Monthly Archives: August 2020

The Future of Minimal Modern | 285 | Minarc



This is Erla Ingjaldsdottir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson of Minarc. The duo founded Minarc, a Santa Monica based architecture firm that is producing ground-breaking minimalist, modern design that is both stunning to look at and stripped down to the very essence of the structure itself. Materials and lack of materials play a huge role in the finished product. The absence of paint, carpet, tile, and a focus on letting the included materials speak a different dialect in the language of architecture. And because architecture is a language all its own, Minarc’s work allows the design to speak for itself using a “don’t tell me, show me” approach.

This is a new segment of the show called A moment of Zen presented by Thermasol, it’s a focus on 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.

As you hear about modern minimalist design, peaceful living needs to be a part of that conversation and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the idea of home is very different now than it was at the start of the year. Not only are we spending more time at home but that time is being spent doing more things. Of those, the idea of relaxation in a spa-like environment has been lost to many. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Have you considered incorporating steam showers into your designs? If not, some things to consider… Steam showers are not just for resorts, spas and gyms. You know this, but what you might not be aware of is that steam showers offer additional opportunities like aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is the introduction of essential oils into the steam itself which is said to have both healing properties as well as adding to a relaxing experience. Options include jasmine, eucalyptus, rose, lavender, chamomile all offering their own “essence” to the experience. While they have not been studied for medical efficacy, and it is important to get any treatments cleared by a medical professional in advance… this is the legal disclaimer portion of this segment. This is something that can add to the experience of a shower making it so much more than just a cleaning tool. A steam shower conversion is a relatively simple construction upgrade and once that is done, incorporating essential oils into the steam is even easier.

I read an article in New York Magazine online from February 16th, 2017. It was called, The Strategist, What’s the Deal with Essential oils? By Mike Albo. Albo spoke with Dr. Pamela Dalton from the Monell Center in Philadelphia. Dalton, an olfactory-research scientist spoke about the value of essential oils. Dr. Dalton recommends “encourages their use” and notes that, in. Dalton notes “extremely rare’’ creations in personal research. There are a number of possible reasons for this but at the end of the day, we are all looking for ways to increase the sense of well being achieved through relaxation and aromatherapy is an option worth exploring.  

These ideas are provided 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.


Lone Star House of Design | 8 | Traci Connell Interiors



Luxury living and livable design can both share the same space and designer Traci Connell shares her strategies for making sure both concepts get equal focus in her work. Traci shares her design philosophy and walks us through a few of her projects. You are going to hear how high-end luxury meets easy living. Traci also shares some time and money-saving strategies. Enjoy this conversation with Traci Connell of Traci Connell Interiors and then, catch up on more episodes from both Lone Star House of Design and Convo By Design by subscribing to the podcast so you never miss a single episode. It’s really easy, find the shows everywhere you get your favorite podcasts, or ask your smart device to “play Convo By Design podcast” and it will… This is Traci Connell…


Michelle Boudreau | 284 | Modern Design in the Desert



Michelle Boudreau is a very skilled designer with an engaging personality. She makes her work seem absolutely effortless, and I can tell you first hand that when it comes to design houses, effort is one thing you must bring in abundance, like patience, a sense of calm determination and a thick skin. Having produced design houses, I can tell you that this is true and that Michelle checks off each of these boxes. 

Partnerships are key and this is how these projects become a reality.  They include Russo Studios lighting, JennAir appliances from Ferguson, Heather James Gallery provided the art, Minotti Italian furnishings from MASS Beverly, Design Hardware and Flooring provided a variety of hardware and fixtures for this home and so many other amazing details and you will hear about all of them here. This particular home captures a European modern feel in the middle of the desert.  And this fearless mosaic was created by Michelle and now you get to sear about how everything comes together. A request for those new to the show… Please follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “X” and subscribe to the show so you never miss an episode. You can find us everywhere you find your favorite podcasts.

Thank you Michelle for your time and talent. Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support for the show and THANK YOU for listening to the show. Were it not for you, there would be no Convo By Design so, thank you. Until next week, keep creating.


Buster + Punch | 283 | Massimo Buster Minale



Buster + Punch is the luxury home fashion label born out of a love of home, fashion, metalwork, and motorcycles. Minale is part fashion designer, craft metalworker, and mad scientist. Buster + Punch is one of the most impactful new home design brands for a number of reasons, not the least of which is an artistic approach to the work that blends machine worked industrial lines and fine art. This is a fearless luxury home brand that demands attention yet works flawlessly with so many different styles of design and architecture. Full disclosure, I have Buster + Punch pieces in my home. My absolute favorite is the light bulbs installed in a suspended Jamie young piece hanging in our kitchen. I look at this every day and it makes me happy. So, I’m a fan off the bat and I think you will be as well after hearing about Buster + Punch from Massimo himself. This is Massimo Buster Minale, founder of Buster + Punch.

Thank you, Massimo. Great chat, I’m sorry we won’t see each other at WestEdge this year, but I am counting the days until 2021. 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.


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.