Tastemaker Tuesday – Jennifer Boles

We’re so excited to share this month’s Tastemaker feature for the blog for steve mckenzie’s – Jennifer Boles, who, for many of you may need to introduction… She’s the classic design maven behind the wildly popular blog, “The Peak of Chic“, and has also authored two fabulous books, House Beautiful Fabrics for Your Home and In with the Old: Classic Decor from A to ZPlease join us in welcoming, Jennifer Boles, as the latest Tastemaker for steve mckenzie’s:

Jennifer Boles

Jennifer Boles was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Upon obtaining her bachelor’s degree in history from University of the South (Sewanee, TN), Jennifer returned to Atlanta to pursue a career in business and finance. After ten years spent in the business sector, Jennifer decided to pursue her passion for interior design and the decorative arts. With an intense interest in design history and a love of writing, Jennifer started her design blog “The Peak of Chic” in the Fall of 2006. Her website-read by design devotees from around the world- focuses on design trends, historical homes, history of design, and all things design related.  Recently named “blogosphere darling” by Departures magazine, Jennifer has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Town & Country, Elle Décor, and Wall Street Journal.  In 2007, Jennifer became a contributing editor to House Beautiful, and more recently, she was named contributing editor to Veranda. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about design, Jennifer spends her time traveling, collecting antique and vintage ceramics, and buying far too many books.

1. Three words that describe your aesthetic? 

Classic; Confident; Personal

2. Would you please share a little about your favorite space/project to date? 

My favorite space is my own home because it’s furnished with things I love.

Door by Dorothy Draper

3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

The work of design legends such as Dorothy Draper, Albert Hadley, and Syrie Maugham.

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

Cole Porter; Billy Baldwin; Bobby Short

Sitting room by Syrie Maugham

5. A piece of/type of furniture you couldn’t live without?

A clean-lined sofa.

6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when mixing textures, finishes, etc. – how do they work for you?

Variety in texture and finish, for example, adds interest to a room.  That being said, you also need balance.

7. Trending… What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?” 

Into: Subtlety.  It’s a lost art, one which I hope people rediscover.

I’m over the kitchen-sink approach to decorating.  You can’t just throw a random mix of styles and pieces into a room and expect the room to look pulled-together.

8. How does artwork fit into your designs?

It’s important, but it has to reflect the taste and interest of the homeowner, not the designer.

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

My dog, Alfie.

10. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into the interior design industry. 

Learn about the history of design.  You’ll never be at a loss for inspiration if you know about design history and those designers who influenced the art of decorating.

We so appreciate that last bit – about the history of design. This is a passion of both Steve and Jill’s and something they look to often when working with clients to create new designs.

A BIG shout out to the gracious Ms Boles for agreeing to participate in our Tastemaker Tuesday blog feature, she’s such a peach, and if you aren’t already an avid follower, we encourage you to add “The Peak of Chic” to your list of blogs to read – it is sure to become an instant favorite!

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!

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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

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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!