Tastemaker Tuesday – Margaret Kirkland

This month, we’ve selected friend, and fellow Atlanta-based designer, Margaret Kirkland as our March Tastemaker – and we’re so pleased she agreed to participate with us in this fun blog post series! Margaret has an impeccable southern style, and people are drawn to her warm personality. We’re thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity to introduce our readers to Margaret and share what makes her tick as a designer! Enjoy learning all about her on this Tastemaker Tuesday:

MK headshot
Margaret Kirkland

Prior to founding her namesake firm, Margaret Kirkland worked in New York and later in her native Atlanta with Dan Carithers Design Consultants. Over the course of fifteen years in the design industry, Margaret has completed projects including residences, high rises, showrooms, a yacht, a spa, a country club, and even an interior design pop-up shop in Northeast Harbor, Maine. She has worked for clients throughout the United States—including New York, Chicago, the low country of South Carolina and Atlanta—and also on several international projects. Margaret Kirkland Interiors has had projects published in multiple shelter magazines including Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, Southern Living and House Beautiful magazines. Margaret Kirkland Interiors has been named top design firm to watch by several publications & blogs and most recently, Kirkland was named “15 under 40” by Atlanta Home’s and Lifestyles Magazine.

1. Three words that describe your aesthetic? 

Timeless, Southern, Elegant

Clarendon Plantation Great Room

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

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have some really special jobs here in Atlanta, in New York, in the low country of South Carolina, even a few houses in France. Any project where the clients are enthusiastic and happy about their homes are my favorite projects to work on!

LPF France terrace

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

I feel like I get design inspiration from everything I am exposed to on a daily basis. Travel and exposing yourself to classic design and architecture of the past is great inspiration, but so is taking a walk outside, and get inspired by the palettes and combinations you see in the natural world. I also love staying current with all the best shelter magazines.

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

Bunny Williams, Diana Vreeland, Albert Hadley for their wit, humor, and their style. Plus they all seem (ed) to know how to have a good time!

Photo Credit – Mali Azima

5. A piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

There is nothing more inviting than a beautiful and comfortable bed to start and end your days in.

Photo Credit – Mali Azima

6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?

I don’t follow any strict rules in decorating, but I think it is all about a great mix of cotton and linen print and solid fabrics, good lighting, lovely accessories and art working together to make a statement.

Margaret Kirkland

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

I have always been into chintzy prints, and I am glad they are in vogue again. I am over gloomy gray and beige that does not say anything.

8. How does artwork fit into your designs?

Art plays a huge a part of our inspiration for a room scheme, and can really set the entire mood of a room. I love both traditional and modern art, and I love to involve clients in art purchases so their personalities shine in the spaces in which they live.

Photo Credit – Mali Azima

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

I would want a notebook to write down my thoughts and all the projects I want to work on!

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

Go work for the designer you are most admire. No amount of reading and school projects can prepare you quite the way on the job training can!

On the job training – right on! We agree with Margaret, experience is everything! What a fantastic set of responses. Thank you again to Margaret Kirkland for letting us feature her as a Tastemaker here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s – we look forward to seeing more of your work!

The Art and Inspiration of Local Atlanta Artist, Britt Bass

We’re so honored to share a bit here with you about local artist, and our new found friend, Britt Bass. We’ll be highlighting Britt’s works in the steve mckenzie’s showroom, with a kickoff party taking place tomorrow evening (3/26) from 5-8pm. But, for those of you who’d like a little preview into who Britt Bass is and what her work is all about – or if you’re unable to make it to tomorrow evening’s event, we’ve pulled together a bit of a Britt Bass studio tour post for you:

© Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer-18
Britt Bass in the studio with her favorite furry friend. Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Britt Bass’ work is about process and intuition. She’s interested in the juxtaposition of medium, texture, color, and shape and is ever searching for ways to create subtleties and surprises through fine details and passageways.

© Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer-71
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Through layering, adding and omitting Britt Bass explore this artistic relationship until it culminates into a whole, finished piece.

© Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer-66
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Britt Bass’ paintings are made for the home – each work with the intent of it creating or solidifying a given space. Her hope is the finished piece will be a playful and fun accessory in a child’s room, a small pop of color on a bookshelf, or a bright and bold statement piece in living space.

© Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer-37
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

She paints what makes her happy, and what, at the given time, is inspiring her.

© Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer-24
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Britt Bass grew up in Milton, a suburb north of Atlanta where she fell in love with color and design at a young age by way of her interior designer mother.

Photo by Kathryn McCrary.
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

She graduated from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in May of 2011 with a degree in Art Education with an emphasis on painting.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

She’s been exploring color and design within her paintings since then, making paintings and installations full time, working out of her Buckhead studio.

© Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Lifestyle Photographer-29
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

We’re so excited to offer Britt’s works to our friends and clients in the form of small and large paintings, and even coasters and iPhone covers! Plan to stop by the showroom, meet Britt Bass and check out her works in person Thursday evening at steve mckenzie’s.

"Gryffindor"  44" x 50"  acrylic on canvas
“Gryffindor” 44″ x 50″ acrylic on canvas

And a big shout out to Britt for being such a fabulous person to work with, with such wonderful pieces to feature!

Part 2: Get Ready for Outdoor Living!

For us, a big part of any successful outdoor room are the soft goods – the fabrics used on the pillows, drapes and accessories throughout this unique space. Because it’s situated outdoors, it’s open to the elements and all that brings with it. Although it’s nice to think you’d bring your cushions and pillows inside whenever they’re not in use, that’s not always realistic. And, we aim to create spaces clients love to live in and with, not create more work for them.

Outdoor living – perfect for the whole family!

So, we turn to Sunbrella fabrics, the ultimate in textiles for outdoor living. You may have heard of Sunbrella before, probably in terms of awning solutions for outdoor spaces. And while these can be nice, for the right home, there’s so much more to Sunbrella now!

A Classic Sunbrella Awning

A few of our favorite unique applications for outdoor fabrics include…


Ottomans and poufs! This ottoman in a textile design by our friends at Laurie Bell, another high performance fabric line offered by steve mckenzie’s, offers such versatility! Extra seating, a place to lounge your feet or place a tray of beverages – every outdoor space should include an outdoor ottoman or pouf.

BD Rx Pharmamceutical company

Throws. The ultimate in outdoor comfort and ideal for those chilly summer nights. Toss a few outdoor throws throughout your space and you’ve instantly made it more inviting!

bisi and duke on their sunbrella dog beds by laurie bell

And this one may be our favorite – dog beds! We couldn’t imagine a better use for outdoor fabrics than for dog beds. You’ll need something extremely durable, and it doesn’t get better than this. And these stylish beds, thanks to Laurie Bell, flow seamlessly with our decor. Sometimes we think the steve mckenzie’s shop dogs, Bisi and Duke have it made!

Sunbrella at Southern Living Idea House

If you’re really looking to create an oasis, outdoor drapes are where it’s at. They dance in the breeze and have the ability to turn just about any space into a tropical paradise. With the color, pattern and texture options now available, we’re only limited to our imaginations!

2013 Coast Living Magazine Idea Home, Sunbrella

Phew! After all that, we think it’s time for a sit and glass of iced tea!

If you’d like additional details about Sunbrella fabrics and how the steve mckenzie’s team can create your idea of a fabulous outdoor space, feel free to reach out to us and learn more. We look forward to working with you and creating an amazing outdoor room. Soon you’ll have it made in the shade!

Happy Staint Patrick’s Day from steve mckenzie’s!

Saint Patrick’s Day… The perfect day for romance, no? Well, it is for Steve and Jill – it’s was actually the day of their very first date! Who says Saint Valentine is the only Saint of love?!?

Beyond this special anniversary, St. Patrick’s Day also holds a special place in Jill’s heart – and with a maiden name like McCann, who couldn’t see why? She’s half Irish on her dad’s side, so there’s another great excuse to celebrate!

Steve & Jill McKenzie

If you’re still looking for something festive to do in the city tonight, there are plenty of St. Patty’s Day celebrations going on – take a look here.


And, in the spirit of the holiday, take a look at this history of Saint Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland. How about that “drowning the shamrock” tradition?!? Pretty neat stuff!


In addition to St. Patrick’s day being the anniversary of Steve and Jill’s first date, it’s also such a fun day to celebrate with the kiddoes! Back in the day, the McKenzie kids would look forward to green pancakes for breakfast on St. Patrick’s day! Here’s a fun take on green pancakes from Betty Crocker, enjoy!

We wish you all the luck o’ the Irish today and never ending pots of gold at the end of your rainbows – happy Saint Patrick’s day!

Part 1: Get Ready for Outdoor Living!

After a very icy few months, it seems as if Atlanta has finally turned a corner, and spring will be here in no time! And we are ready for the warmer weather! For us, warm weather means outdoor living, dining al fresco, container gardening, and long walks with the dogs around the duck pond. It’s heaven, and we can’t wait! In preparation, we’re working with many of our customers and clients to create fabulous outdoor spaces that will make the most of the outdoors this season. We’re seeing so many people looking to extend their living space and create spaces for really living in the out of doors. In fact, this post is part of a whole series on outdoor living on the blog for steve mckenzie’s!

An outdoor dining room we designed for the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Show House- featuring Grange furniture and Sunbrella fabrics.
An outdoor dining room we designed for the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Show House- featuring Grange furniture and Laurie Bell outdoor fabrics.

Luckily, steve mckenzie’s offers some amazing outdoor furniture options for folks looking to make the most of just about any outdoor space. Here are the few things to consider as you ready yourself and your space for outdoor living:

  • Ask yourself how you’ll use the space?
  • Do you host large groups or intimate gatherings?


  • Are there full meals being enjoyed in your outdoor space or just lite bites and cocktails?


  • Is your home located in a high rise, or is the space at a cabin in the mountains?
  • Should you be concerned with weather conditions, i.e. wind blowing furniture off the patio, etc.?


Depending on your responses to the above questions/scenarios, you can find the perfect pieces to create your outdoor sanctuary at steve mckenzie’s. With amazing outdoor furniture collections from Grange and Kannoa, the options are practically endless… From intimate conversation groups, to dining sets appropriate for multi-course meals for a big group, we have the perfect pieces for you!


If you’d like some help bringing your outdoor room up to snuff for this season, please don’t hesitate to call the team here at steve mckenzie’s – we’ll be thrilled to make your outdoor living dreams a reality!


Art for the Farm – Art Auction Benefiting Serenbe Art Farm and ASID GA

We’ve shared a bit about Serenbe before – it’s a fabulous, progressive community connected to nature, just southwest of Atlanta. It’s the definition of picturesque… Fresh air, farm to table, timeless architecture. But, beyond all that, Serenbe hosts a fantastic organization in their Art Farm and Artist in Residence Program.

An event with Serenbe’s Artists in Residence

It’s an amazing program really, making it possible for artists of all disciplines to reconnect with nature at Serenbe, and be gifted with uninterrupted time to create and be inspired. As an artist himself, Steve (and, of course Jill) is a big fan of Serenbe and the Artist in Residency Program.

View More: http://peachtreephotography.pass.us/serenbe-14
Serenbe’s “Art Walk”

As a way to enlighten more people about Serenbe’s Artist in Residence Program, and to act as a fundraiser, Steve is organizing art and artists to participate in an auction, benefiting Serenbe’s Art Farm/Artist in Residence Program, as well as ASID Georgia’s chapter office renovation project!

View More: http://peachtreephotography.pass.us/serenbeevents
The Art Farm at Serenbe

There are two events in conjunction with the art auction fundraiser – on March 12, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams will host a preview party, then the auction will take place on March 26 at ADAC… For details on the auction, click here.


The auction will feature works by:

Amy Morris
Amy Wikman
Bill Peace
Chris Little
Elayne DeLeo
Gina Christman
Jason Moattar
Joel Kelly
Julie Witzel
Kerry Howard
Linda LeTard
Lucy Aiken Johnson
Mark Williams
Matthew Quinn
Melanie Millner
Melanie Turner
Michel Boyd
Patricia McLean
Pipa Bradbury
Rita Carson Guest
Robert Grayson
Scott Kirk
Steve Mckenzie
Terri Duffy
Tish Mills
Tricia Jones

Here’s a sneak peek at a work that will be up for auction by our own Steve McKenzie…


A big thank you to Brandon Hinman, Director of Serenbe’s Artist in Residence Program, who is working with Steve to make this auction a great success – and fundraiser!

Brnadon Hinman, Director of Serenbe's Artist in Residence
Brnadon Hinman, Director of Serenbe’s Artist in Residence

These events promise not only a good time, but also some fabulous organizations to support! What could be better than an evening of art, shopping and supporting some extremely deserving not-for-profit organizations?!?

We hope to see you there!

Design Bloggers Conference 2015 Recap

We’re just getting back to the swing of things here after enjoying a solid three days full of everything Design Bloggers Conference (DBC). Although we’re so fortunate the conference takes place right in our own backyard (Buckhead, to be exact), it feels as if we were a world away, totally swept up in the digital world of design and a fantastic conference filled with even more fantastic people!


Our time at DBC started off with Digital Day at ADAC – a day full of inspiration for developing your brand in the world of online media. We’re big fans and supporters of ADAC and were thrilled to experience this day, with presentations by Madcap Cottage (John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon) and Liza Graves, co-founder of StyleBlueprint. Due to winter weather here in Atlanta, our day sadly ended short, but after a fun luncheon at the Duralee showroom – one of our favorites (thanks guys!).

The New Bjork Studio's Focal Wall
The New Bjork Studio’s Focal Wall

After letting the worst of the weather pass us by, we ventured back out to attend the Sunbrella and Traditional Home after party at the new Bjork Studio. We’re so glad we braved the cold, because this was a fantastic party! The signature cocktail, the vignettes from Perspective New York, and their focal wall were all absolutely amazing!

Jill grabbing a quick pic with THE Nate Berkus before DBC began.
Jill grabbing a quick pic with THE Nate Berkus before DBC began.

Day one of DBC, officially, started off with a keynote by Nate Berkus – yes, THE Nate you’re thinking of… Oprah’s designer, designer for Target, etc., etc. – we could go on and on. Nate’s keynote was absolutely inspirational, and chock full of motivational tidbits and humor.


What other kid spends their childhood sleepovers moving furniture and redecorating any room they could get their hands on?!? Nate is a natural. Obviously.

Another speaker that first day we really enjoyed was Beth Le Manach, the maven behind YouTube’s #1 lifestyle community, “Entertaining with Beth.” She’s an absolute inspiration when it comes to creating video content for your brand. And we enjoyed many takeaways from her presentation.


Next up was the traditional wine tasting of DBC, thanks to Adam Jackimo, and his wine industry contacts. This has become a highlight of each DBC – I mean it’s a wine tasting, before lunch! What could be better?!? This year, we enjoyed two reds, a cabernet and a lighter pinot noir, both delicious.


Next on the agenda was an item we’d been anxiously awaiting… The Design Bloggers Hall of Fame awards, presented by Traditional Home and Ethan Allen. As you may know, we were up for the award of Best New Blog. And boy oh boy, were we in some fantastic company with the other contenders! Although we didn’t take home the award this year, there are other awards we can strive to earn, and we were thrilled to be included in such a notable group.


We were lucky enough to enjoy a second keynote on the first day of the conference, this one by the incomparable Bunny Williams. She is such a lovely example of elegance and sophistication. The spaces she’s designed are simply stunning and every image she shared throughout her presentation was flawless.

One of the last presentations of the day was by our friends at Dwell with Dignity, an amazing organization that helps people escape poverty and homelessness one design at a time. What they’re able to accomplish through their mission is truly astounding and something that really hits home for us. They showed the video above during their presentation and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house… We’re so happy to have had an opportunity to work with this group and look forward to supporting them further through future projects.


Day one came to a close for us with a Design Blogger Hall of Fame awards dinner that was just wonderful – the company, the food, it was an excellent night – a big thanks to Traditional Home and Ethan Allen for pulling this all together.


Day two started off with a keynote unlike any other, thanks to Brian Patrick Flynn. Somehow he managed to be fun (cat memes, anyone?), inspirational, educational, and more all at the same time – that guy has some talent. From his TV producer days, to his time at HGTV and Flynnside Out productions, he had some gems to share!

Another DBC day two highlight was a photography presentation on Stacy Kunstel of Dunes and Dutchess. Her before and after photo styling images were absolutely jaw-dropping, and we’re thrilled to be able to call Stacy a friend. It was such a joy to experience her presentation and get to know her better throughout the conference.

DBC closed on a real high for us with a “Community Building in Beta Brooklyn” presentation by two industry outsiders, Kika Gilbert and Bekka Palmer. It was fresh, unexpected and totally awe inspiring. Every woman should have an opportunity to experience a presentation like this. These two successful (and young!) digital professionals really opened our minds to what’s possible with a new perspective and the limitless opportunities available to us, thanks to the internet.

Stunning floral, which was a part of Curry & Co.'s stage design.
Stunning floral, which was a part of Curry & Co.’s stage design.

Phew! Well, that’s a wrap and quite a successful few days, if we do say so ourselves. Thanks to all the folks at Design Bloggers Conference for making this all possible and giving us an opportunity to experience the industry on a whole new level, right here in Atlanta!

Revitalizing Macon with a Downtown Loft Show House

Macon, GA is currently undergoing a bit of a revitalization. Like many historic downtown areas in the Southeast, Macon is readying itself for a resurgence of small businesses and residents in their classic main street neighborhood. Located a little over an hour southeast of Atlanta, Macon offers a picturesque downtown that’s positively captivating. As a way to support the revitalization of Macon, a Design-Wine-Dine event has been established, and this year’s second annual event, taking place this month, features a fabulous show house in the heart of downtown Macon, showcasing loft living.


Supporting the Historic Macon Foundation, the goal of this event is to establish a core of homeowners in downtown Macon and to entice private developers to produce owner-occupied housing for the long-term stability of downtown revitalization.


Macon is full of older homes, just waiting for a face-lift and family to bring them back to their former glory…


The Historic Macon Foundation is on its way to breathing new life into many of the old homes.


The loft project will be open for the public tour during Design, Wine & Dine event through March 15, and will serve as the event’s Design House. Designers from Middle Georgia will decorate each of the spaces and a gift shop for the event will reside in the commercial storefront.


steve mckenzie’s friend, Andrea Crawford, of Couture House Interiors, is one of the show house designers. She’s putting her touch on the home’s nursery, which featured a Sika Design outdoor egg chair – how fantastic is that?!? Be sure to keep an eye out for this unique piece.

outdoor egg chair.jpg

And if you do find yourself in Macon, enjoying all this sweet city has to offer, be sure you stop by the Rookery, a fantastic restaurant that’s been a Macon tradition since 1976!

Here’s to making the most out of our historic towns and cities, one wonderful event at a time!