10 Minute Makeover: The Kitchen

Today we’re tackling a kitchen makeover in 10 minutes… Yes, believe it or not, we’ll be able to freshen up this space with just a few minute’s time! These quick solutions to creating a new feel for your kitchen won’t break the bank or necessitate a timeline either. There won’t be any painting of cabinetry, re-tiling of a back splash, or new solid-surface counter top options to explore, no sir! We simply employ a bit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to bring you your new(ish) kitchen:

Framed art as a baclsplash

The Art of the Back Splash – Gather favorite family photos and/or small, framed works of art to lean against your current back splash, creating a new look for this part of your kitchen. You just want to make sure your art and photos are covered with glass, so any mess will be easily wiped clean.

These prints from Thimblepress would add a perfect pop of color and a bit of a custom feel (pick any state you love!) to your re-freshened kitchen! Available at steve mckenzie’s.

Repurpose a Pitcher – Pitchers can be used for so much more than serving a nice drink! Select your most-loved kitchen tools and bring them within easy reach by displaying them in a beautiful pitcher on your counter top.

The classic, graceful shape of this bold blue pitcher will add a touch of sophistication to any kitchen. Bonus – it’s acrylic, so it won’t chip with each bump or bang your cooking skills may bring its way…

Raise the Comfort Level – Add a throw pillow to the seating option in your kitchen, not only will it add color and texture, it’ll provide lumbar support so your family and friends may never want to leave your ever-so-comfortable, newly freshened kitchen space!

The color options available in these pinstriped pillows ensure a look to compliment your space!
The color options available in these steve mckenzie’s pinstriped pillows ensure a look to compliment your space!

New Scents Make Sense – If you’re always cooking up unique eats, chances are your kitchen is retaining some of those smells from last night’s fish dinner. A nice candle may be just the ticket to eliminate those odors and provide an especially welcoming environment each time they enter your kitchen space.

A simple candle in a smart scent, such as this "Twisted Sage" version from steve mckenzie's will allow guests to enjoy the new feel of your space using their sense of smell.
A simple candle in a smart scent, such as this “Twisted Sage” version from steve mckenzie’s, will allow guests to you to enjoy the new feel of your space using your sense of smell.

Ahhh… A kitchen you and your family will really be able to sink your teeth into! All it took was a few re-placed accessories and some creative solutions. Implement these ideas in your space and you’ll be enjoying a new kitchen in just 10 minutes!

Support a great cause through shopping – seriously! A Thrifting with Tyler field trip fundraiser for Dwell with Dignity…

Our team is so excited to have steve mckenzie’s selected as the launch pad for a fantastic Thrifting with Tyler field trip fundraiser for Dwell with Dignity this Saturday, May 3rd!

Tyler Lynch, local thrifting guru, will take this lucky group on a field trip to some of his most closely guarded “secret” thrifting locations in the N. GA mountains, all while sharing some of his expertise on getting in an our of a thrift store quickly, while ensuring you don’t miss anything and how to look for rare finds. In addition, our friend, and Atlanta interior designer, Kerry Howard, will offer advice on how to transform thrifted finds into real treasures.

Thrifting with Tyler

There are only a handful of tickets left (click the link for details) for this fabulous day of fun filled with amazing finds, friends, and time with some local experts while you thrift the day away… All while supporting Dwell with Dignity, an amazing organization which supports poverty-stricken families one beautiful design at a time.

Dwell with Dignity

In fact, we’re such fans of Dwell with Dignity and all they do, we reached out to Kim Turner, VP & Director of Dwell with Dignity, for a little Q&A to learn a bit more about this great organization and how events, like the Thrifting with Tyler field trip, go to support it…

Dwell with Dignity VP & Director, Kim Turner
Dwell with Dignity VP & Director, Kim Turner
– In just a few words, for those who don’t know what Dwell with Dignity is, please share a basic description of this great organization.
Dwell with Dignity is a non-profit group of Interior Designers and volunteers dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty. We provide and install home interiors for families that include furnishings and art, bedding and kitchen supplies, and food in the pantry. 

– How do events, such as the Thrifting with Tyler field trip, go to support Dwell with Dignity?

As with all of our fundraisers, this will go towards helping us carry out our mission:
“Our mission is to help families escape poverty and homelessness through design; one household at a time.” 
We have chosen Atlanta to be the first city outside of Dallas with a Dwell with Dignity chapter.  We did our first project in late February-early March and hope to do another one later in the summer.  We provide absolutely everything a family needs and that takes money.  We are so fortunate to have so much support from the design community as well as the community at large.  So many of the things we use are donated, but there are still many things we need to purchase.

– How have you and the Dwell with Dignity team come to know Tyler Lynch and Kerry Howard?

We had the pleasure of meeting Kerry at a dinner arranged last May by Bethanne Matari, the “PR Maven” of the local Currey & Co.  She felt he would be a great person to get involved – and she was so right!  Kerry took the design lead on our first apartment designing the bedrooms and the bathroom.  We met Tyler through Kerry and this trip was his brainchild.  Once he and Kerry put their heads together, this fabulous day evolved.

– What will attendees get out of participating in the Thrifting with Tyler field trip fundraiser?

This is going to be such a fun trip that I am coming in from Dallas for it!  We will start the morning with coffee and mimosas at steve mckenzie‘s and board the bus for the day at 9:15.  Tyler Lynch is taking us along on a tour of his favorite “secret” vintage and antique shops in the GA mountains.  On the way there, he will give us tips on how to get in and get out of shops quickly while still finding the hidden treasures.  Also, he’ll explain the etiquette surrounding bargaining for deals and tell us what we should be looking for.  We will stop in Villa Rica to enjoy box lunches from The Hungry Peach, sponsored by the good people at ADAC.  When it’s time to return to Atlanta, Kerry Howard will give us tips on what to do with our finds while serving cocktails courtesy of Mark Williams and Associates.  Everyone on the bus will receive an amazing goodie bag and we will be raffling off all kinds of wonderful donations.  A good time will definitely be had by all!
Thank you to Kim for all of the info, it’s great to know what a wonderful organization we’re supporting – and a big shout out to Tyler Lynch and Kerry Howard for working to pull together a memorable day for all involved! We look forward to sending everyone off on such a special trip this Saturday. And, don’t forget to get your ticket now, numbers are dwindling…
Here’s to learning the art of thrifting and supporting a cause you believe in!

Tastemaker Tuesday – Tori Mellott

This month we’re shaking things up a bit here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s by featuring a design editor as our Tastemaker, and it’s not just any editor we’re lucky enough to share with you… It’s Design Editor for Traditional Home magazine, Tori Mellott!

Not only does Tori have class and style to spare (hence her profession), she’s also one of the nicest people we’ve had the opportunity to work with! Steve first met Tori during his time with Larson-Juhl, where art and framing were the hot topic. Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to expand our discussions to design as a whole, among other things…

Tori has darling twin girls, Franny and Lucy, and it’s been so fun seeing her tackle motherhood just as enthusiastically as she’s conquered the world of home shelter pubs! We think you’ll love Tori just as much as we do, especially after learning more about her in this Tastemaker Tuesday feature:

Tori Mellott
Tori Mellott

1. What are three words that describe your style?

I would describe my style as preppy, tailored, and girlie.


2. Would you please share a little about a favorite space of yours?

Really, my favorite space in the entire world is the house I grew up in located in a sub-suburban neighborhood 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. I was raised by my grandparents and my grandmother really loved pastels.  One bathroom was entirely salmon pink and I mean ENTIRELY.  The sink, the tub, the toilet, the floor tiles. And the bathroom I shared with my sister was entirely mint green and again, I mean ENTIRELY.  The sink, the tub, the toilet, the floor tiles.  I just loved those bathrooms!


And my grandmother was a huge wallpaper lover.  We must have changed the wallpaper in our hallway every 3 to 5 years.  When I was very young it was this wild, white, green, and silver foil paper that had bamboo trees printed on the ground.  Then it changed to this adorable navy blue floral – it was very elegant.  Then one year it was a red “Tree of Life” pattern. It was always changing – my poor Grandfather!  He was the one who had to paper the walls!


One year my grandmother allowed my sister and I to decorate the entire upstairs portion of the house.  A play area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom.  It was so much fun.  I choose a pink and white stripe for my bedroom (which still remains there today) and a small, dense, floral pattern that is reminiscent of a Liberty print for the bathroom.


3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

So many things inspire me.  Especially the past.  I’m such a romantic – I love decaying, rotten, nearly-forgotten ideas, structures, and gardens.


There is such a powerful sense of mystery and loss when you see a crumbling ruin or a path in the forest that is nearly grown over.


I’m especially inspired by classic architecture and I’m a sucker for any Victorian building as well and recently I’ve been on an Art Deco kick.


As for my sense of color, I’m inspired by flowers – the blooms, the variegated patterns, and the intense hues.


4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…

–       Chris Rock (because he is the funniest human alive or dead)

–       Idina Menzel (because I am hoping she will burst out into song)

–       Julia Child (because I don’t cook and I would want the food to be good)

5. What’s a piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

I could not live without a comfortable sofa.  Uncomfortable sofas, even if they are the most beautiful-looking sofa in the world, are useless and pointless.  If design isn’t comfortable, then it’s really not design, it’s art and I don’t want to get cozy on a piece of art.


6. Do you recommend people follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc.?

I wouldn’t say there are hard and fast “rules” but I definitely think a mix of textures is necessary in designing a cozy space.  If everything has the same texture, it might look boring, or too fancy, or too casual.  I think a good mix of textures lends charm to a room.

7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?”

I’m really into floral chintz and animal prints!  I cannot get enough.  I want to swath every surface of my apartment in head-to-toe chintz.



I want every room tented, and every wall upholstered. It would be incredibly impractical, considering I have 2 year old twins, but I daydream about it all the time.


I’m so, so, so over gallery walls.  I think they look messy and cluttered.  One large piece of art will do.

8. How does artwork typically work within your favorite spaces/any advice on incorporating art into a room?

Artwork is critically important. It adds personality to a room and visual interest.


9. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?

That is so easy. Pizza.

10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry.

Be nice to everyone and try not to copy other people’s work.  While other’s designs can serve as an inspiration, and even a jumping off point, try to maintain an original point-of-view.

A huge THANK YOU to Tori for allowing us to feature her as a steve mckenzie’s Tastemaker – you’re always a joy and charm to be with, and we know our readers will experience that same sense of warmth as they enjoy this segment.

Happy Tastemaker Tuesday everyone!

Three Timeless Napkin Folds

In continuation of our love of cloth napkins, and in celebration of the spring entertaining season, we felt it was high time we help bring back the art of the folded napkin.

Sure, there are plenty of creative napkin folds out there, many daunting and overly executed. And, while we don’t think your napkin folds need to resemble an animal, flower, or a specific object, a classically folded napkin will add a touch of elegance to any soiree.

steve mckenzie's - napkin folding 2
Bonus napkin fold idea – the unfolded napkin fold! Simply lay out your cloth napkin, pinch the center of the square and gather, tying a small piece of ribbon or string into a bow or knot to create an effortless fold.

So, we’ve gathered three classic napkin folds that will be at home on just about any table. From Tuesday’s pasta night, to Saturday’s sea bass, these folds will turn up the volume on any simple supper!

But, before we get started, we have a few pre-napkin folding tips from Jill:

  • Use a napkin that looks good from both sides. With most folds, each side of a napkin will be seen, so you want to make sure there’s not an “unfinished” side.
  • Be sure your napkin is nice and square – a rectangular shaped napkin won’t hold your fold properly.
  • Iron and lightly starch your napkins, prior to folding, ensuring the folded shape keeps.
  • When executing the fold, be sure you’re working on a smooth, clean surface and you press firmly.

Now, we’re ready!

The Candle Fold – we love this one, because it brings the napkin up, off the table. We suggest placing the folded napkin in your water glass, to add a bit of extra height to your tablescape. Check out the how-to video below:

The Utensil Pocket Fold – Ideal for large gatherings, this basic fold creates the perfect pocket for you to tuck utensils into!
classic napkin fold
– Fold the napkin in half.
– Fold it in half again to make a square.
– Fold down the edge of the top layer about 1/3 of the way down. Turn over.
– Fold each side in to meet the other.
– Turn napkin over and tuck in utensils.
The Pyramid Fold – Perhaps the most iconic of our three classic folds, you see the pyramid fold done in white table cloth restaurants. Plus, it’s fun to grab the napkin at the tip and “shake” the fold out, to flatten for use in your lap during dinner.
pyramid napkin fold
And there you have it, three timeless napkin folds as selected by steve mckenzie’s.
For a fabulous selection of cloth napkins and table linens, stop by steve mckenzie’s today!

Graduate your Grad Gifts

It’s time we move beyond the typical envelope of cash and teddy bear donning a graduation cap and gift our grads with something truly heartfelt and memorable. Gift the graduate in your life with something they’ll be able to enjoy for years to come, and they’ll think of you fondly and often.

Here at steve mckenzie’s we have a plethora of potential graduation gifts for you to share with you grad, each one just as special as the last… So, here goes, our list of top graduation gifts that will elevate your status in the eyes of the lucky recipient:

messenger bag

Any recent grad will be the ency of his college classmates, or office colleagues with this “Duke” waxed canvas messenger bag. It’s casual refinement at it’s best. And, it’s practical. Need we say more?

tote bag

Our “Biscotti” tote bag offers equal style and functionality and, as a bonus, is available in a fun assortment of our classic steve mckenzie’s textiles!

Both bag options are crafted here in the US and offer unparalleled durability, ensuring the grad who’s gifted this will be able to put it to good use for years.

b. 01 mischievous 1000px

While jewelry is a classic graduate gift option, the items we’re suggesting are anything but stale. This “Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome.” bracelet offers a bit of advice that can only come from a favorite relative or family friend of the graduate, and will surely give them something to think about over the next few years as they begin their working or college career.


This handcrafted initial necklace is hand-dipped in 18k gold for a lovely vermeil finish. Designed after the classic magnetic blocks we all played with as children, this piece offers a bit of nostalgia.

Cocktail Kit_2

If the graduate in your life is of age, this cocktail kit may be just the ticket! Including the iconic Mason Shaker, a cocktail jigger, muddler, and two cocktail coupes and napkins, all artfully pulled together in a beautiful canvas and leather bag, this kit has the makings of many memorable events.

julep cup

Another gift idea for the of-age graduate, there is nothing more southern than a julep cup. And this pewter version from steve mckenzie’s can be custom engraved for your grad!

moleskine notebook cover

Moleskine leather notebook covers will add an ideal touch of stylish sophistication to your graduate’s upcoming work or studies. Good marks are practically ensured when notebooks are covered with these.

So, what are you waiting on?!? Graduation is coming up fast – come into steve mckenzie’s today and select an ideal gift for the much-loved graduate in your life.


Product Spotlight: Taki Watches

Ever wear something for an entire year in the name of research?

No? Just us then… Well, it was all in the name of fashion, fabulous design, seamless functionality, and, of course, you – the steve mckenzie’s client! And we’re so glad we devoted our wrists to Taki watches for a year (now, going on two), because now we can say with utmost confidence: WE love Taki watches and know you will too!

Taki watches - steve mckenzie's
Steve sporting his Taki watch in-store!

Not only do Taki watches provide a perfect pop of color to your wardrobe, feature super-comfy leather straps, and keep perfect time, thanks to a Japanese time-keeping mechanism, they’re totally affordable! And anyone aged 13 to 93, give or take a few years, is sure to love them as well.


Taki’s clean lines are ideal for everyday-wear, and because they’re so affordable, you can collect a variety of colors, so you’ll have something to coordinate with practically every ensemble.


It also doesn’t hurt that Taki Designer, David Spencer, shares our love for Scandinavian architecture and design. We knew there was a reason we were so drawn to his fabulous designs!


Come into steve mckenzie’s today to check out our collection of Taki watches and give one a try for yourself – chances are, you’ll be walking out with it on, you’ll love it so!

10 Minute Makeover: The Guest Bedroom

With just 10 minutes, and a bit of creativity you can transform an entire space!

Today, we’re tackling the guest bedroom. With wedding and graduation season upon us, soon house guests will be too. An often overlooked space, the guest bedroom can be a hodgepodge of reclaimed furniture, bedding and accessories. Even if you don’t have the time or budget to create a totally made-over space, 10 minutes will provide the perfect opportunity to freshen your space.

Bring in a colorful quilt – it’s amazing what a new (even if it’s just new to the space) textile will do for your guest bedroom. Keep the rest of your bedding neutral and add a colorful quilt or throw at the foot of your bed. Remember that hodgepodge we mentioned earlier? A colorful piece like this may be the perfect cohesive element your guest bedroom is calling for!

Check linen throw from steve mckenzie's
Libeco check linen throw from steve mckenzie’s

Switch up a lampshade and let there be NEW light! Select a lampshade from another space in your home (or if you’re a design hoarder – select one from your stash) and switch it with one in your guest bedroom. A new texture and tone surrounding the light source will truly create a new feel for your space.

Relocate a plant and breathe fresh life into your guest bedroom. No matter the size of your space, even the tiniest of succulents will liven up your space and add some much needed greenery – especially if you get creative with the potting (think antique milk glass, or a bright metallic pencil holder).

Pewter cup from steve mckenzie's? The perfect succulent planter!
Pewter cup from steve mckenzie’s? The perfect succulent planter!

And, voila, there you have it – a 10 minute makeover of your guest bedroom, courtesy of the team here at steve mckenzie’s! Now, what are you doing with your next 10 minutes?!?

Wine & Design: The Blackberry Fence Hopper – A Transitional Cocktail

We’re kicking off our latest blog series, “Wine & Design,” with a fantastic cocktail, that perfectly pairs with our idea of Transitional design, The Blackberry Fence Hopper.

The Blackberry Fence Hopper3
The Blackberry Fence Hopper

We thought Eric Prum of The Mason Shaker, would be THE ideal person to ask about a cocktail that would work well in a Transitional space. Sure enough, he came to us with The Blackberry Fence Hopper.

The Blackberry Fence Hopper4

“It’s a perfect seasonal transition drink – transitioning from one side of the fence to the other,” shares Eric.

The Blackberry Fence Hopper
Give The Blackberry Fence Hopper a try this weekend, as we continue to enjoy our warm transition into spring. And, let us know if it gets you in the mood to go Transitional with your design…
The Blackberry Fence Hopper2
If you think this looks delicious, check out The Mason Shaker on Instagram for a new cocktail recipe, shared every Thursday – yum!
A big thank you to Eric and The Mason Shaker team for a very inspiring Transitional cocktail (along with some beautiful imagery!) for our very first Wine & Design post. Check out the original Mason Shaker, and fantastic cocktail muddler and jigger, also by The Mason Shaker, available at steve mckenzie’s today!

Steve’s Style Studies: Transitional

To many, the Transitional design style is thought of as an update on a classic, or classic with a contemporary twist. Typically, transitional is a blend of styles, whose design results in a classic, timeless, and clean look. No wonder it’s a style we hear a lot of people asking for…
At steve mckenzie’s, Transitional is a balance of modern and traditional – we like to think of it as if we have a foot in each camp, a happy medium. It’s a style we understand, and feel confident working in.
James Sofa
The James Sofa – available at steve mckenzie’s
Our James Sofa fits this criteria and is at home in a traditional setting or a more modern setting, with its curved back, rounded arms, clean lines.
Isamu Noguchi coffee table
Another transitional piece we adore is the Isamu Noguchi coffee table.  Introduced in 1948, the balance of sculptural form and a solid wood base makes it a beautiful and functional addition to a room or office.
Consider a vignette in which these two pieces are brought together… Lovely, timeless, clean – it’s TRANSITIONAL. At least according to Steve’s Style Studies.

Step by Step Holiday Entertaining by steve mckenzie’s: Easter – Part 1

Naturally, we love entertaining… We don’t even need a good excuse – the fact that it’s just a regular old Tuesday evening will have us pulling out extra cloth napkins and polishing silver for a get together with the neighbors! But, when “real” holidays come around, well, we see that as cause for a true celebration. With Easter just a few weeks away, we’re getting into entertaining mode and planning out our day.

The key to throwing a fantastic celebration, and actually being able to enjoy it yourself, is all in the preparation. And, in our Step by Step Holiday Entertaining series, we’ll dish out all the details on how we plan and execute a successful soiree – starting with this Easter.

easter entertaining (1)
Jill’s infamous “Hostess Notebook”

Before planning any holiday gathering, Jill pulls out her “Hostess Notebook;” yes, she’s seriously THE Hostess with the Mostess, keeping her own three ring binder with notes on past meals, dates, times, guests, gifts from guests, menus (including how much was served, and if it was enough or too much/little), how much wine/beer was served, what types, etc. Armed with this arsenal of information, Jill is able to look back at past Easter gatherings to consider how this year’s celebration will work.

Not only is Jill’s Hostess Notebook super informative, it also provides at least a few smiles as she looks back on past holiday gatherings and thinks about all of the family and friends who’ve gathered around the table to celebrate together.

Typically, Easter is a very traditional holiday in the McKenzie household, and, to be served on this holiday, an equally traditional menu:

  • Sticking to the classics, a lamb dish will be the centerpiece of the meal.
  • Serving a green vegetable, is a must.
  • A nice, fresh salad is ideal for this time of year.
  • A true southern favorite, deviled eggs, are another Easter essential.

Once those “building block” menu items have been set, Jill peruses favorite cooking sites, magazines and books for one or two new recipes to try.

*Bonus McKenzie Entertaining Tip – Keep holiday menus true to your family’s favorites, only adding one or two new dishes, which will offer a bit of an unexpected surprise and a unique variety.

easter entertaining (2)
Easter tablescape inspiration

Additional tips from steve mckenzie’s on setting the perfect Easter table:

  • A table runner acts as a table-unifier; consider utilizing more than one, or even at alternative angles to create interest
  • Add solid color napkins to your linen repertoire, they help to pull your table’s color scheme together
  • Consider using, bold, solid color acrylic glasses (like the ones pictured above) to set the stage for a comfortable, relaxed meal
  • Fun, colorful dinnerware will add a sense of whimsy and also work to bring your table theme together
  • A solid color charger, such as the one from R.Wood Studio (pictured above) sets a firm base for the eye below that colorful dinnerware
r. wood studio (3)
These R. Wood Studio pieces would be a welcome addition to any Easter table setting!

Because R. Wood Studio pieces have become such an inspiration for us and our tablescapes, we want to make it even easier for you to be able to incorporate them into your Easter table setting as well… Mention this blog post for a 20% discount off all R. Wood Studio product between now and April 14th, 2014.

r. wood studio (2)
R. Wood Studio ceramics are available in a virtual rainbow of hues; mix and match to keep it fun!

The next element of your Easter gathering you should consider is your guest list. Who will be around your Easter table this year? Since many of us don’t live near family, holidays can be made extra special by filling the seats in your dining room with friends. It’s through events like these where many of our friends have become family. And, since we have college-age and young-adult children, we put out an open invitation for our kids to invite anyone who isn’t going to be with their own family that day. It’s a great way for us to get to know who our children are spending their time with, and, just like the friends we’ve invited to celebrate the holidays, many of these young people have become like family. In fact, a few years ago, we made a very memorable Easter by teaching several young Jewish people how to dye eggs, thanks to our open-invite policy!

Now that you know who will be attending your holiday gathering, you can build your menu accordingly.

Another smart entertaining tip – we never turn down someone who offers to contribute to our celebratory meal. Suggest they bring specific items, such as bread or cookies; your guests will appreciate that you’ve provided a bit of guidance.

We hope we’ve inspired you to host an Easter celebration in your home this year – although planning a dinner party may seem overwhelming, if you itemize what needs to be done, and tick those items off  your list as they’re completed, you’ll be ahead of the game, and in a good place to celebrate the holiday with some of the most important people in your life!

Keep an eye out for part two of our Easter “how to” holiday posts, where we’ll share details on what you should be working on – and how – in the days leading up to the soiree. And, finally, we’ll also share a post-holiday synopsis as part three in our Easter series, letting you know what worked best, what didn’t, and how we may be able to improve entertaining for this holiday in the future.