Who you NEED to Meet: Mariana Barran of Hibiscus Linens

Fact, beautiful, hand-embroidered linens never go out of style. Another little fact for you, handmade linens make an ideal gift, any time any place. Always. Our friends at Hibiscus Linens take the art form that is handcrafted linens to another level. The time they put into creating each luxurious linen is obvious. Their fine, artisan linens are derived from centuries-old techniques. These pieces are absolutely heirlooms for tomorrow, and their designs are timeless and truly unique.

Mariana Barran

Our friend, and Hibiscus Linens’ founder, Mariana Barran’s work combines a modern aesthetic, which she combines with traditional textile and needlework techniques. As an artist, Mariana is passionate about preserving old world stitching methods, and we so appreciate the passion and time she puts into her work. Her love of linens is apparent, and she’s an absolute gem of a person to boot! We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce you to Mariana and share a bit about Hibiscus Linens with you in our latest “Who you NEED to Meet” blog feature.


sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how Hibiscus Linens began and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

Growing up there were always guests in my house—it seemed like “Throwing Parties” was my parents middle name. At each gathering, hibiscus tea was always present. Serving this special tea was something different that made everyone that came into our home feel warm and welcome.

Hibiscus Linens is as special as the glass of hibiscus tea we gave to our guests. Every piece of our linens is made by hand and combined with delicate traditional techniques to create beautiful linens for your home and your own guests.


When I was eight, I began learning needlework techniques at school and through the women in my family. I loved it! It was a creative outlet that allowed me to see a full process from start to finish, from creating an idea to see it executed. My mom always encouraged me to be a problem solver. If you can’t find what you want, make it! She used this idea for everything, from party planning and recipe making to bedding and personal clothing.  She was crafty and resourceful and thank god it was passed down on my DNA.


sm’s: What inspires you/your work?

Hibiscus Linens was born for the passion of entertaining and gatherings with a finely made table setting. Our linens are vintage inspired new pieces for your home, not your grandmother’s old linens—though she would be proud of their quality.

The techniques we use are almost nonexistent on today’s market due to the effort and time it takes to produce. All of our products are made in small batches to ensure the quality and the unique style of each. We pride ourselves on the craft of our linens which provide a perfect balance between detailed elegance and modern daily accents.

Currently, I find myself immersed in old textile books, looking, learning, exploring the possibilities of techniques left behind in history and finding ways to bring them back. Studying each stitch is my inspiration.


sm’s: What is your vision, not only for Hibiscus Linens, but also your individual creations?

My vision is to make Hibiscus Linens the needlework and textile design center that we all need. I believe that people are moving back to have timeless pieces that will last for generations to come and we can provide them with the highest level of craftsmanship.

The company has grown so much – it’s not just my work in Houston that we are offering, but a network of artisans who have unique talents and need an outlet for their art. For example, my cousin, Jimena, just graduated from Textile School and she will be the head of our handwoven department, we already have an everyday hand woven cotton napkins collection and we are working on having a full pillow collection by this summer.


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

Whitework! White fabric with White thread is my all time favorite, it looks elegant, modern and its so forgiving! If you have a white on white tablecloth and someone spills wine during a dinner party you can always take the spot out! From my point of view is the best combination! It’s a basic that you need to impress your guests.


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

Most of it is listening to people. The techniques we use are always the same, crochet, hemstitching, embroidery but everyone’s story is different that is what makes our possibilities limitless. It doesn’t matter if we are planning a handkerchief for your daughters wedding or a bedroom for a new baby; I always spend time with our clients to understand what adds value to them, what they want and what they will cherish for years to come. I also find inspiration in my travels between my house in Houston and my Hacienda in San Miguel de Allende… sometimes a perfect flower on a Saturday morning is all it takes to create a new cocktail napkin design.


sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase a Hibiscus Linens creation? 

They need to consider what makes them happy, what will add shine to your everyday life. These linens are not to be kept in a box for the “special occasions” they are supposed to elevate everyday living.

sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you/Hibiscus Linens? 

We need to keep spreading the word of old world stitching techniques and we are working on opening our studio in Houston later this year, so we will be able to host an ongoing curriculum of needlework classes and offer an elevated textile design center.


sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge?

As an artist I like to read, and explore other creative outlets like Baking or Calligraphy.

sm’s: Anything else you our readers would enjoy learning from you?

I am coming to the steve mckenzie’s showroom on March 16th and 17th to teach two days of intensive workshops, focusing on Antique French Monograms and Modern Monograms. I am looking forward to it!

Yes – if you’d like to learn more about Mariana’s time at steve mckenzie’s, please give us a call or email us. We’re so looking forward to learning even more about this art form and sharing it with all of our friends and clients here in Atlanta! And please stop into the showroom soon to take a look at these stunning, bespoke linens for yourself… We think you’ll fall in love.

Who Doesn’t Love Iris?

pillow, Iris, fashion
Hand-made Iris Apfel Pillow by Huger Memories $295

Iris Apfel, fashion icon, business woman, interior designer, has inspired so many with her wit, style-sense and sharp eye. Our friend, Sarah Wiley of Huger Memories has created a fabric pillow homage to Iris, part of Sarah’s Women We Love pillow collection.



Oprah pillow
Oprah pillow


Huger is bringing your favorite heroines home in their new limited-edition collection. Using the same unique process to create custom memory pieces, Huger artist Sarah Gibson Wiley has hand drawn photos of the iconic women and then machine stitched the photos onto hand-cut applique to then create a 21” decorative pillow. They are all available for $295 at HugerMemories.com and at Atlanta’s steve mckenzie’s shop.

Jackie Kennedy pillow
gift, home, house
House Portrait – a perfect housewarming gift

Not only can you add remarkable women to your sofa, Sarah loves to create a fabric memory for her clients, be it their home or pets or family.   Working with her client, Sarah gathers photographs and makes notes during the consultation – to ensure she captures the look and feel of the concept. She draws on her computer and chooses all stitches and areas of applique. A computer generated mock up is sent to her client for design clarity and approval. Once approved, Sarah selects designer fabric for applique and cotton thread to bring color and life to the drawing. Then she stitches the design on a fabric background that will then be either sewn into a pillow,  or framed either by you or by her favorite Richmond framer.

gift, beach, family, kids
Family beach memories

Sarah, Steve and Jill hit it off at last week’s The Southern C Summit in Sea Island, so much so that you can find her work in Atlanta at our shop, steve mckenzie’s.

We are always excited about featuring talented makers who create from the heart, such amazing pieces for the home.

dog, gift, pillow, art,
Add a pillow featuring your beloved furry family member!

Preserve a special memory with one of these hand-crafted pieces.  And what a special gift!

Sarah Wiley, the artist in her Richmond studio
Sarah Wiley, the artist in her Richmond studio

“My goal is to bring clients joy by creating lasting memories in the form of a unique art form”. – Sarah Gibson Wiley

Start the journey towards your own custom Huger Memories piece at: https://www.hugermemories.com and tell them steve mckenzie’s sent you!






A Guilt-Free Dip for the BIG GAME!

If you’re hosting or attending a Super Bowl party this Sunday have we got THE dip for you! And, it not only hits the spot, but it light too… It’s Virginia Willis’ “Sinless Seven Layer Dip.” It’s out standing and will be the hit of your get-together, even if it’s only you and your significant other.

Read below for the full recipe, from Willis’ cookbook, “Lighten Up, Y’all,” which we conveniently have in stock at the steve mckenzie’s showroom… 😉


Sinless Seven-Layer Dip:

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can low-sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. dried red chilies, ground
  • Juice of 1 lime, separated
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • ½ cup broccoli florets, shelled English peas, or shelled edamame
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky salsa

  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • ½ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 (4-oz.) can chilies, chopped
  • ½ cup (2 oz.)reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and chopped

Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the ground chilies and half of the lime juice. Pulse until smooth.

Using a spatula, place the puree in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish to make the first layer. Set aside.

Make sure the processor bowl is mostly clean, then add the avocado, broccoli and the remaining lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, making guacamole. Spoon on top of the beans to create the second layer.

In a small bowl, stir together the salsa, cilantro and jalapeño. Pour the salsa mixture over the guacamole for the third layer.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and yogurt. Spoon the mixture on top of the salsa for the fourth layer.

Pour the can of chopped chilies on top for the fifth layer. Top with grated cheese and chopped green onions for the sixth and seventh layers. Serve immediately.

This one is a winner, y’all. Just like our Atlanta Falcons will be come Sunday night!!


Now, the only thing that would make this dip even better is a stylish – and durable – way to serve… Enter our Melamine Oval Serving Bowl. Not only is it beautiful, it’s break resistant, triple weight and dishwasher safe! As are our Melamine Serving Pieces. This duo makes a memorable combination, and when matched with this sinless dip, well, let’s just say, we know what folks will be asking you to bring to the Super Bowl party each year!


So, are you watching for the actual game or the commercials?!? Either way, it’s sure to be a “SUPER” night… Enjoy all!!