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Steve McKenzie – steve mckenzie’s Atlanta, GA

Interview with Steve McKenzie of steve mckenzie’s

Introducing the first in our summer series of Designer Spotlights focusing on the group of top design experts who will be featured this July at AmericasMart’s Vignette Exhibition…Steve McKenzie! An artist at heart, Steve McKenzie found his creative niche in the interior design community, founding both McKenzie Design and the home décor shop steve mckenzie’s in the heart of Atlanta’s Westside design district. Steve, along with his wife, Jill, officially opened the doors of steve mckenzie’s in September of 2012, after Steve’s 20 year tenure as President and CEO of Larson-Juhl. Since that time, steve mckenzie’s has become a destination for interior designers and design lovers alike with an unparalleled and curated collection of home accessories, furnishings, and a line of textiles derived from Steve’s original paintings. REstyleSOURCE recently chatted with Steve, in a brief Q&A which will not only give our readers some background on his “retail meets design” philosophy, but also what they can expect to see from his Designer Vignette at AmericasMart Atlanta in July 2016…

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What does the phrase “retail meets design” mean to you? For us, the two are so intertwined. Whether we are helping a client find the perfect piece for their home from our store or we are designing a full home for them to live in, I would like to think we improved their life. We like to contribute to helping clients realize their dream homes that reflect gracious living.

Which came first for you, retail or design? My entire career has been in product design for the home. My wife Jill and I also both have backgrounds in retail and home furnishings. So when we opened steve mckenzie’s, clients started asking us to provide design services as well as their furnishings, and McKenzie Design was created to meet this need.

 

Client Dining Room by McKenzie Design (1)Photos c/o steve mckenzie’s

“Artists have no choice but to express their lives. They have only, and that not always, a choice of process. This process does not change the essential content of their work in art, which can only be their life.”

— Anne Truitt

Design Studio at steve mckenzie's (1)Photo c/o steve mckenzie’s

What inspires your work? So much feeds my creativity. Right now, I think we are at a really special moment in women’s fashion and so much of runway fashion inspires me. I am especially inspired by the creative vision of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino and Raf Simons for Dior. I try to be really purposeful about seeing art exhibits and reading about the art world. Even if a work of art does not directly relate to my aesthetic, it fuels my creativity. In the world of interior design there are so many whose work inspires me. I especially love the way Axel Vervoordt can combine modern and contemporary art with ancient Roman and Greek works to create such interesting juxtapositions within a room.

 

Family Room by McKenzie DesignPhoto c/o steve mckenzie’s

SMDesigner Notes: Entertaining in Style

“Whether entertaining or designing I try to think about who will be at the event or use the room and I try to make them comfortable. I want a table or a room to look inviting so that folks want to linger and create fun memories in the space. I find that a good mix of styles and ages helps with this so everything is not too stuffy or perfect. I love a good aged antique combined with a modern light fixture or beautiful china paired with some hand thrown stoneware.”

“Beauty is in the imperfect, so combine and work to make everyone feel at home.”

Kitchen Remodel by McKenzie DesignPhoto c/o steve mckenzie’s

Steve’s Vignette Inspiration

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What is the inspiration behind your “Retail Meets Design” vignette? Which pieces are your favorites, and why?

Given the size of the vignette, 10’x10’, I wanted to challenge myself to create a glamorous setting for a dinner party. Usually I don’t infuse a lot of glamour into my interiors and the vignette was a great way to experiment with this. It is fun to have my own wallpaper on the walls! Eric Cortina is a favorite, and to have him create a custom jeweled Buddha for the space was so exciting. A beautiful rug from Jaipur forms the foundation of the vignette, and a chandelier by Currey & Co adds the chic, mid-century French vibe I love in a space. The intimacy of the banquette from Lee is a special part of the vignette.  I love the juxtaposition of the modern hammered gold table from Bliss Studio with the traditional shield back chairs from Aidan Gray, and am crazy about the Bliss Studio sideboard with the stag feet. Finally, it is also a great pleasure to preview the latest design (“Broadway”, seen at left) by Royal Crown Derby, with its modern black and gold pattern.

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Steve & Jill McKenzie make showroom selections

Outdoor space for AH&L Showhouse 2013Photo c/o steve mckenzie’s

Steve’s Must-See AmericsMart Showrooms?

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Rosse & Associates  | jdouglas  | Barbara Cosgrove  | Codarus

“We have so many, but Rosse and Associates is always a first stop, fabulous tabletop and entertaining pieces. We love Eric Cortina, both his beautiful unique glass ornaments and his one of a kind jeweled creations. There are several lines from jdouglas that we love, as well as Barbara Cosgrove in Codarus. Jaipur has become my new go-to inspiration source for rugs. We also love the temporaries of High Design each market they are open.”

Designer Tips On Shopping The Market?

“The biggest tip is PLAN YOUR VISIT!. It is easy to get lost and loose a lot of time. Actually have a plan for a more organized way to see vendors so that you are not spending all your time moving from building to building and floor to floor. I personally plan to begin with the new temporaries for Antiques at the July market, this is a really exciting new component for me.”

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Photo c/o steve mckenzie’s

MUREstyleSOURCE Loves Local

We are all about ‘loving local’—from designers and manufacturers right down to local brick & mortar shops and eateries! What are some of your favorite local shops and restaurants to visit when you’re in Atlanta?

 

Because we are based here, I may be a little biased. But I think for both great food and design inspiration start with the Westside Design District. It is so close to market, less than 15 minutes by Uber, so easy to get to and walkable. My favorite eatery is Miller Union (seen at left), which is in the same building as our store. Also in this building is Verde Home, with beautiful custom rugs. Once you are exploring the Westside neighborhood, for great design you’ll also want to check out Redefined Home, Dixon Rye, Kolo and Bungalow Classic. In addition to Miller Union, a few of the numerous and amazing restaurants on the Westside that you might want to try are: Cooks & Soldiers, JCT, Bocado, The Optimist and Eight Sushi.

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Photo c/o steve mckenzie’s

Up Close & Personal With the Designer

Night Owl or Early Riser? Early Riser  /  Coffee or Tea? Coffee  / Salty or Sweet? Salty  / Beach or Mountains? Beach  / City or Country? City  / Dogs or Cats? DOGS!!

dogs

Read the Book or See the Movie? Movie  /  Kindle or Hardcover? Hardcover  / Luxury Hotel or Camping Trip?  /  Hotel  /  Text or Phone Call? Phone call, hands down



Atlanta, GA

404-618-0422

steve mckenzie’s interiors & lifestyle store offers a design sensibility that converges the graciousness of entertaining and our personal love for the mid-century modern aesthetic. Our fabrics reflect Steve's art, beautiful for interior projects.

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  • steve mckenzies
    May 23, 2016

    Thank you so much! We are honored to be part of your Designer Spotlight series, and look forward to learning about others’ favorite sources and styles.


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