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…

 

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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A Studio Tour with Steve McKenzie

Folks frequently ask about Steve’s studio – and lucky for us, he loves sharing his happy place with others! It’s perfectly situated to fuel his creativity. Back in April, Paige Minear shared a visit to Steve’s studio on her blog, The Pink Clutch.

We thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of the same tour and offer a behind the scenes look of where the magic that is Steve’s art happens…

Steve’s studio is located in the loft above the steve mckenzie’s showroom. He can be a bit messy, so it’s smart to contain the work in a space that can be somewhat hidden. Up in the loft, he has various areas set up for working. A large easel is built on the wall and is the spot where Steve works on his larger pieces.

Commercial, stainless kitchen carts easily roll with Steve as he works.

An antique drafting table serves as his workspace for ink and watercolor drawings. This is also the place where Steve’s fabric patterns are created.

The curated objects in Steve’s studio are what inspire him most to create… Here are a few. Note the Illy coffee – nothing like an Italian espresso to keep you going!

Lately, Steve has been spending a lot of time in the studio, creating works for some upcoming shows, fabric lines and more!

Come visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom and experience the art of Steve McKenzie for yourself; and stay tuned for some exciting things coming up for Steve’s art!

*All photos by Marc Mauldin Photography

Tastemaker Tuesday – Paige Minear

One of our very favorite bloggers and stylists (and people) is here for Tastemaker Tuesday and we couldn’t be more excited to share her feature post here with you today!

Paige Minear, of The Pink Clutch, is a witty and wonderful person. She’s become fast friends with the McKenzies and even has a pop up in the steve mckenzie’s showroom, showcasing some of her classy, preppy decor from her styling gigs. Paige is not afraid of color or pattern and is an expert of creating memorable combinations we’d never think of pulling together.

Read on to learn more about page, how she’s become a blogger to watch and a few tips on how she pulls together her signature style…

Paige Minear is the author, mother and preppy creator behind the design blog The Pink Clutch.  Paige is known for her home full of color, Palm Beach style and antique treasures.  With a love for all things design related she writes five days a week allowing her readers to indulge in colorful posts and inspiration.  She is a lover of a strong latte, champagne cocktails, a stack of magazines, crisp button downs, popped collars, a sweet treat and a house full of fresh flowers and monogrammed linens. She can be seen most days in a gingham button down, pearls galore sporting leopard flats and ready for adventure.
Paige lives in Atlanta with her husband and three kids. 
1. Three words that describe your style?
Classic (preppy), Southern and very colorful!
2. Would you please share a little about your favorite styling project to date?
Anything I style in my own house makes me so very happy, but the room I think I love the most is our master bedroom. We have a large area to work with, so we’ve added a sitting area. Since we don’t have a television in our den, the kids gather here to watch movies and we all hang out together. As the grow up, they start pulling away, so this time together is priceless. We also have a dedicated date night on Thursdays and the Hubs and I have wine and cheese and just catch up in these same chairs. The idea for a sitting area in our room was brilliant!
3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration for both your blog posts and interior styling gigs?
Literally everywhere! I take a ton of photos and read so much, I’m constantly filing ideas. My favorite places I garner inspiration are Instagram, Town & Country (online) and my favorite shelter publications – House Beautiful, Veranda and Town & Country magazines. My blog and Instagram feed are meant to inspire others as it inspires me, so I’m constantly sharing things I love. I may snap a picture months before I use it and then one day it will call to me.
4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…
What a fabulous question! Jackie Kennedy (such a story of strength and endless style), Coco Chanel (so creative and never wavered in her style or her vision) and Martin Luther King.  Clearly I am drawn to people with a vision and a strong sense of self!
5. A piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?
I am not sure there is one thing I couldn’t live without. I love things but I am super attached to people and memories so most of what I couldn’t live without is tied to the people I love.
I do love a fabulous and comfortable couch to snuggle with those I love for long conversations and quality time. The bigger the sofa, the more people can squeeze on it! 
6. Would you please share some of your blogging best practices? What do you think makes up a successful blog post?
Be true to you. I have found the success of writing for me has been never straying from who I am .  When I grew, the blog grew … when life changed, the blog changed.  At any point if I had tried to pretend to be someone other than me I would have fizzled out and failed.  I only know how to be me and to share my heart and life with others. 
My goal with the blog and my social media is to inspire and share what inspires me.  Sometimes that is a fabulous room or a new Rosé, sometimes that is a deep post on parenting and life.  Since I share what inspires me that is very personal and can change with the days and months.  At the moment with summer coming to a close I am inspired by pinks, oranges and lots of adventures and that is what I am currently sharing.  I am also really inspired by a few things from the last market which I have been sharing
7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?”
I am very into table settings at the moment… china, linens, monogrammed flatware, flower arrangements. I can not get enough! On the flip side, I don’t know that I am tired of anything. There are very few things I don’t care for and those I truly do. I can usually enjoy just about anything in the right setting. Even the color purple, which I don’t care for at all, I’m starting to appreciate in tones of lavender. I can’t seem to get enough of images of lavender paired with dark ink. Lavender and navy for the win!
8. When first planning for a refreshed space, where do you start? How does artwork fit into your stylings?
Anything I do at home or any styling project starts with one thing that inspires me. I am working on my home office at the moment and have a fabulous oversized bulletin board covered with inspiring things. I am working to add that into my office makeover. For my den it was the desire for white walls and an emerald green sofa. For the kitchen it was an incredible Clearance House wallpaper. I start with one thing and it grows from there. This week it was a fantastic blue and white sugar post I scored while antiquing. I fell in love with it and the next thing I knew I was styling a coffee bar around it. I get inspired by an item or an image and just run with it! I love art – all kinds of it. I love to mix what I love hoping it’ll all make sense; if to no one else but me. We have a few originals recently added to our home and I love them so much. For me, art is just another amazing source of inspiration.
9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
My bible, which was given to me by my mother in law early on in my marriage. It is something I will treasure and will pass it along to one of my children.
10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to become a blogger/interior stylish, such as yourself?
Once again, be you. There have been times I have written or shared something I was inspired by that didn’t receive as much notice as another post. All in all when you step back and look at my blog in its entirety, it’s me. So, I am okay with the posts that may not strike as much of a cord with folks. Any time I do something in our home, write a blog post, style a vignette, teach a class it is 100% me and because it is me it is easy to do. Don’t get sucked into the way someone else writes their blog or their social media accounts, you can only do you. You can’t sustain anything pretending or trying to be like someone else and in the end you won’t love the way it turns out.  It will drain you instead of fueling you and the goal in this life is to grow and to change and to participate in things that allow you to grow and change.  Being yourself will attract people to you for who you are and it will be nothing short of magical.   
Last, but surely not least, surround yourself with those who inspire and challenge you. Pick a mentor (or two!) and ask for help. If you want to start a blog, I say go for it. Mine has blessed me beyond words!
Isn’t Paige just wonderful – and don’t her images just get your creative juices flowing?!? We so appreciate Paige’s mantra about staying true to yourself. Being authentic is a big part of being successful and she certainly has that in spades!
A big THANK YOU to Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch for participating in our Tastemaker Tuesday series! If you’re near the steve mckenzie’s showroom, stop in and take a look at some of her styling gig goodies.

Charmed by Collier Rose Ink

We are absolutely thrilled to share with you the latest line to become a part of the collection at steve mckenzie’s – Charleston, South Carolina based Collier Rose Ink.

A playfully sophisticated brand, offering customers unique, fresh, and well-designed elements for a gracious lifestyle, Collier Rose Ink produces their fabrics in Jaipur, India, where they work with a passionate team of artisans who are masters of their craft.

They print in small batches, focusing on the details. Each pigment is hand-mixed by a master colorist and then hand-screened onto the fabric. From there it is dried in the sun, allowing the color to set naturally.

As a result of this artisnal technique, each yard of printed fabric is original and beautiful. This process also allows them the flexibility to offer custom colorization for very small minimums.

Collier Rose Ink’s offerings go beyond fabric – they also offer wallcoverings and a fantastic line of home accessories. Their patterns are all so lovely and absolutely versatile!

“After spending more than a decade in high-end interior design, I noticed a void in the textile and wallcoverings market that I dreamt of filling,” says Nicki Rose, co-founder of Collier Rose Ink. “My partner, Cooper Collier, is an excellent graphic designer with a tremendous background. Together, we make a unique pair because I am able to identify design trends and know the desires of the trade. Cooper is able to bring those thoughts and visions to life in an artistic manner.”

Come meet the minds behind Collier Rose Ink and help us celebrate this new addition to the steve mckenzie’s showroom at an open house in Atlanta on July 20th and one in Athens, GA on July 21st. Reach out to our team to learn more.

How to Choose an Area Rug

If you’ve ever visited the steve mckenzie’s showroom in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood, you know we’re surrounded by some pretty fantastic neighbors. This includes our neighbor right next door, Verde Home. You may remember the many posts where you’ve we’ve made mention of them. We’re obvious fans. Plus, Steve has designed a line of rugs with Verde Home, which was such an honor!

Naturally, we turned to our friend, Kent Schneider, of Verde Home, when looking to share information on selecting an ideal rug for a space. He was so kind to answer our many questions and we thought we’d share them with you in this post all about how to choose an area rug.

After all, rugs are one of the primary elements of a space we’re asked most about and unfortunately, it’s easy, even with good intentions and tastes to not get it right. We hope this post helps you in your area rug selection. And please know, our design team here at steve mckenzie’s is always available to aid in your search and selection!

steve mckenzie’s: How do you know where to shop for a rug?

Kent Schneider: I would suggest looking for a specialized rug dealer or a store that sells rugs as a category rather than just as an accessory.  By this I mean if you go into a home furniture store that has rugs on the floor but has no area to display and browse rug options…chances are they are just using them to make the furniture they are selling look good and they may not know as much about them.  There are many exceptions to this, but in my experience I think it is a good rule of thumb.

sm’s: What should you know about your space when shopping for a rug?

KS: Most important would be the size of the room.  That seems obvious but you would be surprised how many customers really have no idea how big the room is.  9 out of 10 times when customers estimate the size the do so on the small side.  Rugs out of context often look very big.  When you shop for one you may see an 8×10 in a stack and think it is a very large rug and perfect for a living room that actually needs a 10×14.

sm’s: Which rug materials work best in certain spaces?

KS: Right now, I would say Wool is still the fiber of choice for all indoor applications.  It has great resilience, luster, and cleans well.  Most of the synthetics on the market will always compare themselves to wool.

For outdoor applications, you will see a variety of fibers used.  Rugs that get full exposed are generally made from some sort of woven plastic and can be very cheap (because they tend to last only a few seasons).  Polyester is a good choice for covered out door areas as it handles moisture well.  Most recently, we have seen solution-dyed acrylic fiber, like those used in Sunbrella fabrics start to make their way into the floor covering industry.  At present, the piled rugs made from these are pricey, but I expect that will come down and these will become a good indoor/outdoor option. 

sm’s: How do you determine the right size rug for your space?

KS: There is no hard and fast rule about how to size the rug for your room. In my experience, the larger the rug you can fit in a room, the larger the room will feel.  Rugs tend to ground the room and define the boundaries of conversation groups.  Undersized rugs can make a room feel cramped and can get lost under furniture.

You should also consider natural traffic patterns and doorways when laying out a room.  When in doubt we always like to draw a room out to scale to see how a rug will fit. But if you need a quick method to visualize it we suggest marking the area off on your floor with some masking tape.

sm’s: What questions should one ask when shopping for a rug?

KS: Not all rugs are created equal and this will often be reflected in the price. Here are some different terms you’ll hear, which will help you determine what type of rug will work for you and your budget…

  1. Handmade or Machine made – with very few exceptions the machine-made rug should be cheaper than the hand made.  That doesn’t always mean better because rugs come in many different knot densities.  However, when comparing two rugs of similar content and density, the handmade rug would most often be more expensive and would generally be considered the better rug.
  2. Hand knotted, hand tufted or hand loomed – Handmade rugs can be made using Hand Knotting, Hand Tufting or Hand Looming.  Hand knotting is the most time consuming and would considered the best.  Hand tufting has many qualities and often gets a bad reputation for the goods on the low end of the spectrum that are coarsely tufted and use a bad backing.  Fine hand tufted pieces can often achieve the look of a hand knotted rug at much less cost. The main drawback with tufting is the backing.  Each tuft of wool is fastened into the foundation using glue.  Overtime, this glue will break down (cheaper glues will break down quicker), and the tufts will release. Hand looming is a process of weaving a rug that bear similarities to fabric weaving.  The rugs are often very simple in pattern and can be woven very quickly.  They generally priced about the same as fine, hand tufted products.
  3. Density and Content– How fine is the knotting, tufting, or looming of the rug and what is it made of?  Finer rugs take longer and generally cost more, as do rugs made or wool or wool and silk rather than synthetics.

sm’s: What else should you consider purchasing when buying a rug?

KS: We always recommend a good rug pad.  Aside from preventing the rug from slipping, it also provides sound dampening and helps ease the wear of a rug. In spaces where children and/or pets may be present, we also suggest having your rug sealed.

sm’s: What’s the best way to keep a rug looking its best?

KS: The primary upkeep would be vacuuming.  This can be done weekly (or as needed).  Make sure the height of your vacuum is set so that it does not lift the rug.  In some instances, you may wish to turn off the beater bar or only use it occasionally. Spot cleaning can usually be done with water or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  If the rug is wet, make sure it dries thoroughly to prevent mold and dry rot.

With a little knowledge and preparation you’ll be set to find your perfect rug! Good luck on your search, and feel free to reach out to our team here at steve mckenzie’s with any questions you may have and guidance you need.

Thank you to Kent and Verde Home for providing their expertise – their showroom should not be missed when searching for a fantastic rug!