A heated bench: An overdue, brilliant idea

A Heated Bench: An Overdue, Brilliant Idea
A Heated Bench: An Overdue, Brilliant Idea

We've all been there. At some party, freezing our butts off, vying for standing-room-only space beneath a barely working heat lamp propped up all alone in the middle of the patio. Like a tall, awkward guest whom the host felt obligated to invite.

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Tired of these inefficient eyesores, San Francisco inventor-tinkerer Aaron Jones, 33, has come up with a way cooler (and warmer!) alternative: the Helios Lounge, a heated, handmade, 8-foot-long, cast-stone and steel bench that has quickly become the life of the outdoor party. Or garden shop, like Flora Grubb, Helios' very first customer.

Plug-in ready, with the heating element embedded in the concrete à la heated floors, the Helios warms you, not the air around you. "It feels like sitting in a hot tub, without getting wet," explains Miranda Jones, Aaron's sister, who together comprise Galanter & Jones, the company Aaron started to launch what will eventually become an entire line of stylish heated outdoor furniture.

See more of the invention here:

The Helios Lounge has, so far, graced the patios of only a handful of restaurants, like Bar Agricole, a trendy indoor-outdoor spot in San Francisco. Hotels (calling all Cavallo Points and Post Ranch Inns on the fog-cloaked Northern California coast) and ski resorts (Park City, you are the perfect customer) have yet to catch on. But, oh, when they do, Aaron -- a perfectionist and the sole builder -- had better be prepared for an onslaught of business.

Plug-in ready, with the heating element embedded in the concrete à la heated floors, the Helios warms you, not the air around you.

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As a skier who craves nothing more after a day on the slopes than to be warm while sipping a cold beer in the snow, I say the Helios, heated to a balmy 110 degrees, is the perfect après seat. And at 1500 watts, it draws only as much power as a single hairdryer to boot!

Stylish and functional (and, unfortunately, expensive, at $4,900 apiece), this first-to-market bench is bound to become the go-to accompaniment (or replacement?) for those Adirondack chair-encircled, flickering gas-fire pits that seem to emit as much warmth as a single match.

Disclosure: Miranda Jones, Aaron's sister, is a friend. But that is not why I'm so excited about the Helios. I just think it's simply the best thing to come along since the car butt warmer. (My personal guilty pleasure.)

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Originally published