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.

Picture Perfect Picnic

As the last days of summer quickly approach, you may be realizing you didn’t complete all of your summer to-do’s… But – with our weather being as lovely as it has been, now is the ideal time to plan a relaxing picnic and enjoy some of these warm summer days before they’re over!

Picnics are perfect as a romantic date just as much as they’re an ideal way to spend some time with the family. Atlanta Magazine recently reached out to our team here at steve mckenzie’s and asked if we’d design a perfect, relaxing picnic for their July 2017 issue. It was a challenge Steve and Jill absolutely relished in accepting! And we hope the results inspire you to go enjoy some last-minute summertime fun in the outdoors!

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN BOLSTER

First thing was a location. For Steve and Jill, this one was easy – it’s one of their favorite spots for a walk with the dog – Duck Pond Park in Peachtree Heights East. It’s absolutely picturesque and so serene!

Next they needed a place to perch drinks and wares and a vintage rattan table was an ideal selection. It is lightweight, but absolutely stylish! A patchwork Kilim from our neighbors, Verde Home, laid the groundwork for lounging. Add some kantha quilts and a bunch of pillows, and the scene is set.

When you think of a picnic, food is top of mind. Steve and Jill wanted something light and refreshing; as well as easy to transport. Enter glass jar salads! Not only pretty to look at, these salads absolutely delicious and so simple to enjoy – just shake, and pour onto your plate! Speaking of plates, although the McKenzie’s love the look of Italian pottery and cut crystal glassware, those selections aren’t exactly picnic practical. Instead, they brought along melamine plates by Le Cadeaux, which offer the look of the real thing, as well as acrylic glassware by Baci to serve cocktails made using Cathead Distillery‘s delectable pecan vodka.

Here’s the recipe for those delightful individual salads:

Mason jar salads
1 red onion sliced thin
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
Black peppercorns
2 cups cooked quinoa
4 cups lettuce of some mix
1 ½ 0z cannellini beans drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp salt
Ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp chili powder

First pickle the onions. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the onions and about five black peppercorns to the boiling mixture. Boil for 3 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool. When cooled, remove peppercorns and place in the refrigerator.

Prepare your dressing. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Whisk thoroughly to fully combine ingredients.

Take four mason jars and assemble in layers in this order: Dressing in the bottom, quinoa, lettuce, cannellini beans, pickled onions, tomatoes, and chopped cucumber.

And we can’t forget the cocktails! Thank you to our friends at Cathead for making some pretty fantastic products. Our picture perfect cocktail utilizes their pecan vodka, and once you try it, we think it’ll become a liquor shelf staple!!

Spicy pecan spritz
1 oz Cathead Pecan Vodka
½ oz spicy simple syrup
6 oz Pellegrino water

Pour ingredients over ice in a highball glass and garnish with spearmint.

Spicy simple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup raw sugar
½ tsp of ground cayenne pepper
1 cup water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil turn back heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through coffee filter to remove the cayenne. Serve.

Happy picnicking everyone – hope to see you at Duck Pond Park soon!

All products seen in this article, except for the rug, are available at steve mckenzie’s.

Tabletop Tuesday – Taken with Tulipe by Gien

We’ve been taken with Gien’s Tulipe faience china pattern for some time now and we’re thrilled to have finally made this pattern the stars of a Tabletop Tuesday post here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s!

While it offers an absolutely classic sensibility to any table setting, we’ve found it can become quite modern – especially with paired with Gien’s Allure pattern.

This tabletop post begins with a graphic black and white dinner plate from Gien’s Tulipe collection.

The salad plate pattern aligns perfectly with the dinner plate, when stacked.

This stunning pewter Gabriella flatware by Match 1995 was an ideal match with these plates!

Now comes a modern edge, with the dessert plate in Gien’s Taupe colorway.

Bring in the blue! This canapé plate offered us a much needed dose of color.

Placing this Libeco Linen napkin on the diagonal helped to add texture and softness to the setting.

With all the colors and textures going on already, this tabletop didn’t call for added pattern; instead we completed the formal setting with a pair of clear water and wine glasses.

A simple pop of purple floral offers a natural element and completes the tabletop. Bon appetit!

Please stop by the steve mckenzie’s showroom today to begin pulling together a tabletop that’s ideal for you and your lifestyle. At steve mckenzie’s we love to create tabletops, which are unique to each family!

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!

Who you NEED to meet: Sara Ossana of O&G Studio

It’s all in the details – that’s one of our mantras, as we’re willing to bet it’s one of O&G studio’s mantras as well. Today, we’re sharing an interview with Sara Ossana, one of the founders of O&G Studio, a modern furniture company, featuring American-made Windsor designs. Sara’s talents span an array of industries, including movie production, but our partnership with O&G Studio is how we were initially introduced. O&G Studio’s designs are classic with a nod to modernity and brilliant touches, which make them true heirlooms. We’re fans of Sara’s and O&G Studio and think you will be too! Enjoy today’s “Who you NEED to meet” post, featuring Sara Ossana…

Jon & Sara – co-founders of O&G Studio

sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how you started O&G Studio and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

Founded in 2009, the duo met over ten years ago as graduate students at The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where Jonathan studied jewelry and Sara studied interior architecture. Their combined backgrounds allow them to blend intricate detailing with a play on scale and proportion to bring traditional motifs into the 21st century. 

Atlantic Counter Stools

sm’s: What inspires you/your work? 

Based in Warren, Rhode Island, O&G Studio looks towards the rich history of American design traditions for inspiration. Particularly the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as local auctions in and around New England. Essentially we take inspiration from our surroundings, from nature as well as craft. 

Metacom Arm Chair

sm’s: What is your vision, not only for O& G Studio, but also the individual designs/products you create?

Quality and timelessness are a main focus.  We tend to play a lot with scale and proportion and are known for color, particularly our rich stain selections all custom mixed by us in our 20K sf combined studio, showroom and shop.  We are not interested in trends or forecasting.  We look to design pieces that can work in a multitude of interiors spanning contemporary to transitional and traditional.  The pieces pair well with other antiques or modern designs thus making them quite flexible in any interior.  We usually start with a ‘room’.  We see the entire space with the piece sitting from afar. It must make an impression immediately.  Upon closer inspection more detail is revealed adding intrigue.  Then when used additional details are discovered through touch and feel of the piece satisfying multiple scales of interaction.

Athenaeum Settee

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

We are always drawn to narrative and legacy.  We like to imbue our work with meaning beyond a simply aesthetically pleasing object.  I wouldn’t say that we have any mainstays.  We love all of our ‘children’ the same:)

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

Magic!  No – just kidding, we are neurotic, fastidious work-a-holics.  We have to thank our respective spouses for putting up with us.  We are very detail oriented but all see the big picture.  We never release a piece that we are not fully behind or confident in.  I think that the dual partnership also keeps us in line.  It creates a constructive critique environment to discuss designs and their merit.

Colt High-Back Side Chair

sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase from O&G Studio? 

I would say a few things, take your time.  We make everything to order.  We can help with decision making and understand that our work can be a focal point in a room.  Feel free to ask anything about a piece.  We like to match our clientele up with work they will be happy with forever.  Everything is made to order so we will pick the wood for your piece by hand to match the stain you choose, this takes time.  Pieces can take up to 12 weeks to produce during busy times of year, although sometimes we have unfinished stock available on a quick ship lead time.

sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you/O&G Studio?

The best thing about creativity and business is they way they build their own momentum.  Every idea, every challenge sets in motion an exciting series of events. This coming year is all about feeding our creative vision through speculative one of a kind, one off pieces. These allow the full blown expression of an idea that can give birth to an entire new production line. 
sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge? 
Good question, we love to eat so really good food is always a must.  Going to the beach, enjoying Rhode Island and spending time with our families.  Both of us have small children so weekends are off limits for work.  We spend that time with our children enjoying everything that the Ocean State has to offer.  We also find a lot of inspiration from teaching; both Jonathan and I teach at the collegiate level at RISD.  Working with young designers is important.  We want to give back and help others on their career paths.

 

Absolutely fantastic! As are the designs from O&G Studio. We invite you to visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom to see Sara and Jonathan’s work in real life and learn what they may be able to create for you.

 

Thank you to Sara for agreeing to participate in this spotlight feature – we’re officially fans!

 

Join us as we Design, Wine & Dine in Macon!

Once again, we’re proud to have an opportunity to participate in the Design, Wine & Dine, supporting historic Macon, Georgia! In addition to the many exciting experiences taking place June 15-25, a feature will be the designer showhouse; in which, a dining room by McKenzie Design will be a highlight!

This year’s home is truly special – it’s the Porter House on Wesleyan College’s campus. Historic Macon worked with Wesleyan College to move the Porter House from its original location in South Macon when it was donated to the college in 2013. The house has elements of the Tudor Revival and Chateauesque styles. Wesleyan has retained many of the house’s features, including the original ceramic tile roof, wooden floors, built-in cabinets, casement windows, and intricate wormy chestnut woodwork.

The Porter House was built in 1928 for James Hyde Porter and his family as a summer retreat. The house was designed by architects W. Elliot Dunwody and William F. Oliphant. The Porter family donated the house to Wesleyan College, the first women’s college in the United States, in 2013. After moving the structure from its original location in South Macon to its campus, Wesleyan College completed an extensive restoration of the house with help from Dunwody Beeland Architects.

Now Steve, alongside a slew of talented, local designers, will revitalize the interior of this fantastic home, thanks to some high design. Steve’s space, partially seen in the above image, is a fantastic, blank palette of a dining space, which will be transformed into something spectacular!

Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come in the Porter House dining room – a quick, behind-the-scenes shot taken during install.  


And a little sneak peek of the tablescape being designed for the showhouse… Just dreamy!

Check back soon to see the big reveal, and be sure to plan a visit to Macon soon to enjoy all their Design, Wine & Dine events have to offer!

Forever in our thoughts. 

This Memorial Day we honor those who fight for our freedom. And this year, this rememberance means so much more, after a young soldier we know, who recently passed in Iraq, was buried in Arlington Cymetary.  


Please take a moment to thank a member of our armed forces and remember how lucky you are to be a part of this great nation. 

And to those celebrating this long weekend, please do so safely.

Our showroom will reopen Tuesday at 10am. The steve mckenzie’s team looks forward to seeing you then!