The Design Messengers | 481 | Something New about Something Old Times TWO!

I’m Josh Cooperman, host and publisher of Convo By Design and this is a new series of the show called The Design Messengers. A Monday episode of the show sharing design trade info you need to know. I have three items of interest for you. The loss of another design industry brand, a new Booklook. Call this something old and something new, about something old.

First up, the loss of another iconic brand. Kelly Moore Paints. The global design business doesn’t have enough brands. Think about it, let’s just look at paint… Sherwin Williams, Farrow and Ball, Benjamin Moore, Behr, Valspar, Backdrop, Rust-Oleum. It sounds like a lot but it’s really not when you think about how many residential, commercial and industrial projects need to be served. When one is lost, you have to wonder why and what the ramifications will be.

As of this writing, Kelly-Moore has not announced its closure on the website or socials, which I find disappointing. If you are going to bail, tell your customers first, as loudly as you can. Yes, you will lose sales, but it’s the right thing to do. Thank goodness for good journalism. On Friday, January 12th, Kelly-Moore Paints in Irving, Texas let hundreds of workers go and in a press release, announced what they call a “… Plan of r Orderly, Ou-of-Court Wind Down of Company Operations.” The company pointed to a decades long legal struggle stemming from asbestos litigation. Kelly-Moore estimated legal liabilities in excess of $170 million. A number, they apparently could not overcome.

The company was founded by William Kelly and William Moore in California, 1946 and acquired by Flacks Group in 2022. Tis is a company that was founded on fair value, fair pricing and offering a designer quality paint to the masses. They were one of the largest independents in the country with over $400 million in annual sales.  

From the press release in September 2022, their goals and aspirations were big. “The purchase of Kelly-Moore Paints is part of Flacks Group’s multi-stage investment thesis around industrial companies with strong manufacturing footprints and global distribution. The acquisition, when combined with its existing portfolio company Germany-based Pleuger Industries, puts Flacks Group’s industrial vertical on track to exceed $1 billion in revenues in the next two to three years.” That presser did not age well. 

I have a BookLook for you. A new book by Elizabeth and Ethan Finkelstein. They are the founders of @CheapOldHouses and hosts of HGTV’s show by the same name. I am not a huge fan of the made for TV shows about design these days for one main reason, the are not authentic. They aren’t real when it comes to taste, style and design-build. But i’m not a hater, I just want better. And this show is a favorite of mine. I believe Elizabeth and Ethan, I believe in them. I love old houses, renovations and road trips. All of this is incorporated in the show and when I received the book, I found something more to love. The book is a series of short tories about… cheap old houses. The places, people, kids, dogs and how much these homes cost to buy and restore.

This is a big deal and I will tell you as someone who left LA for a smaller town, lives in an old home and one that is in the process of being reimagined, as you can see through the Tulsa Remote Design House segments on the show and videos on our IG feed. I can tell you, leaving the big metropolitan city for a smaller town, in a bigger and older home has been an incredible experience that pre-pandemic would not have seemed like a real possibility. This book is inspirational, aspirational and it is, above all else, authentic. 

We live in a time of high housing costs, high mortgage rates, congested, hyper-competitive cities and it doesn’t have to be that way. I think the next 5-10 years is going to provide a fundamental shift in not just how we live, but where we live. The pandemic created the opportunity for us to work and live where we choose. There will be those who say, “I love nYC and I’m never leaving.” There are people like me who love LA… I mean, I LOVE LA. But I’ve moved before, I might go back. Might not… But the idea that now, technology has caught up with the wanderlust of those, like me who love roadtrips and discovery. This will shine a light on quality of life and crafting your environment to suit life instead of the other way around and this book provides story after story, real world examples of this happening. The joy of finding amazing, old, well-built homes in uncomplicated, simple cities and towns that you have never heard of. And, if you’ve never heard of it, how do you know if you will like it, or perhaps even love it.

There is residential gold in small cities and towns dappled across the country and this book is not just a showcase but a how-to through the eyes and experiences of those who have done it. I do love this book, I am a fan of the Finkelstein’s mission and I am going to try and book them for the show so you can hear from them. Until I do, get the book, because it’s a keeper. It’s published by Clarkson Potter. Check the show notes for a link.  

This is The Design Messengers, an audio essay crafted to get your week of to a great start by sharing ideas to launch you into being the best you can be in all your endeavors but specifically, as a creative in the design and architecture space. Thank you for listening. If you are not already a subscriber, please consider subscribing to the show so you receive every episode of The Design Messengers and Convo By Design automatically when they are published. If you are listening to us for the first time, you can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. If you are so inclined, please also consider following on IG @ConvoXDesign with an “X”. Thanks again for listening. Be well and take today first. -CXD