Red, White & Blue: The WestWard House Loves You!

red home exterior

Photo by Grey Crawford.

I met the Teds, as I affectionately and efficiently refer to them, 9 years ago. I came to Vashon Island to produce a story for Country Living magazine on WestWard, their weekend home. Ted Watson is the proprietor of Watson Kennedy, well known Seattle shopping destinations. He blogs regularly about the good life, and will be a published author in 2014. Ted Sive is a business and marketing consultant for architects, engineers, and contractors. They are industrious, creative, and charitable men, and WestWard is a much needed retreat.

Jane Dagmi and Ted Watson and Ted Sive

I’m in a red, white, and blue Ted Sandwich! Watson is wearing the cap.

setting a table at Ted Watson's house

Setting a table with Ted Watson is always fun.

Watson and Sive bought the house in 1999 from a former Mayor of Seattle. The property included a main house and one smaller building which now serves as studio and guest quarters. They have since built two other small structures. They named it WestWard in honor of its hillside perch overlooking Puget Sound.

WestWard view

WestWard is enjoyed year round. Watson says that the clouds and rain add an extra layer of peacefulness.

small shed could be a second guest bedroom

Recent additions: Though presently storing equipment, Sive and Watson are entertaining plans for the small shed may include a very cozy second guest bedroom.

million dollar red 2003-10million dollar red 2003-10

The location celebrates beach and country living. While the red, white, and blue décor lends itself to a summer photo shoot, in real life, the crisp patriotic palette rises to the occasion in any season. The classic color scheme reflects the pleasures of their American life and Ted Watson’s Francophile alter ego.

Red white and blue decor

WestWard essentials such as good reads, dog toys, and binoculars rest on an old painted table.

blue lapis 2067-40blue lapis 2067-40

ultra white CC-10ultra white CC-10

The drive from ferry to cabin goes through town, offers plenty of lush rural scenery, and ends on a narrow dirt plateau. WestWard is then a seven flight or 50-step climb down.  The main house finally appears. Painted red with white trim, it stands out amongst the green trees and deep teal water. In physical size, the house is a modest 700 square feet. In soul, it is abundant.

WestWard stone walkway

The walk down to WestWard is a long one and worth every step!

French doors are flung open nearly year round unless it is super cold or raining badly. A hardworking wood-burning stove counterbalances the Seattle chill and makes the inside of the cabin even warmer and cozier. Slip-covered furniture and throw blankets increase the comfort factor.

WestWard Ted Watson

Ted has shopped his own store plus many flea markets for the WestWard look.

The Teds are consummate hosts, and it is a true treat to be under their care. With doors ajar, Watson likens the feeling to a clubhouse. The zinc-topped table stays outdoors from late spring through fall. “We are happiest when we can dine outside,” he says.

zinc topped table

Here are some excerpts from more of our conversation:

JD: The house has a political history and your middle name is Kennedy. Seems like decorating with red, white, and blue was pretty much unavoidable.

crisp white paint

The Teds have enjoyed filling the 360˚ blank canvas of crisp white paint with art, pottery, and vintage finds. Walls are cloud cover OC-25.

Cloud Cover OC-25cloud cover OC-25

TKW:  We actually thought of it the minute we saw the red house. It was the red that it is now, and it had a very preppy, East Coast vibe to it which we love.

red white and blue

Upon a white backdrop, its fun to layer a whole bunch of graphic blue and red stripes and checks.

JD: What about the deck? What’d that look like?

TKW: The deck was green. It seemed like a Christmas house. Not good. So we painted it red to match the house.

JD: How do you maintain it?

TKW: We power-wash it every spring.*

Ted Watson Seattle home

Since life on the island is indoor/outdoor, they visually connected the house and deck with color.

new_pilgrim_red_arborcoat_staincJD: What changes did you make prior to getting your happy hands on the decorating?

TKW: We completely gutted things, cleaned it all up, and just did stuff that made it so much more livable. We added the bank of French doors, moved the bathroom, and put in pine floors.

JD: What was the floor like before?

TKW: Pretty ghastly peel and stick vinyl.

JD: Did you paint it right away?

TKW: No. We left it exposed for a year and then we just knew that it needed to be white.

glossy white floor finish

A glossy white floor just has a fresh vibe. Benjamin Moore Super White.

JD: Easy to maintain?

TKW: Well, we repainted 5 years ago. This time we used a more durable pant. And we wash it with vinegar and water.

JD: How did the stenciled word idea come about?

stencil words on the floor

Scattered words elicit great emotion.

TKW: The stencils reminded us of the words on the ferry boat we take to get to the island and the words themselves are taken from “Sudden Light” by Gabriel Dante Rossetti — a poem we both love. We picked the cardboard letter stencils up at a hardware store.

JD. How does it feel waking up here in the morning?

bold painted colorful doors

Colorful doors are a bold contrast in relation to the surrounding white.

TKW: The sound of the water. The sound of the birds. It is just amazingly peaceful and über private. Like we have been transported to another time.

* A little bit about DECK MAINTENANCE…

According to John Shearer at Shearer Painting, it’s important to maintain wood and color on a deck with the right product. He says that Ted is doing the right thing by washing his deck at least once a year. In instances of extreme exposure, John says that re-coating the substrate may also be an annual necessity. John does like the Arborcoat system. From the photos, Chris Connelly, Director of Product Management at Benjamin Moore says that Ted’s deck could benefit from semi-solid stain and the benches with an opaque one.

All images unless noted otherwise were shot by Jane Dagmi.

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17 thoughts on “Red, White & Blue: The WestWard House Loves You!

    • Ted — Thank you my dear. It is fun to write about you and your decor adventures. eventually however, between city and country — I will run out of material and will need you and Ted to go get another house so that I’ll have future blogs to write. I’m just saying……….xo me

  1. Jane, thanks for sharing this wonderful story. I am a ‘faithful’ (no pun intended) reader of Ted’s blog and frequent his store near Pike’s Market. What a respite from work and such a treat for owners first and guests second.
    Great photos! and Ted’s correct that you have a gift with words.
    Happy 4th to you and yours, Faith Sheridan

    • Faith, thanks for taking the time to comment and so glad that you are a fan. If I come back to Seattle between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would love to get together! I think Ill be working with Ted at the store — will give me some retail mania to blog about! Happy 4th to you too! xo jane

      • Love to see you around the holidays.. we could visit the Escala project. Yesterday we hung their art or part of their collection. Waiting on most of the furniture and motorization/automation. Such a change of energy when art is installed. Cheryl talked about where they found each piece.
        Must be fun to work with Ted especially at holiday mania.
        Warm regards, Faith

  2. Ted or Jane….what product for the white floor in the pictures? Glossy and Glam. White floors are all the rage; which should be a boost to the BM industrial products.

        • John, I watched that video that you produced on painting the floor and it was kind of hypnotic. It looked like fun, moving the compound around. It was very flowy. I am looking at a project now where we may want to paint the concrete floor. But I think we are going to want a mottled + imperfect look that comes with age or a really good painter — but then we may opt for wall to wall since it is a bedroom. Debating……..

  3. Pingback: WestWard House Tour with Ted Watson | House Painting |

  4. Jane, I wandered in here at the suggestion of Ted W. I am an ardent fan of Watson Kennedy style and blatantly gush over Mr. W’s blog frequently. That being said, what a wonderful piece about WestWard. Your style of writing makes me feel as though I were sitting across the table drinking coffee and visiting with you. And BM’s Million Dollar Red certainly delivers-what a glorious color!I am looking forward to reading many more of your entries.

    • Mary, Thank you for the compliment. So glad you liked my story. Getting creative with Ted is super easy. I love it. I could write about him on so many levels. I feel so fortunate to have connected with him in my life. Perhaps we’ll meet sometime at his shop. If I am in Seattle I try and work with him for a day. I find retail quite fascinating and being in a store so beautiful is a treat. Happy 4th, xo jane

  5. Jane – wonderful story and pics! I’ve know Ted for some time and it is a creative treat to work with him (I’m the collage artist who did the wall at Westwest and the doors at the Seattle Home store) You have conveyed perfectly the ease and comfort of his decorating style – thanks for a bright start to my morning…

    • Oh Amy — Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. I love the book page walls and want to actually feature them in another story. I will be in touch. Have a great day, xo jane

  6. Love your article and photos Jane – Westward looks like such a graceful and inspiring place to spend time – well, that’s certainly what you have captured. I love the decor – and the cute additions like the stenciled words on the floors!

    • Oh Christine, it is a very uniquely situated and appointed home. What I also love about visiting there is dreaming up little token of appreciation that go with the theme. This last time it was a painted rock and some sea shell food picks. :) Thanks for taking the time to comment. xo – Jane

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