Behind The Blog: Steve McKenzie’s

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

Like many friendships today, my friendship with Steve and Jill McKenzie started through social media. We connected with each other on Instagram and eventually had the pleasure of meeting in person a couple of years ago.  I first met Steve on a  visit to their beautiful home decor and gift store and then Jill at a design conference here in Atlanta.  Since then our paths have crossed on many occasions including the Black Southern Belle Atlanta Tastemaker Summit where we both had the pleasure of conducting workshops.

Before I jump into the Behind The Blog Q & A with Steve and Jill, let me tell you a bit about them and their business.

Steve McKenzie’s is a high-end home decor, furniture and gift store located on the edge of the trendy Westside Design District. Their retail business opened in 2012 and continues to thrive with an ever-expanding product assortment.  Their product offering ranges from statement furniture to home accessories to a wide-range of tabletop items and paper goods.  You’ll also find textile designs that are derived from the canvases of Steve’s artwork and handmade items from southern artisans.  Steve McKenzie’s also serves as the Southeast showroom for the french furniture maker Grange Furniture. Along with their retail business, they have a full service interior design business, McKenzie Design, where they create personalized spaces for their clients.

Steve McKenzie’s has been published in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle, and has been recognized by other national publications, including House Beautiful and Traditional Home for curation of the businesses’ showroom. The inception of the interior design and home décor businesses have since parlayed into product line design, an upholstery collection, a line of rugs through Verde Home and women’s fashion with a stunning line of scarves.

“To us, a memorable space features layers of new items mixed with timeless treasures–objects that tell a story.  Spaces like these encourage comfortable living and great conversation.”  –Steve McKenzie

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Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

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Now its time to go Behind The Blog for my chat with Steve and Jill…


Both of you have backgrounds in retail and home furnishings so it only seems natural that you’d own a retail store. Tell us a little about Steve Mckenzie’s and what types of items and services shoppers can expect to find in the store.

Shoppers can expect to find unexpected treasures, big and small.  Folks need to make several  loops around the store to take in all the layers, everything from home décor to jewelry to unique pottery, also furniture, pillows, and tabletop.  Shoppers can expect a warm greeting, an offer to gift-wrap their perfect gift, and perhaps a pick-me-up espresso.

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

Many people may not know that much of the artwork and textiles you carry in the store is created by Steve. Tell us about Steve’s art and what inspires his work.

SM— I painted for nearly 30 years.  I am an intuitive abstractionist who enjoys exploring making marks which lead to other marks until the painting is complete.  I do not start with a preconceived idea of what a painting should look like.  Colors in nature and interesting lines inspire me to make these marks.

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

In addition to your retail and design business, you also write a blog. Tell us about the blog and what readers can expect from your posts.

Our blog covers design, art, life, leaving us pretty open to what catches our attention.  We enjoy book reviews on favorite art books; Tastemaker Tuesday posts on talented designers, artists, creatives; entertaining tips and recipes.   Hopefully we inspire!  We enjoy sharing our passion for entertaining, books, travel and design.  We also love to share our Tastemaker stories from friends, new and old, who inspire us and we plan on featuring ConfettiStyle soon!

 

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

 

How would you describe your personal design style?

Personally, we hope we convey our international style.  We love the antiques combined with modern and a very storied interior with objects collected from travels and which have personal meaning.  I hope our style is comfortable, approachable and infused with stories.

Where do you find your design inspiration?

Design inspiration comes from so many sources!  Definitely magazines, especially international design magazines.  My current favorite is Cabana from England.  Instagram and Pinterest inform me quickly.  My biggest inspiration comes from museums, a painting that has a particular color palette or combination of textures. Right now, it is the Arte Povera  movement of Italy which is informing my color palettes.

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

 

If you could live anywhere other than Atlanta, where would it be and why?

SM -Paris, hands down!  When I was the CEO of a multinational Berkshire Hathaway company, I traveled the globe and my heart always returned to Paris.  The number of museums, the respect for the historical yet the love of the modern, the beauty of the architecture.  The French government has a policy with artists to manage the estates which has encouraged many magnificent mini-museums to happen.  (Rodin museum).  You can explore for a lifetime and find inspiration at every corner.

JM- Indianapolis.  Besides being my hometown, Indy is a delightful blend of culture, practicality (the city is divided east to west by Meridian Street and by north and south by Washington Street…its a grid system marked in miles instead of blocks), art (IMA, Eiteljorg Museum , Herron School of Art and Design) and fun (Indy 500 and the largest Children’s Museum in the world).

 

In addition to being married, the two of you have a great working relationship—How do you balance your personal and professional life?

We respect each other’s ideas and opinions, and it’s a team effort.  Always.  

 

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

 

You hosted an entertaining workshop at the Southern C Summit earlier this year—what three tips can you give us for setting a beautiful party table?

  • Keep a well-stocked tabletop closet so you have these items at the ready.  
  • Relax.  Your guests will be understanding and enjoy the event if you are relaxed.
  • Be unorthodox.  Use the unexpected.  It makes the table and conversation more interesting.  For example, a rug runner or quilt makes a great table topper. {I couldn’t agree more}

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

 

If you could lunch with any famous couple, who would it be and what burning question would you want to ask them?

Charles and Ray Eames–They so influenced American design through their art and products, their logos, branding work, interior design.  We would just like to know how they did it.

I always like to throw a quirky question into the mix so tell us about your favorite things…

  • Steve’s Favorite Color: Paprika
  • Steve’s Favorite Decorative Accessory: A classic bust
    Steve’s Favorite Design Book:  It changes constantly but right now it’s Ken Fulk’s new book, “Ken Fulk’s Magical World”.  It inspires me to create magic for my design clients.
  • Steve’s Favorite Southern Food: cornbread-my grandfather’s recipe that I make in our “cornbread only” iron skillet, handed down from my grandfather.

and now it’s Jill’s turn…

  • Jill’s Favorite Color: Periwinkle
  • Jill’s Favorite Decorative Accessory: unusual baskets
  • Jill’s Favorite Design Book: currently enjoying My Stylish French Girlfriends book
  • Jill’s Favorite Southern Food:  my father-in-laws biscuits

Behind The Blog--Steve McKenzie's

 

Personally and professionally, share a few items on your bucket list?

  • Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC {me too!}
  • Round Top in Texas {Steve & Jill, you’re going to love it}
  • Paris runway show
  • Falling Rock Visit

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Wow, what a truly inspiring and talented couple they are. Thank you so much Steve and Jill for giving all of us a glimpse into your life and business.

If you live in Atlanta, I encourage you to visit their beautiful store.  To learn more about Steve McKenzie’s stop by their website and connect with them on social media ( Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest //  Twitter).  To follow their blog, head here.

Steve McKenzie’s, 999 Brady Ave NW #1, Atlanta, GA 30318

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This is the last installment of the year for the Behind The Blog Series.  I’m lining up a fantastic group of designers, bloggers and creative talents to share in 2017.  Until then, enjoy all of the 2016 features all over again…
Behind The Blog:  J. Schoenberger Designs
Behind The Blog:   Erika Ward Interiors
Behind The Blog:  Thistlewood Farms
Behind The Blog: Bliss At Home
Behind The Blog: Dwell By Cheryl

 

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