Steve McKenzie

Hi. My name is… Steve McKenzie

My company is... steve mckenzie’s

I’m the… Principal Designer

I make/design/create… First and foremost, I am an artist. Before I start on large paintings, I do studies in walnut ink to help me zero in on what it is I’m trying to achieve. The brushstrokes of these walnut ink studies are also the basis of my fabric collection. My textiles have also given me an opportunity to design an upholstery collection and a bag collection. In addition to these collections, steve mckenzie’s is also a full service interior design firm operating out of our Atlanta showroom.

Something you need to know about me is… I love to cook especially for a large group. I will attempt about any dish. One of my specialties is homemade wings. When our son was playing high school lacrosse, he would regularly show up late night with about a dozen friends looking for their fourth meal. I was happy to jump into action and make a batch of spicy wings.

Here’s how this company came to be… In January 2012, after working corporate jobs for 30 years, my wife, Jill, and I made the leap to exit that arena and begin making plans for steve mckenzie’s. I always wanted to design a fabric collection and it was time. First came the fabric, which naturally became ingrained with our love of interiors and entertaining, and next thing you know, there we are with a showroom! Everything that’s followed has been born from the creative freedom you enjoy (most of the time!) when running your own business.

My absolute favorite thing we sell right now is… My Walnut Loop on Flax Linen Fabric is a current favorite. As I shared earlier, I paint using walnut ink, and this particular pattern/colorway comes closest to the original brush strokes of those studies. I’ve been painting for years and could always picture what this fabric would look like - this pattern is just like realizing a dream. I smile every time I see it used.

Here’s a sneak peek of something we’re working on now… We are in the midst of finalizing patterns and colors for an outdoor fabric collection, which we’re very excited about. It should be available mid-summer this year. Pictured is one of the patterns based on the stripes of French linens but in my own, unique brushstrokes.

I’m most proud of… We relish in the priceless reactions people have when stepping into our showroom for the first time - they usually get a big smile on their face and say “I love it.” Typically, a conversation ensues about how much they appreciate our use of color and how refreshing it is to see so much of it in one place. As an artist, designer, and retailer, this is when I know we’re doing something right; when someone responds and reacts to the work put out there.

I really detest… The accounting and paperwork can be a real grind for me. I understand how imperative it is, but for me, all I can think about is how I’m not creating something at that time, which is what I love to do most!

I could never have done it without this person… I couldn’t have made this professional – and often times, personal - leap without Jill, my wife of 30 years. She is not only my partner for life she is also my partner in business. Every product I design, every painting I create, she is there to give critical input. I know she always has our best interests at heart and will be honest, even if it can be painful at times. Plus, I would not have time to create if she were not helping run the business and sell our products; she’s amazing!

I consistently read these for inspiration… I get inspiration from so many sources.  I am a visual learner, so any great photography inspires me. My favorite Magazines for inspiration are: Côté Sud, Vogue Living Australia & Wallpaper. I also need my monthly fix of Garden & Gun - I love the way they celebrate the new, modern, southern lifestyle from all dimensions. A favorite blog is Freund von Freunden out of Berlin, their interviews and interiors of creatives from all over the world are fantastic! And, I so appreciate the hour-long mixtapes they have guest DJ’s do - they are always inspiring, especially in the studio. Pinterest and Instagram can also act as fuel for my creative side.

I would like to share the limelight with… I would take great pleasure in sharing the limelight with Verde Home by Laura Walker. Laura is an amazingly talented designer; the custom rugs they offer through their showroom, Verde Home, are truly incredible. They can help you realize your own designs, or you can even customize some of the patterns Laura has designed and end up with your very own beautiful, high quality, unique rug.

IMAGE CREDITS | All images provided by Steve McKenzie except showroom image via Lonny.