As a focal point, the wall above the range – called the range guard — takes on added importance.
For a spacious kitchen in a newly constructed Spanish country home, architect Pablo Carvajal and designer Isabel Lopez-Quesada created a stunning range guard behind a white Lancanche Sully with an electric (or possibly induction) top.
Protecting the wall with fireproof material is essential since heat from the top of a powerful range can scorch, and cooking matter cause splattering, staining and burning. There are several usual approaches. The American “pro” or restaurant-style stainless steel liner (as seen in Antique Island Kitchen) unifies the range and the hood (sometimes with a shelf). An all-tile option (in the Original Old World Kitchen) integrates the range guard into the general backsplash — often with a tile “medallion” or other special pattern. In my own Yellow Eurosplash Kitchen , I borrowed from English Victorian kitchens where walls were fully tiled from counter top to ceiling. Additionally, there is a modern stone slab look (in the Calacatta Contemporary Kitchen) that essentially continues the countertop material partially, or fully up the wall. Also noteworthy is a style of tile range guard popular in Belgian Country kitchens where Moroccan zillij tiles are used for the range guard only — otherwise walls remain painted and tile may be absent, or restricted to the sink area.
Here, the curved hood, considerably wider than the range, is hung high. The stainless steel range guard is finished with rivets that create a decorative, industrial-look border to match the more discreet stainless liner with a narrow riveted rim that finishes the hood bottom. The stainless steel slab also helps visually rectify the wall: on close scrutiny, the range appears to be off center. I might not have noticed but for the old-fashioned 4-inch black stone backsplash that rims the counter and draws the eye to its choppy contours.
In a more modern kitchen this approach to a range guard might be less distinctive but in this country kitchen with a reclaimed wood-plank floor, pine farm table and coffered ceiling it makes a striking statement. It should be noted that the absence of upper cabinets maximizes this use of the wall and leaves the kitchen with an especially open, airy appearance.