Wanderlust Wednesday: Serenbe

Earlier this year, the Steve McKenzie Design Team, along with KMH Interiors, completed two new artist cottages at Serenbe, slated for use in conjunction with their Artist In Residence (AIR) program.

As a thank you for designing these artist cottages, Steve and Jill, with Kerry Howard, of KMH Interiors, were invited to enjoy a weekend in the Art Cottages. The group took Serenbe up on this generous offer this past weekend… It was such a lovely time, we thought it would make for an excellent “Wanderlust Wednesday” blog post!

View of Serenbe's Art Cottages
View of Serenbe’s Art Cottages
Here are a few photos from the weekend. We hope they inspire you to plan a visit to Serenbe – the Inn at Serenbe offers fantastic accommodations and give visitors the opportunity to be totally immersed in this idyllic community.


Beautiful wild flowers Kerry plucked from the grounds at Serenbe for the group’s Saturday evening cocktail table.

Above is a view of the counter at The Blue Eyed Daisy – a fantastic spot to enjoy breakfast and/or lunch while visiting Serenbe. Be sure to plan a dinner at The Farmhouse as well.


While visiting Serenbe, plan on attending a performance at the Serenbe Playhouse. This past weekend, the show Carousel was taking place, and they actually hosted an actual fair for which the actors to perform amongst! For an upcoming production of Miss Saigon, they’ll bring in a real helicopter!

Ahhhh… Serenbe dreams. Such a wonderful place to be! We hope you all will be able to plan a visit to enjoy this gem, just south of Atlanta.

Wanderlust Wednesday: NYC Art Scene

One of the biggest ways Steve finds inspiration for his own art is to view other artist’s work; after all, art is all about providing inspiration! Recently, he was in NYC for the opening of a show that featured two of his works and while there, took the day with his daughter, Molly, who lives in the city, to experience a bit of the city’s amazing art scene…

Their day started on the Upper East Side at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Ave to see one of Steve’s favorite artists, Cy Twombly. The confidence and power Twombly exhibits is a constant source of inspiration for Steve. Though small, only 5 overscaled paintings and a few sculptures, the exhibit was beautiful.

cy twombly
“Cy Twombly” Installation View Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation. Collection Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo by Rob McKeever
"Cy Twombly" Instillation View Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation. Collection Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo by Rob McKeever
“Cy Twombly” Installation View Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation. Collection Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo by Rob McKeever

Next, it was off to the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, to see the Bjork Retrospective. This was especially meaningful because Steve and Jill’s son-in-law, Jim, and the architectural firm he works for, The Living, designed and installed the space for the new performance piece by Bjork, Black Lake. The piece and the space were incredible, and it was a very proud moment for Steve when Jim’s name rolled by in the credits of the video:

the living

Here is a trailer for the piece:

For Steve, a trip to MOMA would not be complete without visiting a couple of works of art that are perennial sources of inspiration.

Two of the combine series by Robert Rauschenberg created in the 50’s provide such a source of inspiration to create work without fear or limits.

Robert Rauschenberg combine “Canyon” 1959
Robert Rauschenberg combine “Canyon” 1959
Robert Rauschenberg “Bed” 1955
Robert Rauschenberg “Bed” 1955

The Franz Klein Painting, “Chief,” exudes the raw energy and scale Steve seeks when he is in the studio…

Franz Klein “Chief” 1950
Franz Klein “Chief” 1950

Chelsea was next on the list, to see the latest work by Richard Serra, “Equal,” at the David Zwirner Gallery. These monolithic heroic forged weather proof steel pieces confront the viewer and give you pause to contemplate your role in the bigger universe.

Richard Serra “Equal” at the David Zwirner gallery

Here is a view of Molly beside a piece for scale:

Richard Serra “Equal” at the David Zwirner gallery 2

When strolling through Chelsea, you are bound to see something through the window of a gallery you just must take in. This was the case with McCaffrey Fine Art and the Kazuo Shiraga monumental paintings.

Kazou Shiraga monumental paintings

The brush strokes were huge on these enormous paintings, which lead Steve yearning to know how they were created. He was astonished to learn they were painted with the artists feet swinging from a rope. Here is a brief video of the artist working:

The day closed with Steve feeling inspired and ready to return to the studio to create.

Wanderlust Wednesday – Chicago

We’re blaming our recent want of a visit to The Windy City on the March issue of Peachy the Magazine, a now favorite digital publication we learned about at the recent Design Bloggers Conference. While attending the conference, we were fortunate enough to meet Blair Farris, Peachy’s Publisher and Editor in Chief, who told us all about this fantastic magazine, and sent us digital subscriptions.

peachy magazine

The first issue we received in our in-boxes was the aforementioned March issue, and not only is it chock full of beautiful design and lifestyle stories, trends, photography and products, this issue was all about Chicago! The various Chicago articles are truly a feast for the senses – from a virtual “tour” of the city with Cindy Trestman, wife of head Chicago Bears coach, Marc Trestman, to a beautiful piece on “Public Art in the Second City – Second to None;” Peachy had us thinking back… Way back to a favorite trip Jill took with Mimi, she and Steve’s youngest, and Mimi’s Grandmother to Chicago.


Although the primary goal of this girl’s trip to Chicago was to dine at the infamous American Girl Store (before the one in Atlanta opened), the trio enjoyed much of what this beautiful city had to offer – Millennium Park and all that green space right in the heart of the city!



And we have to agree – the public art available for all to enjoy in Chicago is second to none. Inspiration galore! Even Mimi, who was in elementary school at the time, enjoyed the art. She’s a McKenzie for sure!


When they did finally make it to the American Girl restaurant, you can imagine how surprised Jill was to be seated in a room set in the style of the iconic Dorothy Draper!


And, of course, the American Girl customer service was on par with that of a Disney theme park – complete with tiny dining chairs, perfectly sized for Mimi’s American Girl doll!


Mimi’s dreams came true that trip when her wishes to visit American Girl became a reality – but, the adults enjoyed the trip just as much, thanks to all Chicago had to offer. Now we’re thinking it’s time to go back!

Thanks to Peachy for inspiring our latest Wanderlust Wednesday post, and giving us a good reason to glimpse back to a trip we all remember fondly!

Wanderlust Wednesday – Scandinavia

This week’s Wanderlust Wednesday post is about our dreams of traveling to Scandinavia, specifically Copenhagen, to enjoy the rich heritage of design and natural beauty this country has to offer. Both Steve and Jill are huge fans of Danish design, and agree it is the perfect blend of form and function.


The iconic Egg Chair is a piece that holds many memories for Jill, as she grew up reading her favorite books tucked into its graceful lines; it’s also a favorite spot to sit in the McKenzie’s home now.

danish egg chair

Traveling to Scandinavia, and learning more about the historic work of architects and designers, such as Arne Jacobsen and Finn Juhl, is truly something to be inspired by and to wanderlust over on this winter Wednesday…
VM houses
VM houses in Ørestaden, Copenhagen