Gift Guide for 5 Top Consumable Gifts

We all have folks in our life, who truly don’t need a thing. Yet you want to show them love and how much you enjoy having them in your world. Here are 5 consumable gifts they will enjoy using, thinking fondly of you every time. Consider what might be a bit of luxury for them, a treat, and indulge them this gift giving season.

This first one is a favorite of mine. The monthly arrival of a special magazine is a very thoughtful gift. You can tailor it to your recipient’s interests and they can enjoy the curated content, then pass it along to another friend. Double win!

pink mug and magazine
Magazines are one of my favorite indulgences.

Paper is another savvy consumable gift. I love stationery, notepads, wrapping paper, greeting cards, etc. As happiness expert, Gretchen Rubin points out, we can be a bit of an under-buyer in this category. Maybe someone on your list would enjoy a being stocked up with personalized stationery or a pack of special greeting cards and stamps. Added bonus…support a local independent maker! Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite creative makers ~Thimblepress, Kat McCall Papers, Sara Fitz,

Thimblepress
Notepads and jotters galore for 2021!

The gift of listening to music, a podcast, an audible book ranks high on the list of consumable gifts. Perhaps a gift of music & an Echo speaker, or Kindle Unlimited membership, or the gift of a podcast (also it’s free!) suits several folks on your gift list. One of my favorite podcasts is Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project! Take a listen here.

Count on Darlings Fine Things to have the best bath and beauty products. Luxurious treats for relaxing and taking care of oneself, like this Green Tea & Peony Bath Soak by Niven Morgan. Remember they will ship your gifts for you.

Darlings Fine Things
This therapeutic bath soak features lavender and mint.

No consumable gift list would be complete without food and beverage gifts. Is your gift recipient a tea or coffee lover? The talented team at Just Add Honey has many choices, including a gift certificate, for your tea aficionado. What about a handmade gift certificate for a tea-time together outing at their Beltline location?

parTEA in a box – sip at home kit from Just Add Honey

For gourmet treats, we’re stocking up on Schermer’s Pecans gift boxes. Perfect for teachers, tutors, and coaches alike. Salty or sweet? Why not both!?

Steve McKenzie
Neighbors, teachers, friends alike will appreciate this tasty gift.

While the 2020 holidays look a bit different, let’s celebrate with our loved ones the best way we can. Remember to order early for best selection (supply chain kinks) and best shipping prices. Let us know some of your favorite consumable gifts on our Instagram and Facebook pages. Happy gifting!

Gift Guide for Her (Mom, Sister, SIL, BFF)

Get ready for gift giving season now! To help out, we’ve rounded up 5 top gifts for her. You know, the ladies in your life, like your mom, your BFF, your sister, your sister-in-law, your aunts. You get the idea. According to consumer guru, Clark Howard, it’s more important than ever to shop early. Avoid higher shipping fees as the season merrily rolls along, and avoid possible out of stock issues due to the pandemic. This week also kicks off the shopping season with Amazon Prime Days and Target deals. If you’re not an Amazon prime member, take a look at the program details here.

two woman hugging each other
Gift giving season is almost here.

Let’s make mask wearing a bit prettier and handier with this mask necklace from Lucy Inspired. Lucy is a talented jewelry maker, dear friend, and you might recognize her from “Beach Flip” on HGTV.

Genuine brown leather necklace with a cute vintage-style key charm

Since I’m wearing less lipstick these days, I’ve focused on my hands and nails. What lady wouldn’t love this London Butter Little Luxuries set? Four beautiful shades to match your holiday moods, and not something I would buy for myself. A thoughtful gift indeed!

We will travel again, even if it’s a car trip, and to celebrate that give her a new, shiny, pretty travel mug from NYC’s Effie’s Papers? Choose from any number of designs of these thermal double-walled mugs.

Effie's paper
Tantalizing travel mugs by Effie’s Papers

Darlings Fine Things always has the best gifts! Natural stone necklaces, “Zara“, features a 30” antique gold plated chain. Available in (photo) Jasper, Snowflake Obsidian, Quartz, Green Aventurine, Rose Quartz, Dalmatian Jasper, Amethyst, Amazonite, Black Onyx.

Darlings Fine Things
Who doesn’t love a new necklace?

This stylish, hard working leather tote bag is a smart addition to any ladies wardrobe.  It stands open upright so you can see what’s in there, holds a 13″ laptop and tons more, and it is easy to clean.  Lots of fashion colors to choose from too!  

Simple, classic style, this leather tote is a thoughtful gift.

Make your list, check it twice and happy shopping! Next up, gift guide for grandchildren and a gift guide of consumable (gifts that get used up) gifts. Cheers!

Summer Wrap Up + Savings

It’s been quite a summer for everyone. Steve and I did a quick mental inventory over lunch, and we have much to be thankful for. Two new grand babies, family meals, gardening, continued work and quiet fun. Little did we know that our collaboration with Creative Candles would keep our creative juices charged throughout this spring and summer. We thank them for their top quality candles in mesmerizing colors, and kindness.

There is still time to use code MCKENZIE20 to save 20% on your total Creative Candles purchase by Sept. 6th.

Steve McKenzie
Summer Collection works beautifully together

Spring kicked off with a virtual Baby Girl Shower. Keying off this darling Blabla stuffed elephant, Josephine, the Barely Blush pink and Moss Green palette developed sweetly. We shared the fun with our new mom-to-be, family and friends virtually.

baby shower, celebration
Celebrations still happen! Custom cups and napkins by Sequins and Lipstick. Photo credit: Steve McKenzie

Then we really got creative, in our two bedroom condo and outdoor space. A romantic dinner for two on the balcony featuring lush greenery, textures and desert inspired candles.

green plant
Candle lit table with green plants. Photo credit: Angie Webb Photography

Festive family dinner was next and you know Steve loves to set a gorgeous table. He’s also a fabulous cook, so it’s a win-win for all.

Brass, creamy Wedgwood Edme dishes, dreamy linens, florals and candle light set the mood.
Photo credit; Angie Webb Photography | Floral arrangement by Steve McKenzie
Thankful to be married to someone who makes me laugh. Photo credit: Angie Webb Photography
Serve yourself bar set up!
Photo credit: Angie Webb Photography

And our final summer wrap up is a self-serve cocktail bar with these vintage atomic candle holders and round bronze candles, an old-fashioned made with local Fiddler Bourbon by ASW Distillery, Schermer pecans to nosh on and bold buffalo check napkins.

Actually, this is a valuable documentation of this C-19 spring and summer. We’ll remember how and why we did so much work at home. Have you documented your experiences? Tell us what you’ve done to remember this crazy period of time. As always, thank you for traveling along with us. Cheers!

Snack Attack (hint, it begins with Schermer…)

Our snack routine got stale, with all this time at home, WFH, cooking ALL the time. Who’s in charge of the pantry anyway?! Then we remembered Schermer Pecans, a treat from The Southern C summit a few years ago. Remember going to conferences? Someday…

Grown in Georgia, these deliciously fresh pecans will change how you look at snacks forever. Once you read about their legacy, history and their dedication to quality, you will feel even better about supporting this delectable regional and national treasure.

Steve Jill McKenzie
McKenzie Design duo Steve and Jill McKenzie x Schermer Pecans
Steve McKenzie
A delicious array of snacks and treats from Schermer Pecans
All photo credit: Angie Webb Photography |Floral arrangement by Steve McKenzie

Our first snacks were the Roasted and Salted Pecans and the Cinnamon Pecans (the Cocktail Collection) to accompany a Friday evening cocktail. There is a difference in pecans – Schermer Pecans are so fresh, nutty, just the right amount of salt and then cinnamon to tease the tastebuds.

Schermer Pecans
The Cocktail Collection – beautifully packaged for a hostess gift
McKenzie Design
Snack set up with pretty buffalo check Dot and Army cocktail napkins
Schermer Pecans
Elliott Natural Pecans with a robust sweet flavor in a favorite R Wood Pottery dipping bowl

Need we say more? You need to try these delicious pecans for yourself. Get a head start on your holiday shopping too. They are a welcome gift too, see all the options here.

Green Plants + Home

Anyone else adding green plants to their spaces these days? We’re fairly obsessed with house plants (a positive side effect of Covid). You know, propagating them, repotting them, trying to squeeze more of green into our condo. We’ve found lots of great information and plant ideas on Pinterest. Plants give us a sense of purpose, a sense of growth, something to care for, and add healthy benefits to our world.

art
Mixing sculpture, framed art, and plants makes me happy.
Photo credit: Anthony Masterson Photography
green
Lush green plants bring the outdoors in.
Duck Green
Farrow & Ball new Duck Green paint
green
String of turtles stays on the small side.
green plant
Creative Candle lit table for two with greenery and desert vibe baskets from Dear Keaton.

Now I need to find some cute pots for two special spider plant starts, babies from my grandmother’s plant.

Show us your plants on Instagram using the hashtag #stevemckenzies. Be well!

Home Tour: Summer Collection

Several folks have asked how we came up with our Summer Collection x Creative Candles. We’re happy to share our thought process and hope you enjoy the tour. It all starts with flowers, of course, playing off the colors we most often use in our home. You know how much Steve loves floral design (I’ll brag, he’s won a national award), hence summer floral is our launching spot for our Summer Collection.

Steve McKenzie floral
Summer Collection floral by Steve McKenzie using Trader Joe’s flowers. This wallpaper by artist
Walter Knabe offers a timeless background for every season.
summer collection
Variety of heights, shapes, and colors with a consistent brass candle holder adds interest to a sideboard.
Art and floral by Steve McKenzie | all photography by Angie Webb Photographer

Our personal home colors are gray, orange, greens and golds, on the softer side. Creative Candles has such a wide variety of artisan colors, it made it easy to gather a gorgeous grouping for summer. While Paris Gray was our year-round favorite in our suburban home, this Summer Collection branched out to embrace Barely Blush, Terra Cotta, Maize, Moss Green, Wedgwood and Roman Bronze. These luxurious, hand-dipped candles come in a variety of lengths and shapes too.

Steve McKenzie summer collection
McKenzie Design Summer Collection works beautifully together

Desert colors, warm summer colors and sunsets also inspired the collection. Look at how the Terra Cotta, Barely Blush and Maize candles play off each other like a summer sunset. Dear Keaton baskets gave this alfresco table some texture and a cute vessel for the kalanchoe flowers. Those extra long tapers added a fun flair to the background monstera plants.

alfresco table
Table for two on our 25th floor balcony
Steve Jill McKenzie
McKenzie Design duo Steve and Jill McKenzie x Creative Candles

As lifelong learners, be bold and add some new colors to your table settings, coffee table and patio with candles, pillows and plants. Feel free to contact McKenzie Design with any questions and/or design needs. Be well and have fun!

2020 Southeastern Designer Showhouse

Happy Monday! You still have time to visit this beauty of a showhouse this week through Sunday, June 28th. Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles magazine along with developer Benecki Homes, Linda MacArthur Architect and honorary chair, Melanie Turner and their talented team including over 15 of the top interior designers in the southeast, have outdone themselves with this year’s Villa Flora. We know how challenging a showhouse can be, then throw in the COVID shut down, and it could have easily gone awry. But this stalwart team kept calm and designed on.

showhouse
Welcome to Villa Flora |Photo credit David Christensen
family room
Custom corner by Melanie Turner Interiors

Here’s a quick tour to whet your appetite for more…starting with the stately and welcoming exterior. You’re then quickly drawn to the back yard view of the six acre property. This family room by Melanie Turner Interiors provides cozy, custom luxurious seating, inspiring art and a view of the sparkling pool.

drapery detail
Look closely for design details like this exquisitely simple trim in Phoebe Howard Decorator’s primary bedroom
Todd Murphy
Ethereal triptych by the late Todd Murphy defines the main hallway
showhouse
Robert Brown Interior Design mixes lines and curves | Photo by David Christensen
showhouse
Brittany Cason Interior Design mixes styles masterfully.
showhouse
Luxurious canopy bedroom by Pickering House
showhouse
Dreamy canopy and bedroom by Jared Hughes Design

Which canopy bed is your favorite? Hint, there’s one more… Also the hand painted Gracie Studio wallpaper in Jared Hughes Design room is a stunner.

lap pool
A quiet oasis by The Design Atelier | Photo by David Christensen

We’ll close with this soothing indoor lap pool, original to the home, updated by Melanie Millner of The Design Atelier with these handmade hammocks. Click the link to see ticket information. What a terrific way to kick of your summer!

Is It Time to Remodel Your Kitchen?

We’re still home, a lot, all together. It looks like this will be the norm this summer. Let’s face it, if the kitchen isn’t working for you, not much else matters. Is it time to remodel your kitchen?

Finally fed up with the tiring work flow, dark cabinets and poor use of space, this owners of this 90s kitchen decided it was time to remodel, but without moving any walls, plumbing or electricity. Before and after photos tell this story, don’t they? You may want to take some notes…

before after, 90s kitchen, dark kitchen, dark countertop, remodel
Large but oddly trapezoid shaped island looks like it would be great but…it wasn’t!
before after, 90s kitchen, dark kitchen, dark countertop, remodel, hanging pot rack
The flow is pretty good on this side.
before after, 90s kitchen, dark kitchen, dark countertop, remodel
Opposite the island and there was a dance floor of empty space in-between!

Steve McKenzie came on board this project, assisting the homeowners and their contractor with the goal of maximizing and updating the spacious yet awkward kitchen. The family of six enjoyed cooking together and entertaining and knew there had to be a better way to use the space. It was also time to update colors, lighting and finishes with an eye toward resale. Steve started with reconfiguring the kitchen island and removing the high-low feature that so many of the kitchens had. Take a look at the after photo.

Fraser After, atlanta kitchen, large kitchen remodel, modern kitchen
Inviting and invigorated kitchen island |photo by Christina Wedge Photography

By squaring off the island footprint, it became a focal point of this new cool blue-gray kitchen. Updated tile combined with dark pewter hardware and modern clear glass pendants gave it a brighter outlook as the hub of the home. The vivid antique area rug gave it added warmth.

Fraser After, atlanta kitchen, large kitchen remodel
Not only updated but added storage and warming drawer. Love that furniture leg detail! |
photo by Christina Wedge Photography
Fraser After, atlanta kitchen, large kitchen, modern kitchen
Eating area view of kitchen | photography by Christina Wedge Photography

Steve’s team refinished the existing Lazy Susan table and chairs, added new seat fabric and a bright modern light fixture to complete the update. The family was thrilled with Steve’s solutions to their problems. Updated with the perfect tile, paint and fixtures, improved function and work flow, all with minimal disruption, all boxes checked off.

Feel free to share this with a friend and know we appreciate your taking time to spend time with us. How can we help you and your home? We would love to hear from you at shop@stevemckenzies.com or @stevemckenzies on Instagram.

Celebrations Still Happen

baby shower, celebration, McKenzie Design
Celebrations still happen!

I may have mentioned that our son and his wife are expecting their first child in June, a little girl. Right away, my daughters and I started planning a ladies-only celebration baby shower for March to celebrate this blessed event. Well, we all know that life came to a screeching, shelter in place halt in early March. The invitations were mailed, personalized cups and napkins and dreamy candles ordered but off course we cancelled it, keeping everyone safe and at home.

As the baby shower date approached, we decided to go ahead and set the table, making it special for the new mama-to-be via photos. For a refresher, here’s a quick party planning breakdown of what we used and why. First Creative Candles Barely Blush votives were the building block for the color scheme and celebration.

candles, celebration
Barely Blush votive candles from Creative Candles – hand-dipped, dripless, smokeless, unscented
Creative Candles, McKenzie Design
Celebration planning details
Sequins and Lipstick personalized cups and napkins | Creative Candles votive and ball candles |Ikea votive holder | Blabla Kids Josephine the elephant |Wedgwood Edme dishes | Target bed cover as tablecloth

This soft pink and mossy green palette paired beautifully with our Wedgwood Edme dishes. This is pretty pink quilt made a perfect table cloth backdrop for the candle lit setting of sweet nibbles and drinks. Get creative next time you set the table. Is there a vibrant scarf or shawl you can use on the table? Fresh flowers always add to the table too.

Sequins and Lipstick, McKenzie Design
So many napkin colors available with Sequins and Lipstick!
McKenzie Design, baby shower
Virtual celebration with McKenzie Design and family

It’s not the same, we know. But we are making the best of these days at home, finding ways to celebrate the big, and the little, things. Let us know what you are celebrating via email, tag us on Instagram and we’ll see you soon.

All photos by McKenzie Design.

Huff Harrington Fine Art + Steve McKenzie

Did you know Steve’s art is available at Huff Harrington Fine Art gallery? Yes, that charming little house off Roswell Road, brimming with loads of art from Atlanta and abroad.

Remember when you were young or even now, you waited for that certain person to notice you, maybe smile, or ask you a question. You know you will be best of friends. If only your paths would cross. Well, we’re so pleased our spheres intersected and created such synergy. Here’s how it happened.

Love spotting Steve’s art in their Instagram feed

When the energetic and effervescent owners, Ann and Meg rang us for a lunch date last spring, we were delighted and accepted with a big smile. Over a delicious chick salad lunch, we exchanged useful tips and business insights. As the conversation flowed to art, they hesitated a second and then asked Steve to be part of their dynamic gallery. Wow! We were clinked our ice tea glasses in celebration.

Zenith II
Steve McKenzie
Zenith II by Steve McKenzie

If you’ve seen our homes or Steve’s design studio, you know how we value art into our living and working spaces. Art evokes emotions, dreams, smiles and happiness. The Huff Harrington Fine Art gallery does just that and is a feast for the eyes. Steve is proud to be represented there. Please visit online and let your eyes and soul wander.

Parallel by Steve McKenzie
Parallel by Steve McKenzie

Be sure you add Huff Harrington Fine Art to your list of “Places to Visit After Covid”. For now, you can peruse their online array of original paintings by American and French artists in all styles and media. Follow both @Stevemckenzies @smckenzieart and @huffharrington to engage your creative spirit and soar.

Stay safe and we’ll see you soon.