What is most striking about the evolution of Mike Palumbo, though, is not what a hard blow the housing crash dealt, but how creatively Palumbo rebounded. Recognizing two of his company’s key assets—an experienced, talented, flexible designer and close ties to architects with nationwide clientele—he began to accept projects he previously would have rejected as too small. Once untethered from his home base, Palumbo identified a wealth of opportunities. An earlier Bel Air house Palumbo remodeled for an attorney set the stage for projects outside the Hollywood hills. The model works well when he has to work well with local general contractors on technically sophisticated projects. What Palumobo offers in such situations is management expertise and a designer’s eye on the job. And because local builders tend to charge an “afraid to do it” premium for one-off modern houses, Palumbo Design, can find contractors who are willing to work hand-in-hand. “I’m always hoping to find someone who understands my kind of modernism for things in the tiniest details.” Palumbo and knows the crew is not capable of reading his mind. “We do a very thorough set of drawings,” Palumbo says, “but there are always some details that you’d never get to.” Palumbo fills in the blanks and makes choices that are not only great, but also remain in the spirit of what the end goal of the project is. Former developers who have worked with Palumbo will tell you his ideas are better than what they would’ve done. The Laurel Way project “is a huge challenge because of the strict building codes the city enforces,” Palumbo says. “However, the house will be a very solid and well built house as a result of the restrictions and requirements. Palumbo is a prodigy that has grown and evolved into the kind of designer you would want to know was involved in the building of your home, not only for his capable high to detail and taste for good design, but because of his knowledge of good construction and intuitive understanding of comfortable living space. And just as environmental stress drives the evolution of new species, the stress of the recession seems to have spurred Palumbo not only to adapt his primary business, but also to generate and take his talent and experience to the next level – a bigger wave.