Behind the Fire Q & A: Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson, senior industrial designer for Hearth & Home Technologies (Heat & Glo’s parent company), is the guy who thinks of the new ideas and designs that will keep us all gathering around the fireplace for years to come. Which of his designs makes him proudest? What’s ahead in the world of hearth design? What’s a lifestyle trend we’ll all be (warmly) adopting? Read our Q&A interview to find the answers to these questions and more!

Your job requires both design talent and engineering skills. Let’s start with the artistic side of things. Where do you look for inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from everywhere, because everything I see, whether in nature or manmade, has unique lines and details. I browse the internet for cool products, interesting car designs and trendy furniture. Day-to-day, I try to find perfect details and trends to incorporate into our products that will make them both stylish and functional.

When you tell people what you do for a living, what do they usually say?

They say I have the best job ever, and I would have to agree. Fireplaces are always my favorite places in any home, because they are a place to gather the family or to enjoy their heat and ambience all by myself. Fireplaces can calm a room and help everyone relax, and that’s something we all need more of!

How many fireplaces do you have in your home?

We have three fireplaces, and we use them all: a 6000 CLX, an indoor/outdoor fireplace called the Fortress and a small Crescent II. I just refinished our interior décor around the 6000 CLX with a brick hearth, shiplap wall and white mantel that I designed myself. The indoor/outdoor fireplace is our latest addition, and we use it quite a bit. One side faces our deck and the other side faces the TV room, so it has been a great new touch to our home, whether we’re entertaining or enjoying a quiet evening at home.

Can you recall a favorite product you’ve designed?

The Solaris. It was definitely one-of-a-kind. It required a great deal of collaboration with our engineering team to create the world’s only circular direct vent fireplace. It was a fireplace that became a unique piece of art on the wall and had a “WOW” factor to it.

What’s a top design trend for the year ahead?

“Hygge,” a Danish word that means acknowledging a feeling or moment that’s cozy, charming or special. As a design trend this means togetherness, coziness, warm interiors, thicker soft furniture and layering of materials and textures. It’s the perfect trend that lends itself to adding a fireplace to your favorite room.