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Hearth & Home April 2016

The Goal Is Innovation

in-no-va-tion 1: the introduction of something new 2: a new idea, method or device

Photos: ©2016 George Long Photography.

On Friday, March 18, the 16th Annual Vesta Awards were held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The event began with a Wine Reception sponsored by Schott Robax, along with a bit of local jazz playing in the background.

Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) opened the event with an update on ongoing issues the hearth industry has with the EPA, DOE and California’s Net Zero program. 

Stan Hays, one of the founders of Operation BBQ Relief (OBR), then took the stage to update everyone on deployments during the past year. In 2015, the organization deployed to Wimberly, Texas (served 8,700 meals); Columbia, South Carolina (served 33,225 meals); and Rowlett, Texas (served 33,968 meals). Since the group’s inception in 2011, it has served 685,000 meals, in 18 states, during 145 days of deployment.

Impressive. OBR is the charity of choice for the HPBA, as well as for Hearth & Home.

Excellence in Retailing Awards

Now in its fourth year, the Vesta Excellence in Retailing Awards are working well – on the Hearth side. On the Outdoor Room side, however, once again there were an insufficient number of retailer nominations to warrant an award. 

This program relies on nominations from those who know retailers best – manufacturers’ reps, distributors and national sales managers for manufacturers. With luck, there will be a sufficient number of nominations next year to proceed with both the Hearth, and Outdoor Room, award programs. After all, these frontline retailers have what most perceive to be the most difficult job in the industries we cover.

This year, three Hearth retailers received enough nominations to become finalists for Hearth Retailer of the Year honors. They were as follows:

Energy Plus, Duluth, Minnesota, John Bergstrom and Nancy Hanson, owners.

Earth Sense Energy Systems, Dale, Wisconsin, Jed and Jody Martin, owners. 

Woodland Stoves & Fireplaces, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Peter Solac, owner.

The Martins took home top honors. Their business model is unique, sophisticated, and worthy of this honor.

Vesta Awards for Innovation in Design and/or Technology

This year, the Vesta Awards program attracted 65 entries from 50 companies; 36 entries were in the Outdoor Room category, and 29 in the Hearth category.

There were 11 judges who spent the entire day on Thursday walking the Expo, examining products, talking with exhibitors and deciding (arguing?) which companies were worthy of awards.

The Vesta judges have complete autonomy in determining Winners and Finalists. They may designate a Winner and two Finalists in any category, or any combination of the above, including designating no award in any category.

The following descriptions of products are the words of the manufacturers.

Vesta Awards – Best-in-Show

Outdoor Room Products

Hestan Outdoor

The Hestan Grill 

The Hestan Grill boasts the following features:

  • Horizon hood with spring-assisted hinges to hold it open at desired heights.
  • Motion activated Stadium under-hood lighting. Proprietary electrical design allows halogen lights to be positioned for perfect lighting coverage. They come ON at 30 degrees. 
  • Multi-purpose, down-facing, infrared rotisserie/searing/finishing burner (12,500 – 18,000 Btus/hr). 
  • The Trellis tubular burner (25,000 Btus/hr) contains Titanium for corrosion and oxidation resistance. The burner’s horizontal members create additional heat zones for even heat distribution.
  • Hot surface ignition system with lighting assist capability. A time-delay feature extends the glowing period for proper flame ignition.

Call (714) 869-2399 or visit

Gas Barbecues

Hestan Outdoor

The Hestan Grill

(Category Winner)

Basil Larkin, Hestan Outdoor.

Daniel J. Melcon Award
Hearth Products

Big Woods/Stellar Hearth

Impressions Line IMP-180 

According to the manufacturer, this is the first truly curved glass gas fireplace available and is not limited to any specific size or radius of glass. It frees the customer to design their own fire-art experience to fit in any type of room or décor, following any sinewy trail with both the glass and the burner in sync with each other’s curves. 

All of it then can be further customized with lights, elevations and/or etchings to deliver one-of-a-kind products that are limited only by the imagination of the designer. No “mix-n-match” lengths to bolt together; no limitations to 90-degree hard angles. No typical burners on the firebox base. The flames, the glass, the lights, the customizations are all available in whatever sizes and degrees the user wants.

Call (952) 224-4072 or visit

The Art of Fire

Big Woods/Stellar Hearth

Impressions Line IMP-180

(Category Winner) 

Rob Sloan, Big Woods/Stellar Hearth.

Outdoor Room Products: Category Winners

Charcoal, Wood
Barbecues & Smokers

KBQ Technologies


The C-60/SS barbecue pit incorporates three breakthrough technologies that produce significant improvements in barbecue quality, according to the manufacturer. It’s a performance-oriented machine designed to burn natural wood logs for the most authentic barbecue flavors. KBQ’s Inverted Flame technology pulls smoke downward through the fire’s own bed of hot coals to burn it thoroughly. This makes the pit incapable of producing creosote, the black and bitter bane of barbecue. 

KBQ’s AutoDraft technology reduces temperature control to turning a knob, just like on a kitchen oven. The pit will hold the set temperature as long as the fire is fed. KBQ’s Smoke Selector technology provides direct control of the combustion process, enabling the customer to tailor flavors to the meats being cooked. 

Call (512) 522-7748 or visit

Bill Karau, KBQ Technologies.

Barbecue Accessories

Kamado Joe


The JoeTisserie is the first rotisserie accessory ever created for kamado-style ceramic grills. Utilizing the high-fire body of the ceramic grill, the JoeTisserie applies constant, indirect heat to meat, thus opening up flavor molecules without charring. The rotation of the spit allows the meat to self-baste, retain moisture and ensure an even cook on all sides. Grill owners can benefit regardless of what brand of ceramic grill they own.

Call (678) 866-0642 or visit

Accepting the award on behalf of Kamado Joe is Joe Skrodzki from Kamado Concepts.

Outdoor Hearth Products

Starfire Designs


The Aurora is a steel-framed, powder-coated fire feature with a contemporary design. At an overall size of 72-by-27-by-27 in. (length, width, height), the Aurora has striking angles that offer tabletop space combined with the warmth of a 90,000 Btu stainless-steel burner system.

Inspiration for this product came from the Aurora Borealis (aka Northern Lights). The Aurora lighting system includes a hub that easily plugs into any network, and within one minute you’re able to control over 16 million colors with your smartphone. If you have an Apple device, just ask Siri to “Turn On The Lights” and she will.

You can connect your tablet or phone to the Aurora’s built-in Bluetooth Marine Grade speakers to enjoy your favorite tunes. The lights even have a “disco” feature that causes them to change to the beat of the music if you desire.

Call (866) 578-8538 or visit

L to R: Jonathan Burlingham, Jesse Warner from Starfire Designs.

Outdoor Room Equipment



The MantelMount’s patented construction combines high-quality automotive pistons with lightweight alloys and state-of-the-art counterbalance technology, allowing virtually anyone to easily pull a large flat-screen TV down from the wall, suspend it at eye level and swivel it left or right. The evolution of the MantelMount enhances consumers’ lives by solving their problems with an emphasis on comfort and convenience.

Call (773) 294-3139 or visit

Chuck Geiling, MantelMount.

Barbecues, Other Fuels

MAK Grills

Mini MAK 

MAK Grills bring fresh innovation to the pellet grill category with its expandable, portable Mini MAK pellet-fired smoker-grill. Here are some of its innovative features:

  • FlashFire Ignition: A protected hot-surface igniter in a fabricated wind tunnel produces superheated air of 2,000 degrees, igniting the pellets in seconds. The FlashFire igniter has a 20+ year lifespan. 
  • MAK PAK Expansion System: Allows you to stack additional cooking space quickly and easily. 
  • Patent Pending #US-2015-0320259-A1 Thermocue Power System: The Pellet Boss with Thermocue power system has a 12V battery that provides power to start the grill. Once fire is established, the grill’s heat is used to create power via a TEG. This system creates enough power to keep the battery charged, making the grill self-powered. The Thermocue lets you cut the cord to conventional power and cook anywhere. 

Call (503) 623-1234 or visit

Bob Tucker, MAK Grills.

Outdoor Room Furnishings

Sunset Bay Outdoor


The revolutionary elements of the Cosmopolitan are numerous. A single person with only the use of a screwdriver can install the entire kitchen in less than an hour. It utilizes a patent-pending Slide-n-Loc technology of panels and frames that slide together and lock with thumb screws. This installation system allows maximum ease and flexibility of customization since panels can be added or deleted to create the exact size and shape of the kitchen the homeowner desires. The exterior can withstand and maintain its appearance for a lifetime. 

Call (414) 760-0071 or visit

Joseph Ehmke, Sunset Bay Outdoor.

Hearth Products: Category Winners

Wood Products

ICC – Industrial Chimney Company

Delta Fusion 

The Delta Fusion defines a new category of hearth appliance – a certified wood-burning stove that combines a very large fire with exceptionally low emissions and whole house heating capability. The Fusion’s huge 4.4 cu. ft. firebox and precision combustion control system make it easy to build a magnificent fire. The Fusion is an EPA-certified, single burn-rate, non-catalytic stove with emissions of 1.3 grams/hr.  

The Fusion’s combustion system is completely new and completely revolutionary. It has been painstakingly engineered to maintain the fire in an emissions “sweet spot” automatically. The sweet spot combines a huge decorative fire with super low emissions. The Fusion has been built to meet the new NSPS definition of a single burn-rate appliance. Its unique combustion control provides a boost of air for fast, clean start-up, then automatically reduces the burn rate as the fireplace heats up. There is absolutely no need for adjustment by the user. The ability to move large quantities of heat up to 50 ft. away, or duct it into the home’s central furnace is priceless.
Call (450) 565-6336 or visit

Ray Bonar, ICC – Industrial Chimney Company.

Electric Products

Dimplex North America


Revillusion technology is the first completely new technology from Dimplex since it created the modern electric fireplace 20 years ago. It features patents that represent a series of breakthrough innovations. The previous solid mirror back is replaced with a semi-transparent panel, made with a proprietary process, which displays the flames but makes the back of the firebox visible, allowing a full brick surround. 

A second set of logs sits behind the semi-transparent panel that completes the illusion that the flames are rising from within the logs, rather than from behind them, which has always been a major limitation of electric fireplaces. The second log set also comprises part of one of the patents because they are used to conceal the internal flame components.

The elimination of the mirror back improves the overall appearance because you no longer see the reflection of objects or people in front of the fireplace. The flame effect itself has also taken a generational step forward to produce flames that are larger and more random in appearance without the “cutout” shapes that could be seen in previous electric fireplaces.

Call (519) 650-3630 or visit

Denis Normand, Dimplex North America.

Hearth/Barbecue Components & Controls

Pacific Energy

Town & Country Prestige Series Control 

The Prestige Series Linear Fireplace Control is a custom-made,  integrated fireplace control with the following features: 7 touch screen interface:

  • Bluetooth/WiFi connectivity
  • Home automation interface
  • Integrated gas pressure sensing
  • Glass barrier temperature sensing
  • Automated power vent speed control
  • Inter fireplace communications
  • A vast spectrum of end user control options
  • The ability for remote diagnostics.

Call (250) 748-1184 or visit

Shannon Sears, Pacific Energy.

Central Heating Systems

SBI – Stove Builder International

Caddy Alterna II

The Caddy Alterna II pellet-electric combo furnace combines the comfort and convenience of a pellet heater with intelligent design features that make it an ideal solid fuel appliance for a whole home heating and cooling system. Its ability to integrate with existing heat pump and A/C systems is a significant differentiator in the solid fuel heater market and makes it a highly attractive option for customers in more temperate regions seeking a reliable secondary heat source.

The Caddy Alterna II delivers the goods in cold climates, too, with up to 65,000 Btus in distributed heat output and an optimum efficiency rating of 82.4 percent. The generous hopper (capacity 240 lbs.) boasts a maximum burn time of 200 hours while particulate emissions meet the latest EPA and CSA B415.1-10 standards at an average of 0.442 lbs./mmBtus.

Call (418) 878-3040 or visit

Marc-Antoine Cantin, SBI – Stove Builder International.

Gas Products

Big Woods/Stellar Hearth

Aspiration ASP-86 

The Aspiration series provides a completely new fireplace experience for the customer. The back of the firebox is lined with the Aspiration lighted glass wall that is powered by LED lights and can be completely customizable for the user. It can also be a see-through lighted wall for an indoor see-through fireplace, OR an indoor/outdoor see-through fireplace. With the Aspiration you can be looking from your living room at the flames in the firebox and a lighted glass wall (with any color and sequence of your choosing) behind it, AND you can sit on your patio and look through the lighted glass wall at the flames behind it into the home, OR turn off the lighted wall and use it as a more conventional see-through gas fireplace. 

The burners can be suspended at any level within the firebox. The burners can also shine LED lights down from their base to the firebox floor to illuminate the media below.

Call (952) 224-4072 or visit

Ross Morrison, Big Woods/Stellar Hearth.


Hearth Accessories

No Award Given

Hearth Products, Other Fuels

No Award Given

Pellet Products

No Entries


Vesta Finalists



1. Charcoal, Wood Barbecues & Smokers
a. Traeger Wood Fired Grills
Timberline 850
(801) 701-7180

b. Goldens’ Foundry & Machine Company
Goldens’ Cast Iron Cooker
(706) 323-0471
Learn more about this product »

2. Barbecue Accessories
a. Camp Chef
SmokePro BBQ Sear Box
(800) 650-2433
Learn more about this product »

b. Looft Industries
(855) 90-LOOFT
Learn more about this product »

3. Gas Barbecues
a. Vision Grills
Vision Hybrid Gas and Charcoal Kamado
(817) 917-4273
Learn more about this product »

b. Summerset Professional Grills
American Muscle Grill AMG-36
(714) 345-8589
Learn more about this product »

4. Outdoor Room Furnishings
a. Sunset Bay Outdoor
(414) 520-5690
Learn more about this product »

Barbecues, Other Fuels
No Finalist Award Given

Outdoor Hearth Products
No Finalist Award Given

Outdoor Room Equipment
No Finalist Award Given











1. Wood Products
a. Stûv America
Stûv 16-Z
(514) 262-2769
Learn more about this product »

2. Electric Products
a. The Coppersmith
The Weiyan
(251) 621-3435
Learn more about this product »

3. Hearth/Barbecue Components & Controls
a. Thermoelectric Solutions
Sirocco Thermoelectric Generator
(703) 919-1405
Learn more about this product »

b. Memphis Wood Fire Grills
Grill WiFi Controller – Memphis Elite
(952) 703-3607
Learn more about this product »

4. Gas Products
a. Pacific Energy
Tofino Gas Insert
(250) 748-1184
Learn more about this product »

b. Empire Comfort Systems
DirectVent CleanFace Fireplace
(618) 233-7420
Learn more about this product »

The Art of Fire
No Finalist Award Given

Hearth Accessories
No Finalist Award Given

Central Heating Systems
No Finalist Award Given

Hearth Products, Other Fuels
No Entries

Pellet Products
No Entries







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