Monthly Archives: May 2021

Island Hospitality & Designing for Peace and Luxury | 327 | Tiffany Cassidy – Lagnappe Custom Interiors



This is Convo By Design with Tiffany Cassidy, principal designer of Lagnappe Custom Interiors. A design firm based in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands. Exactly the location where many of us wish we were, right now. Just thinking about the Virgin Islands …and a Mai Tai.

Visiting St. Thomas is one thing, living and working there is something else entirely. As a designer, Tiffany has to deal with the types of challenges that all other designers have only learned recently. Like huge price fluctuations, inventory issues, breaks in the supply chain and the need to do reselects early and often.

So, we’re going to talk about island living, from the designers perspective. If you work on an island, this will help. If you work in a major metropolitan city, this information will help you too. This is a conversation about design, hospitality and finding the true meaning behind the business of design, providing the lifestyle that makes life worth living. So, if you’re sitting at your home office listening to this episode, grab a Mai Tai and enjoy this conversation about island design and living that dream.

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, Tiffany. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol 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.


Your Best Year in Design | 326 | Proven Strategies for Growing and Promoting Your Design Firm



This is Convo By Design with a conversation about adapting to the ever-changing design environment. Since only everything has changed. When I say that, I mean it. Everything has changed in the business. I remember last March when everyone I was speaking with, myself included thought the events would come back last fall and that the supply chain would return to normal. As time went on, we all started to realize that things were not going back to normal quickly, if at all. this conversation is part of the Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol.

That being said, not all change is bad. The following conversation includes designers Shirry Dolgin of ASD Interiors, Michelle Salz-Smith of Studio Surface and Jason Lai of L2 Interiors. The panel explores the changes in the design and architecture industry, in real time with a focus on adapting to these changes and maximizing new business and revenue growth. Change is hard. The unknown is uncomfortable.

This exploration unearths some of the most challenging issues we are facing as it relates to the business and how these three firms are addressing these issues.Many of this issues revolve around specifying product right now as the supply chains are stretched and demand has grown as inventories drop. This has led to both shortages and increased costs. There challenges now include managing the disappointment of precuts not being available, reselects, increase costs, lack of manufacturer response times and products showing differently online from reality.

“Our business is so personal, whether we’re face to face, or not. We are people pleasers and that’s not always the greatest thing, especially now. But, I think the greatest challenge now, for me as a perfectionist and a people pleaser, is managing disappointment. Relaying the reality of the situation without making excuses.” – Michelle Salz-Smith

“I spend a lot of my time being upfront with my client saying, ‘listen, it is what it is.’ So, we can either wait, or pick something else.” – Shirry Dolgin

“I know what we want and what we are looking for in our head already, we just haven’t seen it and once we see it, we pull it. But this process has just been so slow. We have to go online and scroll through 75 pages of fabric on one color finish and it’s nothing like what you expect because online it shows differently.” -Jason Lai

In this episode, you will not only hear the challenges restated, you will also hear solutions to many of the issues every designer faces now and what the business might look like in the near future. The best way to overcome challenges is to envision and plan for them in the future. This is another episode in the Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol featuring Michelle Salz-Smith, Jason Lai and Shirry Dolgin.

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.

And when it comes to working with a partner who has your back, knows your challenges and is there for you every step of the way…

Thank you, Shirry, Jason and Michelle. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol 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.


Anthony Laney of Laney LA | 325 | Crafting Custom Work, the New Modern Art



This is Convo By Design and today you are going to hear from Laney LA’s, Anthony Laney. This is a conversation about exquisite modern architecture and a little bit of space planning magic. Like how to make a pool disappear…. I am not kidding, really disappear.

Anthony Laney is the creative force behind Laney LA. His firm is doing some extremely interesting work in and around Los Angeles and the small coastal beach cities of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. These are small coastal communities with some very large homes on very small lots. Where the cost per foot is in the 4 digits and the cost of dirt alone is some of the highest in the country. This means an endless supply of cash, or some very strategic space planning and to be frank, there is both. Laney has earned a reputation for crafting really interesting and exquisite modern design with a focus on not just tailoring the work to the client but finding unique ways of adding to the design through subtraction of used material. As previously mentioned, like making a pool disappear to create a yard on demand. I will let Anthony explain how he did it.

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, Anthony. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol 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.


Lone Star House of Design | A Texas Sized Talk with Kyle Bunting, Jan Showers, Lauren Rotet & Fern Santini



This is Lone Star House of Design, a podcast about all things design and architecture form the Great State of Texas with a panel conversation featuring some of the biggest names in American design today, and all from Texas. The following conversation is part of the Wellness and Design Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol and you are not going to want to miss a moment of this one featuring a panel of design icons, all from Texas. This is a conversation with Kyle Bunting & friends.

I met Kyle Bunting through my friend and amazing publicist, Andrew Joseph. He reintroduced me to Kyle with whom my last contact was not direct but through designer Christopher Kennedy who designed my Small Space, Big Style design house which featured a stunning Kyle Bunting rug. Kyle Bunting is producing some of the most stunning rugs in the world, all from his studio in Austin, Texas. The work is groundbreaking and has turned the Hyde rug, the original luxury item into an art form, unrivaled and completely original.

After my conversation with Kyle, he said, “let’s do something really cool” and invited three incredible guests to join for a group chat about the state of design in Texas. This group included;

Fern Santini – Santini’s work is completely original, it’s bold and refined with a wild streak that is unmistakeable and wonderful. Fern’s use of furniture, color and materials blends design into a hand crafted sculpture of space, materials and light.

Lauren Rottet – Rottet is the complete designer. Architect, interior designer, furniture designer and art curator. Founding principal and president of Rottet Studio. I could list her accolades, but there would be no time left for the conversation.

Jan Showers – Showers is another world-class designer from Texas, and I don’t use this term lightly, at all. Her work is elegant, unique and layered, like an Impasto at times, glazing others. Her spaces art artfully placed and painted to create a multi-dimensional environment. That, to me has always been the true essence of design.

Some idea came up during our conversation that bears repeating here. Texas design is very different by geography. Austin is funky and weird, yet still a college town and state capitol. The spirit of Austin is strong and diverse base on the the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kinky Friedman, Michael Dell, Tito Beveridge combined with some of the most interesting architecture you can find around the state capitol and the University of Texas campus. It’s still a relatively small city but it doesn’t feel that way. The addition of a technology hub to the already vibrant music scene and South By South West, Austin is poised for even greater heights but at what price? The traffic, cost of living, loss of architecturally significant structures to make way for more livable space? Yeah, that’s probably coming.

Having spent 9 years living in Dallas, I can tell you that this city is rich in arts and cultural experiences. If you ask many outside of Texas, they will tell you about Tom Landry, J.R Ewing and Roger Staubach. Sure, Dallas is a world-class sports town, I get it. But the arts and culture scene in Dallas goes far beyond what you hear about Dallas on ESPN. The City Hall building in Dallas, designed by I.M Pei and Theodore J. Musho is a brutalist statement piece. Pei also designed the Meyerson Symphony Center and with that, added a simply exquisite and acoustic masterpiece to the “Metroplex”. Fair Park, home of the State Fair of Texas is an Art Deco oasis crafted by architect, George Dahl. There is far more to explore, and I encourage you to do just that!


So what about Houston? Oil energy money, right? Sure. There is a significant link between oil barons and the arts, it’s true. Try to find an American city that was built on energy money that does not hav significant art, architecture and design. Houston is no different. The city has incredible art installations, a museum district, architectural representations of almost any era you can recollect and it does so without screaming, “look at me.” Because of this, many people don’t. But, you should.

The Texas cities not mention here include; San Antonio, Laredo, Marfa, Alpine, Waco, Lubbock… Wait, Lubbock? This is my point. Even in a seemingly quiet and unassuming city like Lubbock, Texas, there is art and architecture. The unfinished home designed by Robert Bruno, were it in Los Angeles or New York, would be on architecture tours. This is a steel sculpture, uninhabited sine 2008 and sits it the harsh Lubbock summers and winters all the while, its patina deepens and grows more spectacular. The shape is alien, almost like the helmet of an alien from another galaxy peering into the canyon. Unbelievable and inexplicable.

My point is this, Texas and texans don’t live by your rules, they have their own. If they want to try something, they will and if it doesn’t work, they will try something else. What you will also find is a healthy respect for those pioneers who came before them. That spirit of respect and experimentation has made for a uniquely special and artistic place, much like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. The difference is many on the coast aren’t willing to risk the social capital that comes with experimentation. This is a differentiator and much of what makes the Texas design communities so fun to follow.

This is Lone Star House of Design with an episode were calling an afternoon with Kyle Bunting and Friends featuring Jan Showers, Lauren Rottet and Fern Santini, part of the Wellness and Design Thought leadership Series presented by ThermaSol.

Thank you, Lauren, Fern Jan and Kyle, this was amazing. 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 at outlook dot com. Be well and until next week, remember to take today first.


The Showroom featuring Tammy Connor | 324 | Good Communication and Experience Leads to Detailed Design and Uncomplicated Sophistication



This is Convo By Design with another installment for The Showroom, our interview series with amazing creatives from across the country in partnership with Walker Zanger. This week’s episode features Birmingham, Alabama based designer, Tammy Connor.

One of the reasons I love the following conversation as much as I do is because I have the opportunity to speak with design talent from across the country in areas most don’t even consider when speaking about incredible, world-class interior design. I would argue the Alabama is one of them so the opportunity to explore and shatter preconceived ideas about creative talent and geographical location is wonderful to me. The next thing you should know, Tammy Connor is a highly successful American talent and her firm is producing work that you might have seen previously in the national shelter publications and digital outlets. Connor’s work has been featured in LUXE, Veranda, Aspire, the Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful as well as featured in best selling design books.

Unfortunately, the shelter publications showcase the work and not the creative. I am so proud on this series and my partnership with Walker Zanger, providing an intimate conversation about the work and the creative force behind it. This is The Showroom presented by Walker Zanger with designer, Tammy Connor.

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.

And when it comes to working with a partner who has your back, knows your challenges and is there for you every step of the way…

Thank you, Tammy. 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.