Christopher Peacock | 420 | Bespoke and Hand-Crafted Design with Heritage to Match

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo by Design with a conversation about building an absolutely exceptional design brand. Christopher Peacock is a truly exceptional creative with a rich history in creating some of the most extraordinary wood cabinetry in the industry today. There is a difference between crafting a product and building a brand. Peacock molded his eponymous brand in the US from humble beginnings and a keen understanding for what he wanted. And he’s going to share that story and insight here.

Christopher launched his firm in 1992. Christopher Peacock Cabinetry was built on the premise that wooden cabinetry should be beautiful and enduring. But when Peacock put his name on it, there was a greater sense of purpose. That is what I find so interesting here. This is the piece that is missing from much of what we. See and hear these days in the trades and in the media surrounding design and architecture. For many years now, the idea of luxury design has been inextricable tied to big, expensive and for lack of a better word, “extra”. I don’t think good design has to be big, expensive or “extra”. I think good, no, great design is about the nature of the work and manner in which the work is tied to the individual for whom it’s created. Look at art. A painting can sell for millions of dollars but at the end of the day, what is it…really. A few dollars worth of canvas and paint. But the work speaks. Fashion, same thing. A few dollars of fabric crafted into something extraordinary. It’s the art that goes into the craftsmanship. That is what makes design so special. And that is why Christopher’s sorry is so special. And why I am so pleased to share it with you. 

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

Thank you Christopher for taking the time to share your story. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your continued support. And thank you for taking the time every week to share some time together and hear the stories behind sublime design. Until next week, remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it, be well and take today first.

Design Marketing Development at the Highest Level | 419 | Marketing Mastery with Charles Miller

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. Today, I’m just having a chat with a friend. One that I want to share with you because my friend Charles is one of the best brand-ambassadors I know. He is a marketer and promoter in the very best sense of the words. This is Charles Miller.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

You already know my background if you have been listening to the show for any length of time. I want to share a story that I don’t think I have shared on CXD before. Growing up in LA, I was a huge fan of radio since I can remember. That is how I would up in broadcast for the first 20+ years of my career. When I was in college, I was interning at KLOS-FM, a legendary radio station. My internship was with the mark & Brian Show, one of the biggest radio shows in LA history. One day, my job was to escort and assist a very young and newly-minted boxing champ, Mike Tyson. He came in with Don King to plant a tree on Arbor Day. I handed he and King a shovel, they looked at each other and laughed. I would up planting that tree. I got to follow King and Tyson around that day and watched, in awe as Don King did his Don King thing. One of the best promoters I have ever witnessed. Singular in focus at the moment. He had nothing else in life but Mike Tyson at that moment. He espoused the virtues, sidestepped the unimportant and made sure to drive every campaign with purpose and passion.

This is how I think about my friend Charles Miller. He is as creative as any designer or artist but his creativity takes the form of ideas that drive brand awareness and engagement for his branded clients. It’s an art form. One for which I have a strong admiration. And Charles is one of the best. If you know him, you know I’m right. If you don’t, allow me to introduce you.

Thank you Charles. You are one of the best at what you do. Thank you to CXD partners and sponsors including ThermaSol, Moya Living, Design Hardware and the WestEdge Design Fair. Thank YOU for taking the time out of your day to download, subscribe and listen to the show. I appreciate you and I hope this show helps you do that thing you do better. For more information about the show, about what we do here at Convo By Design, check the show notes for links and ways to connect. Until next week, be well and take today first. -CXD

Artificial Intelligence and The Design Industry | 418 | What You Need to Know Because the Future is Here, Now

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is another edition of Business By Design, a special feature of the show. As previously mentioned, I am producing these ad hoc and I have something special for you today. But first…So you know, the following opinions are mine and do not represent or warranty any economic or future performance. We are not responsible for any gross factual errors voiced by guests, real or fake. There are no guarantees here, just ideas that have been constructed based on research so I suggest that you do your own research as well before acting on any of the ideas shared here. This is what those in the business call a disclaimer and it is meant to make sure you know that I am not giving you any financial advice, I am presenting ideas in the hopes that it gives you a way to perhaps think a bit differently about this business of ours.

Most of you have heard and might be curious about whats happening next in the business from a technological standpoint. There has been a lot of chatter recently about NFT’s, the metaverse and AI. At KBIS and Vegas Market recently, some creatives have expressed doubts, others concern and it makes sense. Years ago, I started tracking the amount of time designers and architectural firms spent of social media, marketing and other activities not directly related to the core business of the design practice and it has been astounding to see the time spent on these activities skyrocket. For me, as the host and publisher of Convo By design, it has been interesting to watch some designers really embrace media, writing blogs and some even recording their own podcasts. I love that because they got to see first hand just how difficult and time consuming it can be to do it right. That being said, we are entering a new era, one of artificial intelligence and that will have some very interesting effects on the business of design. and we are going to explore that very idea. Before I get to deep into this, I want to introduce me guest today. Meet AIDAAN (Artificial Intelligence Design And Architectural Narrarator).

As you might have guessed, AIDAAN is not human, he is as AI as it gets. I made a choice here, I gave AIDAAN an artificial sounding voice. There are some options out there that sound as real as any human. You have most likely already heard from or actually spoken with AI support and you might not even be aware. So, today on the show, we are going to hear from AIDAAN and they are going to tell you about various aspects and topics of the industry. I’m messing around with different voices and over time, I will begin to add more refined voices and we are going to learn together what that will sound like.

Something else you should know. The content you will be hearing about was not written by me, or any other human being for that matter. I have been using a few different AI sources like ChatGPT which is responsible for the actual content that AIDAAN is voicing. As a journalist, editorial integrity is of paramount importance to me so I am going to tell you when AI is responsible for producing the content you hear on the show.

So the first thing I wanted to know was the current state of the design and architecture industry. AIDAAN, take it away.


The interior design industry is a vital part of the United States economy, providing jobs for thousands of designers, salespeople, and manufacturers across the country. From high-end residential projects to commercial spaces, the interior design industry has a wide range of applications and can be found in virtually every sector of the economy. In this article, we will explore the interior design industry as a business in the United States, examining the industry’s history, key players, and future prospects.


The history of interior design in the United States can be traced back to the early 20th century, when the emergence of the middle class led to a growing demand for comfortable, stylish homes. In the years that followed, the interior design industry grew rapidly, with designers like Elsie de Wolfe and Dorothy Draper pioneering new styles and techniques that helped to shape the look and feel of modern American homes.

In the post-World War II era, the interior design industry continued to expand, with designers like Raymond Loewy and Charles and Ray Eames revolutionizing the way we think about design. The emergence of the mid-century modern style, with its emphasis on clean lines, minimalism, and functionality, had a profound impact on the industry and helped to establish the United States as a leader in the world of design.

In the decades that followed, the interior design industry continued to grow and evolve, with designers and manufacturers constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible. Today, the industry is a diverse and dynamic landscape, with a wide range of players and applications.

Key Players

The interior design industry is made up of a wide range of players, from independent designers and boutique firms to large manufacturers and retailers. Some of the key players in the industry include:

  1. Designers: Interior designers are the heart of the industry, providing creative solutions for residential and commercial spaces. Many designers work independently or as part of small firms, while others are employed by large companies or design studios.
  2. Manufacturers: Furniture manufacturers and other companies that produce interior design products are an essential part of the industry. These companies may work with designers to create custom pieces or may sell their products directly to consumers through retail outlets.
  3. Retailers: Retailers are an important part of the interior design industry, providing consumers with access to a wide range of products and services. Some retailers specialize in high-end luxury goods, while others cater to more budget-conscious shoppers.
  4. Contractors: Contractors and construction companies play a key role in the interior design industry, providing the skills and expertise needed to transform spaces into beautiful, functional environments. Many interior designers work closely with contractors to ensure that their designs are executed to perfection.
  5. Suppliers: Suppliers of materials and other products, such as fabric, wallpaper, and lighting, are an important part of the interior design industry. These companies provide the raw materials that designers need to create their designs and bring them to life.

Future Prospects

The interior design industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, driven by a number of factors. One of the key drivers of growth is the increasing demand for personalized and unique interior design solutions. As consumers become more design-savvy and sophisticated, they are increasingly looking for interior design solutions that reflect their individual tastes and styles.

Another key factor driving growth in the industry is the increasing importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their actions on the environment, they are looking for interior design solutions that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

In addition to these factors, the growing importance of technology is also expected to have a significant impact on the interior design industry. From virtual reality to 3D printing, technology is enabling designers and manufacturers to create new and innovative products and services that were previously unimaginable.

Okay, so from the state of the industry to some of the players AIDAAN mentioned, let’s start with a classic, 

Billy Baldwin was a man ahead of his time. Born in 1903, he was one of the most influential interior designers of the mid-20th century, renowned for his ability to create elegant, livable spaces that were both stylish and comfortable.

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Billy had a keen eye for design from an early age. After attending the Parsons School of Design in New York City, he began his career as a window dresser for the prestigious department store, Bonwit Teller.

It wasn’t long before Billy was noticed by the city’s elite, who quickly began asking him to design their homes. His signature style was a blend of classic and modern elements, with an emphasis on comfort and practicality.

One of Billy’s most famous clients was Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who asked him to decorate her family’s home in Virginia. Billy’s design for the house was a masterful blend of traditional and modern styles, with clean lines, simple shapes, and a neutral color palette that emphasized the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Billy’s success continued throughout the 1950s and 60s, as he designed homes and offices for some of the most prominent names in entertainment, politics, and business. His work was characterized by a simplicity and elegance that set it apart from the more ornate and opulent styles of the time.

Despite his success, Billy was always humble and focused on his work. He believed that good design should be accessible to everyone, and he wrote several books on the subject to share his ideas and inspire others.

Today, Billy Baldwin’s legacy lives on, with his designs and ideas continuing to influence generations of interior designers. He was a true pioneer in the field, and his contributions to the world of design will always be remembered and celebrated.

Next, I wanted to see if AIDAAN could explain something a bit more esoteric, nuanced and industry specific. I wanted to know more about the

Parsons School of Design

Architecture, also known as Parsons or Parsons The New School for Design, is a private art and design college located in New York City, New York. It is widely regarded as one of the best design schools in the world, with a long history of producing innovative and influential designers, artists, and thinkers. In this article, we will explore the history, philosophy, and legacy of Parsons School of Design.


Parsons School of Design was founded in 1896 by American impressionist painter William Merritt Chase. Originally known as the Chase School, the institution was established to provide young artists with the opportunity to learn from working professionals in a supportive and collaborative environment.

In the early years, the school focused primarily on painting and drawing, with a curriculum that emphasized the importance of classical techniques and the study of nature. As the school grew, however, it began to expand its offerings to include other disciplines, such as graphic design, industrial design, and fashion design.

In 1904, the school was purchased by Frank Alvah Parsons, who served as the director of the school until his death in 1930. Parsons was a visionary educator who recognized the potential of design to transform society, and he was instrumental in expanding the school’s offerings and establishing its reputation as a leader in the field of design.

Under Parsons’ leadership, the school was renamed the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, and later the Parsons School of Design. During this time, the school attracted a wide range of talented artists and designers, including the likes of Norman Rockwell, Alexander Calder, and Donald Deskey.

In the years that followed, Parsons continued to evolve and adapt to changing trends in art and design. Today, it is recognized as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking design schools in the world, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.


At its core, Parsons School of Design is guided by a philosophy that emphasizes creativity, experimentation, and innovation. The school’s curriculum is designed to encourage students to take risks, push boundaries, and explore new ideas and ways of thinking.

One of the key tenets of the Parsons philosophy is the idea that design can be a powerful force for positive change. Parsons students are encouraged to think critically about the social and environmental impact of their work, and to use their skills and creativity to address real-world problems and challenges.

Another important aspect of the Parsons philosophy is the school’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Parsons students are encouraged to work across disciplines and explore new ways of combining different forms of design, from fashion and architecture to graphic design and product design.

Throughout its history, Parsons has also been committed to providing its students with real-world experience and practical skills. The school has strong connections to industry leaders and professionals, and students have the opportunity to work on real-world projects and collaborate with established designers and firms.


Over the years, Parsons School of Design has produced a long list of influential and innovative designers and artists. From fashion icons like Donna Karan and Tom Ford to architects like David Rockwell and Steven Holl, Parsons graduates have had a significant impact on the world of design.

One of the most notable aspects of Parsons’ legacy is its focus on social and environmental responsibility. Many Parsons graduates have used their skills and creativity to address pressing global issues, from climate change and sustainability to social justice and equity.

Parsons has also been instrumental in shaping the cultural landscape of New York City and beyond. The school’s alumni have played a key role in shaping the fashion, art, and design scenes of the city, and its influence can be seen in everything from the public spaces and buildings of the city to the fashion runways and galleries of the world.

Is this as interesting to you as it is to me? I find this fascinating. So the final question I had for AIDAAN today, how will those in the design trade use AI to make life better, business  more profitable and design more refined?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an essential tool in many industries, including design and architecture. The use of AI in these fields is changing the way designers and architects work, creating new opportunities for creativity and innovation. In this article, we will explore how designers and architects are using AI to make their work better for clients, how this is improving interior design and architecture, and how it is making life better.

  1. How designers and architects will use artificial intelligence to make the work better for their clients:

a) Streamlining the design process:

AI is already being used to streamline the design process, reducing the time and effort required to complete projects. For example, some companies are using AI to automate the creation of 3D models, allowing designers to focus on other aspects of the project. This saves time and increases efficiency, which can ultimately result in cost savings for clients.

b) Customization:

One of the most significant benefits of AI in design and architecture is the ability to customize designs to meet the specific needs of each client. AI can analyze data on client preferences, needs, and behaviors to create personalized designs that meet their unique requirements. This leads to more satisfied clients who feel that their needs have been heard and addressed.

c) Improved accuracy:

AI can also improve the accuracy of design work, reducing the risk of errors or mistakes. This is particularly important in fields like architecture, where errors can have serious consequences. By using AI to analyze data and create precise models, designers and architects can reduce the risk of errors and improve the overall quality of their work.

  1. How this will improve interior design and architecture:

a) Better space planning:

AI can be used to analyze data on space usage and traffic flow to create more efficient and effective interior design plans. This can lead to better use of space, improved traffic flow, and ultimately, a better experience for users of the space.

b) Improved sustainability:

AI can also be used to improve the sustainability of interior design and architecture projects. For example, AI can analyze data on energy usage and building materials to create more sustainable designs that reduce energy consumption and waste.

c) Improved safety:

AI can also be used to improve the safety of interior design and architecture projects. For example, AI can analyze data on traffic flow and building usage to create designs that minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.

  1. How this will make life better:

a) Increased accessibility:

AI can be used to create designs that are more accessible to people with disabilities. For example, AI can analyze data on the needs of people with disabilities to create designs that are easier to navigate and use.

b) Improved quality of life:

AI can also be used to improve the quality of life for people in interior design and architecture projects. For example, AI can be used to create designs that maximize natural light and reduce noise pollution, creating a more pleasant and comfortable environment for users.

c) Improved efficiency:

Finally, AI can be used to improve the efficiency of interior design and architecture projects, ultimately saving time and money for clients. By streamlining the design process and improving accuracy, designers and architects can complete projects more quickly and with fewer errors, resulting in cost savings for clients.


In conclusion, the use of AI in design and architecture is changing the way designers and architects work, creating new opportunities for creativity and innovation. By using AI to streamline the design process, improve accuracy, and customize designs, designers and architects can create better work for their clients. Additionally, the use of AI in interior design and architecture can improve space planning, sustainability, safety, accessibility, quality of life, and efficiency, ultimately making life better for all of us. As AI continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more exciting innovations in these fields in the years to come.

So, there you go. If you believe the machines, the state of design is strong. AI is real and this means there are new ways to use these new tools to make life better, work easier, advance innovation at a much faster pace and learn whats available sooner all while saving time and energy so you can both be more efficient and get more done. Now, can you use that additional time in a productive way or will that mean more time spent on social media? That is a personal question, but one that all of us need to ask ourselves. And, we will explore this further in the weeks and months to come.

AIDAAN, did you enjoy your first appearance on the show?

Thank you, to the amazing Convo By Design partners and sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to listen to the show. Please make sure you are subscribing to the show so you don’t miss a single episode. You can also follow along on Instagram for more fun and informative content. 2023 is shaping up to be another interesting year in design. As I have for the past 10, I will be bringing you the stories from across the globe here o n Convo By Design as well as design business insights on CXD’s The Business X Design.

Until the next episode, be well and take today first.

Exquisite Objects for Experimental Design from Mexico City, A Story of Art, Family and Collaborative Vision | 417 | Sten Studio

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a journey south, Mexico City to be exact, to speak with Sten Studio founder Jose Miguel Schnaider. We are talking about stone, sculpture, lighting, art and so much more.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

From a family quarry to original works of art suing beautiful gifts painstakingly unwrapped from their multi-million year formation process, that is both a big responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity to create something truly unique.  Using the minerals and materials unearthed using select manufacturing techniques, Juan Miguel crafts some incredible works. But not alone. This is also a conversation about collaboration and teamwork. 

It dawned on my while writing the preamble for this episode that a consistent and constant theme that is present in every one of the 400+ previous conversations and from each of the 800+ creatives I have spoken with over the past 10 years, there is this state of wonder I feel. I was having a conversation recently with the CEO of a rather large company. We were just chatting about life in general and I realized something. My friend’s creative pilot light had gone out. As we delved deeper, it became evident that there was no joy in what he did, only obligations. The need to keep things going forward. Sales, R & D, stock price, no bad press, no scandals… Burnout will surely follow at some point, and he knows this. The goal, for him, is to hang on as long as possible. Get as close as he can to the day when he can eventually cut the cord and let go.

Think about that for a moment. Just keeping all the balls in the air versus living each breath in a state of awe and wonder. Nobody I know has reached that level of awareness, some are far closer than I but the goal is to eventually get there. Why so philosophical today? Not sure, but I think it has to do with this conversation and the idea of walking through a yard of newly unearthed minerals, geodes, and all different shapes of materials knowing that I would have the opportunity to craft them into something completely unique. Art. Isn’t that what life is all about? Taking the unknown, opportunity, discovery and crafting it into something you can be proud of?

Thank you Juan Miguel. I enjoyed our chat and love what you do. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your continued support. And thank you for taking the time every week to share some time together and hear the stories behind sublime design. Check the show notes for links to Sten Studio, our social media links and please keep emailing me with your suggestions and guest submissions. Convo By Design @ Outlook dot com. Until next week, remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it, be well and take today first. -CXD

Viva Las Vegas Market, It’s All About the People | 416 | Some of the Stories from Behind Design’s Biggest Events

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. It’s kind of funny to me that over the years, all of the events and interviews, showcase homes, tours, gatherings… much of what I have found myself talking about with you, my friends in the business, that is the experience in design. That experience is more about the interpersonal relationships than the work itself. I love the work, it’s the glue that binds this amazing industry together. But, without the people, there is no design to begin with so it only makes sense that the people and our experiences come first. With that, I wanted to bring you a feel for what it was like at the Las Vegas Winter Market. I had never been to Las Vegas Market before so I don’t have a frame of reference, nothing to compare it to but I will tell you that I was completely blown way by this show. A massive market center with so much to see that it completely shocked the senses. I have been to KBIS before, but not since it was in Las Vegas back in 2019. I was not prepared for this. For designers who have been, you know, there is way more to see than time permits. More to do than you have the time or energy to expend. I was shocked by the attendance this year. I’m not exactly sure why though.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

The new reality is,

  1. Meteorologists can not accurately predict the weather. Even with their Mega-Monster Super Doppler 10,000. They have no idea whats coming, or not.
  2. The airlines can no longer be trusted to get you to the trade shows on time. I cannot tell you how many of my friends did not make it to the show on time. The one thing you can count on is that they will continue to jam-pack every flight they can, they will over-charge whenever possible and there will always be that one dude who isn’t wearing socks on the plane, he is also usually the guy whose watching or making a call on his phone without Air-pods.
  3. Economic predictions are unreliable at best and there is no reliable way for knowing if a real recession is looming unless you actually do the research, which you do not have the time to do. But that brings me to another idea for you.

For the past 5 years, I have been gathering research from a small but very active group of designers and architects. Their combined findings have been extremely reliable predictors for what’s coming. Check the show for detailed findings and upcoming releases.

If you went to the shows this year or not, I wanted to see if I could bring you there with me and share a snapshot of the experience. In an effort to give you a real feel for this, I am going to organize this a bit differently. You have already heard my panel conversation. I published that last week. This episode is all about the people and a few that I think you should know.

First up, you are going to hear from Mike Riley, president of Feizy Rugs. Mike is an industry vet with decades of experience, and with the exuberance of  someone new to the business. His passion shows and you’ll hear how Mike is navigating a company celebrating 50 years into this new era of the design business. We’ll be right back with that in just a moment.

You heard from Mike Riley, president of Feizy Rugs. Next, you are going to hear from my friend Michael Bauer, director of trade relations at Feizy. He is one of the most genuine and authentic people you will ever meet. I mean that with complete sincerity. His openness and willingness to help is one of the characteristics that make him an absolute gem. If you don’t know him, you’re about to. I would also encourage you to check the show notes for links to the Feizy Rugs website and introduce yourself to him because if you are a designer, you’re about to meet your next really amazing friend, Michael Bauer.

Finally, you are going to hear from Brad Priest of J & B Home Decor and Gifts. This designer and retailer has a thriving decor business who comes to Market to see what is new, now and next so he can bring it back to his Elkhart, Indiana showroom. Brad lost his husband and business partner Jonathan unexpectedly in 2021 and you are going to hear how his love of design and designers help him continue to heal from the loss. This was my first time meeting Brad and for me, this is what it’s all about. I have a new friend.

This was a snapshot of the Las Vegas Market in January. Now, to be fair, I walked literally miles in and around the 3 building campus and I probably only saw a fraction of what there was to see. That being said, if you check the CXD IG, you will find some additional footage of my experience. If you have never been to Market in Vegas, you need to go and see. Plan accordingly. Thank you Brad, Mike and Michael. Thank you Kim Porter of IMC for making my trip possible and casting me for the amazing panel conversation. 

Thank you Convo By Design sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your partnership. You are incredible. For those listening who want to learn more, please check the show notes for links. Thank you for listening to the show. I know now more than ever, there are a lot of shows out there and you chose CXD. I appreciate you and I hope you found this episode to be a great use of your time because that is my goal. Let’s do this again shall we? Say, next week? Until then, be well and take today first. -CXD

Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series feat. Michael Gilbride | 413 | Talking About Design For Lives Well Lived

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with another installment of the Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol. For those new to the show, the Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series is a deep dive into the work of shelter creatives who are at the forefront of holistic design. When I say holistic design, I mean it in the truest sense. Design that keeps the individual form whom its designed at the forefront of the work. Designers who craft space for the quality of life that space provides. And Michael Gilbride is one such designer.

Michael describes his namesake firm as one that creates, “for lives well lived.” He also describes well connected spaces and purpose to elevate daily life. That is the prototypical example of a designer that works to create, elevate, connect and better the lives for those he designs for. And that’s the point. Michael and I cover a lot of ground here. We talk about his South American upbringing that informs his design philosophy and his background in fashion prior to his work in design. We also chat about an extraordinary design house project that Michael worked on in the Hudson Valley of New York. The Kingston Design Showhouse. Michael and his team created an absolutely spectacular bathroom that is part spa, part art gallery and all zen. What I love most, and you will hear about this, This bathroom is simply one of the best, most-completely designed spaces I have ever seen. I have studied this space in depth, looking for some small detail that was overlooked and I cannot find one. It is one of the best-designed spaces I have ever seen and because design is personal, you might agree, or not and that is okay either way. But what is undeniable is that design is constrained by walls, space, location and imagination. This bathroom is not huge but every inch of space was considered in the final result. What you will hear is the philosophy behind it the why, and how it all came together. 

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry. I love working with Moya Living and believe you will too for any design project you can conceive from residential to Commercial, hospitality or industrial.

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home! Check them out and you will find what you’re looking for.

Thank you Michael for taking the time to share your story. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your continued support. And thank you for taking the time every week to share some time together and hear the stories behind sublime design. Check the show notes for links to Michael’s work, our social media links and please keep emailing me with your suggestions and guest submissions. Convo By Design @ Outlook dot com. Until next week, remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it, be well and take today first.

Tulsa Remote Design House – Rose Gold feat. John McClain | 412 | A Sophisticated, Lasting and A Spectacular Space by One of the Most Talented Designers Working Today

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. We are talking about the Remote Design House in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This episode features a tremendous talent and incredible friend, John McClain.

In the last episode of the show featuring this new design house project in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you heard about and from designer Gail Davis. This episode features John McClain and his work on Rose’s Room. First, a reminder about this project.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

The pandemic created a forced shelter-in-place which affected home and office design more than most other industries. 

The core ideas of both home and office have changed forever. And rightfully so. At the same time, the very nature of what architects and designers do hasn’t changed at all, while their means, methods, processes and procedures certainly have. The remote nature of this design house is in direct response to designers responding to clients that they could not see in person at the time and, for those who have left their current city or state but love their designer and want to remain with them. If I live in Los Angeles and move to Aspen, I might want my designer to to work on my project. But if my designer doesn’t know how to work remotely, or virtually, that can and will be a problem. 

Remote Design is the practice of working in one place on a project in another. 

Virtual Design is the process of working on a project that does not currently exist. Thank of it as an idea without a physical embodiment.

The Remote Design House – Tulsa is a real project, using real designers who will never physically step foot in the project house. All the work is being done virtually, and remotely with local trades and artisans doing the work. 

This project will also not have tours and there are no tickets for events or parties. No matter where you are listening to this, you will have access to the final project through videos, before and after segments, product features and an intimate look at the project house, neighborhood and City of Tulsa.

Side note. I was recently in Los Angeles for a design event in May and as I was telling many in the trade about the project, the Mose common response was, “eww, why Tulsa.” This has been a common response since I started planning this project in 2020. There is a visceral, negative response to the idea of Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Midwest from many I have met in LA, New York, Tab Francisco and the other “high style” design destinations. My response is always the same, “oh, when was the last time you were in Tulsa?” Not a single person with that response has ever been to Tulsa because had they been, they would know what a special city this is. Which is exactly why it was selected over Austin, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle and Denver. Nothing against those cities, but Tulsa is special and over the next year, you are going to find out why.

The Family | The Jennings’s, Michael (45), Rachael (42) and their children, Davis (19) and Rose (17) are transplants from New York City. The family learned that they could work remotely from anywhere in the country and sought out a city where they could slow down, focus on family and still grow their business, make friends, finish high school and pursue a higher quality of life. The desire was to slow down, focus and decrease the rat race pace and find their space.

Michael is a TV producer. He is an avid cook, not a chef. He enjoys his work but is looking for ways to separate himself from doing it 24/7/365. Michael is connected (media) and looks for ways to disconnect, spend time volunteering coach youth sports and engaging in creative endeavors. This includes building and refinishing furniture.

Rachael is in sales. She manages a territory across the US and does the majority of her work online but travels about 5 times a year to industry trade shows. Rachel enjoys reading, yoga and quiet meditation. She is an avid baker who loves spending time in the kitchen and enjoys spending time with the family.

Davis is a college student, attending school on the east coast. While his room is not occupied year-round, when he is at home, he spends countless hours on research projects. He spends time gaming with his college friends around the country and enjoys reading, golf and computer training events.

Rose is a senior in high school. She is a highly accomplished athlete. She plays club soccer and lacrosse and debate competitions. Rose misses her friends back home and looks forward to playing host when they come to town and visit her. There are times when she is often exhausted and physically beat up from long tournament weekends. She spends long hours doing research papers and studying so her workspace needs to be both functional and comfortable. She is fashion forward and cherishes her personal space as teenage girls do.

The home is American Colonial built in 1936. This is a unique property with a park setting and Tulsa’s Crow Creek running though the back yard. Project rooms include; Living Room, Kitchen/ Dining Room, Michel and Rachael’s Room, Rose’s Room, Davis’s Room, Club Room, Guest Quarters w/ Sunroom, Office. All bedrooms are en-suites.

John McClain of John McClain Design is also a long time friend and by far the most business savvy designers working in the business today. Pair that with his tremendous talent and you have a complete deign professional whose work stops those who love design in their tracks.

John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others. As a young man, John’s interest in creating beautiful spaces was sparked by his family’s talent in home building and renovations.

Soon, John began remodeling and redesigning home after home and combined a trade taught by his family with his natural aesthetic ability. Shortly after his career launch, John appeared on HGTV; and through this experience, his personality and design perspective were visible to a larger audience, and he was soon designing homes across the country. Next, John joined a prestigious interior design firm/furniture design company in Los Angeles, CA. Here, John gained an appreciation for the sophisticated west coast design style while collaborating on designs for many LA homes-including several celebrity clients. John also fueled his passion for custom furniture design-learning the ins and outs of quality craftsmanship and unique designs, eventually leading to his own home furnishings company, John McClain Home. John McClain Design is a well-crafted blend of John’s past design experience, education, and innovative-forward thinking.

John selected Rose’s Room and he infused it with glamour, style and a luxurious functionality that allows for work, study, fun, games, dreaming, relaxing and growing in a single space. It is so wonderful and I cannot wait to share it with you. 

There you go, that is John McClain and I want you to notice a few things. John is resolute in his talents, style and abilities. That is not arrogant or cocky. John spends a great deal of time studying his craft, knowledge base of materials colors and finishes. Basically, John does the work and it shows in his design. That is the next superpower of the most talented designers. An unquenchable thirst for knowledge, a curiosity that leads to a superior base of knowledge. Why is this important? It provides:

  • A full understanding of what is available, and the performance of the product and materials.
  • An  understanding of the longevity of the idea. Is it a trend, a fad, or, is it something that will resonate for the duration of the design itself. This brings up another concept. Design is NOT forever. There is lasting style and classics but don’t mistake that to believe that the design is going to be forever. Nothing is. Everything has a lifespan. Architects design for 75, 100, maybe 200 years. Designers tend to create for 10, 15 or 20. Daily use furnishings and rugs will not last that long before recovering or restoration is needed. Keep that in mind.
  • Securing the best material quality available so when that sofa does reach the end of its life, it can be recovered, and reimagined to reflect the ideas of the day. A good designer sees that potential.
  • Superior designers who know their business are truly futurists. By that I mean they can look into the future based on what is happening today and predict how developing trends in design might affect other elements of the design. In this case, John designed for a 17 year old girl who will take this design concept with her when she gets her own place. And that design concept will craft her future design ideas and desires. Brilliant really.

So, it’s such a gift to have a great designer, but that’s not always enough. You need good product partners too. The pandemic and later, supply chain issues, inflation and staffing has put a white hot spotlight on the design industries product and manufacturing companies as well as the designers themselves. Not all the businesses in our industry were prepared for what happened, nor were they prepared for what would be required to keep clients and designers happy. We had some specification issues on this project and not every partner responded the same.

There was a console specified. The cost of the console was $2,000. The shipping, added later was $5,000. That is not a mistake, $5,000 to ship a $2,000 console. Needless to say, we cancelled that and found local artisan n Tulsa to craft one that that captured the original idea and I think it really did in the end. The materials used on this console were all reclaimed materials and that too felt pretty good. So, locally made by a local Tulsa, delivered locally and crafted of locally reclaimed materials. Oh, and it was delivered for about 20% of the cost of the other product. Not 20% less, 20% of the total cost. It required local research on my end and input form John. But it really worked.

There was one issue that really did not sit well and it had to do with the window coverings. We had a local workroom craft them but the materials came another vendor. The original order was not correct and the service required to fix it was less than stellar. Love the material, but will not be using that vendor again. Know your vendors and build that relationship even if you are not ordering from them now, it will pay off in the end.

Shop the Space:

York Wallcoverings – Wallpaper

Benjamin Moore, Simply White

DVKAP – Custom Curtains & Throw 

Leftbank Art

CFC Chair

918 Reklaimed – Console

Jaipur – Rugs/ Pouf

Noir – Dresser

Noir – Lamp

Noir – Cosmopolitan Accent Table

Noir – Chandelier

Noir – Bed


Thank you, John for your time and talent. Your incredible and amazing vision. Thank you to Convo By Design partners and sponsors; ThermaSol, York Wallcoverings, Moya Living, Design Hardware. And thank you for listening and subscribing to Convo By Design. I so appreciate that you take me with you on your drives, hikes, workouts all the other places where you listen to your podcasts. For more stories from the Remote Design House – Tulsa and interviews, panels and design events, please make sure you are subscribing to the show. Remember why you do what you do and take today first. -CXD

The Pivot: Actionable Steps You Can Take Now to Level Up Your Design Business | 410 | Make 2023 The Year You Need it To Be

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. Today on the show we are heading back to the WestEdge Design Fair from Dallas, Texas to talk about something on every creative’s mind these days. The Pivot. I started writing about the pivot in the first year of the pandemic. Through my conversations, a constant theme kept emerging. This idea that creatives must continually reinvent themselves to reflect both a working knowledge and fundamental understanding of where the design industry was going from both technological and preferential perspectives. We continue this conversation with some new voices, and I am really excited to share this with you.

How are you adapting to the design business changes over the past 3 years? Are you working harder than ever before? Checking on delivery dates, specifying and re-specifying due to repricing and discontinuations? Wondering how to capture a bigger audience in social media, upgrade your clientele? Are you wondering if this is the right time to scale back, scale up or merge with another firm? Are you concerned about how inflationary pressures or that threatened recession will become a reality? 

Thought so. You’re not alone. These questions are on the mind of most if not every designer working today. Size doesn’t matter, scale does. Is this the time to scale down to find harmonious home/ life balance or scale up to increase revenues. While ultimately these are individual decisions, you will hear from designers who have scaled that mountain, some up and others down. You will learn from those who have experienced it and what they have learned from the experience. Is it working? Follow along as this distinguished group discuss these issues and others that directly affect the industry. Featuring Laura Umansky, Ann Jackson,  and moderated by Sara Malek Barney.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

Before I get to this episode of the show, I received a special delivery and I’m so happy to share it with you in this edition of BOOKLOOK featuring Intersection of Nature and Art, an absolutely glorious book celebrating those very things by James Doyle Design Associates. There are a few different styles for today’s design and architecture books. Some are used as a promotional piece for the designer or architect. A way to display their work in a weighted volume from which to share detailed ideas, almost like that of a text book while others create picture books full of their project images sans much editorial. Then of course there are various options between the two extremes. Then there are those who craft and construct their tome with the approach of a romance writer but weighted and balanced as to demonstrate how the copy could have served as the instructions for what would ultimately become the completed work. That narrative is then seen in the photos. There is enough art and sculpted landscape, which could also be defined as art in the project images, but there is also a great deal of work that looks to be there, not because a landscape designer placed it but because it just belongs there. That too is the feeling I had going through this monograph. It is complex yet simple in the idea that nature and art are inexplicably tied, but there is a completeness to the story being told in the work itself. I’ll share a secret with you. I am what you call an extroverted introvert. I have known this for a long time and that is one of the reasons why I think I love design as much as I do. I can appreciate the work and even draw energy from it. Going through a design book like this energizes me, provides me with an opportunity to lose myself in their work and focus exclusively on what is about the inanimate and the living working together without the need for people to activate it. Intersection of Nature and Art is a journey that takes you from a fun, elaborate tree house to the concrete exoskeleton that will be a retaining wall. Exquisitely sculpted gardens to nature-scapes that appear not to have been touched by human hands in decades yet they all share the same sense of scale, detail, scope and importance.

This book is being shared with you because it belongs in your library if what I previously mentioned are important to you. I love books, I love design and so my love for design books runs deep. This is a book I can see myself returning to often and because of that, if you share this passion, I think you will enjoy it as well. James Doyle Design Associates, well done.

Thank you Sara for grabbing the mic and taking this conversation on. Thank you Ann and Laura for your insight and expertise. Thank you for listening and subscribing to Convo By Design. The podcast, now in our 10th year was created for those in the design industry as well as those who simply love design, architecture, the arts and want the insider’s perspective. 

Thank you ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware for your partnership and support of the show. Keep those email coming, I do love hearing your thoughts about the show, ways to provide you new ideas and those guest submissions. Love those. Until next week, be well and take today first.

American Made By Hand: Brad Glock at the Intersection of Art & Nature

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design. After 10 years doing this show, I am still happy to say that I love doing it. If I’m being completely honest, it’s not because I am surprised and delighted by the design. I am, but that’s not why. I have grown accustomed to seeing extraordinary design and architecture. Spectacular new products, amazingly talented creatives doing the work. But it is the people and their stories that keep me in a childlike state of wonder. That is why I continue to love doing this show the way I do. And today’s episode is no different. This is part of a series called American Made By Hand and it features a friend, Brad Glock who turns wood into exquisite pieces of Americana. And you are about to hear his story.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Design Hardware – A stunning and vast collection of jewelry for the home!

I met Brad while learning to turn myself, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. After moving to Oklahoma to work on the design house, I had the chance to do that and Brad was one of the instructors. Turning is like any other passion or endeavor, you have to love doing it and the skill and art follow, as is the case with Brad. His work is amazing. As always, you can check the show notes for links to Brad’s work, but what is to follow is my conversation with Brad as part of a new series I’m starting called American Made By Hand. As the best designers know, if you’re accessorizing, clients want the story, the provenance, an understanding of the meaning behind products and materials they are bringing into their homes. Brad is an artist, and a craftsman. Years ago, you might recall me speaking with Rossoblu chef and restauranteur Steve Samson who explained that he was a craftsman, not an artist. He could make something you’ve eaten before in Northern Italy, and it would taste like his grandmother’s grandmother made it, but he doesn’t create new work. That left an indelible mark on my brain. It did. A desire not to create, but recreate with exactness… Amazing. But, Brad is an artist and a craftsman. He innovates using wood, a lathe and other items as they materialize.

I had an idea, I asked Brad to work with me to create a custom tableware set for the Tulsa Remote Design House Project. We ideated, designed it and he turned it. I did sand though, and I have a scar to prove it. That is a story for another day. I consider Brad a friend and I am thrilled, truly to share his story with you. This is Brad Glock on Convo By Design’s, American Made: By Hand.

Thank you, Brad. Love your work and I cannot wait to share images of this incredible tableware set. A side note, this collection is available for purchase, not this exact one, but one of your own, customized just for your project. Make sure to contact me directly. Message me @ConvoXDesign or email me at Convo By Design at Outlook dot com.

Thank you to my partners and sponsors ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware. You can find direct links to them and to Brad in the show notes. Thank you for listening and subscribing to the show. Remember why you do what you do and for whom you do it. I appreciate you, I do this for you. Be well and until next week, take today first.

Happy Holidays from CXD | 408 | Best of CXD with Peter Gurski From the Set of Will & Grace

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a special episode for the holidays. Before I shut things down, stop thinking about the business, I want to encourage you to do the same for about an hour. Hang with the fam, binge the Hallmark Channel all week. But, before you do, give this episode a listen with some eggnog…. Which is always better with Fireball. Just saying.

For the holidays, I’m posting a throwback that has nothing to do with the business of design. A past chat with friend of the show, Peter Gurski. Peter is a multi-disciplinary creative who also was responsible for the look and feel of the smash TV hit, Will & Grace. Peter was episode 203 of Convo By Design and I thought you might enjoy hearing about the set design and then go hit Hulu and watch. As you do, you can find some of the accessories in the show, look at the paintings, the furniture and you will see what he is talking about. 

I have a special treat for you. I received a package in the mail. A book. So this installment of BOOKLOOK features Together at the Table, Entertaining At Home With The Creators Of Juliska. Capucine De Wulf Gooding and David Gooding have crafted a book that celebrates being together in so many ways just as their home tableware brand Juliska does. This book is part how-to, part why-you-should and part inspiration for better living. The better living part is what captured my attention. It’s not about buying someone else’s life which is what social made seems to have been made for. This is a concise treatise for better living. As the Gooding’s like to say here, “Don’t overthink.” There is tremendous value in that alone but even Moreso when it is accompanied by visual examples, which is what you find here. Great work here, Goodings. “Architects of Togetherness”! I love that. Jacket design is fabulous. The book is available now through the usual channels I assume. 

Enjoy and happy holidays form all of us at Convo By Design. We’ll get to Peter Gurski LIVE from the Set of Will & Grace.

Designer Resources

ThermaSol – Redefining the modern shower experience. Episode 271 featuring Mitch Altman

Article, great style is easy. It’s the best way to buy beautiful modern furniture

York Wallcoverings – Designed to inspire for over 125 years

Franz Viegener – Finely crafted sculptural faucets

Moya Living  Beautiful, durable powder coated kitchen, bath & outdoor kitchen cabinetry

Thank you Peter. I remember it like it was last week. Thank you for the tour and the fun look back. Thank you CXD partners and sponsors, ThermaSol, Article Furniture, York Wallcoverings, Franz Viegener and Moya Living for your continued support. Thank you for listening, downloading and subscribing to the show. Thank you for your emails and guest submissions. I love them, keep em coming. You are the reason I produce CXD. Designers, architects, set decorators, showroom managers, publicists, artists, makers…You make this world a better place. Remember why you do what you do. Be well. Until next week, take today first. -CXD