Tag Archives: West Edge Design Fair

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. 


The Business of Kitchen Design Mastery | 303 | Exploring Experiential Kitchen Design



The kitchen is the heart of the home, always has been and you already know this. But this conversation features Julia Wong, Laurie Haefele and Shirry Dolgin, Barry Bredvik, and Kristi Nelson explores new directions and ideas about kitchen design. These three amazing designers come from different backgrounds but all have mastered interior design and truly understand the form and function of kitchen design. You are going to hear a high-level conversation that covers technology, layout, and specifically the use of space articulated into actionable methods for kitchen design.

Susan McFadden of California Homes Magazine moderated this panel. What you are going to find is how this conversation zigs and zags through so many topics but the through lines provide some remarkable ideas for crafting the perfect space for every home.

This panel is introduced by Megan Reilly, co-founder of WestEdge Design Fair, the fall home of Convo By Design in Santa Monica California.  

What a great chat. Thank you Susan McFadden for moderating, California Homes Magazine for your support. Thank you, Julia, Shirry, Laurie, Kristi, and Barry for your time and masterful contributions. Thank you Megan and Troy for your partnership. Thank you Walker Zanger for your continued support of the podcast.  And, thank you for listening, subscribing, and downloading every episode of Convo By Design. I miss you. I miss seeing you at WestEdge and all the other design fairs and festivals we missed in 2020. But we will meet again in 2021. And until we do, be well and keep creating.


300th Episode Special | 300 | Seven Years, 500+ Guests, 300 Episodes and Here We Are



To be completely honest, I can’t really tell you which I am more excited about, hitting episode 300 or ushering out 2020. It is completely irrational to blame anything, let alone everything that happened in the year, but I can’t remember a year as absolutely traumatic as 2020. And regardless of how you feel about the outcome of the elections, the future of a vaccine, or the return to normality, whatever that means, here is what I know. When this whole COVID thing started back in March, I started talking to designers and architects, nobody knew what was happening, everyone, myself included said things like, “In these unprecedented times” followed by a statement about the obviously troubling times were in. But, here’s the thing. As the weeks passed, more conversations took place followed by even more research… I slowly learned something. These are not unprecedented times. There was a pandemic in 1918 and the Spanish Flu went pretty much the same way this one has. There were people who complained about masks, society was shut down and it had a massive effect on how life changed on the other side. In the mid-1920’s Le Corbusier was touting the benefits of cleanliness and minimalism in residential design. 

Prior to and during the early 1900s, indoor bathrooms featured mostly porous wooden furniture and paneling, it held germs and bacteria. The new focus on cleanliness led to tile, linoleum, built-in bathtubs. It led to bigger closets and less cabinetry that held clothing. It led to tile in bathrooms, more specifically the use of subway tile in residential design, and revolutionized toilet and porcelain sink production.

We are seeing some very similar behaviors and it is safe to say that design and architecture will change again after this pandemic is over. Not unprecedented. We have been through civil unrest, economic recessions, depressions… we have seen trying times. These are not unprecedented times, they are new to us. In an effort to try and understand what comes next I have spoken with incredibly talented designers and architects to help shed some light on what is most likely next. Speaking of “what’s next”, that is what is the most fun for me about producing this podcast. Exploring exquisite design now and figuring out what is going to come next with the best in the business today. That is what Convo By Design is all about.

So as I present episode 300, as is tradition, we look back on some of the conversations that have transpired over the past 7 years. It would be impossible to do this as if 2020 hadn’t been a completely different kind of year. Yet, much of what you are about to hear in the following episode has led up to this. I have long said that designers and architects are futurists and storytellers. You are going to hear some of those conversations and as you do, you will notice that every one of them has something in common, the betterment of life through design and architecture.

2020 has been a trip, has it not? When this whole thing started, I ran a special series called Designing for Disaster which was an opportunity to focus on the pandemic, in real-time and it was fascinating to hear how designers and architects were adapting in real-time.

I spoke with designer Joe Berkowitz about how design was going to change post-COVID. Joe shares his thoughts on the ‘edit’, something he already incorporates into his work, but now, is even more important than ever.

http://jabinteriors.com

COVID was not the only major issue we dealt with head-on in 2020. A core component of social injustice is the lack of diversity in American society and our business is not exempt. Listen to Jean Brownhill, architect and CEO of Sweeten as she shares her story and her introduction to architecture. Jean is incredibly talented and driven, this is how she got her start. 

On that same topic, I produced and moderated a panel at WestEdge Design Fair that covered the very issue of diversity, or lack thereof in the business. Some thoughts from Brian Pinkett, then Bridgid Coulter, and Ron Woodson.

https://www.wandrdesign.com

https://www.landrydesigngroup.com/#/about

http://bridgidcoulter.com

2020 also brought a new series called The Showroom, a partnership between Convo By Design and Walker Zanger showcasing incredible work as well as an inspirational series designed to shine a light on working more efficiently within design partnerships. This is John Colanari.

https://www.johncolaneri.com/biography

https://www.walkerzanger.com

Speaking of partnerships, we have a great partnership with Texas-based, Thermasol. This is Mitch Altman, the man at the helm of this family-owned and operated company doing groundbreaking work in steam showers for over 60 years.

https://www.thermasol.com

Convo By Design was built on fascinating conversations with world-class talent. Showcasing a handful of those. First up, Michael Berman.

https://www.michaelbermanlimited.com

Thank you, Michael, this is Cesar Giraldo from the Convo By Design Programming Lounge in 2017.

https://cesargiraldodesign.com

Up next, designer Lori Dennis. Lori is a multi appearance guest on the show. She is a friend and I always appreciate her take on the business.

https://www.loridennis.com

Thank you, Lori. This is Ron Woodson and Jamie Rummerfield…

One of the events missed in 2020 that I cannot wait to come again is the La Cienega Design Quarter’s LEGENDS. In 2019 brought Convo By Design was an official media partner and as the event brought in design icon, Bunny Williams, we got a chance to hear her thoughts on what designers REALLY need to know. And then, she shared her thoughts starting out as a new designer working for the storied firm of Parish Hadley and specifically, what it was like working for Sister Parish.

This is Ryan Saghian from episode 112. Now, Ryan is another friend who has appeared more than once on the show and he never disappoints. Ryan is highly opinionated, incredibly talented, and always fun to talk to.

https://www.ryansaghian.com

Thank you, Ryan Saghian. This is designer Ryan White who designer the Convo By Design Programming Lounge from the WestEdge Design Fair in 2016. It was a really special place masterfully designed by Ryan White and it could not have been executed without partners like Snyder Diamond and Warner Bros.

http://www.ryanwhitedesigns.com

We wrap part one with architect Ward Jewell to whom I often refer back to when I need to be reminded of what’s really important. In times like these, look back and you will find your path for the future.

https://www.wardjewellarchitect.com

Next up is the soft-spoken but incredibly talented, Joan Behnke talking about the value of art and how art influences her design.

http://joanbehnke.com

Thank you, Joan, this is Cliff Fong from episode 68. Another fine example of a multi-disciplinary designer, in this case, a fashion designer turned interior designer and entrepreneur.

https://www.mattblackeinc.com/about

Victor Zolfo, set decorator is going to tell you what it feels like to win an Oscar and a Bafta for his work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Have you ever wondered what that feels like?

Dakota Jackson and his work are legendary within the art furniture movement. The magician turned designer turned magical designer talks about crafting a one of a kind gift from Yoko Ono to John Lennon.

https://dakotajackson.com

 That was Dakota Jackson, this is Timothy Corrigan

https://www.timothy-corrigan.com

Thank you, Tim. This is architect Takashi Yanai

https://eyrc.com/studio/partners

This is Rachlin Architects, Michael Rachlin from episode 16

http://rachlinarchitects.com/firm/team/michael-rachlin

There are those that know how to develop a line, a goal for many designers. One of the best I know at this is Sue Firestone.

http://suefirestone.com

Designer Kyle Schuneman focused early on small spaces and millennials. This is more important now than ever before.

https://www.kyleschuneman.com

This is a series of set decorators Rosemary Brandenburg first, then William DeBiasio and K.C. Fox. Set decorators are first and foremost, storytellers. Architecture is the language of design is the storytelling of design. While set decorators are not necessarily designers, they are some of the best storytellers around.

https://www.setdecorators.org

I am ending with one of the absolute best interviews around. Martyn Lawrence Bullard is highly accomplished, you know this. But if you listen to how he tells the story, you can understand how he got there.

As I wrap up this celebration of reaching episode 300 I am reminded that I did not get here alone. As a matter of fact, without the incredible creatives that appear on the show every week, you heard a small sample here but there are literally hundreds that have appeared on this show over the past 7 years. Without the trade partners like the WestEdge Design Fair, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, ASID, LA Design Festival, Pacific Design Center, and Set Decorator Society of America, this would not be the show that it has become I am eternally grateful. A huge thank you to all the media publishers and professional publicists who bring their skills to sharing the stories of our industry and make this possible. And most importantly, thank you for listening. Thank you for subscribing to the show and engaging at our events for the past 7 years and for the last 7 months, exclusively online. 

Thank you for your emails, your texts, and your show suggestions. If it wasn’t for all of you that make up this amazing design and architecture community, what’s the point? So thanks for listening and until next week, Keep creating.


Ryan Bloom – Urban Bonfire | 299 | A Story About Designing A Modern Company Dedicated to Your Kitchen Outdoors



Together, we have shared literally hundreds of conversations since the show started 7 years ago. In that time, I have shared some absolutely incredible stories about design partnerships and I am so happy to share a story of my own with you. Last year at the WestEdge Design Fair, I met Ryan Bloom, co-founder of Urban Bonfire. He moderated a really fun conversation at the show and it ran here on Convo By Design. If you want to go back and listen, you can, it was episode 255 called, “Your Canvas for Outdoor Memories.”

Ryan and I kept in touch and an opportunity presented itself for us to work together. I was recently named the Director of Content & Growth for Urban Bonfire. I have taken on the role of content curator & creator as well as creating new ways to help you, the designer, architect, developer and builder craft entertaining and activated outdoor spaces. It means being able to find Urban Bonfire products at your favorite retail showrooms, it means creating a truly unique trade program that will provide you with the tools and opportunities to collaborate that you have been telling me you want. This is a fantastic partnership and I am thrilled to share it with you. This is Urban Bonfire’s, Ryan Bloom.

Thank you, Ryan, for the time and this incredible opportunity. Please subscribe to the show so you catch every episode of Convo By Design, ask Alexa or Siri, say, “Hey Siri, Play Convo By Design” and she will. You can follow the show on the socials as well, @ConvoXDesign with an “X” on Instagram, and check out the YouTube channel for videos from some of your favorite episodes. Thank you for listening and until next week, be well and keep creating.
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#InteriorDesign #OutdoorLiving #UrbanBonfire #WalkerZanger #ConvoByDesign #JoshCooperman #RyanBloom


Imagine A World WITHOUT Frank Lloyd Wright | 291 | A Conversation That Would Thoroughly Annoy Him



A conversation of his work and influence in the abstract would, no doubt perk up the prickly side of Frank Lloyd Wright who never seemed to pass on an opportunity to share his thoughts regardless of how they might be perceived. The cantankerous side of Frank Lloyd Wright was a gift second only to his work. It made things so much more interesting.

Around the time I was writing panel concepts for the Convo By Design Programming Lounge at WestEdge in 2019, I saw a movie that posed the question, what would the world be like if only one person remembered the Beatles… That made me think, what was Frank Lloyd Wright’s impact beyond the work itself? That is exactly what was pondered and explored by this incredible panel. Featuring Margaret Bach of Margaret Bach Design, Carlo Caccavale, Executive Director at American Institute of Architects, David Coffey, Director of The Design Thinking Academy, and Michael Lehrer of Lehrer Architects. This group of luminaries is led by moderator and educator, Carol Bishop who masterfully navigates this idea in a conversation called Modern World, Life Without Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wow, okay. This was a great chat, thank you, Margaret, Carlo, David, and Michael. Thank you Carol for navigating this strange idea and leading this excellent conversation. Thank you Walker Zanger  for your continued support and thank you for listening.

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.


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.


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.


Sweeten Your Design | 258 | Jean Brownhill



You listen to Convo By Design for a few reasons, I have been told, and 2 of those reasons are to find inspiration and hear the stories of designers, architects, futurists and creators responsible for the direction of design in So Cal and beyond. I have an amazing guest in Architect, founder and CEO of Sweeten, Jean Brownhill.

Brownhill’s story is a complex one full of long shots  successes and uphill battles. A women who is disrupting the construction space by attempting a massive change in the way the business is done. I want you to know that I use the word “disrupting” carefully and with purpose. Because that word has become overused with regard to business changing the status quo and because simply changing something isn’t enough, it has to be positive change or what’s the point? 

Brownhill is addressing some common issues and attacking those issues with thoughtful strategy available via Sweeten, a company that matches clients with vetted contractors in a transparent ecosystem that incentivizes the trade to remain on good terms and Sweeten is compensated through commissions on work transacted within that ecosystem. While I have not experienced the service myself, I like the idea because it provides all parties with positive motivating factors for doing things the right way. That would make Brownhill and Sweeten a truly disrupting company. And regardless of how you feel about that idea, what cannot be denied is that a woman… of color… an architect… in  the construction space… who has raised millions of dollars in VC funding… does make Jean Brownhill a unicorn. She is one of very few, this is her story.

Convo By Design is presented by Walker Zanger….A remarkable company and an equally remarkable design partner.  While the Walker Zanger brand was built on the promise to inspire designers and architects to do their best work, there is far more to it than that. Yes, that promise is fulfilled everyday through a commitment to provide the best ceramic, glass, stone, porcelain, quartz and concrete surfaces and finishes but at the heart of this is a family owned and operated business that provides stunning surfaces for a well designed home.  Walker Zanger started in 1952 and they are absolutely one of the best trade partners a designer can have. Check out their newest collaborative line with designer Pietta Donovan. A collection of Cement and Ceramic tiles inspired by the the patterns and colorways of the 1970’s and created with a comfortable modernity. Walker Zanger is on the cutting edge of design featuring products for every style and architectural feel you can create and they provide homeowners with the materials that dream kitchens and baths are made of. Check out any of their 14 showrooms across the country or shop online, Walker Zanger dot com.

That is a wrap on this episode of Convo By Design featuring Jean Brownhill, this was recorded at the WestEdge Design Fair in Santa Monica in October 2019. Thank you for the time Jean, thank you Walker Zanger for your generous support of the show and of course, thank you for listening. Without you, there is no Convo By Design!  Until next week, keep creating.


Epic Spaces & Favorite Places | 254 | Bringing Inspiration Home



This is a conversation from the WestEdge Design Fair called Epic Spaces and Favorite Places… Here’s the idea… Online access has made the world a smaller place. It has brought us closer together and created the opportunity to see amazing things in wonderful and far away places. For some, that’s just not good enough. Travel, treasure hunting and using that as inspiration to create magnificent spaces is their true desire. This is a conversation about amazing places in exotic places and bringing it home moderated by USModernist.Org founder George Smart and featuring, Assembledge+ David Thompson, Massimo Buster Minale from Buster and Punch, interior designers Alison Pickart and John McClain and Fettle’s Tom Parker. This is a great chat about design, inspiration, travel and putting it together in pursuit of epic spaces!
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#design #inspiration #travel #Assembledge+ #BusterandPunch #JohnMcClain #AlisonPickart #USModernist