Part 1: A New York State of Mind

Steve, with panel participants, Karl Champley, Elle H-Millard and Alberto Villalobos.
You may recall from a recent post, Steve was invited to moderate a panel on “Innovation in Kitchen Design” at What’s New, What’s Next (WNWN) in New York City. The panel was a success and the entire event truly delightful!

As an interior designer, staying abreast of the latest in design trends is paramount and events like WNWN make that possible. And fun to boot! By moderating this panel, Steve was able to learn even more about the newest trends in kitchen technology and looks forward to incorporating these trends into future client projects!

 

A highlight of this year’s WNWN for both Steve and Jill was the Grange suite, where the brand’s latest designs, finishes and inspirations abounded. As you probably know, Grange is a favorite line of ours, and is often times one of the first things guests to the steve mckenzie’s showroom take note of. The way Grange combines textures, finishes and styles – in addition to all of their customization options is seriously awe-inspiring. And the functionality is abundant.

Grange’s Rive Gauche Wardrobe

 

Grange’s Rive Gauche Occasional Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having NYC as a backdrop to WNWN is absolutely exciting, but some of our most memorable moments was visiting with some of our Atlanta design friends – Barbara Westbrook and Beth Lacefield in particular – while there!

Steve’s art in the Grange showroom
A visit to Chelsea Frames/Gallerie Protege (the locale of Steve’s 2012 NYC art show) reminded us of the importance of not only art in a space, but beautiful, quality custom framed art in a space. It’s these details which elevate a space from fine to fabulous!

As always, our time in NYC always seems to move past with great speed. But, this time, Steve and Jill were able to take a few days to enjoy much art and inspiration both within and outside the NYC limits… Which we’ll share in Part 2 of this post :-))

 

A unique perspective of the Empire State Building… street level, aglow at night.
For now, we’ll end thanking all of those who made our time at WNWN truly memorable – especially  the Grange and Viking teams who invited Steve to moderate the panel. This was an event that will not be soon forgotten!

And please keep an eye out for Part 2, which will highlight some unforgettable art and sweet family time for the McKenzie’s…

 

Giving Back: A Ravishing Room Reveal with Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio

You may recall when Steve and the team worked to create a truly memorable and inspiring home for a deserving family here in Atlanta with Dwell with Dignity. It was a remarkable project – and talented group of professionals to work with – providing a warm and welcome place for a local family to thrive in.

Steve had another opportunity to create an inspiring space and give back to Dwell with Dignity again, this time via their Atlanta Thrift Studio event.

Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio fundraiser provides one-third of the operating revenue that allows Dwell with Dignity to change lives through design by bringing good design to those who can afford it the least.

Thrift Studio is a pop-up shop selling donated furniture, housewares, accessories and high-end designer finds to the public, showcased in stunning vignettes created by professionals of the local interior design industry. The best part – 100% of sales benefiting Dwell with Dignity’s mission!

The folks behind Dwell with Dignity know it takes a village to make the awesome things they do possible, and we couldn’t agree more…

It’s this “takes a village” theme Steve ran with, working with some pretty amazing vendors and artisans, who graciously and generously donated their talents and wares to help make Steve’s Thrift Studio space such a success.

The first thing most commented on first about Steve’s space were the amazing watercolor walls. Steve, along with Team Member, Xavier Neuner and local decorative artist, Kass Wilson, worked to create this stunning treatment and it turned out better than we could have ever imagined!

And a big thank you to Robert Allen, who donated the dining table, yellow zebra chairs (seriously fabulous!) and even these beautiful Madcap Cottage pillows (fabricated for RA by Drape 98) as the “icing” to the Steve McKenzie Design’s space!

We had so much fun creating this fun and inspiring space – and it can ALL be yours (at a huge savings off retail) if you shop Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio between now and October, 20th!

*All photos courtesy of Christina Wedge photography.

Who you NEED to Meet: Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke of Madcap Cottage

We’re looking forward to a fabulous fall working with the equally fabulous duo behind the magic that is Madcap Cottage – Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke! Keep an eye out for some exciting happenings between steve mckenzie’s and Madcap Cottage, taking place soon. In the meantime, enjoy getting to know one of the madcaps, Jason Oliver Nixon in our latest “Who you NEED to Meet” installment…

John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon are the dynamic duo behind North Carolina- and New York-based interior design firm, Madcap Cottage. Known for their whimsical use of color and pattern, the Madcap gents—along with their pound-rescue posse, Jasper, Weenie, and Amy Petunia—scour the world for eclectic finds that capture their unique and gimlet-eyed viewpoint. Imagine a British country house that pairs Granny’s antiques and a spirited dash of Chinoiserie chic with a dash of Morocco-meets-India élan. Shake, stir, then pour.

steve mckenzie’s: Will you please share a bit about your background/how you and John started Madcap Cottage and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

Jason Nixon: John and I both come from backgrounds as magazine editors and television producers, we really see ourselves as storytellers. In our previous lives, we produced, styled, and wrote stories, and at a certain point we asked, Why are we writing about everyone else? We started the design business and the first project we crafted was snapped up by a magazine, and the phone started ringing and we were off and running. We kept the day job as long as we could, and then took the plunge. We are thrilled to have 4-5 interior design projects each year and to have moved into the realm of product development–from fabric and bedding to window treatments, wallpaper, and wall art.

sm’s: What inspires you and John/your work? 

JN: Travel is a huge part of our world, and we carry sketch books and diaries when we travel and document our adventures. We find inspiration everywhere we go–from Iowa to India. We also lap up great homes and gardens as well as vintage movies and design books. The legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland once said, “The eye has to travel,” and we couldn’t agree more.

sm’s: What is your vision, not only for the Madcap Cottage brand, but also the individual designs/products you create??

JN: We want to create designs that make you dream–but that are also attainable and affordable. We believe that good design should be available to all. Everything that we do is hand touched, sketched, and painted, whether that is a 40,000-square-foot home or a bedding collection for Home Shopping Network. Our goal is to be a lifestyle destination such as Laura Ashley back in the day.

sm’s: Do you have any “mainstays” in your work – is there something you’re always drawn to? 

JN: Of course, we are smitten with prints and patterns and offer opportunities for consumers to bring florals, graphics, stripes, and more into their lives–from baby steps to all-in. Think a classic, relaxed American sensibility paired with an English vibe, and that’s our vibe. Timeless. Sophisticated. And fun. We always have vintage and antique pieces in our design projects and offer surprise-and-delight details such as contrast welting and buttons, unexpected matting and frame treatments, and more.

sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique pieces that remain a part of the Madcap Cottage family?

JN: John and I craft colors and patterns that run between our various fabric collections to give tools that allow designers and consumers to connect the dots easily. We layer-in new colors in each collection that adds a further storyline and moves the adventure forward. Each collection takes you on a new journey: We think of each collection as a chapter in a book that moves the story along.

sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase a Madcap Cottage design?

JN: Nothing! Dive in. We give you the tools to bring the adventure home.

sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you and John/Madcap Cottage?

JN: Lighting! Rugs! Fashion accessories! Paper products! And maybe a TV presence. And we would love to start another book project.

sm’s: As artists/business people how do you recharge?

JN: We love hanging out with our three pound-rescue pups and lounge about with them and read books on the weekend. We also love having friends over for long, boozy dinner parties. And gardening is our favorite hobby

sm’s: Anything else you can think our readers would enjoy learning about you and John/your business/designs? 

JN: We believe that design should be fun and put a smile upon your face.

Smiles and fun are absolutely what design should be about. Cheers to the men of Madcap and all the fun and smiles we have planned in the upcoming months! And a big thank you to Jason Oliver Nixon for participating in our “Who you NEED to meet” feature!

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Art & Inspiration Abound on St. Simons Island!

Last month, Steve and Jill had the pleasure of hosting a painting workshop at a location of great inspiration and even more wonderful people – The Vine, a combination landscape design, event design and garden market located on St. Simons Island.

The team behind The Vine, Bryce Vann Brock and Kelly Revels, welcomed Steve and Jill to their beautiful showroom and workspace, along with a slew of vibrant and talented artists-to-be to enjoy an evening of fun and painting!

This fantastic group of women not only created some pretty fantastic artworks, they really made the event at The Vine a truly memorable evening for Steve and Jill.

Lite bites and abundant cocktails aided in our painting and these adorable cocktail napkins by Dot and Army were a sweet addition to The Vine’s lovely setup!

Check out the artists at work…

Creating art can be a messy process!

Steve guiding guests through their creation process. He is a wonderful instructor!

And has fun doing it :-))

Thank you to Bryce, Kelly and everyone at The Vine for making this painting workshop possible. We love sharing the creative process with others and we especially LOVED creating art with all of you!

Interior of The Vine
photo by Kelly Boyd Photography

Now, Steve and Jill couldn’t visit St. Simons Island without enjoying a bit of the beautiful scenery. It’s a fantastic place to garner inspiration – especially for Steve who’s always thinking about his next work…

They enjoyed a visit to Christ Church and Cemetery, which is the second oldest in Georgia!

A Patriot grave marker…

Our duo also checked out Wesley Memorial and Gardens, which were lush and beautiful.

St. Simons Island provided a wonderful working vacation and Steve and Jill were tickled to make so many new friends and enjoy the island together! Thanks to all who made it such a wonderful trip!!

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Dinner Party 101

“Let’s have some folks over for dinner this weekend!” – does the thought of this idea make your palms sweat? Don’t worry, join us on Oct. 7th for Dinner Party 101.  The ever-so thoughtful hostess, Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch blog joins us to give you the tools for an effortless, casual dinner party.

party, cocktail
Dinner Party 101: Saturday, Oct. 7th from 10 – 11:30am

You’ll go home confident, with easy, impressive recipes, design advice for a festive space, ready to reconnect with old friends and invite some new friends.

You’ll make some new friends and learn from stand-out makers such as Cathead Vodka, Schermer Pecans and Merry Cheese Crisps.

Tickets are $20 and space is limited, so grab a friend and get your tickets today! Be sure to contact the team at steve mckenzie’s with any entertaining needs.  See you soon!

Hazen & Co. Jewelry – giveaway sneak peek!

We are so excited to share a little giveaway we have planned for our friends out there, featuring one of our favorite, new (to us) jewelry brands – Hazen & Co.!

Started by the amazing Taylor Miller (at the age of nine, we might add!), Hazen & Co. is so much more than pretty jewelry. Taylor’s pieces are handmade in Texas and her ever-changing collections expand beyond jewelry to hair and even home accessories, creating a true Hazen lifestyle brand.

Taylor Miller of Hazen & Co.

Our friend Paige Minear (and past Tastemaker!) wrote a truly delightful interview post featuring Taylor and Hazen & Co. for The Southern Coterie, which can be seen here.

Taylor’s creations are playful, yet sophisticated and are downright charming. They’re an ideal way to pull an ensemble together and will always garner rave remarks.

We are absolutely tickled to offer a giveaway for a Hazen & Co. gold Clover Necklace via the steve mckenzie’s Instagram account! The giveaway is set to begin tomorrow, so please keep an eye out for that post, which will share how you’ll be able to earn a chance (or two!) at winning this fantastic piece.

Hazen’s clover necklace makes a pretty, delicate statement on its own, or it’s wonderful layered with other pieces. We’re pretty sure it’ll become a go-to for our lucky winner…

Stop by the steve mckenzie’s showroom and see some lovely Hazen & Co. pieces, which are a part of a stunning array of jewelry currently on display. And good luck in our Hazen & Co. clover necklace giveaway!!

Falling for these Favorites

Fall is here! Although there may not be much of a chill in the air, and we just weathered Tropical Storm Irma, Autumn is upon us. We have so many goodies to share with you all this fall and wanted to go ahead and showcase a few of our current favorites. Along with a “fall favorite” recipe from the pages of Garden & Gun magazine – ideal for these cooler evenings we’ve been enjoying! Let us know what you think of our fall favorite selections…

This set of 12 bamboo horseshoe picks are ideal for game day, or just about any get together! Add a bit of flare and personality to your martini, cheese tray or crockpot meatballs with these “lucky” picks!

Look effortlessly chic selecting your fall favorites from the farmer’s market with this basket. Large enough to carry a load of turnips, squash and just about anything you’ll want to bring home from the market – and stylish to boot!

Bring a bit of nature into your home this fall with this awesome hand screen printed buck throw pillow – printed and sewn in Bucks County, PA! This big guy will definitely add some personality to your sofa. Also a great gift idea for the outdoor enthusiast in your life!

Here’s one of our fall favorites, ideal for all of you entertainers… Our Loop Indigo Ice Bucket. This will be sure to dress up any tailgate or pretty up any cocktail bar – fun and functional, all in one!

Speaking of a tailgate, how about our classic dice game to add a bit of excitement?!? This handsome set includes a stitched leather cup, five rainbow dice and a multi-game instruction booklet.

Finally – a current favorite fall recipe, Garden & Gun’s Spanish Chickpea Stew. It’s warming and hearty, but won’t weigh you down. And the flavors are to die for!

Spanish Chickpea Stew

Ingredients

    • 1 pound dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

    • 1½ pounds collard greens

    • 6 ounces salt pork, cut into ½-inch cubes

    • 2 large onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

    • 2 garlic cloves, minced

    • 1 cup canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes

    • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf

    • 1 teaspoon pimentón (smoked sweet paprika)

    • 1 ham hock

    • Kosher salt

    • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

Preparation

Cover the garbanzos with cold water by 4 inches in a large bowl. Cover and let stand overnight.

Wash the collards well, then stack 5 or 6 leaves. Cut out the stems and central ribs, slicing along the sides to form a “V.” Discard the stems. Roll up the leaves and cut crosswise to form 1-inch-wide ribbons.

Cook the salt pork in a large saucepot over medium heat until the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaf and pimentón.

Drain the garbanzos and stir into the pot, then add the ham hock and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir in the collards and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the garbanzos and ham hock meat are tender, 1½ to 2 hours.

Remove the ham hock. When cool enough to handle, pull off the meat and return to the pot. Discard the bones and cartilage. Stir in the vinegar. Taste and add more salt if you think it needs it. Serve hot. The stew can be cooled and refrigerated in airtight containers for up 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop.

We suggest serving this alongside a crusty loaf of bread and a Spanish red wine – perfection!

Happy fall y’all – we hope to see you in the steve mckenzie’s showroom for a visit soon!