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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.


Lone Star House of Design | Cheri Etchelecu Interior Design



This is Lone Star House of Design, a podcast about all things design and architecture from and about the great State of Texas. Today, you are going to hear from designer, Cheri Etchelecu of Cheri Etchelecu Interior Design.

Cheri has been hand crafting impeccable design in the Lone Star State for over 25 years. In that time, her work has helped mold and craft the eclectic modern design feel of Dallas Ft. Worth through a unique blend of products, applications and outside influences.

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, Cheri for your time and talent. 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@outlook.com. Be well and until next week, keep creating.


Manufacturer Spotlight | 323 | Cortina Leathers President Jack Prause



Designers today are challenged by a global supply chain and bottlenecks caused by, of course the pandemic shut down, increased traffic at many of the world’s ports but let’s not forget that Brexit and a US led trade war from four years ago still affects the marketplace today.

Rarely do you get this perspective from the very top about these issues and many others facing industry product partners. So today, we are going to shed some light on these issues and many others along with a manufacturer profile on Cortina Leathers and the man at the top, Jack Prause.

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 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.


Conquering the Challenge of Managing Your Design Firm | 321 | Design: Agency & Management



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design bringing you new ideas about management for your design business.This episode features Nathan Brookshire and Paul Davidge from Design Agency & Management.

Nathan and Paul founded Design Agency and Management to help creatives grow their firms and still keep their eye firmly on the business at hand. Their stated goal is to help creatives be creative and allow them to manage aspects of the firm that traditionally bind and keep the firm from growing to their full capabilities. This is Nathan Brookshire and Paul Davidge.

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 Nathan, thank you Paul. Thank you Walker Zanger and thank YOU for listening and subscribing to Convo By Design. 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.


Wellness & Design Leadership Series | 319 | The Promotion of Design



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a solution for one of the biggest challenges you face as a busy design professional. This conversation is going to change the way you do business. Really, it’s all about the promotion of design.

Promotion and marketing are two issues, one issue really but often conflated, that confound most creatives, and simply frustrate the rest. The socials are not user friendly, people don’t tell you what they want to see and if you are focused on the work, as most of you are, the promotion side is just frustrating. Following is a conversation that is part of the Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol. This conversation features designers Jeanne Chung, Breegan Jane and John McClain. Between Jeanne’s CozyStylishChic blog, Breegan, managing the work and a role on ABC’s Extreme Home Make Over and John McClain with all of his hats, designer, firm owner, television and magazine contributions… This group is busy, but they have figured out some amazing hacks that will help you wrap your arms around the promotional challenges. This conversation is moderated by contributing editor and publicity professional, Alexandra Abramian. This is such fun for me because Alex asked me to stick around and chime in with tips I’ve learned nit just promoting Convo By Design but the work I did at Playboy and in broadcast radio over two decades. This is another edition of the Wellness and Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol with The Promotion of Design. 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.

Alex, Breegan, Jeanne and John…thank you. Thank you ThermaSol and Walker Zanger for your support. 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.


The Evolution of The Modern Creative Hub | 317 | The Beck



This is Convo By Design with a new type of resource for design creatives from the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.

The Beck is a creative resource and the brain child of Ana Claudia Schultz of Ana Claudia Design and her husband, Aaron Smyle, a tax professional. Located in downtown Rhinebeck, here is how Ana Claudia and Aaron define their business. “The Beck amplifies local creative voices and engages with the Hudson Valley community. Dutchess County’s new creative hub serves as a multi-purpose event space and gallery that displays local artists’ works to inspire creators and embrace the Hudson Valley community as well as house the founding duo’s office spaces.

This is a mix use space providing creative and business resources in an up and coming design city. This is a boutique community with a major design house which you heard about recently here on the podcast. 2021 is going to be an amazing year for designers. You know this already and if you are going to keep up with the sheer amount of work, keeping up with clients, tracking down orders, sourcing new product… Hey, with PPP, the Cares Act, business loans and all the other money matters, how are you handling the flexible tax issues of 2020? Relax, we the following conversation might shed some light on the business side of things as well as inspire you a little bit. This is husband and wife team and founders of The Beck, Aaron Smyle and Ana Claudia Schultz.

Thank you Ana Claudia, thank you, Aaron. Thank you Walker Zanger for your extraordinary partnership. Thank you Thermasol for your partnership. Please make sure and catch every one of the upcoming Wellness and Design Leadership Panel Series featuring amazing creatives talking about issues that most affect you and your business.

Thank you for listening. My goal is to bring you the stories behind sublime design wherever that may be. To share those stories, bring you business strategies to help you build a stronger firm and inspire you to do your most creative work.

For more, please follow us on Instagram @ConvoXDesign with an “X”, check us out at Convo By Design dot com. Until next week, keep creating and remember to take today first.


Resort Living Made Modern | 316 | If You Love Luxury Resorts, Why Not Make one Home



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with an exploration of luxury design through the lens of Montage Hotels and Resorts and a focused look at the new Healdsburg residences.

If you love luxury travel, a visit to one of the global Montage Resorts is probably on the list of things you long for. Montage has earned a reputation for crafting unique experiences that are authentic to each resort location. Montage International is a company built to provide ultra-luxe, unique lodging experiences to their guests. That is essential to know as I set up these next two conversations. You are going to hear from Earl Wilson of BAR Architects and then, Tina Necrason, EVP of Residential for Montage. This conversation revolves around the new Healdsburg Residences, a part of the Montage Resorts residential portfolio.

How do you transfer that feeling of peaceful relaxation from a world-class hotel experience to a residence where the home owner can experience it daily? When you have the weight of a global, luxury hospitality firm behind you, what can you do with each residence which is essentially a blank canvas? These are just a few of the things I wanted to know, but there is way more than that.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Convo By Design. 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 Tina and Earl, thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support and thank you for listening, without you, what’s the point. If you are not already a subscriber to the show, what are you waiting for, it’s easy. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. Ask your smart speaker to play Convo By Design, it’s really that easy. Follow along on the socials and check out our YouTube channel for videos form some of your favorite episodes. Thanks again for listening to the show, be well and until next week, keep creating.


SPECIAL EPISODE: Rocky LaFleur | Celebrating a Design Icon



This is Convo By Design Today, we are saying goodbye to a friend and celebrating an amazing person and giant in Southern California’s design community, Rocky LaFleur.

There are some people you encounter in life who make you feel better, they make you better and they lift up those around them. Rocky LaFleur was the embodiment of that. As long as I knew him, he always had a smile on his face and a word of encouragement. Rocky had a passion for his longtime friends and an openness to make new ones. We lost Rocky this past week and this flood of memories came back to me.

There have been so many fun and wonderful events and I cherish the time this tight knit Southern California design community gets together. The last time I saw Rocky in person, it was to see him speak to up and coming design students at UCLA Extension. Eleanor Schrader handed the mic to Rocky and his partner in comedy, Gary Gibson and the two of them led a journey into the wonderful world of design that made these prospective designers eyes twinkle. Not just the good, but the challenging and the hard work that comes with it.

Rocky was a phenomenal ambassador for the all of us in the industry, he was a dedicated mentor who gave freely of his time to help others and he always had a smile on his face. That sweet smile.

Rocky’s story is special and it doesn’t end here. When you influence and positively impact the lives of so many people, your spirit endures. I was blown away in 2018, seeing Rocky recognized at the Pacific Design Center in front of so many people who were there for no other reason than to shower Rocky with the love and the recognition he deserved. A Lifetime Achievement award, given to him by the ASID, the first of its kind.

Rocky has been a fixture in the Pacific Design Center, at Kneedler Fauchere, Rocky needed a home like the PDC to house his huge personality.

“Rocky joined Kneedler Fauchère almost 16 years ago and I joined one year later. Believe it or not, I sat in front of his desk and every morning when I arrived he serenaded me with show tunes. That pretty much told me everything I needed to know about Rocky. He’s been one of my closest and most meaningful confidants ever since,” said Gina Dewitt, President of Kneedler Fauchère after the gala event.

I sat down with Rocky in 2019. Rocky told me his story, how he, “found his people.” I could continue to gush on about how wonderful this man was, but instead, I would like to replay my conversation with Rocky, recorded in 2019 from the Kneedler Fauchere showroom in the Pacific Design Center.

I want to thank Walker Zanger, presenting partner of Convo By Design, for your partnership. The work that they do and their support of the show makes it possible for me to to this. This podcast has kept me connected to the industry, to you for the past eight years and the last has definitely been the most challenging. As we start moving back to events, showcases, design houses, CEU’s and trade shows, we will have the chance to reconnect and I am so appreciative to Walker Zanger for their support of Convo By Design.

My hope here is that you can take some time to sit back, turn off the phone for a few minutes and let Rocky make you feel good again. I challenge you to hear that laugh and not laugh with him, it’s impossible. I hope hearing his voice, that laugh, those stories takes away your pain for a moment.

Thank you, Rocky…for everything, and thank you for listening. Until next week, be well and remember to to take today first.


The Showroom featuring Tamara Rene Design | 315 | Producing Meaningful Design with (and for) Purpose and Joy



This is Convo By Design and in this episode of the podcast, we feature another installment of The Showroom, a partnership between Convo By Design and Walker Zanger featuring designer, Tamara Avila, the creative force behind Tamara Rene Designs in Seal Beach, California.

Tammy is the rare designer who also owns and operates a design showroom. Many designers think about opening a showroom, or more precisely, thought about it prior to COVID, but will be thinking about it again when things return to some sense of normalcy, whatever that means.

Erika Egede-Nissen, Marketing Director with Walker Zanger and I speak with Tammy about her firm, design style, trends in the design space and explore her work from a designers perspective. This is a deep dive into the industry and an exploration into the unique world of design and architecture.

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 Tammy, thank you Erika, thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support and thank you for listening, without you, what’s the point. If you are not already a subscriber to the show, what are you waiting for, it’s easy. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. Ask your smart speaker to play Convo By Design, it’s really that easy. Follow along on the socials and check out our YouTube channel for videos form some of your favorite episodes, like this one with Tammy Avila of Tamara Rene Designs. Thanks again for listening to the show, keep creating and remember to take today first.