All posts by convo-by-design

Lone Star House of Design | 6 | Abbe Fenimore on Fabulously Durable Design that Stands the Test of Time



Studio|Ten|25 is the Dallas based firm owned and operated by Abbe Fenimore. Abbe has earned a reputation for her playful style and unique interiors. She has earned the nickname, “queen of sorority houses.” I have never before spoke with a designer who specialized in sorority houses. I can tell you, having lived in a fraternity, college housing can take some serious abuse. Abbe has figured out how to preserve beauty and high performance. She applies these same ideas to her residential and office projects. Abbe and I had a very cool chat about these and other issues that shape design and architecture in the Great State of Texas.

Thank you Abbe, that was fun and I truly appreciate the time. 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.


SoCal’s Modern Architecture Revolution | 278 | Christopher Brandon of Brandon Architects



This is the next golden age of Modern Architecture with much of the leadership emanating from SoCal. For six years, every interview you heard on the show was recorded live. Since March 13th of this year, every new conversation has been recorded on the phone or via Zoom. This has completely changed the way I do this and we have all change the way we work. So as Christopher and I talk about how his business is changing, he also mentioned that he started his firm during the great recession and I think that speaks to how Brandon established his firm and how he has worked with all his employees to make sure they can work most effectively. Doing the episodes this way has also provided me with an opportunity to discuss specific projects and it has opened a new door for me and I hope for you as well. Please make sure you are following along as we look at these projects by visiting www.brandonarchitects.com as you listen and we can explore design together.

In this episode, Chris and I talk about some amazing ideas in design that include a skylight through the bottom of a swimming pool and an absolute masterpiece in the Strand Hotel. You are going to hear about incorporating VR and technology, progressive ways to make distance working more effective and overcoming the challenges of working during a disaster. At the same time, this is a reminder that design is a service industry. A service industry that directly improves the quality of life of those we serve.

Before we get to this, I want to share some thoughts with you. Convo By Design is presented by Walker Zanger. I am going to tell you a little more about what makes Walker Zanger so special in a minute. But I also want you to know how they are responding during these trying times. I recently paid a visit to their West Hollywood showroom. When I walked in, staff was distanced, there was sanitizer available and they were masked up. They have also been inviting through drive by slab showings and partnering up with yours truly on a virtual series called The Showroom. If you are a designer looking for great partners to work with, you can look no further than Walker Zanger. They continue to innovate. They made me feel comfortable going back to their showroom. It may seem like a small thing. It’s not. We are back to a really fun conversation with architect, Christopher Brandon.

Thank you, Chris. Thank you for making the time, thank you Walker Zanger for being an absolute joy to work with. Your partnership is appreciated. Thank you Thermasol for your support of Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast and coming out to our events. If not already, ask Alexa or Siri to subscribe to Convo By Design, and they will. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.


Michael Berman | 277 | The Showroom LIVE Presented By Walker Zanger



Michael Berman is multifaceted, ultra-creative, and always willing to share what he knows with others. Those are just a few of the things I appreciate most about Michael. But, what makes him truly remarkable as a designer is how well rounded he is. Michael is a highly successful designer with a highly successful design studio and multiple product lines in many different categories from furnishings to rugs to plumbing and of course, his Studio Moderne line of tile with Walker Zanger. Michael and I spoke as part of a distanced design series called The Showroom, a partnership between Walker Zanger and Convo By Design. We cover a lot of ground and talk about a number of amazing projects. Follow along as you listen to the conversation. Many of these projects can be found on Michael’s website, www.MichaelBermanLimited.com as well as on the Convo By Design YouTube channel. Enjoy this conversation by design with Michael Berman.

Before we get to this, a quick reminder, you can catch every episode of Convo By Design by subscribing to the show on your device. You can also find every episode and extras like the Convo By Design Blog at www.ConvoByDesign.com. Did you know that Convo By Design has been telling the stories of design luminaries for 7 years now with over 276 episodes produced with listeners in over 60 countries around the world? It’s true, so if you are new to the show, go check out the episodes you missed as well as over two hundred videos on our YouTube channel.

Thank you, Michael, for your talent and participation. Thank you, Walker Zanger, and Erika for helping moderate this chat. Thank you Thermasol for your support fo Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast, and coming out to our events. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.


Saving Iconic Architecture | 276 | Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design



I’m longing for the good ole’ days. January of 2020. It wasn’t that long ago but feels like an eternity since Modernism Week. I have known Ron and Jaime for quite some time and spoken to them about their design firm and their passion project, SIA, Save Iconic Architecture on numerous occasions. This was recorded in January 2020 from the California Closets showroom in Rancho Mirage and it’s being published in June 2020. Why is that important? Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the idea of home has become so much more important. The idea that a dwelling serves those who inhabit it in both form and function are of critical importance. This is really a great time to have this discussion because we are at the very beginning of what I believe will be a significant migratory period in our society. This pandemic and subsequent shut-down has made us rethink how we do…everything from work, school, daycare, home gym…you get it. I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds about that but instead, focus on saving iconic architecture. Ron and Jaime started SIA, Save Iconic Architecture to do just that. While we talk a great deal about significant architecture in major cities, like LA. There are opportunities to find architectural gems in outlying areas. Think about that and know that Ron and Jaime are not against development. They want to save these masterworks because that is what they are. Amazing works by noted architects, not limited to but including Neutra, Schindler, Frank Lloyd Wright, Wallace Neff, and Paul Williams. 

This is a conversation about great architecture. Identifying it and saving it when possible. Before we get to this, a quick reminder, you can catch every episode of Convo By Design by subscribing to the show on your device. You can also find every episode and extras like the Convo By Design Blog at www.ConvoByDesign.com. Did you know that Convo By Design has been telling the stories of design luminaries for 7 years now with over 276 episodes produced and listeners in over 60 countries around the world? It’s true, so if you are new to the show, go check out the episodes you missed as well as over two hundred videos on our YouTube channel.


Lone Star House of Design | 5 | Kim Armstrong on Bold Color and Style that is Big & Bright



Kim Armstrong is a designer out of Dallas. She is fearless with color, surgical in her blending of materials and styles. I became familiar with Kim’s work through a friend in Dallas who is also a designer. When one designer tells me that I have to check out the work of another designer, that is a suggestion to which I cannot say no. And I am glad that I followed up because our conversation was fun, colorful and I think you are going to enjoy it. This is Kim Armstrong in episode number 5 of Lone Star House of Design!

Thank you, Kim. That was great and I truly appreciate the time. 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.


A Moment of Zen & Bold Bathroom Design | 275 | Jhoiey Ramirez of Studio Jhoiey



I love this conversation and I think you will too. It is with Jhoiey Ramirez of Studio Jhoiey and Mitch Altman, CEO of Thermasol. Jhoiey is an artist and crafts stunning design but this conversation we were focusing on bathroom design, making the bath both sublime and multi-functional This conversation studies a number of projects, most of which you can find at StudioJhoiey.COM. S as we talk about the projects, please go online and follow along. 

Thank you, Jhoiey and Mitch for your time and talent. For more about Jhoiey, please go to StudioJhoiey.COM. Thank you, Walker Zanger and Thermasol for your partnership and support of Convo By Design.

Speaking of which, you heard from Mitch Altman here, Mitch is the 3rd generation president of Thermasol. This company has been innovating and providing steam showers and saunas for over 60 years. That experience and knowledge has helped designers do their best work for their clients. This also allows designers to provide their clients with an amazing experience in the bathroom. We have been talking about designing for wellness, this includes chromatherapy, aromatherapy as well as entertainment options. Thermasol also provides the technology that really does create a smart shower, one that knows your preferences, and that allows for a customized shower experience. Discover the home spa with Thermasol. This is a company that has been doing it right for over 60 years, homeowners love Thermasol for the products they make and designers love Thermasol because they make it easy to specify and incorporate into any design you can imagine. Check them out at Therermasol.com


Design Diversity | 274 | Crafting Our World The Way it Should Be



Following is a panel conversation that took place at the WestEdge Design Fair in 2019. I am always honest with you, and this is no exception, I lost sleep in advance of recording this panel last October and now in publishing it because I wanted to approach this topic with the respect it deserves. I feel now, as I did in prep for this, that we have some incredibly challenging issues as evidenced by the headlines today. We were witnessing similar issues a year ago, and 10 years ago, and 50 years ago. This is a conversation about the lack of diversity in design. It speaks to the broader issue that, and you will hear from the get-go, that the lack of conversation about this issue is a big part of the problem.

You are going to hear a conversation about diversity, or the lack thereof, racism, the great divide, and lack of opportunity. You will hear front line stories about issues at play but you are also going to hear from four highly successful creative designers who bring the fight to the forefront every day. Let’s be clear, this conversation is not going to fix the societal issues we have regarding race nor is it going to equalize the level of diversity in design and that is not why we had this conversation. Let this be the beginning of an open dialogue. I believe the only way we eventually fix societal issues is by having very challenging conversations, conversations that make us uncomfortable but ultimately that is the only way we can understand a foreign perspective. You are going to hear from four individuals who have achieved success in their fields and with that accomplishment comes a recognition of what it took to get there, how they can offer a hand to help others, and how you can too. 

I think one of the most important issues to understand and you will hear it for yourself is that there is room for everyone. This is not about bumping anyone out but making space where there is plenty of room for different voices and new perspectives. That, in turn, makes the industry stronger. It makes our society stronger. This panel is packed with amazing talent and I am so thankful that the agreed to participate. Thank you, Breegan Jane, Bridgid Coulter, Ron Woodson, and Brian Pinkett. In this episode, you will hear about: Exposure, Opportunity, Education, Mentorship, Internship, Availability, Inclusivity, and Outreach. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to present this conversation from the WestEdge Design Fair, recorded in October 2019 called, Design Diversity: Crafting our World the Way it Should Be. The take away from this is that there are more conversations needed, we need to be able to have honest exchanges of ideas without fear of saying the wrong thing and while we are not there now, my hope is that by having more conversations like this, we will be, soon. Thank you Walker Zanger and Thermasol for your support fo Convo By Design and thank YOU for listening to the show, subscribing to the podcast, and coming out to our events. There are more on the horizon and there will always be diversity in the voices and stories you hear. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep talking, listening, and creating.


Lone Star House of Design | 4 | Ann Edgerton on Authentic Design and Wide Open Spaces



Ann Edgerton is an interior decorator and stylist from Austin and we spoke about wide-open spaces which seems appropriate when talking about ideas emanating from Texas. Ann has a very unique design signature that maximizes space, proportion, and product blending to create unique environments. We talk about her approach to this blending of large spaces and cozy design, modern lines with rustic materials, cosmopolitan ranches, and living room offices. I think Ann has a unique talent for blending and molding space, materials, and color to achieve unique moments in design.

Thank you, Ann, that was great and I truly appreciate the time. 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.


Blurring the Lines Between Indoor and Outdoor Living | 273 | Inside Out from the WestEdge Design Fair



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. I can’t start this podcast the way I usually do and have for the last seven years. Because I don’t feel the same as I have before. As a matter of fact, the last time I felt this way, it was 1992 and I was on a hilltop in Palos Verdes watching LA burn. I was going to school at Cal State Northridge at the time and bartending at a restaurant in Northridge. When the rioting got bad, they closed the restaurant and cut us loose. It took me 5 and a half hours to drive from Northridge to Redondo Beach. For those not in Southern California, that drive should have, at that time, taken me about forty minutes.

In 28 years, it looks like very little has changed. Watching Los Angeles go through this again is heartbreaking and I fear for my friends, many of whom are designers and others who have spent so many years creating and developing their showrooms. I am saddened by this and even more so by what has brought this on. For those of you who have been affected by this, directly and indirectly, my heart goes out to you and yours, and from all of us at Convo By Design, we are with you. I believe because I have seen that the healing process is slow, and better when you don’t have to do it alone.

In the spirit of LA, as a true Angeleno, the show must go on and it will, as it always does. But some things have to change. That being said, while not perfect by any stretch. I have seen changes in Los Angeles, changes for the better. We are having more conversations, more challenging conversations about issues that go far deeper than design and architecture. This week is one that I hope allows you to just feel the wind on your face and begin to heal a little bit from what has become the most challenging times in many if not most of our lives. So take a deep breath with me and enjoy this conversation from the WestEdge Design Fair all about blending indoor/ outdoor design…

California has long led the design world in providing new ways to blur the lines between inside and out. The climate, lifestyle, and California mindset provide everything but the design itself. True indoor-outdoor living is less about windows, doors, and walls but more a combination of skill, material mastery, and topographical strategy. This is a great conversation featuring; Stephen Block, owner of Inner Gardens, a boutique Los Angeles nursery, Joan Barton from Dirty Girl Construction, Bret Englander of Cerno Lighting, and Duan Tran from KAA Design. This conversation is moderated by Modern Luxury Group Publisher, Christopher Gialanella. I think you are going to love this!

That was amazing, thank you, Chris, Stephen, Joan, Duan, and Bret.  Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support and thank you for listening, downloading every episode, and engaging on the socials. Please follow the show stay up to date on where we will be at convobydesign.com and @ConvoXDesign with and “X” on Instagram. If you are not yet subscribing, please do, you can find the show everywhere you find your favorite podcasts or simply ask Alexa or Siri, say, “Hey Siri, play Convo by Design podcast”, and she will. Be well and until next week, keep creating.


Special Series on Designing for Disaster | 8 | Margie Grace on Creating Your Outdoor Oasis



This is the final episode in the series, not because there isn’t more to learn but because we are coming out of this first lock-down and you have been provided with actionable strategies for making your space more functional, more livable and now is your chance to go make it real. Speaking of real, I mention that we are through the first lock-down, there will be more. Perhaps not in the near future but don’t kid yourself into thinking that this can’t happen again. Instead, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. This series was presented in parts to help you structure your design into categories and this is the final piece… landscape design. This episode features Margie Grace talking about: 

Editing your spaces

Embracing the opportunity to clean out and purge

Being hopeful and bringing new life into your life

Plan the environment; 1. Dream it,  2. research it, shop, repurpose, rebuild what you have, 3. build it and 4.  live in it. X amount of functions and Y amount of space.

Functional design. Fruits, flowers, herbs and decorative plants, trees and shrubs for shade and privacy… What is it you want? Functionally design your space.

Beds & Borders, seating areas, ground vs. potted gardens.

Margie, as you will hear if you are not familiar with her, is a tour de force. She is energetic for days and has a very clear vision as it relates to her approach. So, strap in and try to keep up.

Thank you, Margie, for your time and talent. For more about Margie Grace, please go to gracedesignassociates.com. Thank you Walker Zanger for your partnership and support of Convo By Design. And thank you for listening, were it not for you, there would be no Convo By Design. We are getting through this, and while we do, I will keep bringing you the ideas from incredibly talented creatives to make it a little bit better. If you have a question, ideas for a segment or you are a designer that wants to help, please email me at ConvoByDesign@Outlook.com. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.