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.

 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.

Steve McKenzie monogram
Steve created the outer corner monogram for the Grand Euro shams.
monogram pillow
Steve and his signature monogram
layered bed
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

National Dog Day + Our Favorite Dog

Today is National Dog Day. Another made-up holiday? Perhaps, but let’s take minute to love on our furry friends, and our family favorite dogs is the English Springer Spaniel, a cheerful, intelligent, attentive dog. Read on about our three ESS loves…

dog, English springer spaniel, Steve mckenzie's
Oreo, guardian of the youngest or the oldest person in the room

When we moved from the Chicago area to Atlanta in 1990, we added our first Springer, Oreo to the family, and soon thereafter our son, Carter. That sweet dog let Carter and then baby sister, Mimi learn to walk by holding onto her fur and toddling along with them. When Oreo was done, she gave them a lick, making them squeal with giggles and let go, and then tucked herself into her kennel, her safe place. I can’t say enough about our Atlanta award-winning breeder, Karen Foster. She interviewed us, giving us the pup best suited for our lifestyle, and she was spot on with Oreo. Tip – Ask you breeder lots of questions about their processes as it could save you lots of time and heartache.

dog, English springer spaniel, Steve mckenzie's
Guard dogs? Not quite, but they sure were sweet shop dogs.

As Oreo aged, we got another puppy to bridge the gap, Biscotti or Bisi. And was she every busy! She could find a tennis ball in anyone’s yard. This cute girl was a star in our Traditional Home story too. See her peeking in the front door?

dog, English springer spaniel, Steve mckenzie's
Bisi looking for her kids Photo credit: Sarah Dorio

After Oreo’s passing, it was just Bisi and our three kids. So… 8th grade daughter, Mimi, sat Steve and I down for a powerpoint presentation on why we should adopt another English Springer Spaniel from Springer Rescue America. Guess what the answer was? You guessed it. Duke joined us one month later.

English Springer Rescue America has chapters all over the United States.
Bisi hanging out in Traditional Home spread. Photo credit: Sarah Dorio
dog, English Springer Spaniel
Bisi + Duke hanging out upstairs. Photo credit: Sarah Dorio
dog, English springer spaniel, Steve mckenzie's
Adventure Duke at Atlanta Memorial Park

Why do we love our dogs? They comfort us just by being there. We look forward to coming home to that wagging tail. My dog teaches me to be more patient. My dog teaches me to find joy in the little things. Dogs lift our spirits, they are natural mood elevators. They keep us socially connected at the dog park, running into a neighbor on a walk around the block. Whether you take your dog to a “yappy” hour at a local dog-friendly spot, or just give your pooch some extra love, celebrate time with your furry friend!

Easy Sour Cream Cake

As promised, here is Steve’s family recipe for this easy sour cream cake. It’s a family recipe from his Aunt Judy, awarded with the coveted placement in several church cookbooks. Beloved for its versatility too, Steve added this drizzle Jackson Morgan Salted Caramel icing, or you can take advantage of fresh fruit like strawberries and peaches, finished off with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Sour Cream Cake

3 cups cake flour (we really did sift the flour per the instructions)
3 cups sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 c. butter, softened
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs, separated (You will beat the egg whites into stiff peaks)

Sift flour; add soda and sift again. Cream butter and sugar thoroughly, and add egg yolks, one at a time. Add flour and sour cream alternately. Add stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in a greased and well-floured angel food cake pan or bundt pan. Bake at 300 degrees F for 1.5 hours.
Let cool 10 minutes, then flip on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
sour cream cake
Finished product!

When Paige Minear suggested this delicious collaboration, Steve knew exactly what cake he wanted to pair with the Jackson Morgan Southern Cream Salted Caramel deliciousness. So he called Aunt Judy in Kentucky, she texted the recipe, and now we get to share it with you. We baked it in a bundt pan like this one. Individual bundt cakes would be a fun at everyone’s place setting for a special celebration, or just because it’s Monday. Then you could set out separate toppings (think sprinkles, fruit, chocolate chips) and let everyone dress their own cake.

With a little planning, you can whip up this simple cake first thing in the morning, before the kitchen gets too hot, and then you’re done. Voilà you have dessert and you’re a hero!

cake Steve McKenzie's
Yes, please!

How do you showcase your desserts? I love to bring out one of our cake stands, either my grandmother’s pressed glass cake stand or a colorful Deruta Italian cake stand, a souvenir from our travels. As they say in show business, it’s all about the presentation.

cake Steve McKenzie
Summer Dessert table

If you do bake this Sour Cream Cake, please share a photo of your cake with us on Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #InspiredTailoredAuthentic #stevemckenzies. 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!

dessert Steve McKenzie cake
Steve adding the final touch to his cake
cake Steve McKenzie lifestyle
Paige making ice cream with Jackson Morgan Whipped Orange Cream
cake Steve McKenzie lifestyle
Refreshing dessert
dessert ice cream
Ice cream all dressed up
cake Steve McKenzie lifestyle
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.

dessert lifestyle
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!

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.

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

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

design
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…

table action
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...

best of the week, book, read, PBS
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!