WELCOME TO THE DEBUT of Vintage Pacific NW, a relaxing road trip through our scenic magazine archives — and, honestly, an invention of pandemic necessity, because our archives are about the only place we can visit safely these days.
Actually, we’ll be revisiting our magazine’s richly colorful (if sometimes sepia) history every Sunday for a spell, through some of our favorite magazine stories by some of our favorite magazine writers.
In a time of disorienting uncertainty, it’s been surprisingly reassuring and grounding to unearth these timeless classics, and especially to enlist suggestions from former magazine contributors such as Nancy Leson (food), Nicole Tsong (fitness), and garden gurus Ciscoe Morris and Valerie Easton. A familiar voice goes a long way in troubling times.
This week, we’re launching Vintage Pacific NW with a one-home retrospective of NW Living, a beloved fixture in one Seattle Times Sunday magazine or another for decades and decades and decades.
We really aren’t exaggerating the “decades” thing: It was 40 years ago that a brand-new Pacific debuted. Pacific became THE Seattle Times Sunday magazine on Sept. 7, 1980, one week after the final issues of the Magazine, which had begun in 1902 (!), and the comparatively youthful Pictorial (started as the catchy Sunday Rotogravure Pictorial Section in 1923), which bequeathed Northwest Living and Northwest Design to the new upstart.
Over the years, NW Living widened its focus on homeowners, architects, designers, craftspeople and artisans — our Pacific Northwest neighbors — while keeping an unparalleled photographic eye on their homes and work, all atop a foundation reinforced by our distinct and special Northwest style, and place.
Our consistent goal has been to explore how and why we live the way we do, and it is with the deepest gratitude toward all of the people in all of our stories who have shared their spaces and their talent — and to all of you who have read about them — that we also present this Vintage Pacific NW debut as a heartfelt tribute: This will be our last NW Living feature. More about that in this week’s Backstory.
We are ending on a high note. This striking West Seattle home, built in 1966 and designed by noted Northwest architect Ralph Anderson for his friends Duff and Dorothy Kennedy, originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 1973, Pictorial. We revisited it in person for our June 9, 2019, NW Living feature, following a gentle, respectful, also-striking remodel by current owners Steve Hoedemaker and Tommy Swenson.
As an architect himself, Hoedemaker told us in 2019, “[Such a legacy] can feel like an uncomfortable obligation when the house doesn’t do its job well. I find myself remodeling some beautiful things [elsewhere] that didn’t work well. This one is a study in approaching what works and what you might have done differently. The house is fundamentally the same.”
Ah. There’s comfort in consistency, too — and legacy.
Here’s the original Pacific Northwest Living story, from Nov. 11, 1973:
An artistic home in West Seattle
Text by Rosella Broyles
The Duff Kennedy residence in West Seattle is an effective blend of all the elements that create a distinctive home.
The architectural details of the contemporary plan, the beauty of a wooded site on a bluff above Puget Sound, the quiet neutrality of the furnishings, the careful linking of indoor to outdoor spaces and the taste of the owners are brought together in a harmonious whole.
That kind of result is best achieved when the design team works together from the beginning to bring its concepts to fruition. Ralph D. Anderson & Partners was the architect, Robert W. Chittock the landscape architect and Roy Strom the interior designer who followed the plan through from the start.
Kennedy and his wife, Dorothy, greatly influenced the design, not only as knowledgeable connoisseurs and collectors of the arts, but in stressing the manner in which they wished to live in the house.
Although informal materials such as brick, cedar and clay tiles were used throughout, the couple wanted the home to be a suitable setting for formal entertaining and a background for their many fine paintings and pieces of sculpture.
Some of the art pieces were commissioned especially for the Kennedy home.