Tag Archives: southern california

Small Space Big Style | 282 | Live Large in Small Spaces



This panel was recorded live from the WestEdge Design Fair in 2019 and features Pietta Donovan, Jason Lai, Lynnea Schweitzer’s and Nicolette Akiko. This conversation was masterfully moderated by Christopher Grubb.

For the past 5 years or so, the tiny house movement has led industry leaders to rethink the idea of luxuriously designed smaller spaces. Since Frank Lloyd Wright crafted homes in his Usonian style, the Bauhaus movement, Neutra’s Hailey Residence, or Le Corbusier’s Villa Le Lac, the idea of living modestly has gained new interest. Now more than ever, finding ways to make structures highly functional in small spaces gives us more options. While I am as sick of COVID-19 as you are, we have learned what we want from our homes and how starting small can help us get there.

Enjoy this conversation from the WestEdge Design Fair called Small Space, Big Style.

Thank you Pietta, Lynnea, Nicolette, Jason, and Christopher. This was so much fun and I’m looking forward to seeing you all again soon. Thank you Walker Zanger for your support for Convo Boy Design and THANK YOU for listening. Were it not for you, there would be no Convo By Design. Speaking of which, make sure you are subscribing to the show everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. You can also find everything show related at ConvoBy Design dot com. Be well and until next week, keep creating.


Form, Function, Family & Modern Architecture | 280 | David Thompson of Assembledge+



If you love modern architecture, you are going to enjoy this conversation. The coronavirus is all we talk about these days because that is all we can think about. I have been trying to be as productive as possible, but it’s challenging and the news always seems to continually get worse. That being said, there have been some positives that have come out of this. The time spent focused on work without that daily commute. That 2 hour daily waste of time has been amazing. I am so much more productive. Then you factor in the time spent with family, that time is invaluable. That is one of the reasons why I think you are going to enjoy this conversation with David Thompson of Assembledge+, a Southern California architectural firm producing some amazing work. David is a unique talent and he has been joined by his father, Richard, a highly accomplished architect in his own right. This son-father duo is producing some truly unique design and you are going to hear how it all fits together.

Thermasol presents A Moment of Zen, Wellness Tips for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

This is a new segment of the show called Wellness Tips for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul. This topic has been coming up more and more lately and while this is certainly not a new topic, more clients have been asking for health and wellness worked into their designs. I started asking around and there are some really interesting ideas taking shape.

I make a trip to Las Vegas in January, sometimes February during KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. About four or five years ago I noticed an increase in the number of vendors with products designed to make the bathroom more spa-like. It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me and I started asking designers and architects more about this in the interviews that followed. Over the past few years, there have been way more products and companies featuring products focused on health and wellness in design. These products are focused on clean water, air quality, noise reduction, and light purity in addition to the limitation of unwanted light.

Once a month, we are going to explore these ideas and see how design and architecture are once again not only making places to live, work, and play but make those spaces work better. Check out the Moment of Zen where we explore ideas for a more peaceful space.

Wabi-Sabi – An outdoor shower can create a peaceful transition between a long day and the peace that comes from being home. An outdoor shower posted by Bloemendaal, the Netherlands based Woodlands House was placed in space without overthought design elements or ultra-lux materials yet its appearance is incredibly pleasing. It made me feel like I found a long lost treasure.

Make it Natural – There are few things more peaceful than observing nature. @ConcreteGeometric posted a what they called “little octahedrons’ in small Concrete Geometric concrete planters from @stuffhollywood. These little miracles can bring peace a first sight. A little green makes for a lot of zen.

Fortress of Solitude – Jhoiey Ramirez of @StudioJhoiey created a spectacular bath that created the feeling that you are at your favorite spa. Everything in this space provides the feeling of solitude from the steam shower and lighting to the exquisitely crafted tile work. There is a window inside the fully enclosed, frameless steam shower that gives a peaceful inside out feeling. You could be happy spending hours in this masterfully crafted bathroom.

Three ideas for you to consider exploring in your future projects. Zen is a state of mind, designing for wellness is more important now than ever before. Thermasol is a brand created over 60 years ago to incorporate steam showers and sauna into any project you can design. They have also integrated cutting edge technology into their products allowing you to set individual profiles for every user. Set temperature, chromotherapy, aromatherapy, listen to music, or watch your favorite shows while taking a relaxing steam shower. You will be amazed at just how easy it is to specify Thermasol products for every project you can design. Check them out online at Thermasol dot com.

Thank you, David. Thank you for taking 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. Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.


The Showroom featuring Dan Vickery | 279 | Talking Tile, Stone and Fabulous Fabrication



The Showroom is a collaborative speaker series, a partnership between Convo By Design and Walker Zanger and featuring some of the most successful designers who offer some of the very same strategies that they employ in their own firms. Dan Vickery was the runner-up on HGTV’s Design Star, season 4. That bitter sweet second place finish launched his design career, it gave him an opportunity showcase his work on a bigger stage and Dan has made the most of it.

Thoughts on reality design shows are mixed, depending who you ask. In Dan’s case, coming from a small town in Oregon, Design Star gave him exposure on a huge platform. It gave hime the exposure to show his skills. From there, Dan has built his personal brand, his design firm and has been creating some truly groundbreaking design. Part of his design specialty includes the selection and use of tile, stone and crafting finished product from slabs. That is brought about this conversation. Due to current circumstances, this conversation was virtual. This talk was moderated by Walker Zanger director of marketing, Erika Edege-Nissen.

Are you subscribing to Convo By Design to make sure you never miss a new episode? Ask Alexa or Siri to help you. Say, “hey Siri, play Convo By Design Podcast.” And, she will.Thank you, Dan. 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. Thanks for listening and until next week, be well and 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.


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.


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.


Behind the Design with John Colaneri | 272 | The Designer’s Home



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a virtual case study of a designer’s own home with, designer, builder, design influencer, John Colaneri.

You most likely know John Colaneri from HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, his books, or you have seen him on national talk shows. It’s easy to forget when watching celebrity designers that they are currently active designers and builders. It’s also easy to forget that they have homes of their own and designing for themselves can be even more challenging than designing for a TV show where the edit is always available. This conversation is from a virtual gathering called The Showroom presented by Walker Zanger, the presenting sponsor of Convo By Design. You are about to hear a walkthrough of Colaneri’s own home, recently completed. You are going to hear about how he put it together and how the internal negotiations with his wife made for some interesting product choices. This is a masterclass on design, product specification, and putting your true desire at the epicenter of the design. There are a number of references to the work and products in John’s home. You can follow along and see it for yourself @ColaneriJohn on Instagram as well as JohnColaneri.com. Both will be linked in the show notes. This is John Colaneri.

Thank you, John, Thank you, Erika, 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.


Designing For Wellness | 271 | Mitch Altman – CEO THERMASOL



I’m Josh Cooperman and this is another episode of Convo By Design featuring Mitch Altman, third-generation CEO of THERMASOL. This is a conversation about multi-functional design for beauty, health, and wellness.

THERMASOL is a family-owned and operated business producing amazing steam shower products for over 60 years. This is the story of a California company now based in Texas and still run by the family that started it all. Mitch Altman is constantly improving the company and that product company is now so much more. THERMASOL is a technology company that provides the tools to turn the shower into an experience, a source for wellness and sanctuary and so much more.

I want you to hear from Mitch, and every month on Convo By Design, THERMASOL will be presenting a new feature on the podcast called, “A Moment of Zen, Designing For Wellness” where we explore new ideas in design with a focus on health, wellness and creating your personal oasis.

Thank you, Mitch, for the time. Thank you, Walker Zanger, for your continued support, and thank you for listening to the show, downloading each podcast episode, and engaging through the socials. Make sure you never miss an episode of the podcast, ask Siri to help you, say, “Hey Siri, play Convo By Design podcast.” And she will! Thanks for listening and until next week, keep creating.