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Business of Home Podcast

Architecture & Design

Business of Home's host Dennis Scully interviews thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives about the changes and challenges facing the interior design community.

Business of Home's host Dennis Scully interviews thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives about the changes and challenges facing the interior design community.


United States


Business of Home's host Dennis Scully interviews thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives about the changes and challenges facing the interior design community.






Meganne Wecker of Skyline Furniture thinks we're living through an e-commerce tipping point

Founded in 1946 in the suburbs of Chicago by Meganne Wecker’s grandfather, Skyline Furniture has always been a family business. It’s also always stood a little bit apart from the crowd for a willingness to try new things. Wecker joined at an opportune time, just as e-commerce was beginning to take off—ever since, she’s pushed Skyline to master the nuances of making furniture to sell online. On this episode of the podcast, she speaks with host Dennis Scully about why she launched a startup—...


Russell Towner of Lee Industries on lead times and the future of furniture

Russell Towner, the president of Lee Indstries, is a lifer in the furniture business, with almost three decades spent at companies like Henredon, Baker and Theodor Alexander. Now he’s at the helm of one of North Carolina’s most venerable brands at a peculiar time. A COVID-inspired boom in home spending has filled Lee’s order book, but the pandemic—and a shock foam shortage—has made it harder than ever to meet demand. On this episode of the podcast, Towner talks with host Dennis Scully about...


You can't do high-end design online? The Expert begs to differ

During COVID lockdowns last year, Jake Arnold, a rising young interior designer based out of Los Angeles, teamed up with Leo Seigal, an entrepreneur. Together they built an ingeniously simple platform, The Expert, that connects clients with top designers for hour-long video consultations. So far their creation has been a hit, and designers, including Amber Lewis, Leanne Ford and Martyn Lawrence Bullard, have flocked to the site, where they charge up to $2,500 for 55 minutes of their...


Maharam's Tony Manzari on the power of completely reinventing your company

Started out of a pushcart in the early 1900s, today fabric brand Maharam is a giant of the industry, sending out over 2 million samples a year. It hasn’t all been steady growth—the company underwent a major reinvention in the 1990s that saw employee turnover surge and profits drop. But it paid off, and Maharam was acquired in 2013 by Herman Miller for 156 million dollars. In this episode of the show, president Tony Manzari tells host Dennis Scully about how COVID is causing another...


Ben Soleimani built his name on rugs. Now he's going after the whole home

Ben Soleimani’s story is a dramatic one—the son of a prosperous rug dealer in Iran, his family escaped the country in the thick of the revolution that transformed the middle east. Soleimani eventually found himself in Los Angeles and wasted no time getting into business, first as a teenager, establishing his family’s operations in California, then branching into contemporary design and partnering with Gary Friedman to establish RH’s rug program. Now Soleimani has a whole home brand of his...


Thomas O'Brien: "You have to fight for the things you're passionate about."

Like so many leaders in the design industry, Thomas O’Brien began his career working for Ralph Lauren. When he went out on his own in the early nineties he found quick success with Aero, a buzzy shop in SoHo that led to designing stores for Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani. O’Brien also found great success in product—his lines for Waterworks, Hickory Chair and Visual Comfort have all been runaway bestsellers, and his collaboration with Target paved the way for high-end designers to partner...


Bonus Episode: Trade Tales with Kaitlin Petersen

In a special bonus episode of the Business of Home podcast, we're sharing the first episode of BOH's new show, Trade Tales. Hosted by editor in chief Kaitlin Petersen, the podcast features interviews with interior designers about nurturing creativity, finding a firm’s financial footing, setting goals and discovering their own version of success as a result. In the first episode, Philadelphia-based designer Nile Johnson shares the story of a dream client who recommended him to a nightmare...


Business of Home's editor in chief Kaitlin Petersen thinks the design industry deserves great journalism

On this episode of the podcast, host Dennis Scully speaks with Business of Home’s editor in chief Kaitlin Petersen. Petersen began her career in journalism covering everything from food and culture in Chicago, to true crime in Texas. She ended up in New York in the design media world at Hearst, working for Veranda and helping to relaunch Metropolitan Home before decamping to BOH. Now Kaitlin is launching a podcast of her own, Trade Tales, focused on great stories and business lessons from...


Asad Syrkett wants Elle Decor to start conversations

Asad Syrkett studied architecture in school but soon found himself more comfortable writing about it. After stints at Architectural Record, Architectural Digest and Curbed, he briefly decamped to the brand side to work for Swedish furniture brand Hem. Now Syrkett is back in media in the top spot at Elle Decor, and the first issue he’s supervised cover to cover just hit newsstands. In this episode of the Business of Home podcast, he speaks with host Dennis Scully about a bold cover concept...


"The best spot to buy furniture in America." Jim Druckman on the past, present and future of the New York Design Center

Jim Druckman grew up in the furniture industry. As a young man he followed his father into the family distribution business and learned the trade. Then, in the 1990s Druckman took over at the New York Design Center and began transforming the building into the high-end, design-driven destination it is today. In that role, and as president of the board at Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, he has helped build the interior design industry as we know it. In this episode of the podcast, coinciding with...


Kneedler Fauchère is a 73-year-old showroom. "Nothing has changed" say its leaders

Founded in San Francisco in 1948, Kneedler Fauchere was among the first multiline showrooms in the country. By elevating future icons like Jack Lenor Larsen as well as burgeoning giants like Clarence House and Glant, it came to define the look and shape of the 20th century design industry. Today, Kneedler Fauchere is still going strong, with showrooms in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver, and a “house” brand under its umbrella, the home furnishings company Gregorius Pineo. On this...


"Absolutely explosive growth." How Kathy Kuo built a digitally nimble design business

Kathy Kuo got started in the aftermath of the great recession, back when selling furniture online was still something of a novelty. Over the past decade she’s grown her business by taking a nimble, catch-all approach: when customers come to her site shopping for a few sconces, often they end up buying an e-design package. And if they come looking for an e-design package? Well, Kuo’s company is happy to recommend a few good sconces too. On this episode of the podcast, she speaks with host...


Malene Barnett and Leyden Lewis on why BADG's Obsidian project is no ordinary designer showhouse

Artist and activist Malene Barnett and designer and artist Leyden Lewis are two of the twenty-two creators behind the Black Artists and Designers Guild’s new project, Obsidian, a virtual concept house designed to celebrate innovation from black creatives—and to craft a home around the past, present and future needs of black families. On this episode of the podcast they chat with host Dennis Scully about why the Obsidian House is more like an innovation-driven car show than a typical designer...


John Robshaw on standing out in a crowded industry

As a young art student on a trip to India, John Robshaw fell in love with the technique of hand block printing. He began learning the craft and making his own fabrics, and almost by chance, they were discovered by blue chip designers like Peter Marino and Michael Smith—Robshaw’s career took off. He still makes fabric today, but his company has since expanded into bedding, art, apparel—and he’s revamping its furniture line in the coming year. On this episode of the show, Robshaw speaks with...


Roman Alonso of Commune cares about how a project feels, not how it looks

Roman Alonso of Los Angeles design firm Commune got his start in the world of fashion, working for Barney’s and Isaac Mizrahi. Seeking a change of pace, he and three friends started a truly unique company, one that did a little bit of everything: interiors, products, branding, graphic design and more. Today, Commune is known as one of the country’s most influential interior design firms, but Roman has kept the company true to its multidisciplinary roots, and he still likes to take on...


Alessandra Branca is trying something new

For decades, Alessandra Branca has been a fixture in the upper echelons of the interior design profession, with her buoyant style gracing shelter magazines and showhouses alike. Now she has a new venture, Casa Branca, a brand and e-commerce platform that sells fabric, wallpaper, tableware and vintage pieces. In this episode of the Business of Home podcast, she speaks with host Dennis Scully about what it’s been like to launch a new business in the midst of a pandemic, why the convenience of...


[Rebroadcast] Jack Lenor Larsen defined 20th century textiles

Not many designers can count Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen and Marilyn Monroe as clients, but Jack Lenor Larsen is no ordinary designer. A legend of the textile business, Larsen started his own studio in New York in 1952. His vivid early work convinced a once-skeptical Florence Knoll, who commissioned Larsen to create fabric for her furniture. From then on, Larsen’s business and reputation grew and grew. Drawing on extensive travels around the globe, he introduced ikat and batik to the...


"The Frank Sinatra of lighting" — Visual Comfort and Circa have no plans to slow down

Tapping into an overseas manufacturing boom, Andy Singer started Visual Comfort in the mid 80s, but it wasn’t until he partnered with master lighting designer Sandy Chapman ten years later that the company took off—now it’s one of the industry’s most recognizable brands, producing well known collaborations with designers like Thomas O’Brien, Alexa Hampton, Kelly Wearstler and many more. His sister Gale worked with Andy in the early days, but in the 90s split off to form Circa as a separate...


How Studio McGee became a phenomenon

Syd and Shea McGee, the married couple behind design firm Studio McGee, are enjoying a period of phenomenal success. Their debut book is a bestseller, their new Netflix show is a hit, and their e-commerce business McGee & Co. is experiencing explosive growth. On this episode if the podcast, they talk about how what looks like an overnight success has actually been a long journey, the resistance they’ve encountered from an old-school industry, and how confronting their own limitations led to...


Buildlane wants to bring custom furniture online

Frank Eybsen started online custom furniture platform Buildlane after working in a furniture factory himself and seeing firsthand how frustrating and opaque the experience could be for designers. He made it his mission to bring the process entirely online, and has built a network of factories and a digital platform that connects the trade to the craftsmen who build their furniture. In this episode of the show, Eybsen and COO Heather Zeilman talk about why makers have been slow to embrace...