on the roof and mark a larger hole around it, so I can cut out the vent profile.

Once the roof vent is relocated, I can patch a hole left over from an old vent and re-cover the decking with new roofing material.

Next, we can install the decorative flue cover on the range hood. We need to trim around it at the ceiling, so I use a table saw to cut some molding and give it a finished look.

We’ll install ventilation systems in the bathrooms soon, but our next project is making this kitchen even more beautiful and low maintenance with a tile backsplash.

Install Backsplash with SimpleMat

The new range hood will make Kathrin’s kitchen healthier and more attractive, but Chelsea wants to take the room to another level with a tile backsplash. As a bonus, it will make grease stains on the wall behind the range much easier to clean.

We will install this backsplash with a do-it-yourself friendly kit called SimpleMat from Custom Building Products. The system includes a mat with adhesive on both sides.

Installation is easy. You just stick the mat to the wall and run a grout float over it to smooth out any bubbles. Then stick tiles to the mat. Finally, apply some grout.

We’re arranging the tiles in a running-bond pattern and using just a quart of SimpleGrout Premixed Grout from Custom Building Products. This is such a small space, so we don’t need a big bag of grout.

After this project is complete, we’re ready to install ventilation systems in those bathrooms.

Install Bathroom Vent Fans

One of Kathrin’s bathrooms had a light fixture, but it really needs a ventilation fan.

So, we’re going to install one that’s quiet and has an LED light.

Broan-NuTone’s Sensonic Speaker Ventilation Fan includes a Bluetooth speaker, which means Kathrin can enjoy music and podcasts while cleaning her bathroom’s air.

The other bathroom has a vent fan, but it doesn’t remove all the steam and constantly sets off the smoke alarm. In there, we’re installing Broan-NuTone’s SurfaceShield Vital Vio Powered Exhaust Fan. It has a light that kills mold and bacteria.

Bathroom vent fans are rated by the volume they push out, based on cubic feet per minute. If you have a 100-square-foot bathroom, you need a vent fan that can handle 100 cfm.

Now, Kathrin’s home has some ventilation systems that will make her bathrooms easier to breathe in, and for the one with Sensonic, a bit more entertaining.

Post-Production Thoughts

Kathrin’s home is over 60 years old, so its existing ventilations systems were less than ideal.

In fact, there was no venting at all in the kitchen and just one of the two bathrooms had a vent fan.

So, upgrades that came with this contest were well appreciated.

The Sensonic bathroom vent fan makes clearing the air fun because Kathrin can listen to music or podcasts while it’s in use.

Today’s Homeowner hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf, with homeowner Kathrin Luton, right, and her daughter, Ambur, in Palmdale, California.

The SurfaceShield exhaust fan removes moisture from the room while it kills mold and bacteria on every surface it eliminates, so Kathrin now has peace of mind that her bathroom is much healthier to use.

The new Broan range hood takes the moisture, fumes and heat of cooking straight outside. Plus, Kathrin’s backsplash offers a beautiful accent to the kitchen.

Other Tips from this Episode

Box of baking soda and bottle of white vinegar, seen beside a bathroom sinkSimple Solutions
The Easy Way to Clean and Deodorize Your Sink
Jodi Marks, with Green Gobbler drain and pipe cleaner, in Today's Homeowner's Best New Products segmentBest New Products
Keep Roots Out of Your Drain Lines with Green Gobbler

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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