next several years. As the Millennial generation begins to reurbanize, we anticipate fireplaces shrinking in size—and alternative fuel types, such as electric power, becoming more popular. The greatest force driving this transition is the Millennial generation, as its members become homeowners.” Glenn Thomson, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Innovative Hearth Products (IHP), Nashville, Tennessee, agrees. He says that popular designs feature fewer louvers, less metal showing, and more variations. Miles adds, “We see a mix of traditional and contemporary styles, with an emphasis on clean design.” Stephen Schroeter, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and administration fo Napoleon Products (Barrie, Ontario) reports that Napoleon is getting many requests for even larger versions of its products and for custom-made units with “less metal and more visible glass viewing areas, as well as different options in media. Stronger than ever, larger flames are what consumers also tend to be buying,” he says. He concurs that the younger generation is driving this trend. This is due to “a combination of home design, new products seen on many HGTV–type shows, architects and designers promoting these types of products, and consumers wanting a change,” he notes. Although big products are gaining, Bauer is also seeing a trend favoring simpler, cleaner designs that fit smaller rooms and are perfect for the new por-
trait-style fireplaces. He says, “New burner designs, such as a snake shape, create new flame patterns. Everyone is trying to do something different from the standard traditional or linear fireplace.” Thomson says, “The design trends are being driven by fire as a form of art. There are new looks and shapes, and many units are being promoted with modest heat output, for possible use all year round (or in parts of the country without the need for heat).” Shape is not the only new trend in clean designs, according to Crystal Lang, product manager for Regency Fireplace Products (Delta, British Columbia), who is seeing an increase in the range of offerings of faceplates in multiple colors. In addition, she says, “More media have caught the attention of dealers and consumers.” NEW TECHNOLOGY Advanced technology is also playing a big role; it shows up increasingly in our personal accessories and appliances, and Brigham says, “Our fireplaces are no different. We are seeing (and already addressing) this trend as we move to improve our multifunction media mantels and wall mantels. With the addition of Bluetooth technology, paired with full-range speaker bars, these pieces are becoming more and more technologically advanced.” Aesthetics aside, technology is also playing a role in how the fire burns. “In the wood sector, we expect to see more catalytic models brought to
5. Travis Industries’ gas fireplace, the 864 TRV clean face, by Fireplace Xtrordinair 6. Innovative Hearth Products’ Rhapsody fireplace 7. Supreme’s Galaxy fireplace 8. Valor Fireplaces’ traditional Horizon series 9. Empire Comfort Systems’ direct-vent portrait fireplace 10. The Majestic Patriot (42CFDV) fireplace from Vermont Castings Group
market, with emissions control being a large concern. For the gas sector, consumers are demanding greater turndown abilities and more design options,” Lang says. “The requirement for greater turndown is driven by smaller urban dwellings requiring less heat output and by newer homes built with higher insulation values. In the wood sector, consumers are more aware of environmental factors when burning wood, and the catalytic technology not only reduces emissions, but also prolongs the life of the fuel when burning,” she adds. Anastasia Marcakis, sales manager for Supreme Fireplace (Montreal, Quebec), says that design isn’t the only thing that the younger generation of homeowners is influencing. “After the housingmarket crash, a new generation of homeowners has January/February 2015 Patio & Hearth Products Report
Published on Feb 8, 2015
Patio & Hearth Products Report is a bimonthly trade publication for specialty stores, retailers and dealers of patio, hearth, barbecue, gril...