Hanging kitchen heat dividers, trying not to start a fire
July 28, 2021 8:23 AM   Subscribe

The kitchen in my new place has no door and I'd like to keep the cooking heat (and humidity) out of the rest of the house. I was thinking of hanging some beads/curtains in the doorway (example, example) to try and contain the heat. Unfortunately, the stove is within 3 inches of the doorway. Is cotton/linen/wooden beads dangerous to hang next to the gas burners? Any alternative materials or solutions to pursue?
posted by crossswords to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
3 inches? I sure wouldn't chance it. You might be able to get away with the beads, but I can't imagine they'd do much to mitigate the heat and humidity.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:47 AM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Possibly you could have enough separation if instead of bracketing the curtains inside the door frame, you maybe installed a curtain rod above the door frame right outside the kitchen and hung it out there, that way it'd be less likely to blow back into the kitchen? Still seems a little risky, but if you don't anticipate a lot of airflow or other people coming and going through it while cooking is happening, it might be okay? Maybe default to using the furthest away burners and make sure you've got a fully charged fire extinguisher.

I had a similar issue with kitchen heat + no doors and we installed a sliding barn door-type situation so we could roll a door over the space when the kitchen was getting too hot or smoky, but this probably won't work if you're renting or don't have the wall space on the opposite side.

Another possibility: do you have space in the room directly outside your kitchen for a folding screen? Then maybe you could pull it out to block the doorway whenever you're cooking and wouldn't have to worry about any floaty cloth mishaps.
posted by helloimjennsco at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd also look into ventilation solutions... suck air INTO the kitchen (maybe vent to outside?)
posted by kschang at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2021

Best answer: I wouldn't necessarily want a full length noren like the one in your example, but have used a shorter noren in a similar situation. It might be worth looking at one that is just 16 or 18 inches high.
posted by majick at 9:16 AM on July 28, 2021

Wow. No, not that close to the stove. I have a three-foot noren hanging in a doorway, and it's lovely, but it definitely billows in my wake - and any time a door opening onto the hall or landing opens or closes. I wouldn't want it near an open flame.

Combine suggestions? A really short noren hanging from the top of the frame, and a folding screen in the room outside?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2021

Best answer: Heat rises. Many stoves have cupboards next to them. But the main issue is that I don't think beads will block much smell or airborn grease. If you get a curtain, you could get something treated to be fire-resistant; I would not feel comfortable with polyester near open flame or a hot electric burner.

The best possible resolution is a vented fan. Next best is to clean the filter if there's a fan above the stove, or get a fan & filter to use.
posted by theora55 at 10:41 AM on July 28, 2021

How about an accordion door?
posted by ShooBoo at 11:29 AM on July 28, 2021

How about a bi-fold door? I have one between my living room and kitchen.

Here are three photos - the first from the living room, where you'll see that the main part of the door folds away from the kitchen and into the living room. Then two photos of the door closed, one from the living room side and one from the kitchen side.
posted by essexjan at 11:49 AM on July 28, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks for general words of caution. I should clarify I'm renting and want to minimize the hardware I'm installing in walls. I like the idea of a noren for another space in the house, so I may get it and see how a shorter, far-above-flame-height, installed-on-opposite-doorway-face curtain works. I can relocate to a different empty doorway if it looks too risky.

I just checked and don't have a fire extinguisher, so I definitely need to grab that. I'll also look into a good window fan situation to help push heat out of the kitchen.
posted by crossswords at 2:01 PM on July 28, 2021

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