A Sensational Summit with The Southern Coterie

Steve and Jill attended and presented at The Southern Summit, hosted by the folks over at The Southern Coterie, last month in Charleston – and it was an absolute delight!

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A highlight for them was the luncheon workshop they hosted, in conjunction with Atlanta Magazine: Home editor-in-chief Betsy Riley, where they shared with guests the basics one needs to effortlessly achieve gracious living and how to tailor seasonal tablescapes without breaking the bank.

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During this workshop, Steve and Jill offered participates a list of items that should always be on hand to create a warm, memorable design for their tabletops. This way, they’d be ready to host with only a moment’s notice.

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Grocery store flowers were taken from “meh” to magnificant during the workshop, in a centerpiece makeover, which guests really seamed to enjoy.

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Four tablescapes were designed for the presentation, one for each season. The summer table setting closed out the luncheon gathering, and wase used as inspiration for the next day’s luncheon for all 325 summit attendees.

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Together, Steve and Jill designed all of the tables for the summit’s feature luncheon, which took place at the beautiful, historic William Aiken House.

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But, as you know it takes a village to achieve such stunning results and a number of vendors came together to make the luncheon space so lovely. They include, Vietri dinnerware, Dot and Army linens, Royal Crown Derby fine china, Le Jacquard Francais table linens, Sasha Nicholas dinnerware, and The Vine, who provided an array of glorious succulents for the centerpieces.

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The Southern Coterie is an impressive gathering of Southern entrepreneurs and tastemakers, and we were elated to have been in such esteemed company at The Southern Summit! Some of the other presenters were Eddie Ross, Libbie Summers, Mandy Kellog Rye, Kristy Tiglias of Southern Living, Brian Hart Hoffman of Hoffman Media, Julianne Taylor and Holly Hollingsworth Phillips. Many on this list are friends of our ours, and some have even been tastemakers here, on the blog for steve mckenzie’s – such a fantastic group!!

Steve with Mandy Rye
Steve with Mandy Rye

Mandy Rye – of Waiting on Martha fame – presented on building your brand with social media (a personal highlight for Steve and Jill), and she will be doing an intensive social media seminar here in Atlanta. It’s very limited, and one day only (June 17), so sign up ASAP if you’re interested. steve mckenzie’s will be hosting a kickoff cocktail party the evening before Mandy’s seminar, so put it on your calendar… Details forthcoming.

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If this sounds like fun, that’s because it was! And next year, you should be a part of it! Thanks to all of our friends – new and old – who we enjoyed at The Southern Summit, and thanks to The Southern Coterie for inviting us to participate in this memorable event. We left feeling energized and inspired!

Holiday Gift Guide: Fabulous Book Roundup!

Instead of doing a general holiday gift guide for our readers as we’ve done in the past, this time around we’re focusing on fabulous books for everyone on your list! After all, who doesn’t love a good (or beautiful) book?!? Even if your loved ones aren’t avid readers, we promise there’s a wonderful read out there they’ll love to receive!

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As you probably know, from our “Library Friday” posts, we’re book fans around here. Although those posts generally feature reads focused on art and design, we’re also fans of beautiful and informational cookbooks, so this list includes some fantastic finds for the foodies in your life too. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite books we think will be top gifts for everyone on your list this year – and here’s the best part… They’re all in stock and ready to be gift wrapped at steve mckenzie’s:

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My Stylish French GirlfriendsMeet 20 beautiful, creative French women who live with passion; work every day; and love to take care ot their homes and families. Visit them in their grand chateaux or charming little country cottages or Parisian apartments. Learn where they shop, where they work, where they play, how they dress, and how they entertain. Absorb each girlfriend’s style and joie de vivre.” This will be a favorite gift your best girlfriends will absolutely adore!

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The Night Before Christmas in The South/Paris – Join Santa and Mrs. Clause on alternative “night before” adventures to two of our personal favorite locales… South of the Mason-Dixon line and Paris! Each of these is less than $10 and would make an ideal gift for a teacher, friend, hairdresser – even your postman or postwoman would delight in these fun reads!

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“All Aboard” books – “This board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. A wonderful and cherished item in any little’s library, these books are as fun to look at as they are to read. And they offer wonderful inspiration for learning more about our world and all the wonderful places there are to visit!

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Monograms for the Home – “While monograms have a rich history going all the way back to the sixth century BC, they’re anything but outdated. Luscious photography and Whitman’s expressive writing peppered with quotes from etiquette experts shows that monogramming is still very much in vogue.” Monogramming… a way of life for some of us here in the South, this book explores the history of this beautiful art, as well as how they can be used in homes today. Include a beautifully monogrammed tea towel with this book and you have a gift that won’t soon be forgotten!

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Fifth Avenue Style – “In this gorgeously illustrated volume, Slatkin, an interior designer and founder of the iconic home-fragrance and lifestyle brand Slatkin & Co., opens the doors of his legendary Fifth Avenue apartment and invites readers to accompany him on an intimate tour.” We love this inside look at a seriously luxurious space located in NYC’s most prized location, but what we love even more are the practical tips shared on making spaces functional as well as lovely.

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In With The Old Peak of Chic blog author, Jennifer Boles, “presents a charming encyclopedia of 100 of the most stylish decorating details (chintz, striped walls, and orangeries) that were favored by the great tastemakers of the twentieth century. Best of all, Jennifer gives helpful tips on decorating with these traditional flourishes today.” If you enjoy Boles’ blog, you’ll love this book, which will be a perfect addition to just about anyone’s coffee table collection.

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Modern Mix – “In this richly illustrated style guide from an unabashed hoarder of all things beautiful, design editor and entertaining expert Eddie Ross reveals his insider secrets to creating exciting interiors, table settings and parties with chic and accessible finds that celebrate who you are and what you love.” We’ve shared this book on the blog before, and even held a book signing soiree with authors Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar, but this vibrantly styled book should be at the top of your list for anyone who enjoys searching for treasures for the home.

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Poolside with Slim Aarons – The timeless photographer, Slim Aarons is back, offering “images of jet-setters and the wealthy, of beautiful, glittering people living the glamorous life … The main character is pools and everything that goes with them—magnificent, suntanned bodies; well-oiled skin; bikini-clad women; yachts; summer cocktails; sumptuous buffets; spectacular locations; and most of all: fun.” Here at steve mckenzie’s we’re big fans of Slim Aarons photography and this stunning book does not disappoint. It would make an unbelievable gift for any of your loved ones whose favorite season is summer… Now they can enjoy it all year long!

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Fortuny Interiors – “Manufactured in Venice, Italy, textiles by Fortuny have borne the standard of quality and excellence for a hundred years. For walls, sofas, pillows, draperies, bed coverings, tablecloths, and even napkins, the sumptuous art of Fortuny textiles has been decorating old world and new world homes for generations.” Fortuny makes some of the most beautiful textiles available today, and in this gorgeous read you can see them in some of the interiors they grace. An ideal book for the artisan or interiors appreciator in your life.

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French Comfort Food – “Collected here are recipes from friends and acquaintances Hillary Davis has made while living in France, recipes handed down through the years as well as modern family remakes of the originals.” French. Comfort. Food. Need we say more? Literally anyone on your list will love this book, whether they’re gourmets or just enjoy looking and salivating over amazing food creations.

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Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables – “Building on their reputation as James Beard Award winners, Dupree and Graubart have excerpted their best vegetable recipes (plus added some new ones) in this timely collection.” A wonderful addition to any southerner’s cookbook library, we love that this book is organized alphabetically by vegetable and offers the basics of cooking each one, along with both new and classic preparations.

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Shrimp & Grits Cookbook – “Nathalie Dupree was ahead of the curve eight years ago with her classic book Shrimp and Grits. Now this Lowcountry comfort combo is found on restaurant menus all around the country―from top to bottom, coast to coast. All-new photography, new recipes from southern chefs, and a fresh design revamp a southern food cookbook for gift giving or one’s own kitchen library.” A revised edition of a staple in any southern kitchen library, this book would be a wonderful gift to newlyweds, or someone wanting to get to the heart of this classic southern coastal dish.

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Sweet & Vicious: Baking with Attitude – “An irreverent cookbook filled with inventive recipes for baking that deliver a punch.” A gift for any eccentric in your life who enjoys a unique sweet now and then. This is a fun cookbook, which could even inspire someone to start baking!

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The French Cook: Soups and Stews – “Holly Herrick loves France and French cooking. And in this cookbook (her third in The French Cook series), she jumps into bowl after bowl of glorious French soups with inspired abandon and a generous dose of classical technique.” A great book for any mother – or mother at heart – who enjoys bringing her family together around food. Is there any other food that brings folks to the kitchen like soups and stews?! We think not.

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The French Cook: Cream Puffs and Eclairs – “Classically French trained author Holly Herrick dips into the marvelously versatile world of choux pastry, or pâte à choux. The buttery, nutty, even-flavor of this dough invites myriad flavors, in both sweet and savory categories and in many shapes – cream puffs, éclairs, rings, and more.” For the decidedly more advanced foodie in your life, this is one glamorous and appetite inspiring cookbook will encourage them to try something new. And, who knows, perhaps they’ll share their trials from this book with you!

After that book gift guide roundup can you tell we enjoy just about anything and everything French and Paris?!? But truly, there are some seriously wonderful books on this list, which have the potential to inspire travel, decor, art and so much more! Tell us, what’s your favorite book you’ve ever been gifted?

And don’t forget, we do complimentary gift wrapping in store, so stop in and put a BIG dent in your gift list with some fabulous books!

The Lyric Collection for Verde Home by Steve McKenzie

It’s here – the launch of Steve’s fantastic rug collection, Lyric, for Verde Home – and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you!

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Rug pictured: Jeté : No. 895

As we shared earlier, Steve previewed the new collection for Verde Home while in NYC for What’s New What’s Next – and this Thursday evening, we’re celebrating with a launch party in conjunction with Eddie Ross’ Modern Mix book signing soiree in the steve mckenzie’s showroom

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Here’s a bit about Verde Home’s newest rug collection, by our namesake, Steve McKenzie:

The Lyric Collection by Steve McKenzie for Verde Home is a collaboration; A journey between the expression of an artist, the interpretation of a weaver and you. Each carpet is a woven rendition of a modern vision, using an ancient craft to articulate progressive design. And at this crossroad of art and function, Steve McKenzie & Verde Home invite you to engage in the making of floor art of immense creativity and range. All designs in the Lyric Collection can be custom sized and colored allowing you to
share in the final vision by selecting your own color palette and scale. 

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Commencement : No. 1024

Steve’s artistry provides the foundation for determining the ideal floor covering for your home. His work exhibits an array of modern themes, from sparsely drawn elements of vibrant color, layered over abstract backgrounds of borderless movement to more intricate, textile patterns inspired by Steve’s renowned fabric design. 25 years of earnest art making is reflected in the works that make up the Lyric Collection and we look forward to collaborating with you on the work yet to come.

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Scalloped : No. 1027

All pieces from The Lyric Collection are hand knotted in India using wool and wool/banana silk blends. All rugs are made to order. Custom sizes and colors are encouraged. To learn more, and begin creating your custom Lyric rug, please contact the Verde Home team.

If you can make it to our Verde Home Lyric Collection launch party and Modern Mix book signing event Thursday from 5-8PM, please RSVP to shop@stevemckenzies.com.

Eddie Ross’ Modern Mix – coming to Atlanta!

We are thrilled for our upcoming Modern Mix book signing with Eddie Ross and partner Jaithan Kochar, in celebration of their recently released book – taking place at the steve mckenzie’s showroom on Thursday, October 8th from 5-8PM. Mark your calendars now… This fabulous event is not to be missed!

We shared in an earlier blog post, the history we have with Eddie and Jaithan, and we truly couldn’t be more excited for this book signing… Not only is it going to be super fun, but Steve and Eddie will be reunited, thanks to this whirlwind of events surrounding this new book release!

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Eddie and Jaithan are such wonderful people, with an absolute talent for creating warm and welcoming spaces that are sure to take your breath away!

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And, if Eddie is behind an event, you know it’s guaranteed to be unforgettable!

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The couple’s unique aesthetic and genuine sense of humor are evident throughout the pages of Modern Mix, and will certainly be evidenced at our upcoming book signing event!

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Don’t allow yourself to miss this fun evening full of friends, fabulous finds and amazing designs – not to mention the cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres!

RSVP to this fun event via e-mail to shop@stevemckenzies.com.

Mixing It Up With Eddie Ross

The team here at steve mckenzie’s is absolutely thrilled to share the upcoming launch of Modern Mix,  a fabulous book about curating personal style with chic and accessible finds, by Steve and Jill’s longtime friends, Eddie Ross with Jaithan Kochar.

Steve with Eddie at Scott's Antique Market, on a previous visit.
Steve with Eddie at Scott’s Antique Market, on a previous visit.

Here’s a bit about this exciting book launch, which will take place September 1 – available at steve mckenzie’s and also online:

From an unabashed hoarder of all things beautiful comes a fusion of color, creativity and inspiration in Modern Mix.

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In this richly illustrated style guide, design editor and entertaining expert Eddie Ross reveals his insider secrets to creating exciting interiors, table settings and parties with chic and accessible finds that celebrate who you are and what you love.

Featuring never-before-published photographs of Eddie’s own homes—his eclectic apartment in New York and Pine Hill Farm in Connecticut—Modern Mix cracks the code to navigating thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets with confidence. Funny and insightful, Eddie is like a trusted friend on the front lines of flea markets and thrifting, telling you what to look for, where to find it and how to restore it. Then he shows you how to use color and pattern to infuse your finds with a fresh, playful spirit, combining high and low, new and old, classic and modern elements into a warm and inviting style that expresses your personality.

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Each of the book’s eight chapters—Inspire, Discover, Acquire, Restore, Curate, Mix, Style and Entertain—begins with hand-illustrated titles printed in black foil on tipped-in half-pages, revealing surprises at every turn. The essential insights Eddie shares throughout the book culminate in a gorgeous grand finale of gawk-worthy rooms, table settings, bars, buffets and parties.

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With more than 350 full-color photographs, time-saving tips and real-life shortcuts to decorating and entertaining beautifully on a budget, Modern Mix will open your eyes to the extraordinary possibilities within your reach and inspire you to live every day colorfully and creatively.

We’re also excited to share that in conjunction with the launch of Modern Mix, steve mckenzie’s will be hosting a book signing with Eddie Ross in our showroom – on Thursday, October 8th from 5-9pm. Mark your calendar to meet the authors!

Congrats to Eddie and Jaithan for taking on this amazing project, and seeing it through to fruition, we’re so happy to be able to celebrate this wonderful book with all of our friends, clients and colleagues!

Tastemaker Tuesday: Eddie Ross

Steve first met Eddie Ross back when Eddie was working for House Beautiful and Steve was working for Larson-Juhl. Over the years, they were able to collaborate on many design projects and, together with Jill and Eddie’s partner Jaithan, they formed a close friendship.
Steve and Jill both value the rare moments they’re able to spend with Eddie and Jaithan, and we’re so pleased to finally have an opportunity to feature Eddie as a Tastemaker here, on the blog for steve mckenzie’s!
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Back in March of 2013, Eddie was named East Coast Producer/Editor for Print and Digital for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. In this role, Eddie produces home, decorating, DIY and entertaining stories for print, digital and video.
Prior to his role with BH&G, Eddie was Editorial Director of Rue La La, where he produced content across multiple channels, including online, mobile, and tablet. Ross has been a design, decorating, and food editor for Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, and Food Network. In addition to his print work, which has been featured in Elle Decor, Domino, Lonny and The New York Times. Ross has appeared in numerous TV specials for Martha Stewart, HGTV and Bravo. Ross graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.
Eddie Ross
Eddie Ross

1. What are three words that describe your aesthetic?

Eclectic, Colorful, Lived-in

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

As an editor at BH&G, I get to work with a top-knotch crew, inspiring readers with real-life stories about people living in beautiful, comfortable homes that express their personal style. I feel so lucky to be able to do something for my job that I truly, honestly love!
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In addition to this, I’m loving working on a book with Jaithan, which will be coming out in the Summer of 2015.
3. What are the sources of your inspiration?
I’m constantly inspired by flea markets, tag sales, thrift shops–anywhere you can go and find beautiful, affordable things. I’ve seen a lot of high-end homes in my career, but I love being able to look to flea markets and create spaces that look magazine-worthy on a budget. I’m all about mixing high and low – buy a nice sofa, then mix things up with an Ikea table. It’s like wearing a really good pair of jeans and with an H&M top.
4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…
I would definitely invite Julia Child, Yves Saint Laurent, who has such fashion style, and to round out the party, let’s thrown in a Lindsay Lohan, because everyone needs a little hot mess here and there to add flavor!
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5. What’s a piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?
I would say my favorite piece of furniture is an antique pharmaceutical cabinet I found painted yellow at a junk shop for $50. My grandfather stripped it – and we found it was lined with zinc, and that all the hardware is solid copper and brass. I love it for it’s versatility – I’ve schlepped it to every apartment I’ve lived in and so far, it’s lived as a china cabinet, a linen closet, a medicine cabinet and now it’s in the library with books and magazines.
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6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way of doing a mix for someone’s own personal style. I don’t feel as if I can tell someone they have to mix stripes and florals or to just mix solids with a graphic pattern. In our place, the more pattern the better! I always pay attention to color and mix patterns with abandon. The sofa at our NYC apartment features a mix of leopard, tribal cloth, needlepoint, quilted pillows, all from different time periods. It all has to do with finding your own personal taste and style. If something makes you smile, it’s right. 
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7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?”
I’m into one of a kind/vintage. I’m totally obsessed with vintage fabric; like chintz and out-of-print patterns… For me, it’s all about being one of a kind. These are the kinds of pieces that really make a home. You could have all the money in the world, but if your house looks like a brand new showroom, it’s totally impersonal and that’s not me.
 
I’m over chevron, trellis patterns in kelly green, and plain black and white spaces. There’s so many beautiful colors in the world, and I love waking up to color, it’s just happy.
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8. How does artwork fit into your designs?
I think artwork is so important – it makes a room. I am a true believer that art needs to speak to the person who is going to live with it. Right now, I’m obsessed with LA-based artist Anna Ullman of A.E.U. Studio. Her paintings, monoprints and glittered wonders are fantastic! If you can afford it, investing in art is key. But for someone starting off, you can find lots of great things at a tag sale – just pop it out of the old frame, and surround it with a more modern frame. Once you get more settled in your career, then you can consider investing. I love all of my art – from the pieces I found when I was younger to the ones I’m collecting now. It adds to the overall, decorated look. Personally, I love Steve’s paintings; they’re colorful, beautiful, livable and add a modern take on traditional artwork.
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9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
Sour patch kids. I LOVE Sour Patch Kids. I literally couldn’t live without them. (Oh, and Jaithan too :-))
10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry.
Get ready for a lot of hard work. You really need to put yourself out there. Build relationships, do internships and be prepared to work for free. If you love it and are passionate about it, it’ll pay off in the long run.
That’s great advice Eddie – and such a fantastic interview; thank you! We’re so grateful to call Eddie a friend, and now a Tastemaker for our blog!