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from Patio and Hearth Products Report

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How to Design the Perfect Fireplace Surround

Choosing the perfect fireplace is only half the battle.  Like a painting without a frame, a beautiful fire without a fully considered fireplace surround can look incomplete.  A well-designed surround is your opportunity to let your personal style shine through.

First things first, you may be asking yourself: what is a fireplace surround?

A fireplace surround is an architectural element(s) that quite literally surrounds your fireplace adding aesthetic style and safety to your installation.  In this article we will look at three styles of fireplace surrounds: Traditional, Minimalist, and Contemporary.


Picture a stone hearth, the mantle is lined with family photos, and large flames are dancing to the sound of Christmas carols.  Many of us have a nostalgic memory of a fireplace similar to this (or at least you saw one on TV!).  Perhaps you love the look of a traditional hearth but want to take advantage of the ease and efficiency of a gas fireplace.  Look no further!


Humanity has been building beautiful things out of stone even longer than we’ve been building fires.  The designer for this project decided to combine the ageless beauty of natural stone with a modern three-sided gas fireplace for a cozy feel in this luxury Northwoods cabin.


Gas Stones is a great product because it can be easily placed in an existing wood-burning fireplace cavity.  DYI idea: add a crown molding mantle and a coat of white paint over your old bricks to give your space a new clean take on traditional.


With an uninterrupted viewing area, realistic log set, and the use of anti-reflective glass, this modern gas fireplace is the perfect fit for a traditional surround.  Here a simple white mantle is added to give the surround a touch of added elegance.


Minimalism was an artistic and architectural movement born in the 1950s but it has persisted in interior design because of the inherent beauty and sense of calm this style evokes.  Like all things in life, with fireplace surrounds, sometimes less is more.


Subtle grays and whites make for the perfect minimalist surround for this customizable gas burner.


This 8’ long linear gas fireplace creates a dramatic horizontal, hole-in-the-wall effect.  Equilibrium is achieved by two symmetric black panels running vertically on either side.


Contemporary design is always changing, however the design of today no doubt draws from the clean lines of minimalism and ads in lush materials and textures to create truly dynamic spaces.  With the development of new materials, the possibilities for your fireplace surround are endless.  Just take a look at these three contemporary examples.


In this urban loft, raw materials like brick and exposed metal give the space a contemporary industrial feel.  This modern peninsula fireplace is surrounded by panels that may look like patina aged steel but are actually printed ceramic tiles.


Vision is the only example on this list that comes with its own optional surround.  These surrounds are available in many different colors and materials.  It is pictured here with a clean and contemporary stainless finish which transitions nicely into a muted grey stone wall tile.


These textured tiles are sure to turn some heads.  The choice of a geometric pattern is particularly interesting when paired next to something as organic and natural as fire.






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The Live-Fire Cooking Trend is on Fire

posterWhat do you call an innovative fire-pit and mobile camp-fire cooker in one? Kevin Dusold calls it OPENFIRE.

In large part the OPENFIRE product line is the answer to a larger US trend evidenced by the following:

-Bon Apetit Magazine named Live-Fire Cooking the technique of the year 2015

-Francis Mallmann is fast becoming a household name in American culinary circles after the release of Chef’s Table on Netflix in 2015 (he is a Live Fire chef and one of the biggest food stars in South America)

– Man Fire Food is one of the highest rated shows on the Food Channel

– and it is focused on Live-Fire cooking methods.

of-roasting-hotdog-copyThis trend has becoming quickly embraced by the American public who celebrate it through the aforementioned magazines and television shows. However, until the OPENFIRE line of products there has been no practical product that is both affordable and quality that allows admirers’ of the trend to become participants. OPENFIRE allows participation.

OPENFIRE is also the answer to an American barbeque industry that is becoming hyper focused on technology and convenience. These two things have all but stripped the beauty from original grilling technique and any cathartic process that makes being outside and cooking so enjoyable.

of-cooker-product-pic-copyThe OPENFIRE Pit’s origins are an integral part of its appeal. Central Europe is celebrated for its deep metal working and blacksmith roots. Following this tradition, the OPENFIRE Pit is hand-crafted and manufactured with a strong focus on detail and keen sense for design.

The OPENFIRE Pit is made from industrial grade alloy steel. The fire pit/bowl is ¼ inch thick, and able to accommodate many years of fire and inclement weather.

The OPENFIRE Pit is finished with a double coat of black paint that resists temperatures up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. The paint is applied using Electrophoresis. This method is used for two reasons: to produce an even, sleek, and modern esthetic, and to evenly protect the entire product.

rajc-making-ofThe OPENFIRE Pit’s recommended fuel source is wood, however, charcoal is often a sufficient substitute (if the single objective is cooking).

OPENFIRE is steadfast in its philosophy to make great products by never compromising quality and longevity. This product was designed with a structural integrity that is becoming less prominent in the marketplace. The quality in which the OPENFIRE products are made is fast becoming their identifying characteristic. In the development process, the first step was to establish a substantial foundation giving the product a remarkable lifespan. The process of innovative design began shortly thereafter.

camp-fire-fun-copyThe OPENFIRE Pit was designed to provide the customer with an experience of their choice. Other products dictate what the customer’s experience should be (e.g.: fryer’s are made just for frying, smoker’s just for smoking, and so on). This product has discretely manufactured, optional features to be used if and when desired.

The sheer amount of features relative to the OPENFIRE Pit’s size and esthetic is incredible. All features have been designed into the unit, so it maintains a compact display, while keeping its supreme versatility.

Kevin Dusold of Bimex Corp. has exclusive US importing rights to all OPENFIRE products. For wholesale and retail opportunities please contact him directly at his office: (570) 992-4418

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Sky Adler Speaks with European Home on his Contemporary Kona Grill Design

photo_1As the North American Distributor of the Element4 Dutch fireplace line, European Home recognizes beautiful designs. From time to time we get the pleasure of having conversations with the brilliant minds behind some of those designs. This month we sit down with Sky Adler.

Sky Adler is the Senior Director of Architecture and Design for Kona Grill, a fine dining restaurant specializing in sushi and an array of handmade cocktails.  Sky cut his teeth in design while living in LA and working in the film industry as a production designer for over a decade.

One of the first things I noticed when I walked into the new Kona Grill in Minnetonka, MN was how theatrical the whole experience was.  A giant blue LED bubble wall greets you for your red-carpet entrance.  Over by the bar, the sushi chef is cutting sashimi on his illuminated stage.  Finally, as you turn the corner, you are treated to an Element4 eight-foot long see-through gas fireplace which brings drama and warmth to the entire scene.

photo_2How did you get your start in architecture and design?

(Sky) After completing my studies many years ago I picked up and moved to LA and found myself in the film industry as a production designer for 12 years.  While there I worked on all kinds of  projects even some associated with Steven Spielberg and Wolfgang Puck.  It wasn’t the path I had in mind while I was in school, but when in Rome… you know?

[Eventually] I moved back home to Colorado and bought and old three-story Victorian House.  I was working on that for about a year, while simultaneously working on a number of other rehab projects, when I got a call from Marci Rude (VP of Development for Kona Grill) who offered to bring me on the team.

I’ve only been at this for about 5 years now but already we’ve done about 22 new restaurants and seven remodels.  The crazy thing is, for the first three and a half years it was just me and about three other people.  Now we’re up to a team of 19.

photo_3Did you like to design things as a child?  What would you design?

I grew up in the era of crayons, and while other kids were drawing stick figures or flowers, I was sketching out full on floor plans.  By the time I was 9 or 10 I started building model houses with intricate roofing and very specific details down to the upholstery patterns.  So, yeah, I was kinda weird.  (laughs)

My father was in construction and he would design a new house for us to live in just about every other year, so I had a close relationship with construction and design from an early age.

What has influenced the Kona Grill design aesthetic you have helped develop?

When I came in we wanted to create a complete update to Kona’s image.  I completely re-imagined the color palette – bringing in blues, grays and patina coppers to create a signature look.  I also wanted to bring in new textures, like tile, concrete, and rusted metal.  When you walk into a Kona Grill you can’t help but be reminded of the elements.  Fire and water are central to our identity.  I let these elements inform nearly all of my decisions from the fireplace to the aquarium to the specific color of the light that permeates the entire space.

Light and color seem very connected in this space.  There are lots of different light sources, the aquarium, the LED wall, the fireplace, and I haven’t even mentioned the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  How did you come up with the lighting design for this space?

I think lighting is critical to any space.  I actually studied lighting for a whole year just to better understand how it operates.  I took a chance with all the blue lighting since it’s well known the color blue is actually an appetite suppressant (laughs) but I think it’s pretty unique for a restaurant.  You have to break the rules sometimes.

I wanted to create different fields of light for different activities.  Everything was intentional and the bar is lighted different than the dining area which is lighted different from the lounge where the fireplace really warms up the space, provides a pop and a lot of drama amidst all the blue.

And why did you pick the Tenore 240 by Element4 — a double-sided, see-through fireplace for this space?

Like I said, I like to create different dining experiences within the same space while maintaining the connectivity and energy throughout. The double sided fireplace allows more visibility between the wall and gives more bang for the buck, allowing a single unit to create two completely different atmospheres on either side. The appeal is to have division between the patio and dining room but still being able to see through to each and have the dynamic fire feature to combine the two.

Could you describe your design style in a couple sentences?

I completely don’t have one. (Laughs)  I feel I’m well versed in everything.  What we’ve created for Kona Grill in particular is something that is modern and relevant but not so modern that it will be dated in a couple years.  My style is very architectural very clean while still being warm and inviting.





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European Home – Supermodel Coco Rocha Embraces Modern Design

photo_1Last fall, international supermodel Coco Rocha and her husband, visual artist James Conran, contacted European Home because they loved our design style.  Coco and James were amazing to work with through the whole design and installation process of their Bidore 140 gas fireplace by Element4. They always made time to chat about the particulars of the design which was especially impressive because it seemed they were always on the go.

And that’s where we’ll rest for a while — in an old New York house that has been renovated into a warm modern home by this dynamic couple. We asked Coco and James about the renovation experience and the importance of good design in their constantly moving lives:

Cory: Tell me a little about your home in terms of architecture and design styles.

C+J: “It’s very much a modern home but we didn’t want it to seem cold or uninviting. We think with modern design it’s a balance, you want to keep that clean minimal look but you also want a space that feels like home.”

photo_3Cory: What originally attracted you to this style fireplace?

C+J: “We love modern design and when researching fireplaces with sleek clean lines we felt like all the products offered by European Home really hit the nail on the head when it came to our taste. The hard part was picking one we liked, there were so many.”

Cory: What does your fireplace add to the space?

photo_8C+J: “It really puts a focus into the living room that it was missing before. Now we just can’t wait for the first winters night when we can really crank it!”

Cory: How would you describe your “personal design style?”

C+J: “We are very, very particular. One of the reasons this renovation took so long was because we had to be involved with it every step of the way. Every outlet, every light was planned by us, down to the inch. It could seem a little obsessive to many but in the end, all those tiny details add up to a home we are proud of and that feels like an extension of who we are.”


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Majestic Brand Re-Launch at Hearth & Home Technologies Brings Numerous Benefits

As a holding entity for multiple iconic brands, Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), Lakeville, Minnesota, values its long-held reputation among industry dealers and wholesalers. A re-launch of the company’s Majestic Brand is not so much a fix as it is an opportunity to make improvements.

With a team effort led by V.P. Berger, president of HHT, the benefits thus far have been numerous, and stakeholders are pleased with the progress. Patio & Hearth Products Report (P&HPR) sat down with Berger to talk about the specifics of the brand re-launch and what it means for customers.

Patio & Hearth Products Report (P&HPR): How does the Majestic Brand re-launching benefit hearth retailers in the United States and Canada?



V.P. Berger, president, Hearth & Home Technologies, Lakeville, Minnesota: Our areas of focus to help retailers are on products, sales tools, and the value chain. The largest area of focus is on products. Majestic products are now manufactured in our award winning facilities in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and Lake City, Minnesota, which means that retailers will benefit with proven platforms, lean manufacturing capabilities, and the quality they expect from all HHT brands.

In addition to improving the product line, we have also introduced new marketing and sales tools for each of the products. We also believe that shifting Majestic to exclusively wholesale distribution to service dealers will ultimately benefit everyone. It demonstrates our commitment to the wholesale partners, provides them with opportunities to grow their business, while also providing dealers with the tools and services they need to grow their businesses. Dealers will get timely delivery and great service with a proven and capable wholesale partner and distribution network.


Echelon II

P&HPR: What Majestic products are particularly noteworthy in terms of product features and consumer demand?

Berger: We are close to completing a 100% re-launch of the entire Majestic brand which involves a full line of products that deliver the quality and reliability that our customers expect. There is a strong consumer demand for all gas direct vent, inserts and wood products across modern and traditional fireplaces. The new Majestic lineup spreads across all categories with enhanced feature sets that are going to excite customers.

Starting with the recent Quartz (pictured, top left), it provides excellent flexibility for not only consumers, dealers, and customers, but also builders who are looking for a great traditional fireplace or a modern look. The Echelon II is a new linear gas fireplace available in several single-sided and see-through sizes. It has many options for customization, so it hits the sweet spot for consumers looking for a high-end, nearly custom contemporary fireplace, and we are continuing to see excellent growth in this category. The Marquis II is a beautiful gas fireplace with traditional styling. It meets the demand from consumers who want the ambiance of a masonry fireplace, realistic split logs, and all with the convenience of gas.

We are excited about not just one product category, but also the entire product line as we re-launch the entire product line over the next six months.


Marquis II

P&HPR: How is HHT working with specialty retailers, dealers, and wholesalers to accomplish the re-launch of the brand so far?

Berger: It starts with a comprehensive national distribution strategy, and that is what we have done here. We are ensuring customers that their quality, and on-time delivery that they expect, will remain unchanged and uninterrupted. Within 48 hours of announcing this shift, all customers of the Majestic Brand were contacted, and the distribution strategy was explained for the Majestic Brand to service dealers and consumers and how it will benefit all of us.

We have the utmost confidence in our wholesalers to execute this distribution strategy, and ensure that they get the best quality, delivery, and cost as we do it. We are going to equip our wholesalers with the tools necessary to make sure that they are confident and ready to service the dealers in their markets.

P&HPR: What will be happening during the transition period of Sept 2016 and Jan 2017?

Berger: Over the next few months, we are going to work closely with our dealers and wholesalers to ensure that the dealers are informed correctly on who they can buy from, and make sure that they are effectively and efficiently transitioned to a new wholesale partner. We want to ensure that we are maintaining these relationships with the Majestic brand. These hearth retailers will still see the same quality they have come to expect, and we believe they will actually get better service from our wholesale partners who have been committed to us for years and know the brand so well.

P&HPR: What has been the feedback from hearth dealers about this new branding strategy?

Berger: The feedback has been resoundingly positive. We actually announced the brand strategy change back in October of 2015, and that was a comprehensive re-launch of the Majestic brand going back to its heritage of direct vent, gas, and wood burning fireplaces.

Feedback on our distribution has been good across the board. Our wholesale partners appreciate the commitment that we have made to them to help grow their business, and our dealers appreciate the transparency and understand it based on our core strategy. We have assured them that they will continue to receive quality Majestic products in a timely manner, and I think we are all excited about the future of the Majestic brand as we take this step together.









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Galaxy Outdoor Preps November Debut for Enterprise Island


2016 GX Evo Bar Height Table Program (Finished)

LAS VEGAS – The Enterprise Dining / Cooking / Bar manages to combine several things that are already great on their own: a cooking/grill /griddle space where the chef cooks your food right in front of you, a place to seat 6 of your friends or family (optional bar stools counter or bar height), with built-in storage space as well as a built-in umbrella sleeve, (optional 9 ft. tilt umbrella).


2016 GX Evo Bar Table Program  (Finished)

In the heart of the structure is the EVO With its circular flattop cooking surface. EVO lets users prepare virtually any cuisine from any angle. By cooking foods directly on the cook surface, chefs can sear, sauté, grill, toast and stir-fry.

Galaxy Outdoor officials say that “bringing people together around food is our passion. It’s also what inspired us to design and build the most versatile Island/Grill that lets people share the joy of cooking. The Enterprise having a round sitting bar, and the EVO with its circular flattop cooking surface, allows everyone to interact with the chef.”


Counter Table LP Rendering (Front)

The Evo Affinity 30G Cooktop was built to be the centerpiece of the design kitchen. With precise temperature control across dual gas burners and a highly capable cooking surface, the Affinity 30G is the perfect stage to entertain large or small parties. Owners can round up the neighbors and take the party outside to make breakfast, lunch or dinner, but most of all have fun with friends and family.

The new Enterprise Island comes in 36” high counter as well as 42” bar height. Included in the Package is the EVO Grill and S/S Double Doors. Options include Galaxy’s USA made counter or Bar height bar stools, Sunbrella 9’ tilt Umbrella, and LED counter and under bar lighting. It can be ordered totally finished or unfinished.


Counter Table LP Rendering (Night)

Officials at Galaxy plan to start delivery by the first of November 2016. Dealer displays will have as standard equipmentw; heels, gas/electric, LED lighting, and bar stools and umbrella. For Dealers Only, free shipping is offered for display units with dealer margins of 35% plus.

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Momentum Continues to Build at The Fireplace Door Guy

1For more than a quarter century, The Fireplace Door Guy has been providing high quality fireplace doors, freestanding screens, and gas log sets manufactured in the United States. The California-based company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a garage workshop, and hard work has paid off.

5Now with widely expanded manufacturing capability, Danny Vice, owner of The Fireplace Door Guy, is able to make his wares with even more speed and efficiency—all while delivering year-round and across the country.

2 “We begin with an in-home consultation for each customer to take measurements and choose a design that suits their home,” says Vice. “Once we have all of the specs, we begin the process of handcrafting their fireplace door out of American-made steel. When the door is completed, it is hand painted in an oil-rubbed bronze, black, or grey color.”

3Most other manufacturers take about four to eight weeks to make one customer’s door, but Vice reports that, “Our turn around time is two to three weeks. Depending on the size of the customer’s fireplace, our doors weigh 80 to 100 pounds of solid steel. Our fireplace doors also come with a lifetime guarantee.”


For dealers hoping to capitalize on a customer base that craves customization, products from The Fireplace Door Guy are all hand built, customized one at a time to each customer’s individually chosen design requests. These customers want something made especially and specifically for them, either to fit a uniquely-shaped fireplace or firebox, or something that complements their style and tastes.

4Rustic and modern fireplace doors are doing well these days, and Vice also recently added a new line of modern mantels to complete the look with the modern fireplace doors. “Each of our fireplace doors are handcrafted to the individual customer,” explains Vice. “Customers are also able to create their unique design. We have even had inspiration come from a favorite rug or curtains. It is important to emphasize quality, and that our fireplace doors come from American-made steel. That sets us apart from other dealers.”