Conquering the Challenge of Managing Your Design Firm | 321 | Design: Agency & Management



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design bringing you new ideas about management for your design business.This episode features Nathan Brookshire and Paul Davidge from Design Agency & Management.

Nathan and Paul founded Design Agency and Management to help creatives grow their firms and still keep their eye firmly on the business at hand. Their stated goal is to help creatives be creative and allow them to manage aspects of the firm that traditionally bind and keep the firm from growing to their full capabilities. This is Nathan Brookshire and Paul Davidge.

Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Thank you Nathan, thank you Paul. Thank you Walker Zanger and thank YOU for listening and subscribing to Convo By Design. My hope is to bring you inspiration and sublime design through these conversations. To give you that extra push to be the most creative designer you can be. I think we did that here. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “x” and convo by design dot com. Be well and remember to take today first.


Let’s Take This Outside | 320 | Activating Every Square Foot of Available Outdoor Space



You might think the dead of winter is not the time to talk about outdoor entertaining. Creatives coast to coast are experimenting with outdoor spaces in climate-challenged environments from sub-freezing to blazing desert-scapes. When the ultimate challenge is finding ways to activate space, year-round, that’s when design get’s interesting. This conversation was recorded in January of this year, with a focus on figuring out how new ideas in landscape architecture and activated outdoor spaces can exponentially increase the size of a home. The following chat was moderated by Urban Bonfire’s, Ryan Bloom and features designers, Ariel Johnson and David Dalton as well as architect, Douglas Burdge. You are going to hear strategies from some of the best in the business. So, let’s take this outside.

Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Thank you, Ariel, Doug, David and Ryan. Great work. It bogles the mind to think about what is possible with outdoor spaces today and even more son, what will be available when the global supply chain catches up with our pent up demand. 

Thank you Walker Zanger, for your partnership. And thank you for listening. Without you, there is no joy in doing this, you are appreciated. My hope is to bring you inspiration and sublime design through these conversations. To give you that extra push to be the most creative designer you can be. I think we did that here. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “x” and convo by design dot com. Be well and remember to take today first.


Wellness & Design Leadership Series | 319 | The Promotion of Design



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a solution for one of the biggest challenges you face as a busy design professional. This conversation is going to change the way you do business. Really, it’s all about the promotion of design.

Promotion and marketing are two issues, one issue really but often conflated, that confound most creatives, and simply frustrate the rest. The socials are not user friendly, people don’t tell you what they want to see and if you are focused on the work, as most of you are, the promotion side is just frustrating. Following is a conversation that is part of the Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol. This conversation features designers Jeanne Chung, Breegan Jane and John McClain. Between Jeanne’s CozyStylishChic blog, Breegan, managing the work and a role on ABC’s Extreme Home Make Over and John McClain with all of his hats, designer, firm owner, television and magazine contributions… This group is busy, but they have figured out some amazing hacks that will help you wrap your arms around the promotional challenges. This conversation is moderated by contributing editor and publicity professional, Alexandra Abramian. This is such fun for me because Alex asked me to stick around and chime in with tips I’ve learned nit just promoting Convo By Design but the work I did at Playboy and in broadcast radio over two decades. This is another edition of the Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol with The Promotion of Design. Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Alex, Breegan, Jeanne and John…thank you. Thank you ThermaSol and Walker Zanger for your support. And, thank you for listening. Without you, there is no joy in doing this, you are appreciated. My hope is to bring you inspiration and sublime design through these conversations. To give you that extra push to be the most creative designer you can be. I think we did that here. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “x” and convo by design dot com. Be well and remember to take today first.


The Showroom featuring Susan Ferrier | 318 | Exploring the Essence and Emotion of Design



This is Convo By Design with another installment of The Showroom presented by Walker Zanger featuring the incomparable Susan Ferrier of Susan Ferrier Interiors.

In life, you will cross paths with truly unique people, and if you are like me, you relish those moments. You want them to last. This is how I describe my conversation with designer Susan Ferrier. She is an award-winning creative, check. Her work is well-published, check. Ferrier is a member of the Design Leadership Network, check. She has all the credentials that make her the sought after, highly creative master of style upon which her reputation is based. But hold on…there’s more. 

She is southern charm and artistic poetry. Her work embodies the emotion and depth of a true artisan and she is completely authentic in her work and in the following conversation. Susan isn’t  just a designer, she is an artist. A master craftsman in the area of space, and atmosphere. It’s one thing to space pieces and art in a space, perfectly balance the large and accessories alike, master color and texture. It is something entirely different to bend light and shadow among that same design to create mood and atmosphere that accentuates not just the space but the experience. That is what Susan Ferrier does and that is what we are talking about in this episode of Convo By Design. This is part of The Showroom is a highly targeted focus on some of the most incredibly talented design professionals working today. This is one of those creatives, Susan Ferrier.

Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

This conversation was amazing. Susan, thank you. Thank you Walker Zanger, Erika for your work here and behind the scenes. And thank you for listening. Without you, there is no joy in doing this, you are appreciated. My hope is to bring you inspiration and sublime design through these conversations. To give you that extra push to be the most creative designer you can be. I think we did that here. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “x” and convo by design dot com. Be well and remember to take today first.


The Evolution of The Modern Creative Hub | 317 | The Beck



This is Convo By Design with a new type of resource for design creatives from the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.

The Beck is a creative resource and the brain child of Ana Claudia Schultz of Ana Claudia Design and her husband, Aaron Smyle, a tax professional. Located in downtown Rhinebeck, here is how Ana Claudia and Aaron define their business. “The Beck amplifies local creative voices and engages with the Hudson Valley community. Dutchess County’s new creative hub serves as a multi-purpose event space and gallery that displays local artists’ works to inspire creators and embrace the Hudson Valley community as well as house the founding duo’s office spaces.

This is a mix use space providing creative and business resources in an up and coming design city. This is a boutique community with a major design house which you heard about recently here on the podcast. 2021 is going to be an amazing year for designers. You know this already and if you are going to keep up with the sheer amount of work, keeping up with clients, tracking down orders, sourcing new product… Hey, with PPP, the Cares Act, business loans and all the other money matters, how are you handling the flexible tax issues of 2020? Relax, we the following conversation might shed some light on the business side of things as well as inspire you a little bit. This is husband and wife team and founders of The Beck, Aaron Smyle and Ana Claudia Schultz.

Thank you Ana Claudia, thank you, Aaron. Thank you Walker Zanger for your extraordinary partnership. Thank you Thermasol for your partnership. Please make sure and catch every one of the upcoming Wellness and Design Leadership Panel Series featuring amazing creatives talking about issues that most affect you and your business.

Thank you for listening. My goal is to bring you the stories behind sublime design wherever that may be. To share those stories, bring you business strategies to help you build a stronger firm and inspire you to do your most creative work.

For more, please follow us on Instagram @ConvoXDesign with an “X”, check us out at Convo By Design dot com. Until next week, keep creating and remember to take today first.


Resort Living Made Modern | 316 | If You Love Luxury Resorts, Why Not Make one Home



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with an exploration of luxury design through the lens of Montage Hotels and Resorts and a focused look at the new Healdsburg residences.

If you love luxury travel, a visit to one of the global Montage Resorts is probably on the list of things you long for. Montage has earned a reputation for crafting unique experiences that are authentic to each resort location. Montage International is a company built to provide ultra-luxe, unique lodging experiences to their guests. That is essential to know as I set up these next two conversations. You are going to hear from Earl Wilson of BAR Architects and then, Tina Necrason, EVP of Residential for Montage. This conversation revolves around the new Healdsburg Residences, a part of the Montage Resorts residential portfolio.

How do you transfer that feeling of peaceful relaxation from a world-class hotel experience to a residence where the home owner can experience it daily? When you have the weight of a global, luxury hospitality firm behind you, what can you do with each residence which is essentially a blank canvas? These are just a few of the things I wanted to know, but there is way more than that.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Convo By Design. Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Thank you Tina and Earl, thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support and thank you for listening, without you, what’s the point. If you are not already a subscriber to the show, what are you waiting for, it’s easy. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. Ask your smart speaker to play Convo By Design, it’s really that easy. Follow along on the socials and check out our YouTube channel for videos form some of your favorite episodes. Thanks again for listening to the show, be well and until next week, keep creating.


SPECIAL EPISODE: Rocky LaFleur | Celebrating a Design Icon



This is Convo By Design Today, we are saying goodbye to a friend and celebrating an amazing person and giant in Southern California’s design community, Rocky LaFleur.

There are some people you encounter in life who make you feel better, they make you better and they lift up those around them. Rocky LaFleur was the embodiment of that. As long as I knew him, he always had a smile on his face and a word of encouragement. Rocky had a passion for his longtime friends and an openness to make new ones. We lost Rocky this past week and this flood of memories came back to me.

There have been so many fun and wonderful events and I cherish the time this tight knit Southern California design community gets together. The last time I saw Rocky in person, it was to see him speak to up and coming design students at UCLA Extension. Eleanor Schrader handed the mic to Rocky and his partner in comedy, Gary Gibson and the two of them led a journey into the wonderful world of design that made these prospective designers eyes twinkle. Not just the good, but the challenging and the hard work that comes with it.

Rocky was a phenomenal ambassador for the all of us in the industry, he was a dedicated mentor who gave freely of his time to help others and he always had a smile on his face. That sweet smile.

Rocky’s story is special and it doesn’t end here. When you influence and positively impact the lives of so many people, your spirit endures. I was blown away in 2018, seeing Rocky recognized at the Pacific Design Center in front of so many people who were there for no other reason than to shower Rocky with the love and the recognition he deserved. A Lifetime Achievement award, given to him by the ASID, the first of its kind.

Rocky has been a fixture in the Pacific Design Center, at Kneedler Fauchere, Rocky needed a home like the PDC to house his huge personality.

“Rocky joined Kneedler Fauchère almost 16 years ago and I joined one year later. Believe it or not, I sat in front of his desk and every morning when I arrived he serenaded me with show tunes. That pretty much told me everything I needed to know about Rocky. He’s been one of my closest and most meaningful confidants ever since,” said Gina Dewitt, President of Kneedler Fauchère after the gala event.

I sat down with Rocky in 2019. Rocky told me his story, how he, “found his people.” I could continue to gush on about how wonderful this man was, but instead, I would like to replay my conversation with Rocky, recorded in 2019 from the Kneedler Fauchere showroom in the Pacific Design Center.

I want to thank Walker Zanger, presenting partner of Convo By Design, for your partnership. The work that they do and their support of the show makes it possible for me to to this. This podcast has kept me connected to the industry, to you for the past eight years and the last has definitely been the most challenging. As we start moving back to events, showcases, design houses, CEU’s and trade shows, we will have the chance to reconnect and I am so appreciative to Walker Zanger for their support of Convo By Design.

My hope here is that you can take some time to sit back, turn off the phone for a few minutes and let Rocky make you feel good again. I challenge you to hear that laugh and not laugh with him, it’s impossible. I hope hearing his voice, that laugh, those stories takes away your pain for a moment.

Thank you, Rocky…for everything, and thank you for listening. Until next week, be well and remember to to take today first.


Lone Star House of Design | Beth Bender of The Dove Agency



This is Lone Star House of Design, a podcast about all things design and architecture from the Great State of Texas. This week, you are going to hear from Beth Bender, co-founder of the Dove Agency, a strategic planning firm based in Dallas. If the name sounds familiar, it is. Beth Moderated a recent panel for Lone Star House of Design and I invited her back because the work she and her firm does deserves some love. The Dove Agency provides back office support for design professionals. They are good at what they do and I thought you should hear more about them. This conversation covers all of the topics that keep design professionals up at night. Beth and I explore financial health of a design firm, social media and marketing… And the, Beth explains much of how she attacks these issues to help their clients achieve by not having to focus on these issues.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Lone Star House of Design. Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find  Lone Star House of Design and Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Thank you, Beth, much appreciated. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol for your support and Thank you for subscribing and downloading the show and If you are not already, please subscribe so you catch every episode of Lone Star House of design and Convo By Design the moment they are published. You can also ask your smart speaker to play Convo By Design.

And if you REALLY want more, follow along, ConvoByDesign.Com and @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram. For show inquiries, sponsorship and guest inquiries, email me ConvoByDesign@outlook.com. Be well and until next week, keep creating.


The Showroom featuring Tamara Rene Design | 315 | Producing Meaningful Design with (and for) Purpose and Joy



This is Convo By Design and in this episode of the podcast, we feature another installment of The Showroom, a partnership between Convo By Design and Walker Zanger featuring designer, Tamara Avila, the creative force behind Tamara Rene Designs in Seal Beach, California.

Tammy is the rare designer who also owns and operates a design showroom. Many designers think about opening a showroom, or more precisely, thought about it prior to COVID, but will be thinking about it again when things return to some sense of normalcy, whatever that means.

Erika Egede-Nissen, Marketing Director with Walker Zanger and I speak with Tammy about her firm, design style, trends in the design space and explore her work from a designers perspective. This is a deep dive into the industry and an exploration into the unique world of design and architecture.

Are you subscribing to the podcast, if not, please do so you get every episode automatically when they are published. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts and now, you can find us on DesignNetwork dot Org, a destination dedicated to podcasts, all things design and architecture so make sure to check it out.

Thank you Tammy, thank you Erika, thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support and thank you for listening, without you, what’s the point. If you are not already a subscriber to the show, what are you waiting for, it’s easy. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. Ask your smart speaker to play Convo By Design, it’s really that easy. Follow along on the socials and check out our YouTube channel for videos form some of your favorite episodes, like this one with Tammy Avila of Tamara Rene Designs. Thanks again for listening to the show, keep creating and remember to take today first.


Lone Star House of Design | Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series Presented By ThermaSol, Texas Edition



This is Lone Star House of Design, a podcast about all things design and architecture from the Great State of Texas. Following is another installment of The Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol.

This conversation, as previously mentioned is from the Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol. This conversation features designers; Cindy Aplanalp-Yates, Allison Jaffe and Cheri Etchelecu. It is moderated by Dove Agency founder, Beth Bender. The Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presents the opportunity to gather a curated group of design masters and execute a targeted focus on specific issues affecting the industry today.

This cohort discusses the current state of design in Texas, opportunities, trending ideas and the ultimate pursuit of sublime design. It is presented by ThermaSol. I am incredibly proud to partner with ThermaSol on this initiative called the Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series. These panel conversations feature smart, innovative design thought leaders talking about issues affecting us all in the business today.

I’m working with ThermaSol for the second year now and I have had the opportunity to get to know Mitch Altman, third generation of this family owned and operated business. This company was built on innovation. Their origin story is impressive and the products are innovative, they showcase not only the increased interest for wellness in todays ground breaking design but the need for smart showers, steam and spa-like luxury in the bathroom. If you are not incorporating smart steam showers into every bathroom you design, you are missing out on an opportunity to increase the per bathroom budget and provide clients with something they desperately want.

Brilliant! Thank you, Beth, Cindy, Cheri and Allison. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol for your support and Thank you for subscribing and downloading the show and If you are not already, please subscribe so you catch every episode of Lone Star House of design and Convo By Design the moment they are published. You can also ask your smart speaker to play Convo By Design.

And if you REALLY want more, follow along, ConvoByDesign.Com and @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram. For show inquiries, sponsorship and guest inquiries, email me ConvoByDesign@outlook.com. Be well and until next week, keep creating.