Tastemaker Tuesday – Jennifer Boles

We’re so excited to share this month’s Tastemaker feature for the blog for steve mckenzie’s – Jennifer Boles, who, for many of you may need to introduction… She’s the classic design maven behind the wildly popular blog, “The Peak of Chic“, and has also authored two fabulous books, House Beautiful Fabrics for Your Home and In with the Old: Classic Decor from A to ZPlease join us in welcoming, Jennifer Boles, as the latest Tastemaker for steve mckenzie’s:

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Jennifer Boles

Jennifer Boles was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree in history from University of the South (Sewanee, TN), Jennifer returned to Atlanta to pursue a career in business and finance. After ten years spent in the business sector, Jennifer decided to pursue her passion for interior design and the decorative arts. With an intense interest in design history and a love of writing, Jennifer started her design blog “The Peak of Chic” in the Fall of 2006. Her website-read by design devotees from around the world- focuses on design trends, historical homes, history of design, and all things design related.  Recently named “blogosphere darling” by Departures magazine, Jennifer has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Town & Country, Elle Décor, and Wall Street Journal.  In 2007, Jennifer became a contributing editor to House Beautiful, and more recently, she was named contributing editor to Veranda. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about design, Jennifer spends her time traveling, collecting antique and vintage ceramics, and buying far too many books.

1. Three words that describe your aesthetic? 

Classic; Confident; Personal

2. Would you please share a little about your favorite space/project to date? 

My favorite space is my own home because it’s furnished with things I love.

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Door by Dorothy Draper

3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

The work of design legends such as Dorothy Draper, Albert Hadley, and Syrie Maugham.

4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…

Cole Porter; Billy Baldwin; Bobby Short

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Sitting room by Syrie Maugham

5. A piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

A clean-lined sofa.

6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?

Variety in texture and finish, for example, adds interest to a room.  That being said, you also need balance.

7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?” 

Into: Subtlety.  It’s a lost art, one which I hope people rediscover.

I’m over the kitchen-sink approach to decorating.  You can’t just throw a random mix of styles and pieces into a room and expect the room to look pulled-together.

8. How does artwork fit into your designs?

It’s important, but it has to reflect the taste and interest of the homeowner, not the designer.

9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?

My dog, Alfie.

10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry. 

Learn about the history of design.  You’ll never be at a loss for inspiration if you know about design history and those designers who influenced the art of decorating.

We so appreciate that last bit – about the history of design. This is a passion of both Steve and Jill’s and something they look to often when working with clients to create new designs.

A BIG shout out to the gracious Ms Boles for agreeing to participate in our Tastemaker Tuesday blog feature, she’s such a peach, and if you aren’t already an avid follower, we encourage you to add “The Peak of Chic” to your list of blogs to read – it is sure to become an instant favorite!

A Fine Place to Dine: How much do dining tables cost?

You’re ready to invest in a dining table for your home and family. That’s great – so many wonderful times are shared with friends and family around the table!

But, you don’t know where to turn to find just the right dining table for your space and lifestyle. And just how much does a dining table cost?

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There are lots of questions associated with any furniture purchase, but there are many details associated with dining table selection, specifically, and these waters can be difficult to navigate. But, we’re here to help… Consider these questions as you think about your dream dining area:

  • Will this table be the only dining location in the house or is there a separate breakfast area or counter seating?
  • What other purposes will this dining table serve – work space, homework area, etc.?
  • Is your house typically the gathering place for potlucks and holiday meals?

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Next, sketch out the shape and size of your dining room. Will a rectangle table be best or can a round one work? There’s also oval and square shapes to keep in mind.

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Keep these measurements in mind as you create your space plan…

  • Your table should be at least 36 inches wide to allow for elbow room and serving dishes
  • Attempt to leave 42-48″ between your table and walls to allow for guests to move in and out comfortably
  • Tabletop height should be no more than 10-12″ above the chair seat

Old wood co - harvest table and benchIf you’re tight on space, consider utilizing a dining bench as part of your dining seating plan. Make sure the bench will fit between the legs of your selected table.

Old wood co - sunfish tableVisualization helps most of us, so take painter’s tape or a bed sheet to map out possible table shapes and sizes. See how it works to maneuver around various shapes and sizes.

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Always check with the table manufacturer to learn how many people may fit comfortably at a table. If you need the flexibility to seat larger groups, consider a table that has a self-storing butterfly leaf, like this Grange Directoire table pictured below:

grange sun round tableAs far as investment in your dining table selection goes, know this is an investment and you’ll want a quality table, which will last many years. Tables can range from $1,500 for a ready-made piece to $5,500+ for more custom options.

Another avenue to consider is to work with a local craftsman to design and create the ideal table. While this may be more of an investment in both time and funds, you’re guaranteed to get just what you want.

The team here at steve mckenzie’s works with many fine furniture manufacturers and craftsman, and we’d be thrilled to have the opportunity to work with you to create just the right dining space for you – one that will both look and function beautifully. Please reach out to us today, or stop by the showroom to get an idea of the types of spaces we can create.

Dining table selection

3 Top Trends from Maison & Objet 2015

Twice a year, the design elite converge on Paris see what the world’s finest designers have to offer our world of interiors. This January represented the 20th anniversary of Maison & Objet and in celebration, everyone brought their best of all things pertaining to interiors.

In fact, this show was so robust, Steve and Jill required a full two days just to see everything once at Maison & Objet. It is a lot to take in!

They were honored guests of Grange Furniture, whose stand proved to be one of the most elegant in all the show. And, although there is so much about Maison & Objet to share, we decided to make it easy for those of you who may not have been able to attend this season’s show and summarize the top three emerging trends we witnessed:

Flights of Fancy

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Butterflies were everywhere at Maison & Objet, along with a few tropical birds thrown in for good measure. Beginning with the beautiful new Exceptions de Grange piece with the butterfly front, as seen above.

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DEYROLLE, a delightful find in the 6th in Paris, on rue de Bac, is a visual feast of taxidermy and entomology. You can select your own butterflies and create your own boxes that they will build on site for you.

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Exhibitor Koket, purveyors of the glam lifestyle, showed off an amazing gold and fuchsia butterfly wallpaper, and also had pieces featured in the new Fifty Shades of Grey motion picture.

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Famous French glass house, Lalique, launched a line of beautiful butterflies by artist Damien Hirst; they were stunning!

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And just to prove that we are on trend here in Atlanta, we were so pleased to read the inaugural issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME and see their spread on the butterfly trend..

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Classic Blue and White

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A perennial favorite for designers, blue and white is coming back with a vengeance. Dust off those oriental vases and get ready to introduce them back into your space! 

One exhibitor, Moissonnier, also with a beautiful storefront in the 6th in Paris, creates beautiful bespoke furniture that really embraced this trend. 

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This hand painted console was an absolute inspiration!

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Even creative pottery in blue and white was featured in abundance.

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Traditional vessels stacked deep…

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Ralph Lauren Home brought back the blue and white pottery to their exhibition as well.

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Pretty Pastels Prevail

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The third trend that was very prominent was all about pastels, especially pinks.

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From Modern furniture to key accessories, it was everywhere!

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Even Le Creuset launched pink and blue product lines.

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This all pink display inside the high gloss black armoire really drove the pastel point home for us.

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Grange featured this beautiful blush tone as a sweet little accent inside two of their Exceptions pieces.

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As you can tell, we could go on forever about all the inspirational pieces we saw, but we hope you enjoyed these selected trends from Maison & Objet Paris 2015.

We will do one final installment about our amazing trip to Lyon to experience the incredible Grange Factory for ourselves and share what makes Grange so special; hint – we can’t wait for you to see their artisans at work! We will also be sharing a full album of all the images captured on this recent trip.

Thank you for reliving this magical time with us, we hope you’re as inspired as we are by these top trends from Maison & Objet 2015!

Tablescape Thursday: Love is in the Air

We had so much fun pulling together these Valentine’s table settings, and we think you’ll have even more fun pulling them off for yourself and surprising your loved one with a special dinner at home this holiday!

Sure, there’s something about a night on the town, but does it have to be on Valentine’s day? The crowds, prix fixe menus… We suggest saving the big night out for another evening and celebrating at home. After all, it’s more cozy and comfortable and with the right tablescape, you can set the mood however you like!

We’ve created three designs here – one more casual, another a bit fancier and a third setting that sets the stage for a true holiday celebration:

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First up, a casual supper setting.  Perhaps you’ve just started dating, so you don’t want to go overboard just yet. This place setting featuring Libeco linens, a Match Pewter Dinner Plate, R. Wood Studio Dessert/Salad Plate all topped off with a silver heart ornament (could double as a sweet gift!) by Eric Cortina, offers a sentimental feel where a classic french bistro meal such as croque monsieur and a simple salad would be perfectly suited.

Also featured in this setting is an R. Wood Studio Small Scallop Bowl, Two-Piece Salad Set, in red glitter, a Tart/Pie Server, also in red glitter, a simple red spreader, an Acrylic Dolce Vita Water Goblet and Tumbler and Vintage-Style Flatware.

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With this setting, things are getting a bit more serious… Although they’re kept casual with the Acrylic Lente Tumbler and Highball glasses and white Vintage-Style flatware. The le Jacquard Francais tea towel, turned place mat and Libeco Linen napkin, both in tones of strawberry and red give a nod to the holiday celebrated. But it’s really the Match Pewter Convivio dinner and salad/dessert plates that elevate this setting. The three heart ornaments by Eric Cortina offer a little something special, while also doubling as a gift.

A creamy lemon shrimp risotto would be an ideal compliment to this setting, and would certainly impress your loved one! Take a bit of the stress off your plate by turning to a local bakery for dessert…

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Finally, with our third setting, we’re looking at a proposal-ready tablescape, so beware! This is your classic Valentine’s surf and turf place setting… It’s grounded by a tea towel place mat by Le Jacquard Francais and an April Cornell Essential Napkin in pink. The dinnerware is a combination of Match Pewter Viviana Dinner and salad/dessert plates and a bread a butter plate in Royal Crown Derby‘s Mikado pattern. This tablescape’s crowning glory is the Royal Crown Derby, Mikado coffee/tea service – it’s even more stunning in person!

Also featured in this table setting are the Acrylic Dolce Vita Water Goblet and Wine Goblets, and Vintage-Style Flatware in Black. Add a few flowers and some candles, and this tablescape will be over the top!

And there you have it – three table settings that are sure to knock your loved one off their feet! Plus, those recipes = a guaranteed success of a Valentine’s dinner! Pop into the steve mckenzie’s showroom today to pick up a few of these items to help create your perfect holiday tablescape, and maybe even the perfect card for your special someone…

Ready to be Wrapped: Jewelry in stock at steve mckenzie’s!

With less than a week to go till Valentine’s day, you’re in crunch time to find that little something special for your loved one… But have no fear, steve mckenzie’s is here! With plenty of fabulous baubles in stock, ready to be wrapped for your special lady:

Christina Kober Joy Drop sterling silver earrings

Is your hunny the epitome of elegant sophistication and simplicity? If so, show her how much she means with these perfectly understated “Joy Drop” sterling silver earrings by Christina Kober. She’ll be sporting this sweet pair everyday, be it to the office or yoga… And you’ll stay close to her heart.

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We cannot say enough good things about these pieces by Grandmother’s Buttons – and your loved one’s family and friends won’t be able to say enough about them either. They’re that special and unique. Each piece is a statement and the handcrafted quality cannot be beat. These pieces are ready to be wrapped for your sweetie right away!

Christina Kober Fortune Cookie bracelet $68

Let your loved one know how fortunate you are that they’re in your life with this perfect fortune cookie bracelet by Christina Kober ($68). It may be a little unconventional – save the roses and chocolates for another year – but it’ll be treasured for years to come! Pop in the shop today and pick it up for that special someone.

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Talk about turning heads! These baubles by Mark Edge are undeniably head-turning, just like your Valentine… Mark has a way of bringing together the old and new, elegant and edgy to create some totally captivating pieces. And we have quite an array available for your favorite lady, ready to be wrapped right away!

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If your sweetheart is classic monogram-loving southern belle, she’ll be sure to love our sterling silver initial necklaces by Christina Kober. Another understated item, these petite pieces are ideal for layering with other necklaces and will quickly become a wardrobe staple!

And to all the gals out there searching for that special something for their guy – check out our “5 Best Valentine’s Gifts for Guys” post here.

Come in soon for the best selection, and to work with a steve mckenzie’s team member to pick out the perfect piece to help make your Valentine feel extra special this holiday!

New from Grange… Just for YOU!

As we shared in an earlier post, Steve and Jill have just returned from France where they had the opportunity to attend Maison & Objet, as a guest of Grange, a leading  furniture manufacturer in France with over 100 years of history.

In addition to those favorite pieces we’ve already shared with you, we were also introduced to a couple of new collections by Grange and they’re so spectacular, we wanted to share them with you as soon as possible! Although we may be a little biased, as we are the Southeast United States’ Grange representatives… Without further adieu, here’s the latest from Grange Furniture:

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The first new Grange collection we’d like to share, Médaillon, is based on the traditional lines of Louis XV style, yet cleaner and more comfortable and approachable.

In this line, Grange combined Oak finishes found in country estates with cherry tops to create an elegant collection that may fit in both formal dining spaces or your family’s kitchen.

As a Grange retailer, steve mckenzie’s will have this collection on view in our showroom this spring!

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The buffet and mirror have beautiful lines and great proportions and beautifully round out the pieces for the dining space.

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The collection’s Medallion back chairs are available both in cane back and upholstered finishings.

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The Médaillon collection also includes two smaller proportioned Bergere chairs in a beautiful oak frame. Can’t you envision these lovely pieces in a keeping room off the kitchen?

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The next new collection by Grange, Country Chic, is based on the country homes in the areas of Ile de Ré and Lubéron. These pieces feature cerused oak with a pop of aqua, perfect for beach or country homes.

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Also new from Grange is an exciting modular that features the same unique functionality of Grange’s other modular pieces, with bookshelves which are able to effortlessly slide in front of the TV component of the piece – perfectly concealing the television in style.

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However, these updated Grange modulars are not nearly as tall as their earlier designs. This new piece stands at 61″ tall, an ideal petite size for smaller spaces.

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We just cannot wait to bring these new pieces by Grange into the steve mckenzie’s showroom, so you’ll have an opportunity to experience them in person – take it from us, they’re even better than in these beautiful photos!

If you have any questions about these pieces, or would like additional information, please reach out to the steve mckenzie’s team. We’d love to work with you to bring these pieces into you or your client’s home, where we’re sure you’ll love living with them!

Back from Maison & Objet with Favorite Pieces from Grange Furniture

Steve and Jill recently returned from France, where, as guests of Grange Furniture, they had the unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Grange by visiting three of their stores, their stand at Maison & Objet and the Grange factory in Lyon.

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To say it was a trip to remember would be an understatement! It was an absolute explosion inspiration. Not only were the Grange showrooms and Maison & Objet stand breathtaking, the factory was unbelievable, and naturally, they were in France – where they went inspiration shopping in Paris, focusing specifically on the Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement.

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As Steve and Jill perused the three Grange stores – two in Paris and one in Lyon – it was easy to fall in love with all of the pieces Grange had on display. Here are a few favorites, we just had to share with you; we hope you enjoy them in photos as much as we did in person:

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Grange has really expanded their upholstery collection and keying off traditional French styling. Combining this look with modern fabrics creates some really beautiful pieces. We’re especially excited with how bold Grange is becoming with the use of multiple fabrics on most of their pieces.

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This petite club chair with bamboo styling across the back was an instant favorite!

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This Trianon Sofa was especially beautiful with its combination of traditional legs paired with modern arms and cushions trimmed in orange welt – as you probably know, our favorite combination!

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Customization is a hallmark of Grange. Finishes can be combined to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. This Louis XV desk with the hint of peacock inside the legs and just around the inside of the desk was seriously stunning.

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The new Grand Siecle, introduced by Grange at the last Maison & Objet, is beautiful in this painted oak leg and woodtone oak top combination. We love the detailing on the corner makes it truly special.

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Another stunning collection is the Haussmann, which features a bold scale and stately hardware. This console with door knocker pulls and matching mirror, created a statement vignette.

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Grange’s modular pieces, which provide not only beauty, but also storage to your space, are another Grange hallmark. The most exciting part of these pieces, is the fact they can be custom configured to fit your specific space and needs.

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We love the way the book shelves slide to perfectly hide the TV when not in use (a amazing accomplishment!). This unit even has a hidden bar behind the shelves on the far right – ideal for cocktail night!

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The real piece de resistance is this new large “Miss Butterfly” chest of drawers with the front done in wallpaper.  Butterflies were a big trend in Paris and especially at Maison & Objet, as noted by Steve and Jill.

We’ll share more about the exciting butterfly trend in an upcoming post, along with many other fabulous trends found at Maison & Objet, so keep your eyes peeled!

In addition to our terrific hosts from Grange US, we were joined by Kathy Marshall the talented Kitchen and Interior Designer from Boston, George Logan and Rita Brown of the San Francisco bay area store Indigo & Poppy, and Blogger and Textile Designer, Kimberly Lewis. Joining all these talents lead to many ideas and abundant creativity!

We are so glad to have so many new friends and look forward to sharing more about this trendsetting trip over the next few weeks!