Giving Back: A Ravishing Room Reveal with Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio

You may recall when Steve and the team worked to create a truly memorable and inspiring home for a deserving family here in Atlanta with Dwell with Dignity. It was a remarkable project – and talented group of professionals to work with – providing a warm and welcome place for a local family to thrive in.

Steve had another opportunity to create an inspiring space and give back to Dwell with Dignity again, this time via their Atlanta Thrift Studio event.

Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio fundraiser provides one-third of the operating revenue that allows Dwell with Dignity to change lives through design by bringing good design to those who can afford it the least.

Thrift Studio is a pop-up shop selling donated furniture, housewares, accessories and high-end designer finds to the public, showcased in stunning vignettes created by professionals of the local interior design industry. The best part – 100% of sales benefiting Dwell with Dignity’s mission!

The folks behind Dwell with Dignity know it takes a village to make the awesome things they do possible, and we couldn’t agree more…

It’s this “takes a village” theme Steve ran with, working with some pretty amazing vendors and artisans, who graciously and generously donated their talents and wares to help make Steve’s Thrift Studio space such a success.

The first thing most commented on first about Steve’s space were the amazing watercolor walls. Steve, along with Team Member, Xavier Neuner and local decorative artist, Kass Wilson, worked to create this stunning treatment and it turned out better than we could have ever imagined!

And a big thank you to Robert Allen, who donated the dining table, yellow zebra chairs (seriously fabulous!) and even these beautiful Madcap Cottage pillows (fabricated for RA by Drape 98) as the “icing” to the Steve McKenzie Design’s space!

We had so much fun creating this fun and inspiring space – and it can ALL be yours (at a huge savings off retail) if you shop Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio between now and October, 20th!

*All photos courtesy of Christina Wedge photography.

Changing Lives – Dwell With Dignity’s latest Atlanta project!

Our team here at steve mckenzie’s was honored to have been able to be a part of Dwell With Dignity‘s latest Atlanta project, installed last month. We feel so lucky to play a small role in bettering one family’s life right before the holidays – there’s truly nothing better!


A BIG thank you to Lisa, Kim and everyone we worked with on this fantastic DWD project!!

Our crew with the wonderful receiving family after the big reveal.

As you may recall from past blog posts,  Dwell with Dignity, is an amazing organization which supports families struggling with homelessness and poverty one beautiful design at a time.

Here's the family first walking in to their new space - we think they're thrilled with their new home!
Here’s the family first walking in to their new space – we think they’re thrilled with their new home!

This time around, Steve worked with THE Egypt Sherrod, and together, they teamed up with Americas Mart, Dena Stormer for the DIY portion of the design, as well as Nancy Foster and other volunteers to bring this happy – and beautiful – home to a very deserving mother and her two children.

steve mckenzie's team member, Xavier neuner, working on some finishing touches.
steve mckenzie’s team member, Xavier neuner, working on some finishing touches.

Before, the three bedroom apartment was dull and uninspiring. After the design and installation it felt welcoming, bright and vibrant – a place where people can truly thrive! Here are some photos of the space before and after…

Dining area before…
Dining area after - a perfect place for the family to gather, kids to do homework and for everyone to make some special memories!
Dining area after – a perfect place for the family to gather, kids to do homework and for everyone to make some special memories!
Master bedroom before...
Master bedroom before…
Master bedroom after - a beautiful retreat, with plenty of places to snuggle up with the kids or just relax.
Master bedroom after – a beautiful retreat, with plenty of places to snuggle up with the kids or just relax.
One of the kid's rooms before...
One of the kid’s rooms before…
And the kid's room after - an awesome space to inspire confidence and give this little one a spectacular place to call their own.
And the kid’s room after – an awesome space to inspire confidence and give this little one a spectacular place to call their own.

They always say you get what you give, but in this case what we got was tenfold. Seeing the joy on the faces of these family members and knowing we helped make a difference in their lives was the experience of a lifetime!



After seeing her new home for the first time, the mother shared, “I am living a dream, more than a dream, I never ever dreamed I could have a home like this.” Wow. Design does powerful things.


There are so many people who helped make the project possible, and we’re lucky to have worked with such a wonderful bunch!  Thank you to our fabulous photographer, Thomas England.  All photos are his work.

To learn more about Dwell With Dignity, and how they make a difference with design, as well as learn about ways you can help please visit


Guest Blog Post: Ann Wisniewski & Dwell With Dignity Atlanta

Good morning friends! Today, we’re excited to turn the reins over to our great friend, and fabulous designer, Ann Wisniewski! Not only is Ann THE mind behind AJW Designs, she’s also involved with one of our favorite organizations Dwell With Dignity. You may have seen our previous posts sharing a bit out DWD, and it’s a cause that’s become close to our own hearts. We are absolutely thrilled to team up with Ann, and the other DWD volunteers for the next install coming up this fall.

But, back to Ann… She’s so sweetly offered to share a little about herself and AJW Designs’ involvement with DWD and we think you’ll appreciate all she has to say:

Ann Wisniewski

Hi everyone.

My name is Ann Wisniewski and I am an Interior Designer and Principal of AJW Designs, Inc. located in greater Atlanta. I am so grateful to my good friends Jill and Steve McKenzie for giving me the opportunity to be a guest on their blog. I am also very excited about their fabulous new showroom and invite everyone to come, visit, and be surrounded by beautiful things especially Steve’s art and fabrics.

I feel so lucky to be able to pursue my passion. Design is a second career for me after several years as a pediatric nurse at Egleston. My goal for every project is to create beautiful yet safe and healthy spaces  for my clients. Because of this, I wanted to tell you about a design opportunity that I am a part of that is coming up this September. The project is called Dwell with Dignity. I first became involved last February when I assisted my good friend and designer Kerry Howard with their first Atlanta project. What a wonderful experience.

This non-profit organization was founded in Dallas Texas by Lisa Robison, a fellow Interior Designer, who’s strong belief is that good design improves ones quality of life. That really registered with me and I was hooked.

This organization is made up of designers and volunteers dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty. They provide and install home interiors for families that include furnishings and art, bedding and kitchen supplies, and food in the pantry.

The living room in Dwell With Dignity's inaugural Atlanta project.
The living room in Dwell With Dignity’s inaugural Atlanta project.

For this project, we are providing a complete apartment make-over for a single Mom and her two children. I would like to invite everyone to visit the Dwell With Dignity website and click on donate now and designate to the Atlanta Chapter.

I am responsible for the Kitchen and Bath areas and all donations for food items, cleaning supplies,dishes, glasses, bath towels etc. would be greatly appreciated. There are also 2 Bedrooms and a Living Room to be completed.

dwell with dignity atl kitchen
The kitchen in the first DWD Atlanta project.

Dwell with Dignity’s mission is to help families escape poverty and homelessness through design, one household at a time.” If we can change a person’s surroundings, we can change their outlook on life.”

This is just the start of the Dwell with Dignity Atlanta Chapter with future projects to be scheduled soon. Steve and Jill have already given their support to this effort. Please join us creating spaces that improve the quality of someone’s life.

Thank you Ann! Your passion for this organization is  evident and we cannot wait to see what you come up with for the kitchen and bath areas for this deserving family.

We feel so fortunate that we’re able to help, and if this cause strikes a chord with you as well, we encourage you to get involved too!

Here’s to helping others and to supporting Dwell With Dignity!

Dwell with Dignity – Atlanta Install No. 2!

Are y’all ready for some exciting news?!? Our friends at Dwell with Dignity have been able to secure a second Atlanta install, thanks to the overwhelming success and support of the first Atlanta project and some great fundraising efforts over the last few months! These projects help one very deserving family right in our own community, by creating an extraordinary place for them – not only to live in, but to thrive in. And the team here at steve mckenzie’s couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of another fantastic Dwell with Dignity project, giving back to folks right here in Atlanta!

dwell with dignity 2

In fact, we’re kicking off the project TOMORROW, July 1, with a little pre-project soiree at our showroom…

Lisa Robison, Founder and President of DWD, and Kim Turner, Vice President and Director of DWD, will be in town ready to kick off the second Atlanta project and all are invited to be involved!

Lisa Robison & Kim Turner
Lisa Robison & Kim Turner

We’ll start the kickoff celebration at 6pm Tuesday night, and will break into committees to start the planning of the project that will install September 16-20th.

We’ll even have lite bites and wine to share! Can’t wait to see you all there, ready to tackle another fantastic DWD design project!

steve mckenzie’s

996 Huff Road NW, Suite E

Atlanta, GA 30318


Please RSVP to

Support a great cause through shopping – seriously! A Thrifting with Tyler field trip fundraiser for Dwell with Dignity…

Our team is so excited to have steve mckenzie’s selected as the launch pad for a fantastic Thrifting with Tyler field trip fundraiser for Dwell with Dignity this Saturday, May 3rd!

Tyler Lynch, local thrifting guru, will take this lucky group on a field trip to some of his most closely guarded “secret” thrifting locations in the N. GA mountains, all while sharing some of his expertise on getting in an our of a thrift store quickly, while ensuring you don’t miss anything and how to look for rare finds. In addition, our friend, and Atlanta interior designer, Kerry Howard, will offer advice on how to transform thrifted finds into real treasures.

Thrifting with Tyler

There are only a handful of tickets left (click the link for details) for this fabulous day of fun filled with amazing finds, friends, and time with some local experts while you thrift the day away… All while supporting Dwell with Dignity, an amazing organization which supports poverty-stricken families one beautiful design at a time.

Dwell with Dignity

In fact, we’re such fans of Dwell with Dignity and all they do, we reached out to Kim Turner, VP & Director of Dwell with Dignity, for a little Q&A to learn a bit more about this great organization and how events, like the Thrifting with Tyler field trip, go to support it…

Dwell with Dignity VP & Director, Kim Turner
Dwell with Dignity VP & Director, Kim Turner
– In just a few words, for those who don’t know what Dwell with Dignity is, please share a basic description of this great organization.
Dwell with Dignity is a non-profit group of Interior Designers and volunteers dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty. We provide and install home interiors for families that include furnishings and art, bedding and kitchen supplies, and food in the pantry. 

– How do events, such as the Thrifting with Tyler field trip, go to support Dwell with Dignity?

As with all of our fundraisers, this will go towards helping us carry out our mission:
“Our mission is to help families escape poverty and homelessness through design; one household at a time.” 
We have chosen Atlanta to be the first city outside of Dallas with a Dwell with Dignity chapter.  We did our first project in late February-early March and hope to do another one later in the summer.  We provide absolutely everything a family needs and that takes money.  We are so fortunate to have so much support from the design community as well as the community at large.  So many of the things we use are donated, but there are still many things we need to purchase.

– How have you and the Dwell with Dignity team come to know Tyler Lynch and Kerry Howard?

We had the pleasure of meeting Kerry at a dinner arranged last May by Bethanne Matari, the “PR Maven” of the local Currey & Co.  She felt he would be a great person to get involved – and she was so right!  Kerry took the design lead on our first apartment designing the bedrooms and the bathroom.  We met Tyler through Kerry and this trip was his brainchild.  Once he and Kerry put their heads together, this fabulous day evolved.

– What will attendees get out of participating in the Thrifting with Tyler field trip fundraiser?

This is going to be such a fun trip that I am coming in from Dallas for it!  We will start the morning with coffee and mimosas at steve mckenzie‘s and board the bus for the day at 9:15.  Tyler Lynch is taking us along on a tour of his favorite “secret” vintage and antique shops in the GA mountains.  On the way there, he will give us tips on how to get in and get out of shops quickly while still finding the hidden treasures.  Also, he’ll explain the etiquette surrounding bargaining for deals and tell us what we should be looking for.  We will stop in Villa Rica to enjoy box lunches from The Hungry Peach, sponsored by the good people at ADAC.  When it’s time to return to Atlanta, Kerry Howard will give us tips on what to do with our finds while serving cocktails courtesy of Mark Williams and Associates.  Everyone on the bus will receive an amazing goodie bag and we will be raffling off all kinds of wonderful donations.  A good time will definitely be had by all!
Thank you to Kim for all of the info, it’s great to know what a wonderful organization we’re supporting – and a big shout out to Tyler Lynch and Kerry Howard for working to pull together a memorable day for all involved! We look forward to sending everyone off on such a special trip this Saturday. And, don’t forget to get your ticket now, numbers are dwindling…
Here’s to learning the art of thrifting and supporting a cause you believe in!

steve mckenzie’s & Design Bloggers Conference 2014 – Part 2

Thank you all so much for the positive feedback on part one of our 2014 DBC recap post! We’re so glad you enjoyed our little synopsis. We certainly had quite the experience and are excited to share our part two post, highlighting day two of the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference…

Day two started off with a BANG, thanks to the gal who needs no introduction in our book, Candice Olson!

photo 4

It was such a treat to hear Candice speak, and her “Before & Afters” were truly show stoppers! Her Keynote address shared some brilliant tidbits, including how to help clients understand the balance between the investment in an interior designer and the return on their investment. Candice also focused a good portion of her presentation on the importance of contrast in design – something we’re fans of here at steve mckenzie’s. Contrast is key, and her discussion on natural vs man-made contrast, contrast in color, textures, and styles couldn’t be beat!

One of our favorite quotes of the day also came from Candice’s Keynote: “Thank goodness for the 80’s – it supplied a lot of work for us!”

We really had a ball during the next presentation on “The Role of Social Media & Building a Luxury Brand,” thanks to the energetic Toma Clark Haines!

Toma - The Antiques Diva
Jill McKenzie & Toma Clark Haines

Her candid discussion had us dreaming of antique scouting trips to Eurpoe and champagne lunches… In addition to all of the invaluable information she shared – including, her key piece of advice to us bloggers on creating a niche for your blog. Something we’re certainly in the process of working toward.  We’re really taking her advice to heart and are looking forward to sharing what we learned from Toma (and the other 2014 DBC presenters) here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s.

Robert Neu‘s presentation on “Building a Blog Google will Love” was up next, and was absolutely fantastic. Robert is a great presenter with even better advice on a topic that has many of us miffed – finding and implementing the perfect Search Engine Optimization (SEO) formula for your blog. Utilizing SEO is so important, but many of us don’t know how to make it work in the best interest of our blog, clientele, readers, etc. We’re excited to begin implementing much of what Robert taught us, and hopefully making our blog readily searchable for all who may be interested!

The Dwell with Dignity presentation came up next – we touched on this phenomenal event in part one of this series here – and had us all practically in tears… Seeing their video of their Atlanta project was a show-stopping moment for us at DBC, and we can’t wait to work with them in the future, to continue supporting their campaign to create beautiful spaces for more deserving families! Check out the touching video they debuted with us at DBC here:

Speaking of a memorable video, the next time slot was devoted to “Growing Your Brand with Creative Videos;” presented by Stacey Bewkes and Susanna Salk</a the dynamic duo behind some of our favorite (and most inspired!) videos, from Quintessence.

For us, another big, day two, highlight of DBC was hearing HGTV’s Alison Victoria speak about using “Digital Tools and the Design Profession.” Our own Jill McKenzie was lucky enough to be invited to a dinner with Alison on the Monday night of DBC, thanks to the folks at HomeAdvisor – it was an evening to remember, for sure, and Alison was such a joy to dine with!

Alison Victoria
Alison Victoria & Jill McKenzie

photo 5

Alison touched on partnering with technology to work together, and to help work with clients in a more effective way. Now that people have greater access to technology and the internet, it’s important we embrace it and make it work FOR us, and not against us. Great advice!

The final presentation of DBC 2014 was, so appropriately, on “The Future of Blogging;” as shared by Tobi Fairley and Jennifer Boles. Their advice is truly worth heeding, and something we’ll be reflecting on as we continue to grow our own blog. Both Tobi and Jennifer have unique blog perspectives, and the respect they’ve earned through the growth of their own brands is something we greatly appreciate. Maintaining a successful blog now, and in the future, is a job, but one we look forward to. And, thanks to this presentation, something we have a better understanding of.

All in all, a fabulous conference indeed! We’re simply filled with a renewed energy and new-found passion for blogging… So, please continue checking back for fun and informative content with a steve mckenzie’s twist.

Cheers to the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference all of the wonderful people we were lucky enough to experience it with!

steve mckenzie’s & Design Bloggers Conference 2014 – Part 1

We’re just getting back into a regular routine post Design Bloggers Conference 2014 (DBC) – and after this whirlwind conference, regular may never be again. It was a motivating and an inspiring few days, for sure! Filled with fun, fabulous advice, and friends new and old. Attending this exciting conference cemented our commitment to the blog for steve mckenzie’s and we’re thrilled to begin implementing some of what we’ve learned and what’s inspired us here with you!

dbc logo

We’re sharing all about our DBC 2014 experience with you in a two-part blog series so even if you weren’t able to attend, maybe you’ll feel as if you were there, even if it was just for a bit. Or, if you were lucky enough to go, hopefully you’ll enjoy hearing about it from our perspective…

For the steve mckenzie’s team, our DBC 2014 experience begun Sunday afternoon, at the party celebrating Dwell with Dignity’s first Atlanta makeover, featuring our friends Kerry Howard (yes, the same “Tastemaker” we shared recently!) and Brian Patrick Flynn, who worked on the design of the space, and a fantastic group of DIY experts and volunteers. We were thrilled to help this great cause, and look forward to doing more in the future! On our way out, we did have a little fun at the photo booth:


After the party, we were ready to get the DBC 2014 party started… literally, with the conference’s opening event at Atlantic Station hosted by Sunbrella and Traditional Home. It was a great time, and we met many new faces. The loft space Sunbrella had designed was just fantastic, and had us dreaming of in-town living!

DBC 2014 officially kicked off in a big way Monday morning with a Keynote address by Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Designer,” Jeffery Alan Marks! We loved learning how he adds one thing in every space that’s an accident. What a smart way to keep things interesting!

In addition to Jeffery’s keynote address, we, like the rest of the DBC 2014 attendees, were greatly inspired by the floral on stage, including two of these amazing Ranunculus and Rose arrangements…

Stage floral at DBC

After ogling the floral, and absorbing all Jeffery Alan Marks had to share, we were ready to get to the “Business of Blogging,” an amazingly informative talk, which featured one of our all-time favorite bloggers, Palamoa Contreras of La Dolce Vita (celebrity moment!). We also met blogger, and landscaper extrodinaire, Jan Bills, of Two Women and a Hoe. Jan is a laugh and a half, not to mention brilliant. We have another blogger crush!

La Dolce Vita blog - Design Bloggers Conference
The lovely Paloma, educating the DBC audience.
La Dolce Vita - Design Bloggers Conference - steve mckenzie's
Paloma Contreras and Jill McKenzie after day one of DBC 2014.

After another informative session on “Digital Content Marketing,” the 2014 Design Blogger Hall of Fame awards were announced. And, the big winner for “Best Overall Design Blog” went to none other than La Dolce Vita! Congrats to our friend Paloma on this much-deserved win!

The next session on “Building your Brand” was uuber popular. Our friend, and editor, Amy Flurry was one of the speakers and shared some secrets from her fabulous book, “Recipe for Press.” This was a session not to miss!

Celebrity designer, Timothy Corrigan offered up the next Keynote Address, and spoke to an enthralled audience on “Designing your Brand.” He spoke from such a unique perspective, sharing how he took his experiences from working in advertising to build his brand as a designer. He also doesn’t believe a room is well designed if it’s not comfortable – right on!

Day one of DBC 2014 ended with a wine tasting – yes, a wine tasting! And a fantastic talk on how to turn any topic into a lively and shareable story by Jeremy Parzen, who authors the wildly popular blog Do Bianchi, where he talks about wine and so much more!

photo 2 (3)

Each of the three wines we tasted represented a different time in Jeremy’s life, the story he told us, and how he made it shareable. Not only were the wines wonderful, so was his speech!

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Phew! That was quite a day… And to think, that was only day one. Day two was just as fantastic, if not more so. Like we shared earlier, DBC 2014 was quite an experience! We hope you’ll join us for our re-cap of day two, which we’ll be sharing here very soon!

If you attended DBC 2014, please let us know what you thought about the conference and who your favorite speakers were…