Summer Wrap Up + Savings

It’s been quite a summer for everyone. Steve and I did a quick mental inventory over lunch, and we have much to be thankful for. Two new grand babies, family meals, gardening, continued work and quiet fun. Little did we know that our collaboration with Creative Candles would keep our creative juices charged throughout this spring and summer. We thank them for their top quality candles in mesmerizing colors, and kindness.

There is still time to use code MCKENZIE20 to save 20% on your total Creative Candles purchase by Sept. 6th.

Steve McKenzie
Summer Collection works beautifully together

Spring kicked off with a virtual Baby Girl Shower. Keying off this darling Blabla stuffed elephant, Josephine, the Barely Blush pink and Moss Green palette developed sweetly. We shared the fun with our new mom-to-be, family and friends virtually.

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Celebrations still happen! Custom cups and napkins by Sequins and Lipstick. Photo credit: Steve McKenzie

Then we really got creative, in our two bedroom condo and outdoor space. A romantic dinner for two on the balcony featuring lush greenery, textures and desert inspired candles.

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Candle lit table with green plants. Photo credit: Angie Webb Photography

Festive family dinner was next and you know Steve loves to set a gorgeous table. He’s also a fabulous cook, so it’s a win-win for all.

Brass, creamy Wedgwood Edme dishes, dreamy linens, florals and candle light set the mood.
Photo credit; Angie Webb Photography | Floral arrangement by Steve McKenzie
Thankful to be married to someone who makes me laugh. Photo credit: Angie Webb Photography
Serve yourself bar set up!
Photo credit: Angie Webb Photography

And our final summer wrap up is a self-serve cocktail bar with these vintage atomic candle holders and round bronze candles, an old-fashioned made with local Fiddler Bourbon by ASW Distillery, Schermer pecans to nosh on and bold buffalo check napkins.

Actually, this is a valuable documentation of this C-19 spring and summer. We’ll remember how and why we did so much work at home. Have you documented your experiences? Tell us what you’ve done to remember this crazy period of time. As always, thank you for traveling along with us. Cheers!

Green Plants + Home

Anyone else adding green plants to their spaces these days? We’re fairly obsessed with house plants (a positive side effect of Covid). You know, propagating them, repotting them, trying to squeeze more of green into our condo. We’ve found lots of great information and plant ideas on Pinterest. Plants give us a sense of purpose, a sense of growth, something to care for, and add healthy benefits to our world.

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Mixing sculpture, framed art, and plants makes me happy.
Photo credit: Anthony Masterson Photography
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Lush green plants bring the outdoors in.
Duck Green
Farrow & Ball new Duck Green paint
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String of turtles stays on the small side.
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Creative Candle lit table for two with greenery and desert vibe baskets from Dear Keaton.

Now I need to find some cute pots for two special spider plant starts, babies from my grandmother’s plant.

Show us your plants on Instagram using the hashtag #stevemckenzies. Be well!

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.
international coffee day
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

Steve McKenzie zen bedroom
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.

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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?

Friday | What We’re Loving

Delightful dahlias

On Fridays, we review the highs and lows of the week, pause to ponder, and then plan for the next few weeks.

This Friday, we are loving the buildup of excitement for the upcoming Fall Design Events at AmericasMart and ADAC, the Southeast’s most comprehensive dual-venue design resource, and Steve was tapped to highlight the collaboration between these two trade shopping destinations. Over the past month, he thoughtfully created luxurious curated vignettes at each location which will be open to the trade. AmericasMart is open from Sept. 23-25 and Discover ADAC is set for Sept. 24-26 – hope to see you there!

We love dahlias…that’s our September obsession, as you can tell from Steve’s instagram account. Thanks to the sustainably-grown flower and fruit farm, 3 Porch Farm, dahlias have graced our table for two weeks. Maybe we’ll see you at the Freedom Farmers Market on Saturday. While you’re there, pick up some fabulous heirloom tomatoes too, and then make Southern Living’s Tomato Pie recipe, a real showstopper.

Finally as we pause and look ahead, the holidays (can you say Hallmark movies) will be here before you know it. We have company coming this year and thankfully we are ready for guests anytime with our beautiful American Leather Sleeper Sofa. It really is superb because there are no bars, no springs, stylish and comfy. Find out more at Verde Home, and remember to #shoplocal.

American Leather
American Leather Comfort Sleeper Sofa at Verde Home

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.

icing Jackson Morgan
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!

Did Someone Say Dessert?

cake party dessert candles
Dessert Soiree with Paige Minear

Happy Summer! What better way to kick off summer entertaining than a simple dessert soiree? Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch Blog joined us for a homemade Sour Cream Cake, complemented with some of her favorite things, including her gorgeous collection from Creative Candles, Mottahadeh china and classic monogrammed cocktail napkins from The Preppy Stitch.

cake Steve McKenzie
Whipping up a simple icing with Jackson Morgan Southern Cream

Everyone enjoys a little dessert. For a simple icing, Steve whipped up confectioners sugar, vanilla, fresh mint and added Jackson Morgan Southern Cream in Salted Caramel for a little something special. Perfect!

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Steve adding the final touch to his cake
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Paige making ice cream with Jackson Morgan Whipped Orange Cream
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Refreshing dessert
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Ice cream all dressed up
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Easy entertaining with a twist, and aren’t those candles perfect with the flowers?

Wait until you try Creative candles! Honestly, we’ve used their Paris Gray candles for every occasion for years. After seeing these in person, we may change to Paige’s summer collection as it’s so cool, soothing yet vibrant.

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Paige lighting the candles, such a lovely touch~
dessert china Steve McKenzie
Sour Cream Cake with Jackson Morgan Salted Caramel icing, served on Mottahadeh plates
dessert Steve McKenzie
Summer Dessert table

Keep cool in the kitchen and enjoy a summer dessert with your family and friends. We’re happy to share our recipes and tips with you. Just send us a message!

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.

best of the week

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!

best of the week
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.

best of the week, camp twin lakes
Support this local non-profit, Camp Twin Lakes

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinewood Forest Idea House Perfection

New urbanism and exciting design are just two good reasons to visit the  Pinewood Forest Idea House.  This Fayetteville 34 acre development emphasizes walk ability, diversity, connectivity, sustainability, and exceptional architecture.  You can catch a glimpse of the nearby neighbor Pinewood Movie studios too.  Weekends offer outdoor markets and family activities.

Thanks to Atlanta magazine home, you can tour one of the beautiful single family homes beginning September 13 through October 7.

 

Built by Redwood Home Builders

Jennifer Balcos, SWOOX, Joe Adams
Hand-plastered fireplace anchor the living room. Designer Jennifer Balcos

Your eye will delight in the variety of design and artwork and sensibility from the 11 talented designers who have put their unique signature looks in their spaces.

Pinewood Forest Idea Home
Dining Room by Dana Lynch Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moody color and texture abound. J. Ansel Design

Pinewood Forest Idea Home
Spa bath retreat designed by Elle & Vreeland Design House

This uniquely walkable development will offer more than 15 miles of pads, housing at a variety of price points, and art center, and an innovative school.  Enjoy a few more shots of this amazing showhouse…

Pinewood Forest Idea Home
Carriage house getaway full of natural elements, designed by Sherry Hart

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Jill and Steve at Pinewood Forest Idea House Preview Party

Led by interior design firm Dana Lynch Design, the team of designers have “shown their tail “as Jason Mitchell would say, pulling out all the stops to make the space is extra special.  Kudos to all!

 

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 : )

The Met, fashion, NYC
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!

NYC, Van Leeuwen
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?

NYC, Amazon, NYTimes
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!

baby, Steve McKenzie, art, NYC
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.