Eight Sushi Lounge

Tired of turkey? Feeling humbug about ham? You can only eat so much holiday food before a change is in order. Enter Eight Sushi Lounge – our newest neighbors in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood – and our newest craving… After all, Sushi is the perfect post-holiday meal!


While you’re looking for something for your family to do together after your holiday celebrating has commenced, shall we suggest a fabulous sushi dinner at Atlanta’s newest and most impressive sushi locale, Eight Sushi Lounge.


Steve and Jill were recently treated to a tasting menu, where they experienced Eight’s outstanding service, presentation and some extremely inventive dishes.


From the team behind Rice Restaurant in Cumming, Eight Sushi Lounge puts a modern, new spin on classic Japanese cooking. The combination of flavors experienced at Eight suggests a bit of a new fusion of modern flavors, while still respecting Japanese heritage and the art that is Japanese cuisine.


And, of course, we must note Eight Sushi Lounge’s impressive interior. It’s by Plexus R&D, who were also the architects behind the steve mckenzie’s showroom. It’s sleek and modern, while still being warm and welcoming.


The restaurant’s unique juxtaposition of wood and metal creates a contemporary atmosphere, but one where you can still hold an intimate conversation with your tablemates, something that is becoming scarce in the Atlanta restaurant scene.

Take a note from us and make a reservation at Eight Sushi Lounge and support our newest neighbor – we promise you’ll soon experience a meal unlike any other! And don’t forget, when you’re in the neighborhood, stop by steve mckenzie’s and see what’s new in store!


Merry Christmas from steve mckenzie’s!

Warmest wishes to you and yours this holiday season! We appreciate your business and support over this last year and look forward to serving you in 2016!

christmas wishes - steve mckenzie's

Please note, the steve mckenzie’s showroom will be closed through the new year. However, we’re open 24/7 at stevemckenzies.com – or we can be reached at 404.618.0422. We look forward to seeing you in-store when we resume our regular hours on January 4th, 2016!

Hosting Holiday House Guests with Charm Etiquette

Hosting any type of event during the holiday season can be extremely stressful; hosting holiday house guests can increase your stress level tenfold. Consider all of the potential situations that may arise, and you just may find yourself saying there’s “no room for you at the inn.” Fret no more, we’ve turned to THE expert in etiquette – CEO and Founder of Atlanta-based Charm Etiquette, Erika Preval – for the best advice when dealing with holiday house guest conundrums.

Erika Preval
Erika Preval

After reading her delightful guest blog post on stealthily handling those potential house guest problems, you’ll be able to brush off what would’ve previously seemed like a major issue with grace:

Holiday house guests are on their way! You’ve stocked the fridge, put out fresh towels and placed a carafe of water on the bedside table of the guest room – perfect Southern hospitality. You’re fully prepared to receive guests, but it’s often those surprises hosts didn’t anticipate that can shift things from charming to alarming. Here’s a primer on how to handle any house guest snafu gracefully by being a relaxed and considerate host.


Early to bed, Early to rise! Try to anticipate what your guests will need to be self-sufficient. If they’re early risers, be sure to put out any needed tableware to eliminate the need of rummaging through your cupboards. Also, having some easy to prep foods available (think croissants, quiche, fresh fruit, etc.) and giving a tutorial on using your coffee maker will allow them to enjoy their typical morning routine until you awake.

Conversely, for the guest who stays up past your bedtime, sharing knowledge of how to operate your TV remotes, the Wi-Fi password and reading materials should keep them entertained in your absence. You’ll want to be certain that you’ve stocked your bar cart so that they might enjoy a nightcap, as well.


Is there a doctor in the building? Your house guest becoming ill during their stay is something neither of you can control. It is, however, the perfect time for you to show compassion and make your guest feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. Offer to prepare tea or soup and go to the drugstore for any medications that might ease symptoms. Prepare the guest room with plenty of reading materials and a television to keep them entertained, well rested and contained, should anything be potentially contagious. Making a guest feel they need to relocate to a hotel while they’re sick would be a major faux pas, unless their symptoms were a serious threat to the health of others within the household.


Is there meat in this? Dinner is ready and you bring to the table your famous lasagna bolognese, only to learn your guest is vegetarian. This scenario is often difficult and awkward for both sides. Ideally, your guest would’ve discussed their dietary restrictions and preferences prior to their arrival. However, as the host, your role is to always ensure your guest feels comfortable, so take a deep breath and consider other quick options for their meal. There is likely a workaround if you have prepared or have the fixings for a green salad or an ample amount of vegetable side dishes.

A sincere thank you to Erika for sharing her wealth of etiquette knowledge in this holiday house guest blog post for steve mckenzie’s! As you can see, she’s one smart cookie and we’re so grateful to have become friends with such a charming person. If you’d like to learn more about Erika and the fantastic services she provides through Charm Etiquette, please check out her website here.

Good luck with your house guests and happy holidays!

Tastemaker Tuesday – Eric & Ruthann Ross

We were lucky enough to have been introduced to the memorable duo of Eric and Ruthann Ross through our friend Suzanne Cooper, from Traditional Home, at the Design Bloggers Conference back in early 2015. As soon as we heard they were also a southern minded husband/wife team in the interior design business, we knew our introduction was kismet – we were destined to meet!

Eric and Ruthann Ross

Much like Steve and Jill’s partnership, Eric is the designer, while Ruthann is his undying supporter and team member in both work and life. Eric’s immense talent for design is put to work through Eric Ross Interiors, based out of Franklin, Tennessee, but their clients span the Southeast and beyond. Ross’ interiors are luxurious, while still being livable and portraying their client’s unique personalities. Eric Ross Interiors’ traditional aesthetic is anything but stuffy, and the spaces created are as warm and welcoming as this sweet couple… We think you’ll enjoy getting to know them as this month’s Tastemaker team:

1. Three words that describe your aesthetic?

Ruthann: Welcoming, Classic and Cheerful – I am always s so thankful when people tell us our home is warm and comfortable.  We want people to have that special, cherished feeling when they enter.

Eric: Lush, layered, relaxed…Can you use those words together?  People always tell me how beautiful my rooms are, but that they are so comfortable to be in.  That’s what I try to achieve with each project.


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

R: Since Eric is the designer, I always say that I’m just lucky I get to live in his showroom. Not may girls get that luxury. My favorite room in our home is the front porch – it’s where all our best times with friends take place! 

E: It’s funny you ask that, because we are about to launch our new website, ericrossinteriors.com, and I’ve been reviewing all the photos and videos, so I’m attuned to my current body of work.  I would say the stairwell I did for the 2014 Traditional Home O’More Show House is my favorite project to date.  If you’ve followed my work at all, you’ll know I’m obsessed with blue and white and I was able to incorporate it into this space.  I used a lot of my go-to decorating “tricks,” if you will.  Upholstered doors, colored trim, chinoiserie, brass fixtures and accessories… All of these elements are so on trend AND they are my personal favorites, so to get to employ all of them into one space was fun and visually stimulating.


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

R: I’m inspired by flowers, and the beauty of God’s creation.  We love to spend time in the North Carolina mountains. I always feel like the waterfalls, mountain creeks, mossy green rocks, and the lush rhododendron just feed my soul.

E: I’m always inspired by color.  You know, a few years ago EVERYTHING was beige and brown.  Today, color is having a moment.  But, I have always gravitated toward colorful interiors.  So today, with all of the fabric houses coming out with color filled collections, it’s just fun to decorate.

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

E: These questions make me crazy… I don’t want any dead person at my parties! Seriously, I would only have close friends, no one you would know, I’m sure. I’m really not a stalker of celebrities of any kind. My wife and I have a close group of friends we have cocktails with about every other week who I love to laugh with. We always know we’ve had a good time when the next morning we have the strangest google searches on our phones.

R: I agree with Eric… My dream guests are my dearest friends


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

E: Without a doubt, I wouldn’t live without my sofa. It’s unbelievably comfortable. It’s from Wesley Hall out of Hickory, North Carolina. They make the most comfortable pieces and they are all bench made. Every piece has several signatures on it of the craftspeople who made it. I place them in all my projects because I know I won’t have a comfort issue with the client. And, they are beautiful, so it’s a win-win.

R: Well, since Eric always hogs the sofa, I’d have to say… my porch swing. I love to take naps on a Sunday afternoon.


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

E: Of course there are no hard and fast rules. Interesting rooms come from breaking rules. But, for me, I do have a formula. Drapes are almost always a print and that’s where I start. Why spend the money on drapery that doesn’t say something beautiful? So, after the print is a chenille or velvet. I like chenille sofas with a velvet welt or pillow, usually the texture of mohair – this is lovely to lay your head on. I always think of comfort and how the upholstery will be lived in, not just looked at. Geometrics of some sort are in the mix, as well as a beautiful Persian rug, if the budget allows.

R: I mix textures by mixing dishes and serving pieces with pretty linens, candles and flowers. Setting a beautiful table or bountiful buffet is my palette and I think an abundance is best! It entertains your guests and allows you to see the special elements. They know you’ve worked hard to make it special just for them.

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

E: I’m into “pretty” rooms and have been my whole career.  The trend now is toward these “pretty” rooms which are currently defined as traditional decor of florals as a lead and color on the walls.  I was never into industrial or re-purposed.  I’m glad it is waning.  I heard one of my design heroes, Mario Buatta, say in a talk once that he saw a lot of schizophrenic decorating.  I think he was talking about this “eclectic” wave we saw a couple of years ago with a lot of collage walls and dragging everything you ever found at a road side flea market into rooms and calling them collected.  It isn’t collected, it’s desperate.

R: I am over mason jars, burlap and chalkboard… It was fun for a while, but I’m done!

Darby highlights-1

8. How does artwork fit into your designs?

E: Ok, I get this question a lot from my clients. Artwork is so personal and expensive, the client really had to select pieces they love. When I create spaces, I always select and install affordable art, either giclees, prints or canvas transfers. This way, the client gets a completed room. If they really want a special piece to to be able to collect art over time, they don’t have a terrible amount of money invested in what I call “decorator” pieces and they can replace them as they find the perfect pieces for them.

R: My favorite piece of art is the painting that hangs in our bedroom. It’s a nature scene with the sweetest little birds tucked in the branches and grass. I just love it and requested it hang facing our bed so I could see it from my pillow.

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

E: Air-conditioning… it’s a must!

R:  Ice cream…Nothing better to drown your sorrows and chase away the blues.

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

E: I really think you learn a lot from working in retail. The public will throw every terrible trait of a difficult client at you in a short amount of time. You learn how to read people quickly and come up with a solution to their problem, which is really what this job is about – listening and resolving dilemmas.

R: Be prepared for HARD work. My husband has to sweat, haul trash and lug loads of stuff.   It is NOT all glamorous – if you are a diva, you’ll never make it!  You can’t be too good to do the grunt work.

Those are two excellent bits of advice – especially the bit about grunt work from Ruthann. That’s for sure! And we’d love to see Jill and Ruthann pair up to create a tablescape or buffet spread – can you imagine?! It’d be out of this world!

A BIG thank you to both Eric and Ruthann for taking time out of their busy schedules for this interview. We’re always especially excited to share the inner workings of other husband/wife design teams out there!

Changing Lives – Dwell With Dignity’s latest Atlanta project!

Our team here at steve mckenzie’s was honored to have been able to be a part of Dwell With Dignity‘s latest Atlanta project, installed last month. We feel so lucky to play a small role in bettering one family’s life right before the holidays – there’s truly nothing better!


A BIG thank you to Lisa, Kim and everyone we worked with on this fantastic DWD project!!

Our crew with the wonderful receiving family after the big reveal.

As you may recall from past blog posts,  Dwell with Dignity, is an amazing organization which supports families struggling with homelessness and poverty one beautiful design at a time.

Here's the family first walking in to their new space - we think they're thrilled with their new home!
Here’s the family first walking in to their new space – we think they’re thrilled with their new home!

This time around, Steve worked with THE Egypt Sherrod, and together, they teamed up with Americas Mart, Dena Stormer for the DIY portion of the design, as well as Nancy Foster and other volunteers to bring this happy – and beautiful – home to a very deserving mother and her two children.

steve mckenzie's team member, Xavier neuner, working on some finishing touches.
steve mckenzie’s team member, Xavier neuner, working on some finishing touches.

Before, the three bedroom apartment was dull and uninspiring. After the design and installation it felt welcoming, bright and vibrant – a place where people can truly thrive! Here are some photos of the space before and after…

Dining area before…
Dining area after - a perfect place for the family to gather, kids to do homework and for everyone to make some special memories!
Dining area after – a perfect place for the family to gather, kids to do homework and for everyone to make some special memories!
Master bedroom before...
Master bedroom before…
Master bedroom after - a beautiful retreat, with plenty of places to snuggle up with the kids or just relax.
Master bedroom after – a beautiful retreat, with plenty of places to snuggle up with the kids or just relax.
One of the kid's rooms before...
One of the kid’s rooms before…
And the kid's room after - an awesome space to inspire confidence and give this little one a spectacular place to call their own.
And the kid’s room after – an awesome space to inspire confidence and give this little one a spectacular place to call their own.

They always say you get what you give, but in this case what we got was tenfold. Seeing the joy on the faces of these family members and knowing we helped make a difference in their lives was the experience of a lifetime!



After seeing her new home for the first time, the mother shared, “I am living a dream, more than a dream, I never ever dreamed I could have a home like this.” Wow. Design does powerful things.


There are so many people who helped make the project possible, and we’re lucky to have worked with such a wonderful bunch!  Thank you to our fabulous photographer, Thomas England.  All photos are his work.

To learn more about Dwell With Dignity, and how they make a difference with design, as well as learn about ways you can help please visit DwellWithDignity.org.


Holiday Gift Guide: Fabulous Book Roundup!

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

book gift guide

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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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