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Hearth & Home April 2017

In Praise of Innovation

Photos: ©2017 Robb Cohen Photography & Video.

On Friday, March 3, the 17th Annual Vesta Awards were held at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. As usual, the event began with a wine reception sponsored by Schott Robax.

Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, opened the event by speaking to the crowd of approximately 1,200 people. The good news was that the number of exhibiting companies increased from 366 in 2016 to 411 this year. That number is the largest since 2008, which was also in Atlanta (see article, Another Good Show).

The difficulty lies in getting more retailers to the Expo, and it’s difficult to determine what the drawback is. Sure it costs some money, and airline tickets, hotel rooms and restaurants are not inexpensive these days. But, seriously, what’s a few thousand dollars compared with the opportunity of finding a new supplier, new technology, or a new way of promoting your business?

As Joseph Cilio, owner of Alfresco Home, put it, “There are more products and more innovation at the HPBExpo than at any other show I attend; however, the Casual Market in Chicago always has great innovation as well.”

The Vesta Awards judges felt the same way. In fact, many of the 11 judges felt that the innovation apparent at this Expo was far greater than that of the past three or four years.

Operation BBQ Relief

Stan Hays, one of the founders of Operation BBQ Relief (OBR), was once again on the Vesta stage, explaining how the program is progressing. Since its inception, OBR has served 1,181,742 hot meals to those in areas impacted by natural disasters – meaning residents and first responders.

With the warming of the climate, such disasters are becoming more frequent and more destructive. In 2016 alone, the organization served 536,874 meals in deployments in Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kansas, West Virginia and Missouri.

OBR is the charity of choice for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), as well as for Hearth & Home. It’s a charity that deserves our support; to date, members of the HPBA have contributed approximately $200,000.

Vesta Awards for Innovation in Design and/or Technology

This year the Vesta Awards attracted 81 product entries from 52 companies; 47 were in the Outdoor Room category, and 34 in the Hearth category.

The 11 Vesta judges have complete autonomy in determining winners and finalists. They can designate a Winner and two Finalists in all categories, or any combination of the above, including not designating any award products if the category does not display sufficient innovation.

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

Vesta Awards – Best-in-Show

Daniel J. Melcon Award
Hearth Products

Napoleon Fireplaces

Linear Series

This is a series of four linear, gas, direct-vent fireplaces from 38- to 74-in. long in single-sided and see-through configurations. They are manufactured from metal and glass with hand-designed, molded logs and LED lights. With 50,000 Btus and 79-in. viewing area, it is available in natural gas and convertible to propane.

With this patent-pending Glass Guard System there is no need for a safety screen. It remains safe if touched and operates in a power outage, but without the complexity of a noisy air circulation fan and without compromising the size or appearance of the flames. It includes an integrated system that allows one person to quickly and safely access the glass for cleaning without any special tools, thus overcoming one of the biggest drawbacks of glass-fronted units and a 75% reduction in cleaning time.

A Dynamic Heat Control System efficiently redirects heat from the fireplace opening throughout the room or into the next room or even outside the home to ensure that everyone can safely and comfortably enjoy all the space around the hearth whatever the time of year.

The Dynamic Heat Control system keeps the appliance itself cool, redirecting heat where it’s needed and allowing the customer to use combustible framing and finishes all the way to the fireplace opening. This is a class leader with respect to installation depth achieved by the application of an active rear heat shield, and avoiding the need for reducing either the firebox or size and appearance of the flames.

Call (800) 461-5581 or visit

Gas Products

Napoleon Fireplaces

Linear Series

(Category Winner) 

L to R: Stephen and Chris Schroeter, Napoleon Fireplaces.

Outdoor Room Products

Flame King

Refillable 1 lb. Propane Cylinder Kit

The Flame King 1 lb. refillable propane cylinder is compatible with all appliances with which today’s disposable propane cylinders are compatible. Its unique and patented valve design is not available from any other manufacturer. These refillable propane cylinders are perfect for practically every Mr. Heater, Weber, Coleman and similar outdoor type applications that would fit a 1 lb. disposable propane cylinder and 14.1 oz. propane cylinder. Our propane refill adapter fits on any standard 20 lb. propane tank.

Innovation: Every year millions of disposable propane cylinders end up in landfills across North America. With the launch of the 1 lb. refillable cylinders, customers can save money and help the environment at the same time. With the refill kit the comparative cost per tank goes down to under $1 (compared to $3-$5 for the disposable cylinders).

Consumers can refill their propane cylinder in their backyard in just four easy steps. This system is safe and certified by the DOT as legally refillable and transportable.

Call (310) 715-1122 or visit

Outdoor Room Equipment

Flame King

Refillable 1 lb. Propane Cylinder Kit

(Category Winner)

Sam Newman, Flame King.

Outdoor Room Products: Category Winners

Charcoal, Wood
Barbecues & Smokers

Alfresco Home

Fornetto - Razzo

The outer shell is of 1.0 mm thick steel, which successfully holds heat, meaning less charcoal is used when cooking and there are fewer temperature fluctuations due to weather changes. The product is also virtually indestructible. Temperature control is all about air flow control. The Razzo’s control knobs are located in the ideal location, below the charcoal burning grill, and are positively graded so they don’t continually spin around and the user can accurately control the volume of air required.

Also, the consumer will not get burned while doing so thanks to the cool touch phenolic controls. Further, cooking baskets are far easier to work with than simple flat grills. This makes packing and unpacking the smoker easy; food will not fall or slide off and, being stackable, they are space efficient.

Call (239) 240-9011 or visit

L to R: Peter Van Dijk, and Joseph Cilio, Alfresco Home.

Barbecue Accessories

Weber-Stephen Products


The Weber iGrill takes the guesswork out of grilling. Grillers can use convenient preset alarms to be notified when food is ready. The graphing display on the consumer’s phone allows them to see the progress of the food without looking under the grill lid. The App provides temperature guides to assist in grilling.

The new iGrill 3 is designed uniquely for the Weber Genesis II line of gas grills with an innovative docking station on the grill. The iGrill 3 includes two temperature probes, but is adaptable up to four probes (sold separately). The Bluetooth-enabled device sends grilling data to an iOS or Android device within a 150-ft. range.

With Genesis II LX grill owners, the App sends automatic fuel level readings to liquid propane users’ smart devices. The griller can also turn the grill lights on and off with the App on Weber Genesis II LX models. The iGrill system produces exact results every time.

Call (224) 836-8286 or visit

Keith Wesol, Weber-Stephen Products.

Outdoor Hearth Products

The Outdoor GreatRoom Company

Boreal Complete Heat

The Boreal Complete Heat is not only a striking fire pit, but it also provides total warmth from top to bottom, keeping both hands and feet cozy. It features a stunning flame that creates radiant heat to warm the body. A portion of this heat is captured and then directed out from the bottom of the base through hidden ventilation to warm the feet.

For the design, we took inspiration from the Aurora Borealis, with waves of brilliant and beautifully colored flames and lights displayed across the burner and base similar to those across the northern skies. This innovative fire pit can be run on either LP or natural gas, and can be set up on an automatic ignition system (100,000 Btus/hr) or match lit/piezo ignition (65,000 Btus/hr). The LED lighting is an optional accessory to give ambiance similar to the northern lights.

Call (952) 658-6730 or visit

Connor Burmeister, The Outdoor GreatRoom Company.

Outdoor Room Furnishings


“…and the kitchen sink Outdoor Kitchen”

The name NatureKast is synonymous with beautiful outdoor kitchens, and the multi-award-winning Galley workstation is a case in point. Designed originally for indoor applications, the Galley is now venturing outside, and it looks fantastic in the NatureKast Galley cabinets. NatureKast cabinets withstand all the elements that nature can throw at them. Enjoy the look of Cypress or Teak with very little maintenance.

The Contempo door style adds a fresh look to the mix. Our cabinets offer full access storage, meaning the same amount of space that people enjoy in their indoor kitchen cabinets now can be enjoyed outside. The integrated cooler drawer allows you to keep things cool while enjoying the outdoor heat. Our cabinets have been designed to be modular, so it’s simple to add a waste bin or a grill base to the mix. Imagine the limitless design freedom in your own backyard.

Call (844) 880-6314 or visit

Chris Exelby, NatureKast.

Gas Barbecues


Pit Boss Laredo Smoke Center

There’s a new boss in town. Dedicated to delivering flavor, the Pit Boss five-burner Laredo Smoke Center will be the crown jewel of your outdoor cooking area. It’s all grilling and smoking with over 2,200 sq. in. of flat cooking area and over 3.5 cu. ft. of Smoking/Broiling/Baking Area. Pit Boss Laredo does it all.

Smoke and grill on the grill side with the innovative smoke tray built in with a dedicated burner, or smoke, broil and bake on the smoker oven side. There’s simply nothing that you can’t cook and look great while doing it. Sear steaks while baking beans and potatoes, or smoke a brisket while grilling corn. You can even finish off your outdoor dining while baking cookies or a pie for dessert. From wood-fired pizza to the best smoked burgers and dogs, the Pit Boss Laredo Smoke Center can handle it.

Call (270) 832-3840 or visit

Jeff Thiessen, Dansons.

Barbecues, Other Fuels


Uuni 3

Uuni 3 is a revolution in outdoor cooking. It reaches the awesome temperature of 932°F in 10 minutes, meaning you can cook a Neapolitan pizza in 60 seconds or less. It has three legs – meaning it’s stable on uneven surfaces. At only 26 lbs. it’s fully portable, so it’s ideal for bringing to a friend’s house, camping, or going to a festival. Uuni 3 runs on wood pellets, an inexpensive and efficient fuel source. This model will be compatible with our forthcoming gas burner accessory – expected in the summer of 2017.

Call (131) 677-8780 or visit

Kristian Tapaninaho, Uuni.

Hearth Products: Category Winners

The Art of Fire

Travis Industries

The Maestro by DaVinci Custom Fireplaces

Maestro is a special new collection by DaVinci Custom Fireplaces comprised of 48 vertical or square fireplaces featuring the incredibly realistic, and highly detailed, Bon-Fyre log set. Cast from real wood logs, the Bon-Fyre log set is a breathtaking custom work of art.

Call (425) 609-2510 or visit

Electric Products

Modern Flames

FusionFire Steam Fireplace

The FusionFire Steam Fireplace has successfully bridged the gap between gas and electric fireplaces by combining the three-dimensional flame appearance of a gas fireplace with the safety and ease of installation of an electric fireplace. This product consumes extremely small amounts of water while only requiring a standard 120V household circuit. Because it is safe to the touch and uses clean steam energy, no clearances or restrictions are required for installation.

The FusionFire Steam Fireplace is loaded with incredible features, including an internal computer that controls flame height, lighting, intensity as well as a fully integrated user display for settings, status and user guidance. Other features include a built-in water filtration system, optional 5,000 Btu heater and customizable media options. There will be 42- and 60-in. linears available for 2017.

Steam naturally has heat energy that allows the flame to rise and dance randomly like a real wood fire, which is a big part of the realism in the technology. However, steam acts differently in different temperatures and climates. To solve this, we added an advisory computer and real time temperature and humidity sensor to maintain the same realistic flame anywhere in the world, any time of year.

This advisory computer also allows us to adjust the flame height from a small wispy flame to a roaring fire, all from the touch of a button, by increasing and decreasing the amount of steam being produced. This feature makes the FusionFire the first smart fireplace in the industry.

Call (877) 246-9353 or visit

L to R: Tom Foy and Kris Richardson, Modern Flames.

Hearth/Barbecue Components & Controls

Travis Industries

TouchSmart Controllers

Next generation TouchSmart Controllers for gas and pellet fireplaces and stoves are intuitive, sleek and user-friendly, making these products even more enjoyable to own and operate. TouchSmart Controllers operate every function of the stove or fireplace with state-of-the-art technology and a unique, sleek look that has never been seen before in hearth product controls.

Call (425) 609-2510 or visit

Kurt Rumens, Travis Industries.

Pellet Products

Travis Industries

Lopi - Deerfield Pellet Stove

The Deerfield is Lopi’s new, premium, medium-sized, cast-iron pellet stove. This stove combines elegant European castings with optimum performance and fuel that is clean, compact and easy to use.

Unique features include the following: burns all grades of pellets with ease; patented Horizontal Rotary Disc (HRD) system that prevents overfeeding and blockage; no wasted, unburned fuel; no burn backs; large capacity ash pan; 50 lb. hopper capacity; 13,000 – 48,000 Btus; up to 2,000 sq. ft. heating capacity; heavy-duty, stainless-steel firebacks and burn pot; sleek cabinet design blends motor covers into the cast-iron body seamlessly and elegantly; large viewing area with Black Mirrored Ceramic Glass that becomes translucent when heated; super-efficient air wash system keeps the glass viewing area clean; high quality cast-iron finned heat exchanger captures maximum heat output with very little maintenance; twin 90 CFM convection fans produce more heated air flow quietly and efficiently throughout the home; next generation digital Cap Sense Touchpad Controller that operates every function of the stove and is seamlessly integrated into the glass hopper lid; EPA-certified at 0.73 grams of emissions per hour at 78% efficiency.

Call (425) 609-2510 or visit

Kurt Rumens, Travis Industries.

Wood Products

Spartherm GmbH


The SPARTHERM Varia 3RL-100h-4S is a wood-burning appliance that has been certified EPA decorative. However, the unit delivers a nice warmth and is also meant to be used for heating. The maximum wood-burning output is a solid 49,000 Btus over 78% efficiency. The chimney diameter is 10 in.

The contemporary and sleek, three-sided bay-window design, the meticulous manufacturing and sophisticated combustion technology is what makes this unit so special. Perfectly aligned counterweights guarantee a smooth movement of the lift door; the side window panes can be tilted open individually with levers on the top and the bottom of the door for easy access to all areas for cleaning. The entire unit is covered with a high-quality, zero-clearance shell making it possible to install the unit anywhere in the house directly next to combustible materials.

The SCHOTT Robax side glass panes are even slightly bent to the outside, ensuring a tight combustion chamber when locking the levers on top and bottom. SPARTHERM units also boast a patented and unique closing mechanism of the door.

Call 011 4.91522E+12 or visit

Markus Aumann, Spartherm.

Hearth Accessories

Travis Industries

Fireplace Décor Collection

Mantels, wall panels, facings for FireplaceX wood and gas fireplaces and inserts. Highly detailed faux wood that is individually hand-cast and hand-painted steel, stone and faux granite hearth mantels. Different colors and textures of facings and wall panels that beautifully surround the fireplace or insert and offer a unique and customized look.

Call (425) 609-2510 or visit

L to R: Kurt Rumens, Alan Atemboski, and Perry Ranes, Travis Industries.

Central Heating Systems

SBI – Stove Builder International

Pneumatic Self Feeding Pellet System

Instead of having to fill a pellet appliance every day, the Pneumatic Self-Feeding Pellet System enables a homeowner to only fill the appliance once a month. The Pneumatic Self-Feeding Pellet System has been integrated as a design enhancement to the Alterna II Pellet Furnace. This innovative time-saver consists of the following: A large storage tank that can hold up to 35 bags of pellets. When added to the six bags that will fit in the Alterna II Pellet Furnace’s hopper, that totals 41 bags equivalent to 1,640 pounds of pellets. That’s enough for approximately a month of hassle-free heat. The storage tank is made of tough 18-gauge galvanized steel with adjustable legs.

A simple installation system allows several configurations including the possibility of installing the tank 25 ft. from the furnace. The pellets are transported from the storage tank to the furnace’s hopper by the use of a quiet, durable, low-maintenance vacuum system with a powerful two-turbine motor and HEPA filter. Think of it as a central vacuum in reverse.

The new self-feeding pellet storage tank is an innovative product in North America that includes an auxiliary discharge tank, and an optional load sensor that allows you to see in real time on the appliance’s touch screen the amount of pellets in the storage tank. Even the footprint of the storage tank matches that of a typical 200-gallon oil tank, making replacement of oil with environmentally-friendly pellets that much easier.

Call (418) 575-7989 or visit

Marc-Antoine Cantin, SBI – Stove Builder International.


Hearth Products, Other Fuels

No Winner


Vesta Finalists



1. Charcoal, Wood Barbecues & Smokers
a. Weber-Stephen Products
Summit Charcoal Grill
(224) 836-8286

2. Barbecue Accessories
a. Ice Grill Brush
(720) 883-7342

b. The Bison Company
Airlighter 420
(845) 477-5049

3. Outdoor Hearth Products
(570) 688-6683
Learn more about this product »

b. The Outdoor Plus
The Spire
(909) 786-1642

4. Outdoor Room Equipment
a. Outdoor Grilling Innovations
My Hibachi B.B.Q.
(877) 292-7699

b. Uuni (Tapaninaho Ltd)
Uuni Pro
(131) 677-8780

5. Barbecues, Other Fuels
a. Dansons
Pit Boss
Memphis Ultimate Grill/Smoker
(270) 832-3840
Learn more about this product »

b. Coyote Outdoor Living
Coyote Electric Grill
(855) 520-1559
Learn more about this product »

6. Gas Barbecues
a. Camp Chef
(800) 650-2433
Learn more about this product »

b. BroilChef
Star Wars TIE Fighter Gas Grill
(877) 885-8227















1. Wood Products
a. Renaissance Fireplaces
Linear Split Pane
(438) 989-2001

b. Beacon Hearth Products
Norflam Harbor Light
(803) 327-5900

2. Hearth Accessories
a. Minuteman International
Emblem Fireplace Screen
(978) 343-7475
Learn more about this product »

3. Electric Products
a. Napoleon Fireplaces
Clearion See Thru Electric
(705) 726-4278

4. Hearth Barbecue
Components & Controls

a. Skytech Products Group
(260) 459-1703

b. The Outdoor Plus
Bullet Burner
(909) 786-1642

5. Gas Products
Components & Controls

a. Travis Industries
Maestro Collection
by DaVinci Custom Fireplaces
(425) 609-2510

b. The Outdoor Plus
Bullet Burner
(909) 786-1642

6. The Art of Fire
a. Blazing Beats
Fire Features - All-in-One Model
(800) 511-0825
Learn more about this product »

b. The Outdoor Plus
Top Torch with the Vulcan Burst
(909) 786-1642

Central Heating Systems
No Finalist Award Given

Hearth Products, Other Fuels
No Finalist Award Given

Pellet Products
No Finalist Award Given










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