Tag Archives: Walker Zanger

Saying Goodbye to a SoCal Design Luminary | 290 | Jeff Sampson



Jeff Sampson was the Vice President of Marketing at the Pacific Design Center, a role he held since the later part of 2013. One of Jeff’s most notable contributions to our design community was to refocus PDC efforts of the annual West Week and Fall Market events. He did this through creative programming and a non-partisan approach to media partners. If you were a strong partner, it didn’t matter how long you were around. Jeff and I met in 2014, shortly after I started Convo By Design. I approached Jeff with an idea. I wanted to be a media partner that would record and feature Pacific Design Center programming to the trade. The podcast was brand new. The Pacific Design Center would recognize Convo By Design as a media partner which provided me a wonderful opportunity to introduce the idea of podcasting and on-demand audio to the SoCal design community. Jeff said ‘yes’, he didn’t have to do that. But he did, because that is the kind of person Jeff was. The type of person who would listen to you if you had an idea, because he was curious and because he cared. He was an excellent marketer, too. 7 years ago, not many in the trade knew what a podcast was, but Jeff recognized that he could get his remarkable programs out to more of the people, for whom he was working hard to serve, the trade partners and showrooms of the Pacific Design Center in particular and the design community as a whole would benefit.

Jeff Sampson had a 20 year career in marketing with the past 6 at the PDC. He had hundreds of friends and admirers in the design community. Jeff also had a life outside of design, where many more will miss him. They will miss him around the holidays, when Jeff would slow down and spend time with family and friends, at happy hour, which was kind of like an any-time holiday.

Jeff loved Doris Day and also had an affinity for Rhoda and Phyllis in TV and in real life, recognizing and appreciating all their imperfections. He loved traveling and sharing his experiences. He loved Paris “when it drizzles”, and “when it sizzles.” Jeff had style, he had grace and he took his exit too soon.

I wanted to honor Jeff the best way I know how, and that would be through sharing him in his own words. This is a conversation I had with Jeff in 2015. He was episode 15 of Convo By Design which means this episode was recorded and aired within months of starting the podcast. We met at his office in the PDC. This is Jeff Sampson.

That was my conversation with Jeff Sampson from 2015. Jeff was gracious with his time and his partnership. He was a good friend and amazing supporter of the Southern California design community. To those of you who knew Jeff well and called him a friend, I’m so sorry for your loss. I want to thank Jeff for his time and his incredible contribution to Convo By Design, I also want to thank you for listening. You make this podcast possible and it is comforting to know that we all share in the work and we can also share the grief at times like these. Please make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss an episode and if you want to continue this conversation, you can find us on Instagram @ConvoXDesign, with and “X”. Be well, and until next week…Keep creating.


The Modern Smart Home | 289 | Function vs. Fiction



Our homes are getting smarter. Designers and architects are being given the tools to increase the IQ of the home by making it more functional, using smart devices to perform new functions, and with this comes confusion and challenges in making all of the individual parts work together. This conversation is the latest edition of A Moment of Zen, conversations presented by Thermasol that explore designing for wellness and tranquility.

This chat features designer John McClain, technology integration expert, Dave Raines, and Patrick Weidl from Thermasol. We are talking about tech, integration, and making it all work together within the design.

Thank you, John, Dave, and Patrick, this was great. Thank you Thermasol for presenting A Moment of Zen, thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support. And, thank you for listening to the show.

Please make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss a single episode. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you get your favorite podcasts. You can also ask your smart device to play Convo By Design, and it will. If you want to continue the conversation, you can find us on Instagram @ConvoXDesign, with and “X”. Be well, and until next week…Keep creating.


Art & Public Spaces | 288 | The Future and Purpose of Public Art



I was invited to moderate a virtual conversation recently. It is really interesting how something like a virtual panel, which felt so foreign four months ago now seems normal. The ‘new’ normal has affected every part of our lives. One really amazing such’ new normal’ is how we engage with art. In public spaces, how our design events will emerge once permitted to resume activities, and then there is the way art has become a source of comfort for many and a source of protest for others.

That second part is something I found of particular interest and I think you will too. A pandemic wrapped up in a social crisis the likes none of us have ever seen before. This conversation covers a lot of ground and explores the role art plays in our lives now and how it will play a major role in the healing process. This panel was organized and produced by Christine Anderson and Communication Arts and Design featuring:

Gaston Isoldi, Maison & Objet https://mom.maison-objet.com/en
Wendy Posner, Posner Fine Art https://posnerfineart.com
Juan Ospina, Hoffman and Opsina Landscape Design https://hoffmanospina.com
Evan Snyderman, R & Company https://www.r-and-company.com
Sandra Vlock, Studio Vlock https://www.studiovlock.com

So much to think about and be hopeful for the future. I cannot wait to go live again and I know I’m not alone. Thank you Christine for organizing such a great conversation, thank you Gaston, Sandra, Wendy, Juan and Evan. Thank you Walker Zanger and Thermasol for your continued support. And, thank you for listening to the show.

Please make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss a single episode. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you get your favorite podcasts. You can also ask your smart device to play Convo By Design, and it will. If you want to continue the conversation, you can find us on Instagram @ConvoXDesign, with and “X”. Be well, and until next week…Keep creating.


Ross Vincent | 287 | Attaining Balance of Sophisticated and Approachable Design



Interior design is so much more than an accumulation of things arranged in a pleasing way. Interior design, done right, means understanding the needs of the client and then taking those desires, both seen and unseen, and crafting an environment that meets those needs. Ross Vincent is a rising design star that is already highly accomplished. His work is clean and elegant, modern, and comfortable.

You are going to hear Ross talk about the state of design here in Southern California as well as the influences that he brought with him from his home city of Seattle, Wa. This conversation also turns to design in the fly-over states and locations that are not normally included in the conversation about significant design and architecture. I love that, I think you will, too. This is interior designer, Ross Vincent.

Ross. I really enjoyed our chat. Thank you for taking the time. I also must note that this conversation was recorded live and in person. It seems like a lifetime ago since I was able to do this and I can’t wait to do it again. Thank you, Walker Zanger and Thermasol for your continued support. And, thank you for listening to the show. Please make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss a single episode. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you get your favorite podcasts. You can also ask your smart device to play Convo By Design, and it will. If you want to continue the conversation, you can find us on Instagram @ConvoXDesign, with and “X”. Be well, and until next week…Keep creating.


The Future of Minimal Modern | 285 | Minarc



This is Erla Ingjaldsdottir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson of Minarc. The duo founded Minarc, a Santa Monica based architecture firm that is producing ground-breaking minimalist, modern design that is both stunning to look at and stripped down to the very essence of the structure itself. Materials and lack of materials play a huge role in the finished product. The absence of paint, carpet, tile, and a focus on letting the included materials speak a different dialect in the language of architecture. And because architecture is a language all its own, Minarc’s work allows the design to speak for itself using a “don’t tell me, show me” approach.

This is a new segment of the show called A moment of Zen presented by Thermasol, it’s a focus on 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.

As you hear about modern minimalist design, peaceful living needs to be a part of that conversation and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the idea of home is very different now than it was at the start of the year. Not only are we spending more time at home but that time is being spent doing more things. Of those, the idea of relaxation in a spa-like environment has been lost to many. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Have you considered incorporating steam showers into your designs? If not, some things to consider… Steam showers are not just for resorts, spas and gyms. You know this, but what you might not be aware of is that steam showers offer additional opportunities like aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is the introduction of essential oils into the steam itself which is said to have both healing properties as well as adding to a relaxing experience. Options include jasmine, eucalyptus, rose, lavender, chamomile all offering their own “essence” to the experience. While they have not been studied for medical efficacy, and it is important to get any treatments cleared by a medical professional in advance… this is the legal disclaimer portion of this segment. This is something that can add to the experience of a shower making it so much more than just a cleaning tool. A steam shower conversion is a relatively simple construction upgrade and once that is done, incorporating essential oils into the steam is even easier.

I read an article in New York Magazine online from February 16th, 2017. It was called, The Strategist, What’s the Deal with Essential oils? By Mike Albo. Albo spoke with Dr. Pamela Dalton from the Monell Center in Philadelphia. Dalton, an olfactory-research scientist spoke about the value of essential oils. Dr. Dalton recommends “encourages their use” and notes that, in. Dalton notes “extremely rare’’ creations in personal research. There are a number of possible reasons for this but at the end of the day, we are all looking for ways to increase the sense of well being achieved through relaxation and aromatherapy is an option worth exploring.  

These ideas are provided 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.


Michelle Boudreau | 284 | Modern Design in the Desert



Michelle Boudreau is a very skilled designer with an engaging personality. She makes her work seem absolutely effortless, and I can tell you first hand that when it comes to design houses, effort is one thing you must bring in abundance, like patience, a sense of calm determination and a thick skin. Having produced design houses, I can tell you that this is true and that Michelle checks off each of these boxes. 

Partnerships are key and this is how these projects become a reality.  They include Russo Studios lighting, JennAir appliances from Ferguson, Heather James Gallery provided the art, Minotti Italian furnishings from MASS Beverly, Design Hardware and Flooring provided a variety of hardware and fixtures for this home and so many other amazing details and you will hear about all of them here. This particular home captures a European modern feel in the middle of the desert.  And this fearless mosaic was created by Michelle and now you get to sear about how everything comes together. A request for those new to the show… Please follow us on Instagram, @ConvoXDesign, with an “X” and subscribe to the show so you never miss an episode. You can find us everywhere you find your favorite podcasts.

Thank you Michelle for your time and talent. Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support for the show and THANK YOU for listening to the show. Were it not for you, there would be no Convo By Design so, thank you. Until next week, keep creating.


Buster + Punch | 283 | Massimo Buster Minale



Buster + Punch is the luxury home fashion label born out of a love of home, fashion, metalwork, and motorcycles. Minale is part fashion designer, craft metalworker, and mad scientist. Buster + Punch is one of the most impactful new home design brands for a number of reasons, not the least of which is an artistic approach to the work that blends machine worked industrial lines and fine art. This is a fearless luxury home brand that demands attention yet works flawlessly with so many different styles of design and architecture. Full disclosure, I have Buster + Punch pieces in my home. My absolute favorite is the light bulbs installed in a suspended Jamie young piece hanging in our kitchen. I look at this every day and it makes me happy. So, I’m a fan off the bat and I think you will be as well after hearing about Buster + Punch from Massimo himself. This is Massimo Buster Minale, founder of Buster + Punch.

Thank you, Massimo. Great chat, I’m sorry we won’t see each other at WestEdge this year, but I am counting the days until 2021. 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.


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.


Stacy Garcia | 281 | Partnerships, Licensing and Global Design



Stacy Garcia is a global licensing and design company led by someone who has one foot firmly planted in design and the other on the business side of things. Stacy is a powerful voice in the business and she has done something truly amazing with her business. While she calls herself a creator and artist first, she has used the licensing arenas to structure her core business on hospitality and still create a multi-line business structure. 

For those designers and architects listening, this will give you some quantifiable takeaways as it relates to creative design and hospitality. But, you’re also going to get some excellent business strategies and actionable ideas that will help you structure your business and ultimately increase your earning potential through licensing opportunities.

In this episode, you will hear Stacy define the structure of a successful partnership. These thoughts include; One-offs, multi-year deals, single-piece deals, or the full collection and non-exclusive licensing deals. Stacy also talks about what happens when someone steals your designs and products. DO you protect your intellectual property or not because if you start a line, your ideas will get stolen. 

You are also going to hear about creating and distributing design content to build community, promote your platform, and make new connections. So, get comfortable, enjoy your drive, or whatever it is you doing and enjoy this chat with Stacy Garcia.

Thank you, Stacy. I truly appreciate the time and insights. We covered a lot of ground. Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support. And, thank YOU for listening. Convo By Design would not exist were it not for you, so thank you. Make sure you are following along on Instagram ConvoXDesign, with and “X” and subscribe to the show everywhere you find your favorite podcasts. Until next week, be well and 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.