International Coffee Day

International coffee day
Coffee makes the world go round.

Today we celebrate International Coffee Day, but isn’t every day a celebration of coffee? Having been a tea-only gal for years, coffee has grown on me, thanks to our three years of living in Colorado.

These days our favorite at-home method is Cafe Bustelo cold brew. How do you drink your coffee? Does it vary throughout the day?

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Big swig of caffeine at The Southern C Summit in Charleston.

Actually, the orange Illy espresso machine was our first love, and still is for a satisfying espresso or special cappuccino with steamed milk. It still holds a place of honor in our kitchen as you can see in this photo. Next time you visit our design office or Steve’s art studio, let’s sit down and enjoy an espresso together.

Atlanta magazine HOME
Pops of orange in the McKenzie kitchen. Photo credit: Anthony Masterson

International Coffee Day takes into account all methods from drip brew, espresso, instant, iced and cold brew, our favorite method. If there are several coffee lovers at home, you may want to try making a batch of this smooth-tasting liquid black gold. Here’s the link to our inspiration from the Pioneer Woman blog. Be prepared as it does take some time (overnight) to brew and some time to strain it into your pitchers. But it’s so worth it! Mix with your milk of choice, add ice and maybe a swig of vanilla syrup for a special treat.

International Coffee Day
Deliciously rich aroma fills the kitchen as the cold brew steeps.
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For sure! Photo credit Kalyn Johnson of Effie’s Papers

And as our talented friend, Kalyn Johnson says, Ok but first coffee. Now, go out there and slay the day!

Soothing Bedroom Retreat

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Steve McKenzie designs a soothing bed for Peacock Alley

Atlanta interior designer, Steve McKenzie had the wonderful opportunity to design the bedroom of his dreams in Peacock Alley’s Designer Bed Series, a soothing retreat. Drawing from his experience in channeling clients’ needs and wants and his own, he created a calm cocoon, a get-away from the daily grind.

 soothing bedroom
Cozy cocoon from the daily grind

Using his iconic loop fabric in a custom warm cafe au lait color, Steve created a cozy headboard to frame the setting. His fabrics are digitally printed, so easily customizable to work in any decor. The addition of framed artwork elevates the space and makes it personal. Remember it’s easy to change out seasonally too.

Peacock Alley
Steve created a soothing oasis for a restful sleep. Original art by Steve McKenzie

Peacock Alley offers so many choices of luxurious bedding styles, colors and fabrics. Steve had so much fun with their vast repertoire of sheets, blankets, duvets and more. White pique shams grounded the warm tones of the pillow shams, duvet cover and dust ruffle. As a special touch, a regal single monogram was added to the outside corner of the Grand Euro pique shams.

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Steve created the outer corner monogram for the Grand Euro shams.
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Steve and his signature monogram
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A layered bed with a mix of comfort, calm and sophistication

Many thanks to Peacock Alley (our go-to for quality bedding) for the Designer Bed Series collaboration. Give it some thought. What’s the bed of your dreams?

Easy Icing for Steve’s Cake

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Steve McKenzie topping off the Sour Cream Cake with this easy icing!

We’re tickled at all the requests for this easy recipe, and happy to share. It will become part of your baking repertoire for sure. If you missed the Sour Cream Cake recipe, jump back to this blog post.

Add a special flavor with Jackson Morgan Southern Cream Salted Caramel

Good old Food Network and Alton Brown came to the rescue for a simple royal icing and here’s the recipe. Always looking to change things up, Steve decided to incorporate the delicious Jackson Morgan Southern Cream in Salted Caramel.

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Add a special ingredient to this versatile icing
icing Steve McKenzie
A couple of bowls, your trusty hand mixer, and fresh mint
icing Steve McKenzie The Preppy Stitch
Perfect for sharing with friends

Just add a few colorful touches like the Creative Candles votives, pretty Mottahadeh plates, and these darling monogrammed napkins from The Preppy Stitch, and you have a dessert party.

Let us know if you make this cake and icing, and if you use a special ingredient in the icing. Tag and follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook. Happy baking!

Best of the Week for Friday, October 26th

After a super busy week last week, we’ve had time to breath this week and read a bit, work a lot, relax a bit.  Enjoy some of our “Best of the week” thoughts for this pre-Halloween season.

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Best of High Point Market – Hands down, the Selamat Designs showroom won!  Full of texture, shapes and natural materials, there’s something for everyone.

best of the week
Selamat Designs, founded on family, is shown at Verde Home in Atlanta.

Best of TV this week – The Great American Read finale on PBS was Tuesday night, with a countdown of the America’s most-loved 100 books. Check and see how many you have read. What do you think is the #1 book? And no, it’s not H.P...

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Where do you think HP is on the list?

Best of Podcasts this week – Ohhh, doesn’t an captivating podcast make time in the gym fly by faster?!  Jill’s enjoying the Jennifer Allwood show, Building Your Creative Business and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  Our good friend, Effie’s Papers lists her favs on a recent blog post too.  Variety is spice for your ears!

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Kaylyn and her favorite accessory

Best of Shopping this week – We are seriously making our Christmas shopping list now, to take advantage of the Camp Twin Lakes Partners Card.  Get your card at any number of local retailers or save $10 and get a mobile card online, then use it from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 to receive a 20% discount on 450+ participating retailers and restaurants.  You’ll be helping a local non-profit provide camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges.

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Support this local non-profit, Camp Twin Lakes

Cheers to the weekend, and feeling good and doing good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Thrifting Day + 5 Top Tips

National Thrifting Day may be a made-up holiday, but we are all in!  Or junking, or antiquing, or whatever you call it, it’s the hunt for something special, something with patina, something that evokes a childhood memory.  Why would I want to go thrifting, you may ask?  How do I start?  Here are 5 proven tips and strategies for your flea market fun.

It’s fun!  Whether you’re with your partner, an adventurous friend or quality time with your self, we all benefit from literally getting off the computer, out of our routine, and exploring with our eyes, hands and minds.

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A vintage Christmas postcard is given a new life in a new frame

After 35 years of exploring flea markets, estate sales, junk stores together, Steve and I have developed a strategy.  There are the categories we’re always drawn to, pretty linens, dishes (yes, I know we don’t need anymore), ephemera (see postcard above), and small pretty ashtrays or saucers for Steve’s paint brushes.  You’ll find you gravitate to the same types of pieces as you explore.  Then we’ll hunt for any specific pieces for ourselves or design projects.

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Score! Keep your eyes open for that perfect gift while thrifting.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.  Touch stuff, turn it over, get out your flashlight to examine the nooks and crannies.  Pack a small flashlight to examine any marks or repairs, and tape measure.  You know the old saying, measure twice…

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Flea market finds~rulers, classic bust, gold frame~incorporated on Steve’s desk

Next, look under the tables, inside the boxes, inside the baskets (another fav category).  Sometimes the best stuff hasn’t been unpacked yet.  Thrifting is a responsible way to shop too, as you are recycling old pieces into a new life.

Can it be repurposed?  These vintage chairs got a thorough inspection for stability and reimagined with a fresh finish and updated steve mckenzie’s fabric.

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Thrifting score! Updated these chairs with new fabric and finish.

Make a pile, walk around another loop, then give everything a second look.  Does it speak to you?  What else can you do with it?  Check for any damage and repairs that might rule it out.  When ready to purchase, be prepared to pay cash as sometimes cash sales get an extra discount.

Don’t know where to go?  Besides Scott’s Antique Market, check out this listing of Atlanta’s best flea markets on Yelp.  Another treasure trove are the Goodwill stores.  Keep your eyes open for neighborhood garage sales and estate sales.  *Bonus Tip* Sundays are usually 1/2 price day at estate sales.

Show us what you find on Instagram or Facebook with the tag #stevemckenziesfinds and go have FUN!  As always, thank you in advance for the follows, likes and sharing this blog post with your friends.

NYC + Friday Favorites

It’s been a busy few weeks in NYC, baby-duty for our precious granddaughter, as our daughter is back to work.  The days are full of kisses, bottles, diapers, cooking, walking, reading books aloud, singing songs, and all around family fun!

Here’s a peek into what we’ve done, seen, eaten or discussed this week on the Upper East side –

Art – The Met and Heavenly Bodies:  Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.  Granddaughter has seen the exhibit three times now : )

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Versace jacket in the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at The Met

 Food  – Hooray for neighborhood newcomer, Van Leeuwan Artisan Ice Cream – *bonus tip*  Get the sundae with three scoops and all the trimmings.  It costs less than getting three scoops on a cone.  Oh, and the strawberry tastes just like freshly picked strawberries!

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Artisan ice cream

New parents have got to keep up their energy, so we’ve been cooking lots – new favorites like no-cook Energy Balls and old favorites like Jamie Oliver’s Salmon Packets.

And can you guess what’s in this photo?

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Any guesses?

If you guessed homemade chicken stock, then you’re correct!  Our s.i.l. (son-in-law) has perfected Instapot chicken stock and found these fun blue silicone freezer molds so you can freeze the stock, then stack the frozen blocks in a zip lock baggie.  Pull out a delicious, homemade one cup serving at a time.  Check out the NYTimes recipe from Melissa Clark, Instapot cooking guru.

Baby girl clothes and bows – All the favorites like Gap, Carters, Little English, Baby Bling hair bows, Starry Knight shoes, onesies painted by artist Papa Steve!

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Precious sleeping baby

Best board books –  (Go straight to Saturn Booksellers and they’ll ship all the latest to you or a loved one).  My new favorite is The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  Chomp, chomp, chomp! What’s your favorite read-aloud child’s book?

Not only have we (hopefully) helped our adult kids ease into family-work-life balance, but we’ve gotten to dote on them and this precious baby girl.  For that, we are very thankful for the time, love and support from our friends and family.

 

 

September Painting Workshop in Italy

Need a creative recharge?  Who doesn’t?!  How about an Italian abstract painting workshop?  Complete with lodging, instruction and all supplies, and no previous experience necessary, just bring your enthusiasm for art, Italy and creativity.

Steve McKenzie is leading an abstract painting workshop at Annette Joseph’s magical La Fortezza in northern Tuscany on Sept. 19 – 24th.  Inspiration is everywhere!

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Inspiration abounds at La Fortezza

We were lucky enough to visit Annette earlier in May.  The magic begins as you approach the home, and up on the mountain sits Annette’s fortress.

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La Fortezza up on the hill

 

Annette, styling expert and author, has created beautifully appointed living and working spaces, as well as incredibly comfortable guest quarters for the students that are unparalleled. It feels a little like a visit to a monastery where furnishings and the views take you to a place of contemplation and inspiration.  We’ll do a bit of shopping too, as part of the class, visiting the local market and antique shops.

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These cozy places, coupled with a superb cocktail, and nibbles,  encourage congregation and conversation.

We were greeted in typical Annette fashion with a delicious, as well as beautiful, Aperitivo of Negroni and nibbles, taken straight out of her new book Cocktail Italiano. A delicious dinner of pasta and salad followed, just reminding me of what a talented cook Annette is.

I am excited that a cooking lesson in the commercial kitchen will be part of our fall workshop. Can’t wait to cook on her La Canche stove!

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Simply Scrumptious Pasta

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Stylish Kitchen Vignette

I strolled over to the La Fortezza vineyards with Annette and Jill. The beauty of this location really spoke to me and inspired me to paint en plein air.  During the workshop we will take a picnic lunch out here and paint, eat and drink. The colors and vistas are one of the most inspirational places I have visited.

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Vineyard View for Plein Air Painting. Photo credit: Jill and Steve McKenzie

 

On the stroll back to the house, I filled the market basket with wild flowers from the property as well as colorful roses from her rose garden. The most beautiful arrangement quickly came together in a beautiful pitcher from Annette’s copper collection. We will incorporate a quick floral arranging lesson during my workshop as well.

La Fortezza Floral Arrangement

 

I can’t wait to return and share all the fabulous experiences with my students during the workshop September 19-24, 2018.

Ask Steve why he is holding this boar head!

 

There are only a few spaces left, register today, and as they say in Italy, Ciao!

 

 

 

Sugar Sweet Baby Girl Shower

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Banner from Thimblepress

February was a fabulously  fun and busy month for us!  First, our son’s rehearsal dinner and beautiful wedding at The The Stave Room (stunning photo backdrop, thanks to ASW Distillery) and then we hosted a baby girl shower for our oldest daughter who is expecting their first child very soon.

So, please enjoy some moments of pink and gold happiness from the Atlanta and NYC Baby Girl celebrations, perhaps taking some notes on recipes and decor for your next celebration.

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Balloons by Thimblepress

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CamiCakes cupcakes, floral by Steve McKenzie

Topping off the light chicken salad luncheon, guests had their choice of delicious CamiCakes cupcakes or pretty pink sugary sweet iced butter cookies.  Some of us had to taste both!

 

 

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Sugar succulents by Nicolettsy and cupcake toppers by SmashCaked, both on Etsy

Aren’t those sugar succulent toppers the cutest?!  It’s amazing what you can find on Etsy.

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Pink and gold decor on the bar with cups and napkins by our fav, Sequins and Lipstick

In keeping with our baby girl pink and gold theme, our dear friend and tastemaker, Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch suggested the perfect rosemary, grapefruit cocktail recipe from Australian blogger, Tell Me Tuesday and you can get it here.  Pretty and pink!

Remember to look in your cabinet for serving pieces as shown by the mint julep cup holding the gold and white paper straws.

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Parents to be, Molly and Jim

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Do you know Atlanta-based Blablakids? The cutest, softest stuffed animals ever…here is Rivier the elephant, all ready to welcome Baby Girl!

We’ll keep you posted on upcoming developments as there’s nothing like a new baby to bring joy to our world.

 

 

Merriest of Christmas Greetings!

Merry Christmas dear friends, family, clients, customers and team members!! We wish you the happiest holiday and pray you spend the day with your loved ones, enjoying this special time together.

And don’t forget, take a minute to put your feet up, relax and be IN the moment…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday greetings from our family to yours!

We hope you spend the holiday with the ones who are most special to you. And enjoy those leftovers!

We look forward to seeing you in the steve mckenzie’s showroom tomorrow for our Black Friday specials – there are some great deals to be had; and don’t forget about our free gift wrapping service!!