Book Bliss: Style & Simplicity with Ted Kennedy Watson

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Ted Kennedy Watson is one of the most gracious people I know.  We have become friends over the past few years through design events and the like. I even visited him in his shop in Seattle.  Ted’s daily blog sets the tone for his book being released in the next few weeks.  Ted lives his life through genuine rose colored glasses. he truly stops and smells the roses or tulips in his case. Ted and his husband Ted, live the good life with fine fresh food and wine. They savor each moment and make it beautiful in the most simple way.  This man is from a kinder more gentle and simple time.  Upon our second meeting he came bearing gifts all wrapped to perfection tied up in a beautiful grosgrain bow.  I cannot gush enough about Ted.  

Please do yourself a favor and subscribe to his blog and read his book.  The genuine beauty found in the everyday through Teds’ eyes are amazing. He has taught me how to cook with roast the most delicious veggies and fresh pastas. I have a new appreciation for the farmers market. Ted has the ability to make the ordinary extraordinary through his curated eye. You will not be disappointed. 

Enjoy my interview….


Ted Kennedy Watson

Seattle, Washington

Ted Watson Kennedy photo

What is your training / background?

 I actually was a tennis pro right out of college.  No design training in the least.  Just very visual and have an innate sense of details around me.

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What inspires you? 

Beauty.  The desire to live well.  They are so interconnected to me.  Living well has a different definition for each person.  For me it is daily happiness, quality over quantity, and living each moment to the fullest.


What is your favorite piece in your shop or home design project? 

I am a huge Hugo Guinness fan.  Love his work.  I feel very honored that we show and sell it at Watson Kennedy.

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 How has the your area (Seattle or growing up) influenced your work/ shop/ design? 

I grew up in the Midwest, but played tennis all around the country as a kid.  Travelling and see how other areas of the country live was very influential to me at an early age.  I think my style is a bit of many things, not really about one geographic area.  England and France influence my style tremendously.  I draw inspiration from them tremendously. 


What is your favorite restaurant in Seattle or Hawthorne…New York too (TED has the BEST rest recommendations)

In  Seattle it would be Café Campagne, which is in the Market next to my shop.  Café Presse is close to where we live in the city.  I guess you could say I like French quite a bit.  Close to our home in New York in the Hudson River Valley in Ghent is Local 111 which is in Philmont about 4 minutes from our house, so we often get it for take-out and have dinner by the fire on our back porch.  Le Gamin in Hudson has become a fav spot when we are there vintage shopping.  In NYC hands down Prune and Buvette.  Again, that French thing gets me every time.  All of the above are small, comfortable, intimate, not fancy, where the food takes center stage. 


What is your favorite cocktail? 

I have a few.  Insert smile.  A gin martini is at the top of the list.  If it is made with Hendrick’s gin and a wedge of cucumber, I will be smiling big.  I adore a good Bloody Mary.  A yummy, hearty red wine always makes me happy.


How do you balance personal life and work? 

I feel so fortunate.  I love my work on so many levels.  So even when I am working it feels very personal.  I have an amazing husband (26 years this last January) and I feel so incredibly blessed as we have such a good time together and we strive to have balance, and having it as a goal as a couple is really helpful.  Getting away to our other homes on Vashon Island, and Ghent helps us stay grounded and really forces us to relax.  Which is always a good thing.


Dream trip? 

British Air First Class from Seattle to London.  Spend a few days walking around London, do some shopping, dining, seeing galleries, vintage shopping.  Take the Chunnel to Paris and repeat all that same stuff there.  My needs are quite simple…


 Your favorite host / hostess gift to give? 

A bottle of Grove 45 Extra Virgin Olive Oil in place of a bottle of wine.  What is inside is as magical as the bottle.  A Watson Kennedy staple for many years now.


Who is your style icon? 

Albert Hadley.  He just knew how to mix things up.  Old & new.  High & low.  We had the great honor of meeting him and having dinner with him years ago.  Is a cherished memory.  We shared a love of gin.  I actually bought glasses he used for gin & tonics from his estate shortly after he died.  I look at them every day and smile.  I think he would think they found a good home.

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Your favorite up and coming artist/ shop owner/ author? 

I adore the works of Wayne Pate.  We sell his one of kind works at the Fine Home shop.  Very Matisse and Picasso inspired with his own spin on it all.  They make my heart sing.


What is your most treasured possession? 

The gold Rolex from my parents they gave to me on my 21st birthday.  My dad died a few years after, and it makes me think of him, always.  I have worn it every day since I was given it.


What are you reading? 

My friend Barbara Barry, who wrote the foreword for my book, gave me Memorable Days, which is made up of the selected letters of James Salter & Robert Phelps, for my 50th birthday gift.  She said it is one of her favorite books and will provide a lifetime of reading as they reference so many other books throughout their letters that you want to start reading.  I have been soaking in every letter and reading it really slowly and just occasionally on the week-end at WestWard because I don’t want it to end.


What are you listening to? 

We have music playing all day at the shops, so music is always filling the air around me.  Billie, Ella, Nat–I love the classics.  I adore Coldplay for current day stuff.  That might also have something to do with Chris Martin.  I want to have cocktails with Adele.  Her voice is like a tonic.  My love of all things English shows in this area too.


What are your favorite blogs / publications? 

The English Room, of course, and I love checking in on Pretty Pink Tulips,


and Grant K. Gibson


all written by folks who have become friends and I feel it is a way to stay close.  Oh my stars, I get about every design & food magazine out there.  But the ones I reach for the fastest out of the mailbox are Town & Country, House Beautiful, Vanity Fair and Saveur.  T Magazine at The New York Times which comes out every few weeks on Sunday drives me crazy with happiness at how good it always is.  I love reading about creative folks.


So if you are not already in love with Ted here is note about the upcoming book and some snaps from inside the book. And what is better Style and Simplicity is under $20…actually $12. You can buy a dozen to give as  host / hostess gifts, birthday gifts, and what a great Mother’s Day treat.  Pop over to Amazon and preorder or order at Watson Kennedy signed by the man, the legend. 


Ted Kennedy Watson—acclaimed retailer, blogger, and stylist of the beautiful and unusual—has a passion for the art of display and an understanding of how distinctive touches make a space inviting.  In his lush, lavish, A-to-Z guide,  Style & Simplicity, written, styled and photographed by Watson, he offers his expertise directly to you, and shares his award-winning aesthetic for making time spent at home graciously comfortable, visually rich, and truly personal.

With a foreword written by the internationally renowned designer Barbara Barry,  Style & Simplicity offers everything from design ideas, recipes, quotes, and daily inspiration to Ted’s personal tips that are sure to fill your home and days with tremendous beauty and joy.  And, who couldn’t use more of that in their life?!

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