Steve Hoedemaker Shares His Most Treasured Possessions

Steve Hoedemaker, partner, AIA at Hoedemaker Pfeiffer, is a third-generation Seattle native whose life always brings him back to the region and his family farm located in the San Juan Islands. “Together with my brother and sister, I share a farm in the San Juan Islands that was purchased by our parents when I was two years old. I have lived many places, but this will always be home in its most profound sense,” he said of his most treasured possession. “It’s where the family has been married and buried, where we celebrate and escape. The farm is a gift my parents could barely afford when they bought it, and it has become a place that has value beyond all comparison.”

People and place play important rolls within Steve’s work. His practice weaves together architecture, interiors, and landscape to tell the layered stories of both through contemporary design and timeless traditions that are meant to last for generations.

In fact, if he were to try another creative field, Steve may pivot to writing. He shared that to him the practice runs somewhat parallel to architecture. “To me, writing and architecture are very similar; they use different mediums to create a journey, a specific sense of time and place. I like to ask my clients: What story do you want to tell yourself when you walk through the door of your house? What story do you want to tell your friends when they walk through the door? Using earth, stone, concrete, steel, wood, and glass, architecture is able to take a visitor on a narrative journey. It’s an absolute joy and privilege to help families tell their story, and to be able to go into detail with beautiful interiors and furnishings from Housewright, our shop that’s attached to our offices.”

light-skinned man wearing a plaid button-down and smiling

Steve Hoedemaker

Steve got his start in the industry as an intern to Tom Bosworth while he finished writing his thesis. “I thought it would be a good idea to get some experience before moving on to one of the serious Seattle firms known for modern design. Tom enabled me to work with incredible families to create elegant, restrained retreats; I quickly felt his practice was a place I could stay and grow,” he said of his mentor.

“A few years later, Tom suggested I take over the practice; he hoped to create a platform on which I could build my career and for me to offer him a veil behind which he could back away without ever having to say that he was retiring. This agreement allowed both of us to become the beneficiaries of what he called “outrageous good fortune,” Steve divulged. “At 93 years old today, Tom continues to be an important voice in my life. He is a man of such elegance and wisdom, it would be hard to overstate his value.”

Now, Steve Hoedemaker joins us for this week’s Friday Five!

desk with notebook and small lamp overlooks a green hill through a window

Photo courtesy Wick

My hyperkinetic and incredibly creative friend Seth at Graypants has developed a light that is modern while referencing the past. It’s light that you can hold. It’s light that flatters faces while leaning into mystery. It’s ready to go camping or boating or to run down the middle of an elegant table. Fully portable and rechargeable, it makes good on Ingo Maurer My New Flame’s promise of a truly digital candle, while keeping the romance of warm, dimmable light alive.

abstract pottery

Photo: Andrew Giammarco

I am obsessed with Elias Scalise’s brutalist ceramic pieces. His wheel-thrown work shows a capacity for delicate touch, and his hand-built pieces have a propensity for muscular, irregular shapes. Both iterations benefit from his firing in an anagama wood-fired kiln and wood and ash glazing techniques.

styled wood covered bath with wood soaking tub

Photo: Ian Eland

3. Ofuro Soaking Tub

In my parents’ house, our bathtub was not deep enough to cover my whole body. Since being a grownup is, in part, about reminding ourselves that our childhood need not be how we live as adults, I have this fabulous cedar ofuro tub in my bathroom. It flows right over the top as you lower yourself in, keeping me immersed all the way up to the neck – perfection.

white and wood sailboat anchored in misty waters

Photo: Steve Hoedemaker

4. Sailing

With some friends, I share Norwester, a 1963 50-foot Kettenburg. I’ve always enjoyed how the water changes our perspective, allowing us to look back at the land from a new viewpoint. Sailing teaches you how to listen with your body, to understand what the wind and boat are communicating. It’s a unique kind of quiet, and has become the place I go to recharge and find inspiration. I can’t recommend it enough.

light-skinned man wearing a silver watch and wedding ring

Photo: Andrew Giammarco

5. My Grandfather’s Watch

Accessories become treasured design items, in part, when they carry a story. For example, I wear my grandfather’s Rolex. He bought it in the late ’60s shortly before his death, and as the youngest of his grandchildren, I am the only one who has no memory of him. When I was 18, my uncle gave me his watch. I have now worn it much longer than he ever did, but it has always felt like a pertinent and personal reminder of him, and it has become a piece I love.



Work by Steve Hoedemaker:

the facade of a home built into a hillside at dusk with lights lit within

Decatur Island Residence \\\ Inspired by its site in the San Juan Islands, the team conceived of the new home as a series of simple stone volumes growing naturally from their surroundings. The steep slope and a road directly behind it suggested a stone plinth and stone wall form the base and rear of the house. A pair of massive stone fireplaces rising together within the home’s interior enhanced the concept, separating the main level into public and private realms flanking a central stone staircase. The extended plinth, finally, allowed the interior spaces to flow beyond the building envelope into a seamless outdoor living area with spectacular views. A simple shed roof covering this humble pavilion tips low in front to protect it from the southern summer sun while offering prime real estate to a photovoltaic array above. This window system, while offering sweeping views of Puget Sound and opportunities for passive solar heat, also hides the building’s most complex structural feature – a full-height steel moment frame stretching more than 55 feet across the entire façade. Now described as a personal sanctuary, it invites nature inward without sacrificing privacy. \\\ Photo: Kevin Scott

home kitchen with wall of paned windows and island

Decatur Island Residence \\\ Photo: Kevin Scott

exterior of spanish-inspired home

Rudolph Project \\\ This house was initially designed and built by Lionel Pries in 1930. Our clients came to us with a desire to improve the inherent qualities of the house while also imparting a modern aesthetic. Additionally, the house was in significant need of floorplan rework to improve circulation and spatial connections for modern living. Hoedemaker Pfeiffer drew from our favorite elements of Spanish and European design to create a unique aesthetic that felt true to the original house. A significant addition was added at the back of the structure to make space for a larger kitchen, new sunroom, butler’s pantry, and an additional bedroom suite on the second floor. New materials such as steel windows, brick, and clay roof tile were carefully selected to blend in with the existing materials of the house. Sitting among colorful artworks from a variety of periods and genres, the vibe of the home is far from conventional. \\\ Photo: Haris Kenjar

looking into a dining room from a dark butler's pantry

Rudolph Project \\\ Photo: Haris Kenjar

styled open living space with sofa, armchairs, and tables

Rudolph Project \\\ Photo: Haris Kenjar

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Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she’s likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.

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