American Hardwoods
Real American Hardwoods

When artist Hadley Williams renovated her family home in California’s Bay Area, she asked the makeover team—designer Sherry Williamson, architect Andrew Mann, and builder Michael McCutcheon—for a clean-lined, elegantly simple, and ultra-eco-friendly residence. Plain-sawn American white oak played an enormous role in achieving a beautiful balance between aesthetics, sustainability, and healthfulness. Here’s a quick look.

The living-dining area in a Bay Area house renovated by Sherry Williamson Design, Andrew Mann Architecture, and McCutcheon Construction. Photograph by David Wakely

Along with sustainability, matters of health and well-being were a priority for the client, who wanted to go beyond the issues addressed in the standard green-building certification program. Accordingly, each and every building product used was screened for a comprehensive list of more than 900 chemicals of concern. Stainless steel substitutes for brass in plumbing fixtures to eliminate exposure to lead, and alternatives to standard plywood were found to avoid the volatile organic compounds found in laminate glues. Thanks to those efforts, the house has been certified LEED Platinum—the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest ranking.

In the master bedroom and elsewhere, custom steel trusses span new vaulted ceilings. Photograph by David Wakely

Taking their cues from the home’s exterior—a pared-down version of a traditional New England clapboard house—the team wrapped all the floors, ceilings, walls, and casework in the gutted and simplified interiors with American white oak. Certified as coming from responsibly managed forests, the horizontal boards in four different widths are applied in an intricate pattern that appears random but is actually carefully calibrated to accommodate light switches, outlets, door heads, and countertops in precise positions. There are no architraves or other forms of trim, just unembellished simplicity.

Simple industrial materials define the custom staircase; the sculpture is by Andy Vogt. Photograph by David Wakely

Mann designed a restrained yet striking new staircase using industrial materials to refined effect. Comprising oak treads and risers supported on a cantilevered blackened-steel underframe, the stair is fitted with a stainless-steel open-mesh balustrade topped with an oak handrail. Again, the proportions, alignments, and details of the various elements were carefully determined, emulating the homeowner’s approach to composition in her own artworks, which feature simple geometries repeated with subtle variations. That same modus operandi was applied throughout the house, accounting for the sense of calm and repose that pervades its unfussy interiors.

Sherry Williamson Design, Inc.
38 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Andrew Mann Architecture
360 Langton Street, Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94103

McCutcheon Construction, Inc.
1280 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710


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American Hardwood Information Center
American Hardwood Information Center10 hours ago
Happy Earth Day from The American Hardwood Information Center! While we love celebrating this special day, we also hope to spend every day caring for our planet through our industry.

#AmericanHardwoods #RealAmericanHardwood #EarthDay2024 #HappyEarthDay #LoveYourPlanet #SustainableHardwood #SustainableHomes #DesignForTheFuture #RealWood #HomeDesign
American Hardwood Information Center

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