DFR SEA 2017 is a Return to Our Promise: Rediscovery, Rejuvenation, and Reconnection. Less Distraction.  More Amore.

Thursday, September 28th – Sunday, October 1, 2017

 Seattle’s Hidden Gems.

This year’s theme is Seattle’s Hidden Gems. It is a reminder that what we value most is often hiding in plain sight. Stuff like: Wonder, Friendship, and Kindness. With Seattle as our setting, we share some of the city’s best secrets. Each night we set a bountiful table of fine food, wine, and conversation. Your role is to populate this table with your unique gifts.

It’s you we came to see.

The Un-Conference: This is a professionally curated and managed event but it is not a professional business conference. There are no workshops or lectures. No bad coffee or lousy food. No Instagram shares or Twitter feeds. There are no sponsors. Not hat-passing. There is no Art Auction. We will only do and see what we can afford to pay for ourselves. If there are funds left over after Reunion, we will donate them to a local Seattle youth education charity. If you’ve been before, you know we respectfully discourage divas, whiners, and Klingons. This gathering is about down time with up friends, fresh experiences and fresh-caught salmon, bright pinot noir and dark craft beer, and Dudes in Kilts (who oughtn’t be) and Gals in Tats (who oughta be).


Grand Equity.

$675 Reunion Fee.
$125 Per Hidden Gem Tours.

Reunion fee covers everything except tour costs. You can choose from six tours, three Friday, three Saturday. Go solo or bring a spouse. Reunion fee covers the cost of three lavish dinner events, including venue rental, plus reunion administrative costs. Hidden gem fee covers cross-city transportation via UBER, lunch, entry fees, and any additional out of pocket expenses.

Each tour limited to 25 persons.


Hidden Gem Itineraries:

Time Out. Tune In. Listen & Learn.

There are 6 Hidden Gem tours; 3 on Friday and 3 on Saturday. All tours begin at 10 am and conclude, roughly, at 4 pm. Cost are $125 per tour, per person. Take your spouse one day; explore Seattle on your own the next day.  Each limited to 25 persons. Itineraries will focus on a variety of subjects:  music, flora, fauna, food, public art, architecture, science, engineering, history, myth, internationalism, ghosts, weirdness, and strange smells. Lean in. Take a whiff. Be inspired.

Just you wait. We will reveal architectural marvels you didn’t know existed. If you think we are just talking about pumpkin-sized bolts on Space Needle’s legs, you are mistaken. Now, were we tell you WHAT we are sharing, it’d spoil the surprise. To those among you who think you’ve seen it all, word for the wise: “Architecture” goes beyond physical. It can be metaphysical.

Seattle has stunning public gardens, parks, and wildlife. See seabirds from the Terrace at the SAM Sculpture Park. Trumpet an unheralded zoo close in town. View SEA atop Poor Man’s Space Needle.  Prick your finger on astonishing cacti in this wet city. Flying Monkeys? Yes, after libation at the Volunteer Park Cafe you’ll see like Dorothy watch Monkeys aloft.

Spooky, Loopy & Strange is Seattle’s way of life. See unsurpassed levels of weird, fanciful, mythic, para-legal, and nuts; ghosts, gamblers, grave yards, and gore;  the grave of Curt Cobain – oh, wait: he has none— and Bruce Lee’s. Duck beneath the streets of Pioneer Square. Listen for the aboriginal ghosts of Pike’s Market then channel gamblers, murders, and charlatans that frequented gorgeous hotels of Gold Rush Seattle. Need to pee? So do we: Enjoy the view from the Ladies at Columbia Tower Club, offering one the finest views of city spires. Fetishes, beards, tats, rats, and kilts? Don’t blink. You’ll miss ten.

You say “fuh” and I say “poe.” They may call it International District but it’s all about the Far East: Chinatown, Japantown and Little Saigon. If you smell something unusual, you’re there. Fermented fish is a distinctive olfactory branding device. Dim sum, tempura, pho, Bruce Lee’s haunts, the largest sento (bathhouse) in the U.S., Massive Monkees dance crew, and bubble tea flowing from fountains. Soy Town is a wonder filled part of town.

Seattle is a city built on diverse ideas and innovation. And landfill. This tour will require sobriety and focus. Put away your iPhone. Engage your “little grey cells”. See the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, learn how Seattle engineers moved mountains at MOHAI, explore the Jet Age at Museum of Flight and marvel at public spaces in Seattle Center (did you know Space Needle was originally painted gold and had a gas light on top?). Wind down with an adult beverage at historic the Polar Bar inside the Artic Club. That is the plan.But who knows? Necessity is the mother of invention: we might take the tour by boat.

Seattle is rich with art and design. Yes, there is the SAM. But there is also the FRYE.  There is the Asian Art Museum at Volunteer Park. But have you ever visited the Suyama Space? How about a serene pocket park dedicated to the founder of UPS known to locals as the Waterfall Garden Park? We will visit the overlooked Mural Ampitheater near Space Needle—ignore the que for the $35 elevator ride and enjoy the free exhibit on the ramp that celebrates the making of the Space Needle. If we are lucky, Stanley Hainsworth might even let us see his beehives on the roof of Tether’s office.


The Five Spot. Lunch at Pikes Market. Mooncakes in Chinatown. High Tea at the Volunteer Park Cafe. Fresh baked cookies at Hello Birdy. And every twee herb garden, coffee shop, gluten-free bakery, and oenophile habitat in between. Lunch is on us. The rest is on you. Literally. You’ll be wearing  joi de vivre and cuisine insolite on the plane ride home.

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    While visiting the Emerald City, here’s a some others Hidden Gems you can visit on your own if you opt out of the itineraries we have created.

    The Frye Museum Small, local and so very well done; especially the salon style permanent collection in one room, floor to ceiling

    The Showbox at the Market Great, small venue for music that’s been around since the 1930s

    Monsoon Upscale Vietnamese on 19th on Capital Hill – so good for lunch

    Kubota Gardens A gift to the city in the form of Japanese inspired gardens and one of the most admired in the nation

    The Walrus and Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Bar Melusine Anything by Renee Erickson, really

    Westland Distillery Local, award-winning and you don’t even need a reservation to show up and sample their wares


    You are free to stay wherever you prefer. We have identified 20+ units at Belltown Court Condominiums. These units are available first come, first served.
    Reserve units through the Seattle Oasis Vacations.

    Use this code to receive our group discount: FashionForward17.


    Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendance is limited to 75 persons. DFR is  self-funding, so please make payment as soon as possible.

    • Reserve your place with a deposit of 50% by check by April 30, 2017.
    • Final payment due by June 30, 2017.
    • Make checks payable to DESIGN FAMILY REUNION and snail mail c/o M Porter, 1545 N Morningside DR, Atlanta, GA 30306.
    • Want to put it on your credit card? PayPal payments available upon request. 

    Questions? Email Matthew Porter:


    Face it, if you are reading this, you probably already have our contact but in case you
    don’t or are just plain lazy, we can be gotten here:

    Matthew Porter

    Terry Marks

    If y’all saw the tasty letterpressed invitation, we owe deep thanks and props to the remarkable Todd Thyberg of Angel Bomb.
    Most gracious thanks to Jamie Saunders and Neenah to toothy Design Collection (Wild) paper.

    This reunion is sponsor-free, profit-free, diva-free, and whinge-free. Our aim is to not go broke while setting a generous table of rare friends, great stories, immense gratitude, and memorable meals.  DFR is a labor of love offered (not sold) given by Matthew Porter, his husband George, Terry Marks, Cathy and Francis Pavy, Justin Ahrens, Kevin McConkey, Tom Biederbeck, Elliot Strunk, Tom Ingalls, Abbey Fowler, Joel Nakamura, Chris Sickels, Elliot Strunk, Fred Cisneros, Wendy Quesinberry, Todd Christensen, Felix Sockwell (who in pajamas is far more giggly and girlish than he appears in public), Ann Willoughby, Emily Potts, Rebecca Bedrossian,  Mr. and Mrs. Jacki McCarthy, Todd Thyberg, the Atlanta Grimmetts, and the Austin Lewis-Carnegies.