Lone Star House of Design | 7 | Yates Desygn on Building a Design Firm Organically



Mike and Bryan created Yates Desygn in 2015 and have been practicing in Dallas ever since. Important to know, and you will hear how they hung a shingle in Texas without knowing anyone in Texas. They are going to share how they networked and built their firm from scratch. This is one of those rare firms that offer both interior and landscape services with equal mastery. You will find both southern charm and big-city sophistication in their work. I think that is important right now. I believe that the renewed interest in those moving from highly congested cities like LA, New York and Chicago is growing. I think in the next 3-5 years you will see an absolute explosion in the Texas population. Dallas being its biggest beneficiary. Folks moving in will be looking to blend their contemporary sensibilities with southern charm and The Yates’ are in a very good spot to benefit. This is Mike and Bryan Yates of Yates Desygn.

Thank you Bryan and Mike, excellent job, that was fun. Please subscribe to the show so you catch every episode of Lone Star House of Design and Convo By Design, ask Alexa or Siri, say, “Hey Siri, Play Convo By Design” and she will. You can follow the show on the socials as well, @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram and check out the YouTube channel for videos from some of your favorite episodes. Thank you for listening and until next week, Keep creating.


Small Space Big Style | 282 | Live Large in Small Spaces



This panel was recorded live from the WestEdge Design Fair in 2019 and features Pietta Donovan, Jason Lai, Lynnea Schweitzer’s and Nicolette Akiko. This conversation was masterfully moderated by Christopher Grubb.

For the past 5 years or so, the tiny house movement has led industry leaders to rethink the idea of luxuriously designed smaller spaces. Since Frank Lloyd Wright crafted homes in his Usonian style, the Bauhaus movement, Neutra’s Hailey Residence, or Le Corbusier’s Villa Le Lac, the idea of living modestly has gained new interest. Now more than ever, finding ways to make structures highly functional in small spaces gives us more options. While I am as sick of COVID-19 as you are, we have learned what we want from our homes and how starting small can help us get there.

Enjoy this conversation from the WestEdge Design Fair called Small Space, Big Style.

Thank you Pietta, Lynnea, Nicolette, Jason, and Christopher. This was so much fun and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again soon. Thank you Walker Zanger for your support for Convo Boy Design and THANK YOU for listening. Were it not for you, there would be no Convo By Design. Speaking of which, make sure you are subscribing to the show everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. You can also find everything show related at ConvoBy Design dot com. Be well and until next week, keep creating.


Stacy Garcia | 281 | Partnerships, Licensing and Global Design



Stacy Garcia is a global licensing and design company led by someone who has one foot firmly planted in design and the other on the business side of things. Stacy is a powerful voice in the business and she has done something truly amazing with her business. While she calls herself a creator and artist first, she has used the licensing arenas to structure her core business on hospitality and still create a multi-line business structure. 

For those designers and architects listening, this will give you some quantifiable takeaways as it relates to creative design and hospitality. But, you’re also going to get some excellent business strategies and actionable ideas that will help you structure your business and ultimately increase your earning potential through licensing opportunities.

In this episode, you will hear Stacy define the structure of a successful partnership. These thoughts include; One-offs, multi-year deals, single-piece deals, or the full collection and non-exclusive licensing deals. Stacy also talks about what happens when someone steals your designs and products. DO you protect your intellectual property or not because if you start a line, your ideas will get stolen. 

You are also going to hear about creating and distributing design content to build community, promote your platform, and make new connections. So, get comfortable, enjoy your drive, or whatever it is you doing and enjoy this chat with Stacy Garcia.

Thank you, Stacy. I truly appreciate the time and insights. We covered a lot of ground. Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support. And, thank YOU for listening. Convo By Design would not exist were it not for you, so thank you. Make sure you are following along on Instagram ConvoXDesign, with and “X” and subscribe to the show everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. Until next week, be well and keep creating.


Form, Function, Family & Modern Architecture | 280 | David Thompson of Assembledge+



If you love modern architecture, you are going to enjoy this conversation. The coronavirus is all we talk about these days because that is all we can think about. I have been trying to be as productive as possible, but it’s challenging and the news always seems to continually get worse. That being said, there have been some positives that have come out of this. The time spent focused on work without that daily commute. That 2 hour daily waste of time has been amazing. I am so much more productive. Then you factor in the time spent with family, that time is invaluable. That is one of the reasons why I think you are going to enjoy this conversation with David Thompson of Assembledge+, a Southern California architectural firm producing some amazing work. David is a unique talent and he has been joined by his father, Richard, a highly accomplished architect in his own right. This son-father duo is producing some truly unique design and you are going to hear how it all fits together.

Thermasol presents A Moment of Zen, Wellness Tips for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

This is a new segment of the show called Wellness Tips for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul. This topic has been coming up more and more lately and while this is certainly not a new topic, more clients have been asking for health and wellness worked into their designs. I started asking around and there are some really interesting ideas taking shape.

I make a trip to Las Vegas in January, sometimes February during KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. About four or five years ago I noticed an increase in the number of vendors with products designed to make the bathroom more spa-like. It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me and I started asking designers and architects more about this in the interviews that followed. Over the past few years, there have been way more products and companies featuring products focused on health and wellness in design. These products are focused on clean water, air quality, noise reduction, and light purity in addition to the limitation of unwanted light.

Once a month, we are going to explore these ideas and see how design and architecture are once again not only making places to live, work, and play but make those spaces work better. Check out the Moment of Zen where we explore ideas for a more peaceful space.

Wabi-Sabi – An outdoor shower can create a peaceful transition between a long day and the peace that comes from being home. An outdoor shower posted by Bloemendaal, the Netherlands based Woodlands House was placed in space without overthought design elements or ultra-lux materials yet its appearance is incredibly pleasing. It made me feel like I found a long lost treasure.

Make it Natural – There are few things more peaceful than observing nature. @ConcreteGeometric posted a what they called “little octahedrons’ in small Concrete Geometric concrete planters from @stuffhollywood. These little miracles can bring peace a first sight. A little green makes for a lot of zen.

Fortress of Solitude – Jhoiey Ramirez of @StudioJhoiey created a spectacular bath that created the feeling that you are at your favorite spa. Everything in this space provides the feeling of solitude from the steam shower and lighting to the exquisitely crafted tile work. There is a window inside the fully enclosed, frameless steam shower that gives a peaceful inside out feeling. You could be happy spending hours in this masterfully crafted bathroom.

Three ideas for you to consider exploring in your future projects. Zen is a state of mind, designing for wellness is more important now than ever before. Thermasol is a brand created over 60 years ago to incorporate steam showers and sauna into any project you can design. They have also integrated cutting edge technology into their products allowing you to set individual profiles for every user. Set temperature, chromotherapy, aromatherapy, listen to music, or watch your favorite shows while taking a relaxing steam shower. You will be amazed at just how easy it is to specify Thermasol products for every project you can design. Check them out online at Thermasol dot com.

Thank you, David. Thank you for taking the time, thank you Walker Zanger for being an absolute joy to work with. Your partnership is appreciated. Thank you Thermasol for your support of Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast, and coming out to our events. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.


The Showroom featuring Dan Vickery | 279 | Talking Tile, Stone and Fabulous Fabrication



The Showroom is a collaborative speaker series, a partnership between Convo By Design and Walker Zanger and featuring some of the most successful designers who offer some of the very same strategies that they employ in their own firms. Dan Vickery was the runner-up on HGTV’s Design Star, season 4. That bitter sweet second place finish launched his design career, it gave him an opportunity showcase his work on a bigger stage and Dan has made the most of it.

Thoughts on reality design shows are mixed, depending who you ask. In Dan’s case, coming from a small town in Oregon, Design Star gave him exposure on a huge platform. It gave hime the exposure to show his skills. From there, Dan has built his personal brand, his design firm and has been creating some truly groundbreaking design. Part of his design specialty includes the selection and use of tile, stone and crafting finished product from slabs. That is brought about this conversation. Due to current circumstances, this conversation was virtual. This talk was moderated by Walker Zanger director of marketing, Erika Edege-Nissen.

Are you subscribing to Convo By Design to make sure you never miss a new episode? Ask Alexa or Siri to help you. Say, “hey Siri, play Convo By Design Podcast.” And, she will.Thank you, Dan. Thank you for making the time, thank you Walker Zanger for being an absolute joy to work with. Your partnership is appreciated. Thank you Thermasol for your support of Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast and coming out to our events. Thanks for listening and until next week, be well and keep creating.


Lone Star House of Design | 6 | Abbe Fenimore on Fabulously Durable Design that Stands the Test of Time



Studio|Ten|25 is the Dallas based firm owned and operated by Abbe Fenimore. Abbe has earned a reputation for her playful style and unique interiors. She has earned the nickname, “queen of sorority houses.” I have never before spoke with a designer who specialized in sorority houses. I can tell you, having lived in a fraternity, college housing can take some serious abuse. Abbe has figured out how to preserve beauty and high performance. She applies these same ideas to her residential and office projects. Abbe and I had a very cool chat about these and other issues that shape design and architecture in the Great State of Texas.

Thank you Abbe, that was fun and I truly appreciate the time. Please subscribe to the show so you catch every episode of Lone Star House of Design and Convo By Design, ask Alexa or Siri, say, “Hey Siri, Play Convo By Design” and she will. You can follow the show on the socials as well, @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram and check out the YouTube channel for videos from some of your favorite episodes. Thank you for listening and until next week, Keep creating.


SoCal’s Modern Architecture Revolution | 278 | Christopher Brandon of Brandon Architects



This is the next golden age of Modern Architecture with much of the leadership emanating from SoCal. For six years, every interview you heard on the show was recorded live. Since March 13th of this year, every new conversation has been recorded on the phone or via Zoom. This has completely changed the way I do this and we have all change the way we work. So as Christopher and I talk about how his business is changing, he also mentioned that he started his firm during the great recession and I think that speaks to how Brandon established his firm and how he has worked with all his employees to make sure they can work most effectively. Doing the episodes this way has also provided me with an opportunity to discuss specific projects and it has opened a new door for me and I hope for you as well. Please make sure you are following along as we look at these projects by visiting www.brandonarchitects.com as you listen and we can explore design together.

In this episode, Chris and I talk about some amazing ideas in design that include a skylight through the bottom of a swimming pool and an absolute masterpiece in the Strand Hotel. You are going to hear about incorporating VR and technology, progressive ways to make distance working more effective and overcoming the challenges of working during a disaster. At the same time, this is a reminder that design is a service industry. A service industry that directly improves the quality of life of those we serve.

Before we get to this, I want to share some thoughts with you. Convo By Design is presented by Walker Zanger. I am going to tell you a little more about what makes Walker Zanger so special in a minute. But I also want you to know how they are responding during these trying times. I recently paid a visit to their West Hollywood showroom. When I walked in, staff was distanced, there was sanitizer available and they were masked up. They have also been inviting through drive by slab showings and partnering up with yours truly on a virtual series called The Showroom. If you are a designer looking for great partners to work with, you can look no further than Walker Zanger. They continue to innovate. They made me feel comfortable going back to their showroom. It may seem like a small thing. It’s not. We are back to a really fun conversation with architect, Christopher Brandon.

Thank you, Chris. Thank you for making the time, thank you Walker Zanger for being an absolute joy to work with. Your partnership is appreciated. Thank you Thermasol for your support of Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast and coming out to our events. If not already, ask Alexa or Siri to subscribe to Convo By Design, and they will. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.


Michael Berman | 277 | The Showroom LIVE Presented By Walker Zanger



Michael Berman is multifaceted, ultra-creative, and always willing to share what he knows with others. Those are just a few of the things I appreciate most about Michael. But, what makes him truly remarkable as a designer is how well rounded he is. Michael is a highly successful designer with a highly successful design studio and multiple product lines in many different categories from furnishings to rugs to plumbing and of course, his Studio Moderne line of tile with Walker Zanger. Michael and I spoke as part of a distanced design series called The Showroom, a partnership between Walker Zanger and Convo By Design. We cover a lot of ground and talk about a number of amazing projects. Follow along as you listen to the conversation. Many of these projects can be found on Michael’s website, www.MichaelBermanLimited.com as well as on the Convo By Design YouTube channel. Enjoy this conversation by design with Michael Berman.

Before we get to this, a quick reminder, you can catch every episode of Convo By Design by subscribing to the show on your device. You can also find every episode and extras like the Convo By Design Blog at www.ConvoByDesign.com. Did you know that Convo By Design has been telling the stories of design luminaries for 7 years now with over 276 episodes produced with listeners in over 60 countries around the world? It’s true, so if you are new to the show, go check out the episodes you missed as well as over two hundred videos on our YouTube channel.

Thank you, Michael, for your talent and participation. Thank you, Walker Zanger, and Erika for helping moderate this chat. Thank you Thermasol for your support fo Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast, and coming out to our events. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.


Saving Iconic Architecture | 276 | Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design



I’m longing for the good ole’ days. January of 2020. It wasn’t that long ago but feels like an eternity since Modernism Week. I have known Ron and Jaime for quite some time and spoken to them about their design firm and their passion project, SIA, Save Iconic Architecture on numerous occasions. This was recorded in January 2020 from the California Closets showroom in Rancho Mirage and it’s being published in June 2020. Why is that important? Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the idea of home has become so much more important. The idea that a dwelling serves those who inhabit it in both form and function are of critical importance. This is really a great time to have this discussion because we are at the very beginning of what I believe will be a significant migratory period in our society. This pandemic and subsequent shut-down has made us rethink how we do…everything from work, school, daycare, home gym…you get it. I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds about that but instead, focus on saving iconic architecture. Ron and Jaime started SIA, Save Iconic Architecture to do just that. While we talk a great deal about significant architecture in major cities, like LA. There are opportunities to find architectural gems in outlying areas. Think about that and know that Ron and Jaime are not against development. They want to save these masterworks because that is what they are. Amazing works by noted architects, not limited to but including Neutra, Schindler, Frank Lloyd Wright, Wallace Neff, and Paul Williams. 

This is a conversation about great architecture. Identifying it and saving it when possible. Before we get to this, a quick reminder, you can catch every episode of Convo By Design by subscribing to the show on your device. You can also find every episode and extras like the Convo By Design Blog at www.ConvoByDesign.com. Did you know that Convo By Design has been telling the stories of design luminaries for 7 years now with over 276 episodes produced and listeners in over 60 countries around the world? It’s true, so if you are new to the show, go check out the episodes you missed as well as over two hundred videos on our YouTube channel.


Lone Star House of Design | 5 | Kim Armstrong on Bold Color and Style that is Big & Bright



Kim Armstrong is a designer out of Dallas. She is fearless with color, surgical in her blending of materials and styles. I became familiar with Kim’s work through a friend in Dallas who is also a designer. When one designer tells me that I have to check out the work of another designer, that is a suggestion to which I cannot say no. And I am glad that I followed up because our conversation was fun, colorful and I think you are going to enjoy it. This is Kim Armstrong in episode number 5 of Lone Star House of Design!

Thank you, Kim. That was great and I truly appreciate the time. Please subscribe to the show so you catch every episode of Lone Star House of design and Convo By Design, ask Alexa or Siri, say, “Hey Siri, Play Convo By Design” and she will. You can follow the show on the socials as well, @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram and check out the YouTube channel for videos from some of your favorite episodes. Thank you for listening and until next week, Keep creating.