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?

coffee Jill McKenzie
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!

Artist in Residency Recap

A month in Italy to create art – a dreamy opportunity! How did this come about, you may ask. Here’s a quick art recap of how Steve’s Artist in Residence at La Fortezza came about and the fabulous results.

You may remember last fall, Steve taught a painting workshop at Annette Joseph’s 9th century villa, La Fortezza. It was full of creativity, laughs and exploration. That lead to this offer from Annette, be the first Artist in Residence, creating work inspired by the region. And he said YES! So, this past July, he did just that, creating a body of work that reflects the history, geography and beauty of the Lunigiana region. Truly a gift to focus on art for a full month.

If you haven’t been to this part of Italy, add it to your travel bucket list. Lunigiana is a historic region between Tuscany and Liguria, drenched in history, unique foods and breathtaking views.

Italy, art, Steve mckenzie's

Being familiar with the town and nearby art store, Steve knew what supplies he needed to take and what he could purchase there. So, with brushes and paint in hand, he spread out in the spacious studio, working on many canvases and paper pieces at once, as the inspiration moved him.

art, roman soldier, paper
Soldata Romano II

One of the benefits of being in one place for a longer period of time is you make friends with the locals. This was especially helpful as Steve wanted to make copies of historic rare books and ephemera at the local rare books archives, to incorporate into his paintings. With some patience and help with translating, he got more than he needed, including the Roman soldier seen above, an atlas of the region from 1785, and a lawyer’s goat skin bound book of contracts from 1635, all incorporated into various works of art.

It wasn’t all painting, there was cooking to be done, in Annette’s fabulous kitchen, plus visiting local museums, sites and an artists’ co-op. Check out Annette’s many workshops here.

Italy, food, Mutti tomatoes
A new favorite, Mutti tomatoes mixed with simple garden produce were the base for many suppers.

One of the artists shared some scrap chunks of Carrara marble with Steve. What an amazing new conduit for his art, another blessing from travels and learning from new friends.

Sculpture by Steve McKenzie – Carrara marble

How does one end such a wonderful month of painting? With a show of course! A downpour didn’t dampen our spirits either. The food truck brought the food inside the studio where our friends, local and from afar, ate, drank and danced into the night.

The next day, we packed up the art, said ciao to La Fortezza, and headed to the iconic beach town, Forte Dei Marmi, the perfect way to cap off a jubilant July.

A Studio Tour with Steve McKenzie

Folks frequently ask about Steve’s studio – and lucky for us, he loves sharing his happy place with others! It’s perfectly situated to fuel his creativity. Back in April, Paige MinearΒ shared a visit to Steve’s studio on her blog, The Pink Clutch.

We thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of the same tour and offer a behind the scenes look of where the magic that is Steve’s art happens…

Steve’s studio is located in the loft above the steve mckenzie’s showroom. He can be a bit messy, so it’s smart to contain the work in a space that can be somewhat hidden. Up in the loft, he has various areas set up for working. A large easel is built on the wall and is the spot where Steve works on his larger pieces.

Commercial, stainless kitchen carts easily roll with Steve as he works.

An antique drafting table serves as his workspace for ink and watercolor drawings. This is also the place where Steve’s fabric patterns are created.

The curated objects in Steve’s studio are what inspire him most to create… Here are a few. Note the Illy coffee – nothing like an Italian espresso to keep you going!

Lately, Steve has been spending a lot of time in the studio, creating works for some upcoming shows, fabric lines and more!

Come visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom and experience the art of Steve McKenzie for yourself; and stay tuned for some exciting things coming up for Steve’s art!

*All photos by Marc Mauldin Photography