Your Best Year in Design | 326 | Proven Strategies for Growing and Promoting Your Design Firm

This is Convo By Design with a conversation about adapting to the ever-changing design environment. Since only everything has changed. When I say that, I mean it. Everything has changed in the business. I remember last March when everyone I was speaking with, myself included thought the events would come back last fall and that the supply chain would return to normal. As time went on, we all started to realize that things were not going back to normal quickly, if at all. this conversation is part of the Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol.

That being said, not all change is bad. The following conversation includes designers Shirry Dolgin of ASD Interiors, Michelle Salz-Smith of Studio Surface and Jason Lai of L2 Interiors. The panel explores the changes in the design and architecture industry, in real time with a focus on adapting to these changes and maximizing new business and revenue growth. Change is hard. The unknown is uncomfortable.

This exploration unearths some of the most challenging issues we are facing as it relates to the business and how these three firms are addressing these issues.Many of this issues revolve around specifying product right now as the supply chains are stretched and demand has grown as inventories drop. This has led to both shortages and increased costs. There challenges now include managing the disappointment of precuts not being available, reselects, increase costs, lack of manufacturer response times and products showing differently online from reality.

“Our business is so personal, whether we’re face to face, or not. We are people pleasers and that’s not always the greatest thing, especially now. But, I think the greatest challenge now, for me as a perfectionist and a people pleaser, is managing disappointment. Relaying the reality of the situation without making excuses.” – Michelle Salz-Smith

“I spend a lot of my time being upfront with my client saying, ‘listen, it is what it is.’ So, we can either wait, or pick something else.” – Shirry Dolgin

“I know what we want and what we are looking for in our head already, we just haven’t seen it and once we see it, we pull it. But this process has just been so slow. We have to go online and scroll through 75 pages of fabric on one color finish and it’s nothing like what you expect because online it shows differently.” -Jason Lai

In this episode, you will not only hear the challenges restated, you will also hear solutions to many of the issues every designer faces now and what the business might look like in the near future. The best way to overcome challenges is to envision and plan for them in the future. This is another episode in the Wellness & Design Thought Leadership Series presented by ThermaSol featuring Michelle Salz-Smith, Jason Lai and Shirry Dolgin.

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, Shirry, Jason and Michelle. Thank you Walker Zanger and ThermaSol 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.

Earth Day 2021 | 322 | Steve Pallrand – What Every Designer Must Know About Sustainable Design

I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with an Earth Day Special Episode. Yes, I think Earth Day is silly, but the message behind it is of critical importance to everyone in design, architecture and those who live…on Earth…

There is a day for everything, am I right? That being said, some points of interest, the first Earth Day was April 22nd, 1970. Many say it coincides with the beginning of the environmental movement. In January, 1969, there was a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The date for Earth Day, April 22nd was selected because it falls on a weekday following Spring Break allowing greater student participation. Which makes sense because young people have always cared more about their environment than those who have less time to spend there. Makes sense. Ere is what it sounded like in 1970. (Walter Cronkite, CBS News)

https://www.earthday.org/history/

This was a momentous occasion followed by decades of apathy and carrying on with business as usual. I think the message is really important and I believe that this is yet another problem that will be solved by the designers, architects and product manufacturers that make up our industry. According to the EPA, 27% of greenhouse gasses are caused by electricity production, 28% from transportation, 22% from industry. As the design machine continues to produce greater efficiencies and uses of renewable energy combined with fewer off-gassing materials, limited waste, etc., the numbers will subside, I believe that.

At the same time, there is a strong connection between sustainable, clean design and wellness. These two ideas should go hand in glove and as such, it makes perfect sense that this correlation exists.

With that, today you are going to hear from Steve Pallrand, founder and principal designer of Home Front Build, a design/ build firm with wellness and environmental design at the core of their work. In another life, I hosted a show called The Green Detective. I know this subject and I don’t agree with everything, and you will hear that in my conversation with Steve. But, it’s important to note that we don’t have to agree about everything to agree that the changes for greater environmental consideration in design is important, and necessary. 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, Steve for your time. 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.

The Showroom featuring Susan Ferrier | 318 | Exploring the Essence and Emotion of Design

This is Convo By Design with another installment of The Showroom presented by Walker Zanger featuring the incomparable Susan Ferrier of Susan Ferrier Interiors.

In life, you will cross paths with truly unique people, and if you are like me, you relish those moments. You want them to last. This is how I describe my conversation with designer Susan Ferrier. She is an award-winning creative, check. Her work is well-published, check. Ferrier is a member of the Design Leadership Network, check. She has all the credentials that make her the sought after, highly creative master of style upon which her reputation is based. But hold on…there’s more. 

She is southern charm and artistic poetry. Her work embodies the emotion and depth of a true artisan and she is completely authentic in her work and in the following conversation. Susan isn’t  just a designer, she is an artist. A master craftsman in the area of space, and atmosphere. It’s one thing to space pieces and art in a space, perfectly balance the large and accessories alike, master color and texture. It is something entirely different to bend light and shadow among that same design to create mood and atmosphere that accentuates not just the space but the experience. That is what Susan Ferrier does and that is what we are talking about in this episode of Convo By Design. This is part of The Showroom is a highly targeted focus on some of the most incredibly talented design professionals working today. This is one of those creatives, Susan Ferrier.

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.

This conversation was amazing. Susan, thank you. Thank you Walker Zanger, Erika for your work here and behind the scenes. 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.

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.

Domos Coliving | 312 | Coliving, The Future of Flex-Living and Finding Balance between Private Space and Shared Amenities

This is Convo By Design featuring Daniel Alexander and Richard Loring of Domos Coliving. From Millennials moving back home to traditional multi-generational cohabitation, the idea of coliving has not only gained steam, but taken hold in cities across the U.S. Home ownership once the foundational idea behind the American dream is, in many circle giving way to the idea the coliving provides all someone wants and nothing they don’t. But what role does design play when you are catering to the many without serving only a few. That’s what I wanted to know when I spoke with Daniel and Richard from Domos. Daniel is principal with DOMOS and Richard manages construction and design.

Some thoughts as you listen. If you are a designer, this will shed some light on the approach to application of design and flow. Architects, there is something here for you as well in the structure of a space made for many that feels cozy and personal.

Thanks for downloading, streaming and subscribing to this episode of the podcast. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so you don’t miss a single episode of the show, like this one with Daniel Alexander and Richard Loring of Domos Coliving.

Thank you Daniel and Richard. Thank you Walker Zanger for your extraordinary partnership and 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, be well and keep creating.

Sandra Vlock | 310 | Transformation, Following Your Passion and Taking A New Path

What if you decided to abandon your profession to follow your passion, what would happen? You know you’ve thought about it. Who hasn’t thought about ditching the job to do what you love. I say that knowing most of you listening are in the design and architecture industry and having spoken with so many of you, know that you love what you do, even so, I also know many have that secret talent, that passion to do something else. Yes, It’s scary.

Sandra Vlock is an architect by education and an artist by choice. She had a moment of clarity after receiving 2 58” mooring bouys and then sculpting them into highly detailed fire pits. Crafting one thing into another, and watching that craft a feeling, an experience with fire. This is a conversation about personal and professional growth and following your passion where it takes you.

Thank you, Sandra. Thank you Walker Zanger for your extraordinary partnership and 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, be well and keep creating.

Paul McClean | 308 | A Master of Modern Architecture

This is Convo By Design with an architect that is single hardly redefining what is possible in modern residential architecture, this is Paul McClean…

Paul McClean is one of those rare individuals who knew what he wanted to do at a very young age. Rarer still is growing up to change that space into your vision of what it should be. McClean grew up in Ireland and made his way to Southern California by way of Sydney, Australia. His work uses clean lines, site-specific features that make the most of water features, and the given space available, sometimes more, sometimes less. Always distinct, you can see McClean’s fine lines woven through space and structure in the most seamless and unapologetically spectacular ways. McClean’s work is inspirational, aspirational, and if nothing else, makes you wonder, ‘what if’.

Thanks for downloading, streaming, and subscribing to this episode of the podcast. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so you don’t miss a single episode of the show, like this one with master architect, Paul McClean.

Thank you, Paul. Thank you Walker Zanger for your extraordinary partnership and 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, be well and keep creating.

Maggie Griffin | 304 | Designing Atlanta with Southern Charm and A European Flair for Style

Maggie Griffin is a fabulous Atlanta based designer who has mastered the feel of Southern charm, yet fine-tuned her craft in Europe while studying in Florence, Italy. Her studies included the history of fabrics, retail marketing, and merchandising. With an obvious passion for her work and institutional knowledge and mastery of textiles, Maggie is able to craft her spaces for southern living with a European flair and that is evident in her work. Maggie, as a designer, has what I call the ‘full range of motion’ as it relates to the work from her Modern Atlanta Farmhouse to a charming Dutch Colonial with southern accents. You are going to meet Maggie, hear her story, and learn how it all comes together.

Thank you, Maggie. I loved this conversation. Some of my favorite parts include project exploration. That really is what it is, a deep dive into the design itself. Amazing. Thank you Walker Zanger for your partnership. Thank you for listening, thank you for subscribing to the show. Thank you for keeping me company in 2020 through the podcast. It is amazing to receive emails of support and show suggestions. This is it, the last episode of 2020. With this, we bid 2020 farewell and look forward to what has to be a better year. I wish you health, success, and the best year ever. Be well, and until next year, keep creating.

New, Now and Next | 304 | Stunningly Beautiful Hygienic, Sustainable Bathroom Design

This is Bob Gifford from Hastings Tile & Bath. We met at the WestEdge Design Fair in 2019 and had a nice long chat about marketing and business development in the industry. We also talked about the full-body air dryer they were promoting at the show. Ditch the towel, this mounts inside the shower. Such a simple thing really, but consider this. How often do you wash your towels?

At a time when cleanliness is of premium concern in an era where water conservation is both important and a remarkable source of financial savings. This is something that can be installed in the shower, by the pool and you can eliminate the towel completely. Bob and I met again a day later at the full-body dryer to see how it works.

Thank you Bob, that was fun. Next up is Director, North America for Franz Viegener, John Weinstein. The brand from Buenos Aires is crafting some amazing plumbing products. Check this out from John Weinstein of Franz Veigener…

Thank you Bob, thank you, John. What’s new, now and next… ways to make your bathrooms simple, efficient and like going to the spa, when you can’t necessarily go to the spa. Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support of Convo By Design. Thank you for listening, downloading and subscribing to the podcast. Join in the conversation, follow along at Convo By Design dot com and Convo X Design, with an “X” on Instagram. Be well, and until next week, keep creating.