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…

 

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 Delicious Jaunt in Jackson – A Visit to Cathead Distillery!

On our trip to Jackson, Mississippi to visit Kristen Ley and Thimbelpress to learn how to letterpress, we also had the opportunity to learn about Cathead Vodka. Steve loves a nice vodka, and to learn about a small maker was exciting; we couldn’t pass it up!

As you’re well aware by now, we love all things southern, and a southern-made vodka is no exception. Located on the edge of downtown Jackson, near the Mississippi Museum of Art, Cathead distillery was fantastic!

Mississippi ushered in prohibition in 1907 and it was not repealed until 1966. Fast forward to 2011, when Austin Evans and Richard Patrick first opened as Cathead. These boys not only love their vodka, but they love the delta blues of the region. In fact, the distillery is named after the legend, Son Thomas, known for his cathead sculptures he sold at his blues performances.

Because of their love of Delta Blues, Cathead’s founders incorporated a fantastic philanthropic element to their business, which makes the story even stronger. They support many foundations by giving a portion of their sales to different organizations, which support preservation of the blues heritage. In fact, on the Cathead website, you can view some of the amazing blues videos and see great commercials featuring legends of the Delta region.

Some of the southern flavors being produced by Cathead are Pecan and Honeysuckle. They’re absolutely delicious, and over the next few weeks Steve will be sharing some new recipes he developed using their vodkas. In the meantime if you are in a hurry, you can check out other recipes here.

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Jackson, take a tour of Cathead and try a tasting Thursday – Saturday. Until you can visit,  here is a photo-tour of the distillery…

We’ve also sampled their Gin and it makes the perfect Summertime Gin and Tonic! Next up is the Hoodoo Chickory Liqueur (barrel pictured above). We are excited to see where this spirit will take us.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Distillary photos by Richard Patrick

Our Top Five Takeaways from The Southern C Summit

You may remember we introduced the founders of The Southern Coterie in this blog post last year, after returning from presenting at the Charleston Southern C Summit. Well, we had the opportunity to attend the most recent summit, just last month at The Cloister on Sea Island… The location alone had us swooning. Add in some top notch online personalities, business owners and all around creative entrepreneurs and we knew we were in for a treat!

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The stunning solarium ceiling at The Cloister on Sea Island

The summit was absolutely jam-packed and the amount of inspiration we’re feeling = unparalleled. We were thrilled by others who are following their passion and shared a bit about their journey with us – including Gray Malin, Lizzie Fortunato, Libbie Summers, Darcy Miller and many more.

Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit

Here are our top five takeaways from what was an unforgettable event:

  1. Tell your story. We all have a story. Listen to another’s story. That’s what connects us as neighbors, people, shop owners, entrepreneurs, etc.

    Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
    Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
  2. “Community over competition,” says Darcy Miller (from Martha Stewart Weddings) – value your industry relationships and be open to new ones. (Watch for some new steve mckenzie’s collaborations!)

    Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
    Catching up with the founders of Dear Keaton – Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
  3. Shoppers want experiences – the smells, tastes, textures, and learning opportunities they encounter all build the greater picture of what our brand means.

    Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
    Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
  4. Think outside the box. This may sound obvious to some of us creative types, but what’s considered “out of the box” in our industry changes often and this bears repeating.

    Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
    Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
  5. Follow the Golden Rule. Sounds simple, right? In our everyday hustle and bustle, the golden rule may not be top of mind. But, if we can always remember to treat others as we’d like to be treated, a positive influence we will be.
Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit

We’re so honored to have been a part of this fantastic summit, along with so many inspiring individuals. We cannot wait to begin putting all our takeaways to good use, so be prepared for some pretty exciting things happening in the near future for steve mckenzie’s.

Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
Steve’s workshop “Plan B:  Reinvention” – Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit

If you weren’t able to attend The Southern C. Summit at Sea Island, we hope our top highlights aid you in your journey. And, we highly recommend you make plans to attend the next Summit; they’re not to be missed!

Plan an Atlanta staycation!

WalletHub recently shared a listing of 2016’s best and worst cities for staycations… And Atlanta came in as the 6th best city for a staycation!

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Now, we know Atlanta is pretty fabulous – there’s lots to do, a deep sense of history, fantastic restaurants and shopping – the list could go on and on. Obviously, the folks at WalletHub agree. Their number crunchers compared the 150 largest cities across 28 key metrics. WalletHub’s data set includes such metrics as movie and bowling costs, golf courses, frozen-yogurt shops and spas per capita. Pretty neat Atlanta earned the spot as the 6th best staycation city on the list!

And we couldn’t agree more… Here are our thoughts of the top places to stay and things to do as you plan your in-town staycation:

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The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta promises luxurious, fabulous accommodations and is currently in the #1 spot on TripAdvisor’s top Atlanta hotels list. The rooms are sumptuous and the attention to detail is stellar.

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Now, if you’re searching for a cozier place to stay, look no further than the Stonehurst Place bed and breakfast. This hidden gem is located in Midtown and it will truly serve as your home away from home. The rooms there feature stunning furnishings and museum-worthy original works of art! Bonus – you don’t have to make the bed.

Atlanta Westside illustration by Nik Neves
Atlanta Westside illustration by Nik Neves

In addition to shopping at steve mckenzie’s and exploring all Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood has to offer, there are tons of amazing tourist attractions our team recommends…

GA Aquarium
Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Oakland Cemetary
Oakland Cemetary
High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art
Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market

And there you have it, a quick rundown of where we’d stay and what we’d do on our Atlanta staycation! Thanks to WalletHub’s listing of best/worst staycation cities for inspiring this post… We hope we’ve inspired some of our local readers to become tourists in our own city – or if you’re from out of town, we hope to have sparked some interest in planning a visit to Atlanta. Remember to stop by steve mckenzie’s while enjoying Atlanta. We promise the tea here is cool, as is our current selection of unique, authentic souvenir options!

Berlin in October – a Photographic Dream!

Building on his WCAF Bloggers Tour success, Steve is joining acclaimed stylist and entertaining expert, Annette Joseph on a once-in-a-lifetime photographer’s retreat to Berlin as the tour’s Branding Expert!

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 Annette enjoys sharing the many ideas, tips and tricks she has gained as a nationally recognized photo stylist/producer specializing in lifestyle editorial images for magazines.
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Annette Joseph

With over 20 years experience, her expertise includes photo styling for interiors, food propping and special production projects. Check out Annette’s fabulous book, “Picture Perfect Parties,” to gain a sense of Annette’s signature style.Marrakech

Throughout Annette’s Berlin photography workshop, guests will be immersed in one of the hippest urban landscapes in the world. They’ll mingle with other creatives, relax and enjoy an educational photo styling experience.

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Also joining Annette and Steve will be Christina Wedge, an amazing lifestyle and interiors photographer.

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Home base for the group will be the stylish Honigmond Garden Hotel.

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The workshop is for all levels of photographers, as long as they have a basic knowledge of how to operate their camera and place it on a manual setting.

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Steve is thrilled to have the opportunity to provide social media and branding tips to such a creative group, and you can be a part of it… Please join us and be a groovy Berliner – there’s a great team in place to show you the ropes!

The McKenzie’s & Blogger Friends at the West Coast Art & Frame Expo

Next week, Steve and Jill will be hosting an extremely talented group of design industry insiders at the West Coast Art & Frame expo in Las Vegas!

WCAF

This “bloggers tour” is comprised of four design tastemakers who all understand the importance of art in a home, and who are looking to learn more about what’s new in the world of art and framing, as well as share a bit about their unique perspectives on art and framing…

Cathy Austin of Bespoke Banter
Cathy Austin of Bespoke Banter
Vicki Gladle Bolick of The Ace of Space
Vicki Gladle Bolick of The Ace of Space
Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room
Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room
Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Jennings Ramsay of Cloth & Kind
Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Jennings Ramsay of Cloth & Kind

We are absolutely thrilled about this lineup and encourage you to follow everyone here on social media, so you may be a part of this event, and take advantage of all we see and learn along the way!

In addition to hosting this fabulous crew of bloggers, Steve will also be an educator at the expo. As a longtime member of the art and framing industry – his former gig was serving as Chief Designer for Larson-Juhl for the last 20 years, and as CEO for the past decade – he’s looking forward to sharing his thoughts on small business success and his favorite, mid-century modern design during two sessions at the expo.

If you’ll be at the WCAF expo, consider attending one of Steve’s classes. And if not, please keep an eye out for a recap of this exciting trip! Viva Last Vegas!!