Southeastern Showhouse – Explore Design

If you haven’t visited the Southeastern Showhouse yet, make plans to do so right now! Your senses will be delighted with design, inside and out. I had the privilege to tour the Southeastern Showhouse, thanks to Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, and will share some highlights. There is so much to take in, you need to take the time and visit for yourself, relish in these design details.

Built by Southern Gentry Homes, this 6 bedroom, 7 bath, 12,000 square foot home flows effortlessly on this scenic property.

The kitchen and keeping area took my breath away. Yvonne McFadden is a master of natural materials, yet balances the mood with a sophisticated tone. Definitely a fan of the open shelving design!

design showhouse
Yvonne McFadden is a master with natural materials.

Then you move outside to this cool, sexy space by Tish Mills Kirk –

design showhouse
Tish Mills Kirk creates an outdoor oasis.
design showhouse
Robert Brown Interior Design masterfully mixes patterns, textures and art.

The design community gives us such richly layered rooms, so many details to absorb and enjoy. As a designer, it’s a privilege and responsibility to bring out the best of a space and experiment a bit, like Steve did in the Macon Showhouse in 2017.

Here are some glimpses into the masterful bedrooms, beginning with the master bedroom designed by Huff-Dewberry.

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Huff-Dewberry updates the classic wall of blue and white china.
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Off the master bedroom, Huff Harrington creates a restful outdoor retreat.

Now we’ll move upstairs for sunsets, canopies, and more…

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Holly Phillips and her ode to a Moroccan sunset.
Honey Collins Interiors came home to Atlanta to design this special bedroom.
Ashley Gilbreath showed up with all the textures, metal details and more.

There’s no better way to ignite your creative spirit than by visiting special hubs of design, like this one. Where does your eye go first? What does your eye linger upon? Whether you incorporate these details now or later, remember how they make you feel.

Mother’s Day + Magnolia

Happy May! That means Mother’s Day is soon, and we have a beautiful way to celebrate with Mom – a magnolia wreath class with Erin Weston of Weston Farms.

Weston Farms, wreath, diy
Make this evergreen magnolia wreath!

On Saturday, May 11th, join us for the morning class and make your very own lush, full circle magnolia wreath. A light lunch is included, so bring a friend or Mom to make it a memorable time together. Class starts at 10am and tickets are $150 with limited space. Click here to get your tickets.

Mother's Day, magnolia, diy
Parris Magnolia Bowtie is the afternoon class

In the afternoon class, from 2pm – 3:30pm, you’ll make the famous Parris magnolia Bowtie swag. Perfect for the table, above a piece of art, or as a gift to mom on Mother’s Day. Tickets are $50 and available here.

Mother's Day magnolia

Did you know these magnolia pieces will last for up to a year, sometimes longer?! That means you will enjoy them for all the seasons. Maybe you’ll tuck some fresh seasonal flowers in amongst those velvety leaves, or a bit of sparkly ribbon for Halloween and Christmas. The possibilities are endless!

It feels good to make something with your hands, and as a mom, a hand-made gift is so much more special. We hope to see you at one of these fun-filled classes!

And when you visit the Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens, snap a photo in front of Weston Farms magnificent magnolia wall! Get details on this ever-popular spring showhouse here .

Happy Spring!

Follow the Action at High Point Market with Interior Designer, Steve McKenzie

Spring means daffodils, tulips and the High Point Furniture Market! If you’re heading to High Point, we hope our paths cross at one of these exciting events. If not, follow along on Instagram to meet some talented friends and see the latest with Steve.

Learn tips from expert floral designer, Steve McKenzie

Here’s a quick run down of the action, a Saturday floral arranging demonstration at 2pm with none other than Mottahedeh and New Growth Designs. Stop in and say hi!

fabric indigo loop
Belle by Cheryl Luckett + Steve McKenzie

It’s a Friday 4 – 5:30pm kick off of our tour of High Point Market with Belle by Cheryl Luckett Furniture Collection with Sylvester Alexander. We’re honored to be included in Cheryl’s fabric homage to Southern beaus, Steve Mckenzie, Madcap Cottage and Scot Meacham Wood Home. Love our Indigo Loop fabric on her settee!

interior design panel
Curating Trend-Proof Interior with Timeless Design Elements – Panel moderated by Steve McKenzie

Take lots of notes on Saturday, April 6th at 11am with this talented panel – Denise McGaha, Shayla Copas, Lance Jackson & David Ecton, moderated by Steve McKenzie. Isn’t that what most of us want to know? How to update without being trendy…

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Delighted to be part of the ‘Dining by Design’ Designers!

Join us on Saturday afternoon 4 – 6pm for the ‘Designer Celebration’ at Alden Parkes with partner, Replacements, Ltd. for some dazzling and divine table settings, floral arrangements, and more.

Of course, please, DM us or text us or even call us. Let’s meet up, in person and share our ideas and inspiration. #hpmkt #inspiredtailoredauthentic

Easy Entertaining Tips

So you did it, you invited some friends or work pals over to your place for some nibbles, beverages, and relaxed conversation. Bravo! Now, read on for some easy entertaining tips from Steve and Jill McKenzie and the team at Mottahedeh China. Your goal? A memorable and care-free evening for all.

easy entertaining tips
Photo credit: Gustav Wilde

Let’s start with a gorgeous Atlanta sunset. Then add an array of colorful Mottahedeh china, and really use it for food, flowers, holding cutlery, and more. Let’s use the good stuff!

easy entertaining tips
Use your low dishes for nuts and olives
easy entertaining tips
Tobacco Leaf on the bar
easy entertaining tips
Pop a grocery store orchid in a cachepot for instant room refresh.

Add some height and soothing candlelight on the buffet table. Steve swears by a variety of candle heights for visual interest and light.

easy entertaining tips
Steve lighting candles just before the guests arrive

Keep the food simple – finger foods and here’s a tip, many larger groceries, like Whole Foods offer catering menus. Don’t forget another of our favorite’s, Aldi’s, for cheeses and charcuterie meats, nuts, and sweets.

Lauren Finney, Clary Bobsyshell
Add some dear friends like Lauren Finney of Modern Luxury magazine and designer, Clary Bosbyshell, and mix!
Steve McKenzie and Lance Jackson of Parker Kennedy Living

That’s it, easy and simple entertaining with friends, flowers, and simple food. Whether it’s celebrating the end of the week or something more like a baby shower, it’s about connecting with friends and loved ones.

Now, who will you invite over this weekend?

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

McKenzie Interior Design, Steve mckenzie's
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.

 

 

Lots of Summer Left for Floral Fashions

As you’re checking out the online sales this month, feast your eyes on some floral fashion beauties that caught my eye, including a super versatile wrap dress, fun floral heels from Sam Edelman to take you dancing, and who doesn’t love floral fashion by Johny Was?!

fashion, Selamat Designs, Verde Home, Hazen jewelry
Jill McKenzie in cool linen Photo credit: Kathryn McCrary

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG Floral-print cotton and silk-blend wrap dress • Diane von Furstenberg • $228
Sophia Webster Lilico Leather Slides • Sophia Webster • $130
BB Dakota Kirsten Dress • BB Dakota • $95
Hazel Pointed Toe Heel • Sam Edelman • $72–140
Johnny Was Milla Long-Sleeve Floral-Print Blouse • Johnny Was • $135

 

Don’t you love this statement jungalicious chair by Selamat Designs?  So grab a chilled lemonade, relax and smile.  Happy Friday!

 

5 Stress-free Gift Giving Solutions

I don’t know about you, but gift giving stresses me.  I agonize over what to give a loved one.  Will they like it?  Will it be in the way and not loved?  I’ve found 5 winning solutions – subscription boxes that take the headache out of gift giving and make you a hero all year long!

gift stress
Enjoy the occasion with these subscription box gift ideas – no stress!

It’s simple really, think about what your friend enjoys – coffee, beauty products, fishing – and I bet there’s a subscription box for just about every category.  These gift  boxes usually contain a curated selection of exclusive and/or unusual items.  Here’s a quick list of five proven winners

Suthinstyle Box– a quarterly subscription for women filled with fashion, food and finer things made in and inspired by the South.  Curated by the stylish Ashley Stamoulis, who calls her boxes “her love letters to the South”.  Membership plans range from seasonal to annual and your mom, sister, mil (mother-in-law), sil (sister-in-law) will be thrilled!

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Founder Ashley Stamoulis and her fabulous pink SuthinGirl box

 

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A sampling of all the goodies in the spring box

 

Darlings Fine Things– Known for their wide range of beauty products, fashion and shoes, Darlings Fine Things has hand-picked a selection of goodies for $35 per month.  Personally I can’t wait to try my Michael Marcus Eye Gel!  Again, perfectly geared to the women in your life…

gift stress box
Darlings Fine Things Box Full of Wonderful

gift stress box

MistoBox Coffee Subscription – After polling my Facebook group of savvy Atlanta-Decatur women, this coffee company rose to the top of the crema.  For our NYC daughter and sil (son-in-law), space is at a premium.  So I’m very aware of not adding to their home.  The solution? A six-month subscription of craft coffees! They savored all the different coffees, from six different makers!  Once they received their MistoBox coffee subscription, they were matched with a coffee curator – a coffee expert who learned the kinds of coffee they liked and sent them coffee based on their preferences.

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A sampling of craft coffees

Next, one of my favorite gifts to give and receive, BOOKS!  My dear friend, talented businesswoman and writer, Jill Niehaus Miner, owns a thriving, independent bookstore, Saturn Booksellers.   Did I mention that she was awarded the Michigan Small Retailer of the Year award? Not a small feat these days.  I could go on and on bragging about Jill and her team but let’s talk about their Monthly Book subscriptions for adults, teens, young readers and the grandbaby board books.  It’s very simple.  Choose your recipient’s age and Saturn Booksellers takes care of the shipping.  Your loved one gets a book from you, every month.  It’s a win-win!  Also, do yourself a favor and sign up for their emails on book recommendations.  You’ll be in the know with new releases and more.

gift box book
It’s never too early for a family read aloud session as our son in law, Jim and daughter Molly, read to our sweet granddaughter, Amelia May.

Let me know what you think of these gift options, and I hope these suggestions will make your gift giving occasions less stressful and more enjoyable!  That’s what it’s all about, enjoying time together with friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tastemaker Tuesday – Kalyn Johnson Chandler of Effie’s Paper

coffee, girl, tastemaker, Kaylyn
Kaylyn and her favorite accessory!

This month, we’re introducing you to one of our favorite new friends, Kalyn Johnson Chandler of Effie’s Paper::Stationery&Whatnot, an energetic lifestyle authority who is setting the trend on lifestyle accessories, travel style, and the power of Black Girl Magic

Kalyn and I met at a recent Black Southern Belle conference in Charleston.  Her enthusiasm for female entrepreneurs , her smile and love of stationery and pretty things made us fast friends.  With her signature pops of pink and encouraging words, she is a chic and engaging tastemaker, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Three words that describe your style?

Downtown, chic, hip

As a fashionable city woman, what’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

Believe it or not, walking down the streets of Manhattan and riding the subway are a font of inspiration.  New York city has some of the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen. I take my cues from the people around me.  What I love about New York is that each neighborhood has it’s own style – for example, on the Upper East Side, people are generally classic dressers with clean lines and solid colors.  While downtown, in Tribeca, the vibe is decidedly expensive hipster.

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

Agatha Christie – I’d love to spend the evening with AC, as I affectionately call her, to get a sense of how her mind works because I love a good murder mystery.  In fact, growing up and to this day, my parents, sister and I read murder mysteries voraciously.  Lately, I’ve become addicted to all of the British murder mystery shows on Netflix and Acorn – Vera, Midsummer Murders, Broadchurch, Unforgotten and the like. What I love about the British shows is all of the twists and turns, they’re quite cerebral. Who knows, at a dinner party with AC, there might be a murder in the drawing room that needs to be solved!

Maya Angelou – I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. One of my fondest memories is spending the weekend at my grandparent’s house and finding a copy of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I was probably 11 or 12.  I read it cover-to-cover that weekend and she instantly became one of my sheros.  Maya Angelou had an amazing life, was a generous soul, a prolific writer and an extremely wise woman.  I think she’d be the dinner guest everyone would be clamoring to sit next to just hoping to gather a few nuggets of her vast knowledge.

Michelle Obama – I just kind of love everything about her!  She brought a level of class, graciousness  and openness to the White House that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime.   Her infectious smile and her ability to make fun of herself with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show will forever endear her to me and many.  I would love to sit down and chat with her about what it was like to become a part of the upper echelons of society while not losing who she is at her core.  She’s a woman I admire greatly; she stepped into a role she was very hesitant to take on … it took her a minute to figure out how to make it her own, but that she did and then some!

stationery, paper, tastemaker
Pretty and professional stationery

A pieces of/type of accessory you couldn’t live without

I never leave home without a silk scarf or a bandana.  For some reason my neck tends to get cold, so I learned a long time ago that rather than be uncomfortable, it was just easier to always have a little something to put on my neck.  And I’m super excited because I just designed the some really chic bandanas that we’re selling now.   In addition to keeping your neck warm, they add the perfect pop of color to your outfit, look great tied around purses and do double-duty as a hat on bad hair days!

Do you recommend people follow a particular set of rules when writing letters?

My only rule when it comes to letter writing is sit down and write!  I find that people love to receive handwritten notes in the mail, but rarely take the time to write them.  I’ve heard all sorts of excuses from I can’t find nice stationery to I never seem to have stamps.  These two “problem” are easily solvable – you can buy both stationery and stamps online nowadays.  Of course I think everyone should be using Effie’s Paper to write their notes on, but whatever you have – please use it!  A simple note with just three sentences can make someone’s day.  And, the satisfaction derived from taking a minute to express one’s gratitude to another is priceless.

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

My Kindle and some kind of super duper charged battery pack. I love to read.  So, being stranded on an island with nothing to read would be a kind of purgatory for me.  I’m often reading more than one book at a time, which is why I’m partial to my Kindle, although there’s nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.

paper, stationery, tastemaker
Write it down, in a pretty book of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to an aspiring stationery creator.

Go for it!  I get asked this question a lot and as I result, I wrote an e-book to help folks who are thinking of starting their own product-based business.  There are a lot of players in the marketplace, so do your research and figure out what will distinguish your products from those that are already out there.  Identifying your target audience up front – know who she is, what she buys and why up – will save you a lot of time and energy.  Then before you jump in, learn what you can about the industry to make certain it’s a good fit for you.  Next, think about your strengths and weaknesses to determine which gaps you’ll need to fill.  I have a great team of young women I work with, I LOVE my girls; your tribe is your vibe! And finally, assess the direction the industry is headed in to determine where your products will fit in best and come up with a strategy to court those customers and retailers.

Bonus:  Here’s a quick round up of some of our favorite ‘whatnot’ from Effie’s Paper, just in time for summer hostess gifts and even Father’s Day gifts!

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Who else needs this coffee mug?!

 

 

 

 

 

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Go ahead and stock up for your Fourth of July summer hostess gifts

Now get going and don’t forget to write to someone. You’ll make their day.  Thank you to Kalyn of Effie’s Papers for being part of our Tastemaker Tuesday series!  We can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon for you and Effie’s Papers.