Monthly Archives: July 2019

Four Designs in One Amazing House | 230 |Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts 2019 Part One



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This is a look back at the 2019 Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts. A phenomenal accomplishment this year. The project reimagined the Boddy House located inside Descanso Gardens. It is a big property. One of the things that always surprises me is how the designers can come in, apply their creative vision and somehow, it all seems to work cohesively with the work of all the other designers. This year is no exception to that phenomenon. Okay, I am keeping my commentary brief here because we have over 16 amazing designers to speak with. I am not going to try and put every designer on one episode because that would be completely exhausting for you. I am going to put this out in four parts with four designers each.

As has been my process for the past year or so, I have video and imagery to compliment the podcast. Listen to the episode and hear how the designers crafted their spaces. They share the stories behind the designs, then make your way over to the Convo By Design YouTube channel and see their work for yourself. My hope is that this will give you an experience that is a close as possible to actually being there, but you can’t because the 2019 Pasadena Showcase House is now closed. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Designers in this episode include:

Taylor Jacobson
Taylor Jacobson Design
Instagram: TaylilJay

Jeffrey Johnson
Jeffrey Design
Instagram: JeffreyDesigner

Lynnea Shwieters
Lynnee Jean Interior Design
Instagram: @LynneaJean

Shari Tipich
Shari Tipich Decorative Artist
Instagram: @ShariTipichArtist

Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts
Instagram: @PasadenaShowcaseHouse

Thank you to the amazing artists and designers. Thank you Pasadena Showcase House for letting us be a part of the magic you create each year!


Design Influencer Series Two | 229 | Unforgettable Design Concepts



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I recently held a Design Influencer Group at the Tidelli Outdoor showroom in Newport Beach. This event featured some amazing and influential creatives from Orange County and San Diego. For those unaware, there is a line of delineation between Los Angeles and Orange counties. crossing from (310)/ (323) to (714)/ (949) might as well require a passport, shots and letting the babysitter/ dog sitter know that you won’t be back for a while. It’s not just the traffic, although, I am quite sure that is one reason many in the A&D don’t venture south.

Fact is, the A&D is strong in OC and SD. There is a large base of talent in firms and individuals working on amazing projects, yet most receive no media love unless they are talking about LA, PS or Ventura County projects (SoCal) or NY, even international projects. Why? I wanted to find out. I took a trip down to the Tidelli Outdoor showroom and met with some designers who seem to have many of the answers, but it didn’t seem to bother them the way it does me. But they did have some feedback on this subject and many other issues affecting the A&D biz down south.

Starting at the beginning. Here is who came out. I wanted you to hear some ideas they came out to share regarding the state of design and trending design ideas……

Xander Noori
Xander Noori

Home


Xander@XanderNoori.com
@XanderNoori

Keon Khajavi Noori
Xander Noori

Home


Keon@XanderNoori.com
@XanderNoori

Kristianne Watts
KW Designs

Home


KW@KWDesigns.com
@KWDesigns_Interiors

Nicole Perrault
HOD Haus of Design
https://www.hodhausofdesign.com
Nicole@HODHausofDesign.com
@HausOfDesign.hod

Rick Campos
Design Biz Survival Guide

Home


Rick@DesignBizSurvivalGuide.com
@designBizSurvivalGuide

Michelle Salz-Smith
Studio Surface
https://www.studio-surface.com/
Michelle@Studio-Surface.com
@StudioSurface

Mindy Laven
Mindy Laven
https://mindylaven.com
Mindy@MindyLaven.com
@MindyLavenHome

John Henry Kaufman
John Henry designs
http://www.johnhenrydesigns.com/portfolio/
JH@JohnHenryDesigns.com
@JohnHenryDesigns

Anissa Swanzy
SKD Studios

Home


Alex@SKDStudios.com
@SKDStudios

This was a remarkable group of design professionals. As always, I want to provide you with new ideas and resources. You have heard me tell you about Article and if you haven’t signed up for their trade program, ask yourself ‘why’? It’s free for design professionals like you to join and you start receiving discounts immediately with no minimum. Combine that with the amazing finds at Article. Your clients will love their modern Scandinavian style, clean lines and through the trade program, you will get exclusive designer pricing, custom invoicing and their shipping is amazing with stock items shipping for $49 in most cases if not free and it usually arrives in two weeks or less. Now, here is something you won’t find often… true customer service. Their service department is staffed by design industry experts who understand what you need and are authorized to get you what you need.If you haven’t signed up for Article’s trade program, do it now, it’s easy and free. Only takes a second. CXD dot Article dot com. CXD as in Convo By Design, CXD dot Article dot com. And that’s it. Thank you, Article.

Okay, back to the Design Influencer Group. Some big issues came up. First of which were some thoughts on shelter media.

Shelter Media Doesn’t Pay Much Attention to Industry Happenings Down South. Shelter space media (magazines) don’t cover OC or SD unless there is a ‘celebrity factor’ to the project. It can be a celebrity, titan of industry or other public figure, but without that, there is little interest. There is also a lack of meaningful industry events in OC and SD. I found that surprising. Considering that there is so much retail, why don’t more industry events take place in support of the design and architecture professionals who work here? I am going to be looking into that and possibly working with partners to explore this idea. The other side of the equation must also be explored though. If there were trade focused events, would the A&D community support it? It is certainly an idea to consider.

Retail vs. Custom. There is a disconnect with clients between retail and custom as it relates to the difference between decorating and design. The majority of clients don’t seem to fully grasp the value of custom in relation to retail. Finding the right piece or having the perfect piece made is somewhat of a foreign concept to many clients. This can only be due to lack of client education.

Design Process Confusion. The design process is changing. Because there are so may different ways designers charge, it have created confusion in the marketplace. Clients don’t know what they should pay vs. what they are being asked to pay. What is true value for design services? This led to an in-depth conversation regarding pricing models themselves and it was surprising to me to find out just how many are in use. They Include: Flat fee + discount off retail, price per foot, hourly plus mark-up, flat fee for construction + hourly for post-construction design work, price per foot with “x” changes and mark-up, project management fee + hourly/ cost per foot or flat fee.

With so many different options (there are others but for sake of space, it was limited to these) it was determined to be crucial that the following must be employed:

Designers, architects and others providing creative services must have a comprehensive business plan that outlines the type of services and fee structures they are willing to accept.
Contracts must be written with specificity even if multiple forms of pricing for services are used.
Communication with clients is critical to the success of the project. Many, if not most clients will not read the contracts they are given. It was suggested that most will study the design boards and go straight to cost. If that is the case, it is crucial for creative service providers to do their best to make sure the client understands the process.

Editor’s Note: This ALSO includes the expectations and behavioral inclusions. If you don’t want texts at 8pm, specify your hours in advance. When you will be available to meet, talk, review and be on-site. You need to get editorial approvals and publishing permissions in advance and in writing.

Project Management Tools. One issue that comes up on a regular basis and did here as well is the desperate need for a project management tool for creatives. Specifically, designers. This suite of tools needs to include a CRM, a content management tool, billing, invoicing, social media management, and a resource tool for specifying. While many of these tools exist, none seem to accomplish everything in a scaleable and flexible way. Why? Not quite sure but expect this issue to keep coming up until someone solves for it.

Editor’s Note. This suite of tools should also include a mechanism allowing creatives to publish as well. Publish photos, newsletters, blogs, videos, podcasts. They should have a way to drop content into a template, tag projects, resources and social media all with one-button efficiency. Can someone get on that, please?

Client relations. This is a big issue that continues to come up and will continue to come up because there is no easy answer. Designers and architects, in my experience, don’t view themselves the same way as an artist or performer, yet in many ways, they perform in similar ways. Imagine if everyone who bought a painting from an artist could text them at 9pm with a comment about how the blue doesn’t really shimmer the way it should on nights with a full moon. Many designers have shared stories where clients will text them at night with a comment or a question regarding a product on order or a future install. There should be rules of engagement in planning, during the job and after the work is complete. While there is no fix for every situation, this goes back to expectations and deliverables on a contract. “Do’s” and “don’ts” should be in writing. By not doing this, creatives leave the standards of behavior up to each individual client. Do so carefully.

The Top 5 Most Important Issues Affecting Shelter Design Creatives in Orange County and San Diego.
Summer 2019

5. Shelter publications are missing a remarkable opportunity to cover ground breaking design and architectural work in OC and SD.

4. Custom work is gaining momentum with more creatives completing one-off pieces for close to retail pricing.

3. Designers and architects should have well defined and easy to understand pricing and process for clients. This sounds like it should be universal, it’s not.

2. Project management tools for designers and architects are not user friendly and all encompassing right now. They should be and this presents a great opportunity fora company willing to do it right.

1. Client relations. Set the standards, terms and expectations. This applies to behaviors, communication and personal space.


LEGENDARY CONVERSATIONS From the LaCienega Design Quarter | 4 | Suzanne Rheinstein



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The LaCienega Design Quarter is one of the most influential industry trade organizations in the US and the annual Legends event is a beautiful example of this. For the past decade, LCDQ has been welcoming the design community and enthusiasts alike to get out of their cars and walk the district to see the amazing and wonderful creations erected in the showroom windows.

This conversation was the second of two conversations with living legends. Suzanne is an interior designer whose signature style, elegant civility, places a focus on, “Fewer things, but better things.” Rheinstein was raised in New Orleans. Her southern roots have had a significant influence on her style and her design as well as her approach to people, which as most I think will agree is the whole purpose of good design in the first place. It’s not strictly something to be seen but to be experienced, shared and enjoyed with friends and loved ones.

The ideas espoused by Rheinstein are as relevant today as when she started in the business. It is, I think, crucial to the development of the industry for personalities like Suzanne to speak at events like this. Their knowledge and insight help young designers as well as mid-career creatives understand how their work is reflected over time. Speaking at events like this is an amazing way for accomplished creatives to give back to the industry and this chat is an instant classic. This was an intimate chat between Suzanne Rheinstein and Traditional Home Editor-in-Chief, Jill Waage, Enjoy.


This Boss Lady Dishes the Dirt on Design | 228 | Dirty Girl Construction’s Joan Barton



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Joan Barton is the founder and owner of Dirty Girl Construction. She is a general contractor and keenly aware that she is not a man. Let’s be frank for a minute. Construction as well as architecture are traditionally male dominated industries. This is not lost on Joan and one of the reasons I was so keen on speaking with her. Joan is a complex person, she studied music, art and is equally skilled in math and science. She attended the DeCordova Museum School, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Parson’s The New School of Design and Berklee College of Music. For those not familiar with Berklee has a pretty stout list of alumni including John Mayer, Quincy Jones, Al DiMeola, Melissa Etheridge, John Scofield, Steve Van, Bruce Hornsby, Quincy Jones and Amee Mann just to name a few.

Joan is a complex creative with the ability to craft, construct and design. She is aware of the lack of diversity and how that does make her stand out. As you’ll hear, she relishes that and it seems to drive her. This is my conversation with Dirty Girl Construction boss lady, Joan Barton.

Convo By Design is presented by Snyder Diamond. A family owned company serving the SoCal design and architecture communities for 70 years. That’s 70 years helping designers and architects help their clients be the best they can be in the kitchen with products like those from SubZero Wolf and Cove. If you haven’t seen the PRO Series yet, you are in for a treat.

This is timeless design and lasting preservation from Sub-Zero. Available is sizes from 36” to 48”, and too many options to mention here so you have to go see them for yourself. Let’s not forget that from well preserved food comes well prepared food and that is why Wolf provides craftsmanship, innovation, design and performance that you can trust allowing cooks of all levels to achieve success in the kitchen. That’s also 70 grilling season! The full line of SubZero and Wolf outdoor appliances will provide you with the tools to design an outdoor kitchen that will make people wonder if you forgot to build in the walls. Amazing and your clients are going to love all the options and you are going to love the flexibility.

Sub-Zero and Wolf provide so many options from which to choose that, as a designer, your options are almost limitless. So, if you haven’t seen what Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances can do, it’s time for you to visit any of the three Snyder Diamond Los Angeles area locations. You can also visit the Sub-Zero Living Kitchen in the Pasadena and Santa Monica showrooms. I am constantly impressed and I think you will be too.

You’re listening to my conversation with Dirty Girl Construction founder, Joan Barton. Joan knows her business and knows what her clients both want and need. Someone else who knows that is Article.

Article is an online only furniture company inspired by mid-century style and Scandinavian simplicity. As a design trade professional, you are going to love the style and the quality of Article furniture. Here is the best part, Article has created a trade program specifically for busy designers. Check this out, joining the Trade program is FREE and there is no minimum for you to start receiving trade discounts. NONE. your clients will love this and now you have some help. What’s more, they have exclusive designer pricing that cannot be found for less elsewhere. They offer a standard one year warranty on all Article furniture AND the shipping… You are going to LOVE the shipping. Flat rate, in most cases, if not free and it’s fast, stock items ship in 2 weeks or less. They handle special invoicing, tax-exempt purchasing and … the customer service is staffed by design professionals. These are real people who know what you are trying to accomplish and have the authority to help you get what you need. For all the details and to sign up for Article’s trade program, please go to CXD dot Article dot com. C-X-D as in Convo By Design, CXD dot Article dot com.

That was my conversation with Dirty Girl Construction’s Joan Barton. Special thanks to Joan, Snyder Diamond, Article and Vondom for their support of the podcast and thank you! Without you listening, there is no Convo By Design. Please check out the videos from some of your favorite podcast episodes. We’ll talk again next week and until then, keep creating


LEGENDARY CONVERSATIONS From the LaCienega Design Quarter | 3 | Amazing Windows and Icons



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This was the first year that Convo By Design was represented as an official media sponsor of Legends. I cannot tell you how cool this is for me and I wanted to do something special to capture this showcase of remarkable talent. This is a special series called Legendary Conversations featuring the very designers and decorators responsible for transforming these showroom windows into extraordinary spaces. I also wanted to bring you some of the panels and keynote conversations that helped make this year’s event so special.

LaCienega Design Quarter has been a design destination serving LA’s vibrant and extremely talented design community for over 50 years. This design district is special for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is on not one but three of the most high profile and iconic thoroughfares in Los Angeles, LaCienega Blvd, Melrose Blvd and Melrose Place.

The district has seen Los Angeles change from trendy studio town to a global creative powerhouse. It’s no secret that I think LA is one of the most relevant and important creative cities in not just the country, but the world. I think the amount and level of creative contribution in multiple disciplines makes LA a vanguard and creative icon. That doesn’t happen because of a picture, building or landmark. It happens over time and it develops because of the people. For decades, creative types have been drawn to Southern California to reinvent themselves and there has always been communities of likeminded individuals to both receive and nurture them. The LaCienega Design Quarter is one of the most influential and the annual Legends event is a beautiful example of this. For the past decade, LCDQ has been welcoming the design community and enthusiasts alike to get out of their cars and walk the district to see the amazing and wonderful creations erected in the showroom windows.

This episode brings you designer Kevin Isbell, Gianetti Home founders Brooke and Steve Giannetti, Patrick Sutton, Brooke Wagner and Bridgid Coulter.

Thank you Kevin Isbell, Brooke and Steve Giannetti, Brooke Wagner, Patrick Sutton, and Bridgid Coulter. Thank you to Cambria Surfaces for their support. Thank you Tamar Mashegian, LCDQ President and longtime friend of the show, Patrick Dragonette, Special thanks to the amazing LCDQ showroom owners and managers and of course you because without you listening, there is no Convo By Design. For all Convo By Design episodes including the Legendary Conversations please find us everywhere you get your favorite podcasts. For more from each of these designers and to see their windows, follow Convo By Design on YouTube.


Shirry Dolgin | 227 | Mastering Experiential Design



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I’m not going to lie. I love doing this. As much as I love doing this, it still gets to be a grind sometimes. I find myself telling you about exotic locations and amazing spaces crafted by extraordinary designers and architects, while I am sitting at an edit bay and, it gets tough sometimes. That being said, it took me literally decades to turn my passion into a viable business. No different from how you started your business. Ups downs and plenty of hard work.

The best part about doing this are the conversations I have with the creatives that appear on the podcast. On this episode, you are going to hear from designer Shirry Dolgin. Like me, Shirry is a native Angeleno. And I had to warn her, don’t tell me you are a native Angeleno because I am going to start telling stories about growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1980’s. In the Valley during the Valley Girl days was as extraordinary as you might think. sleeveless aqua shirt, red parachute pants and bright white Nike high tops with the fat laces. The Z Cavariccis with every leather jacket that ever appeared in a Michael Jackson video. Spring break in Palm Springs before Sonny Bono, not cool Sonny and Cher, Sonny, but Mayor Sonny Bono killed it. A time when the remnants of 1970’s design, sunken living rooms, macrame and pot plants growing in the back yard met Miami Vice, aqua, pink, chrome and glass. It was an amazing time. Why am I telling you this? Because Shirry and I got to talk about that LA which led to a longer chat about this LA.

Shirry grew up in that LA on job sites because her father was a general contractor. She witnessed a time when playfulness and hand crafted California style was in a constant state of flux. That experience and experimentation gave Shirry an opportunity to craft and design her own style, which she has, flawlessly. And she is going to tell you all about what make her design so uniquely hers here ion this episode of Convo By Design.


LEGENDARY CONVERSATIONS From the LaCienega Design Quarter | 2 | Living Legend Bunny Williams



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Legendary Conversations from LaCienega Design Quarter’s Legends 2019 – Bunny Williams

For over 50 years, the LaCienega Design Quarter has been a design destination serving LA’s vibrant and extremely talented design community. This design district is special for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the mere fact that it is on not one but three of the most high profile and iconic thoroughfares in West Hollywood, LaCienega Blvd, Melrose Blvd and Melrose Place.

The district has seen Los Angeles change from trendy studio town to a global creative powerhouse. It’s no secret that I think LA is one of the most relevant and important creative cities in not just the country, but the world. I think the amount and level of creative contribution in multiple disciplines makes LA a vanguard and creative icon. That doesn’t happen because of a picture, building or landmark. It happens over time and it develops because of the people. For decades, creative types have been drawn to Southern California to reinvent themselves and there has always been communities of likeminded individuals to both receive and nurture them. The LaCienega Design Quarter is one of the most influential and the annual Legends event is a beautiful example of this. For the past decade, LCDQ has been welcoming the design community and enthusiasts alike to get out of their cars and walk the district to see the amazing and wonderful creations erected in the showroom windows.

This was the first year that Convo By Design was represented as an official media sponsor of Legends. I cannot tell you how cool this is for me and I wanted to do something special to capture this showcase of remarkable talent. This is a special series called Legendary Conversations featuring everyone involved and this is a conversation with living legend, Bunny Williams. Williams sat with Elle Decor, Editor-in-Chief, Whitney Robinson at the Dragonette showroom for what was a really fun conversation. Bunny had a lot to say, topics include:

Met Gala
Value of point of view
Being at the top of your game
Design as a “service industry”
Saying “No”
Spending time with clients but understanding not all are friends
Training the eye
Greenbriar Hotel
Love of dogs
Collaboration between manufacturers and designers
Lost ateliers
Kips Bay Decorator Show House
Pen & Fletcher
Good finds are harder to locate
Shopping online
Passing on the knowledge, Allison Caccoma and Miles Redd
Knowing hen a room is finished
Sister Parish and her fondness for conflict and chaos

As you can see, a lot to talk about so hang on and enjoy this conversation with Bunny Williams.


Jamie Young Co. | 226 | Building A Global Design Brand



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Two artists, Jaime Young Jeter and David Jeter took a trip to Mexico. A day trip for these two travel loving artists. They discovered a roadside shop, loaded up on Mexican artifacts and headed home. They sold the entire thing to a florist and realized that there might be a market for this. Here is a question, how many of us have traveled to distant and not so far away locations , seen amazing things we thought might sell well back home and figured, eh, someone is probably already doing that. You can’t see this, but my hand is raised. That being said, those opportunities are always out there and that’s why I wanted to speak with Jaime Young. I wanted to know how she built the Jaime Young Company. Jaime and David have a flourishing business that thrives on partnerships, licensing and product development. Great design starts with stories like hers.