Happenings at Wooden Window
The Hibernia building across the street, by the same architect The new Proper Hotel, on the corner of McAllister and Market, has been a part of San Francisco's history since the beginning of the 20th century. Originally built in 1906, it shares an architect with the better-known Hibernia building--Albert Pissis-- designer of the Flood Building and the Emporium Building in the City. Formerly a six-story office building, it suffered from the bad luck of being built just in time for the Great San Francisco Quake, which leveled the structure. The Hotel Shaw From the building's days as The Renoir The Renoir Hotel Rebuilding on the site, a new 2-story office building was christened "The Capitol Building." In 1936, 5 additional stories were added in the Renaissance Revival style as the building was rededicated as "The Shaw Hotel," a watering hole and residence that catered to well-to-do city dwellers and visitors from the 1920's through the 1940's. The name remained until the late '70's, when it became "The Miramar Hotel," and later 'The U. N. Plaza". Purchased in 1993 by Regent West Ltd., it endured yet another name change to become known as "The Renoir Hotel." The Renoir closed its doors in April of 2013 and remained abandoned until it was purchased by The Kor Group, already known for the Viceroy Hotels in Santa Monica and Palm Springs. The building, on the National Register of Historic Spaces since 1986, was re-envisioned as a 21st-century boutique hotel as part of the Kor Group's plans to open locations in emerging innovation districts around the country. As part of what city urban planners described as the "Mid-Market Corridor Transformation," plans were drawn up to begin a $40 million renovation of the existing structure to create a 135-room hotel dubbed --along with sister hotels planned in Austin, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn--"The Proper." The new hospitality hub will feature 3 chef-driven restaurants on the ground floor and a 4500 square foot bar, with 360-degree city views, to be known as "Charmaine's." To craft the vision for the new hotel, developers turned to interior designer Kelly Wearstler, known for her opulent, "Gilded Age" aesthetic on other hotel projects including the "Avalon" and "Maison 140" in Beverly Hills. “Each hotel will be intrinsically dialed into the best and the coolest the area has to offer. We will share with customers the flavor of each city,” The new Proper Kelly Wearstler's room interior Kelly Wearstler's room interior The bar at the Villon The Villon Restaurant on the ground floor of The Proper As it was For the exterior of the building, developers brought in architects Hornberger+Worstell and building contractors Cahill Contractors, aided by historical architects Knapp Architects--overseen by the State Historic Preservation Office. Cahill asked Wooden Window to handle the windows, millwork, crown moldings, columns, and balusters on the first floor. As it was As it was As it was As it was As some parts of the building actually pre-date the Great San Francisco Earthquake, the project required both restoration of the historic windows that could be saved and the faithful replication of those too severely damaged to remain. Avalon Glass Works partnered with Wooden Window to restore and replace the original leaded glass panes. The Proper Hotel building has seen more than it's fair share of resurrections but this latest effort has yielded a new addition to San Francisco's great hotels and legendary dining. As always, it's a privilege to be a part of it. Wood turnings ornament the window trim Capitals and brackets on the interior Mounting the ornamental woodwork Millwork in the shop Leaded glass replication References Faucett, M. (2017). Kelly Wearstler Design for Proper Hotels in Austin, Hollywood, San Francisco | Architectural Digest. Architectural Digest. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/kelly-wearstler-proper-hotels Hotel Shaw. (2017). CardCow Vintage Postcards. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.cardcow.com/569145/hotel-shaw-san-francisco-california/ Instagram post by PROPER HOTELS & RESIDENCES • Oct 6, 2017 at 6:45pm UTC. (2017). Instagram. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ6sazchAfF/ Instagram post by PROPER HOTELS & RESIDENCES • Sep 21, 2017 at 11:19pm UTC. (2017). Instagram. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.instagram.com/p/BZUj7jnhXzD/ Luxury Hotel in San Francisco | San Francisco Proper. (2017). Proper Hotels and Residences. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.properhotel.com/hotels/san-francisco/ Mid-Market. (2017). Up From The Deep. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://upfromthedeep.com/mid-market/ Renoir Hotel. (2017). Facebook.com. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.facebook.com/RenoirHotel/ Renoir Hotel - Curbed SF. (2017). Sf.curbed.com. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://sf.curbed.com/building/2604/renoir-hotel Touring the Renoir Hotel in San Francisco, California. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oezqNe1NL8A&feature=related
Wooden Window is a company that restores historic doors and windows, and we could hardly be in a better position than to be near the site of an 18th Century fortification since grown to a complex of more than 800 buildings, known as The San Francisco Presidio. Its history is, literally, the history of San Francisco. For the whole story of The Presidio, click here. The San Francisco Presidio has played its role in every time period and significant event in the country's history. In the 1950's, it served as the headquarters for the Nike missile defense around the golden gate and headquarters for the Sixth U.S. Army. In 1960, it was designated a national historic landmark. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was created in 1972, and the Presidio was turned over to the Park Service in 1994, on the condition that it be self-supporting In 1996, The Presidio Trust was founded to manage the landmark's finances. The current Presidio Visitor's Center began its life as the camp's guardhouse, built around 1900. $5 million and 3 years have revived the building as the gateway to Presidio visitors. Over the years windows have warped, cracked and leaked ...and seen a coat of paint or two After 100 years, the warranty has probably run out Back to what they were meant to be "It used to be a jail, and we were converting it into a use as opposite that as you can fundamentally get,” architect David Andreini (of the San Francisco firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson) tells Curbed SF. (Brinklow, 2017)" The Presidio Visitors Center is one of the several buildings at the Presidio for which Wooden Window has provided restoration and replacement of historic windows and doors. Removed doors and windows from the original structure undergo a variety of restoration techniques--from simple steam stripping and sanding to spot replacements of portions of the original (called "Dutchmen") to the reconstruction of small sections with epoxy. "From the get-go, we saw it was a building with great potential and a lot of integrity, a real gem. We wanted to restore some of that integrity," says Andreini. "It was very symmetrical, and we wanted to preserve how it worked spatially." (Brinklow, 2017) When necessary, original windows are duplicated and replaced--often taking advantage of upgrades for insulation, sound and UV light control. But sometimes, buildings are reluctant to let go of their heritage. Renovation challenges included dealing with a 5-inch slope in the building's concrete floor. “Once a week they used to hose out the drunk tank here, and they wanted it to drain easily,” says Faw. (Brinklow, 2017) The old hoosegow now houses an enormous 3D scale map of the park, historical exhibits, and a bookstore. A replicated, perfect-to-match arched window The Presidio History Room was originally one of the cells in the guardhouse. During the year that a handful of dissidents gathered in Philadelphia to declare their independence from England, 200 haggard and exhausted settlers arrived at the San Francisco Bay. There they put in place a structure whose walls still stand watch over the City. Through corsets and miniskirts, starched collars and Nehru jackets, The Presidio has stood impassive witness to the iconoclasts and adventurers that built the City of San Francisco. Those walls have seen every war in American history and events glorious, cataclysmic and ignominious. They've watched 43 presidents come and go. They've been there as the original settlement transformed from a grubby den of vice and ambition into one of America's great cities--with a world-renowned ballet and symphony, and great museums for both historic and modern art. And they've looked on as, one-by-one, the buildings of the Presidio have been reborn for a new age to serve a new community. The City of San Francisco has a great treasure in the Presidio. If we use it wisely, and restore it carefully, respecting the character and architecture of its time, it will be here for generations to come. As it is, thanks to the efforts of those who work to preserve it, the Presidio witnesses still. Sources: Brinklow, A. (2017). A tour of the Presidio’s historic jail turned visitor center. Curbed SF. Retrieved 5 May 2017, from https://sf.curbed.com/2017/2/24/14725938/presidio-visitor-center-jail-san-francisco
Restoring the East Bay's Electric Rail History At Wooden Window, we do a lot of restoration for architecturally historic structures, but the chance to work close to home, and to recreate the 18-foot tall doors for a landmark of East Bay transportation history was something special--the Interurban Electric Railway Bridge Yard Shop. If you've lived in the Bay Area for some time, you may know that public transportation needs in San Francisco and the East Bay, much like similar urban areas from Brooklyn to Denver, were once served by a robust and vibrant network of electric rail cars. The system maintained routes on both sides of the Bay, as well as commuter trains running across the Bay Bridge. Electric cars passing over the Bay Bridge (c. 1940) Construction on the Oakland Bay Bridge began in 1933 and cost an estimated $77 million to complete. By then, electric interurban railroads had existed on both sides of the bay since the turn of the century. “They were the backbone of our mass transit system for nearly 100 years, with dozens of routes and hundreds of cars, and when they were discontinued in the late 1950s, almost all evidence of their reign was swept away.” ("When Trains Ruled the East Bay - Oakland Magazine - January 2008 - Oakland, California", 2017) Key System Map, C. 1911 For the whole story of the East Bay rail system and trains over the Bay Bridge click here. Shops were built in 1938 to maintain the cars, one for the Southern Pacific and IER Red Trains and one for the East Bay's Key System. They Key System shop, once located near the West Grand Avenue freeway overpass, was eventually torn down. The second, Southern Pacific shop, dedicated to the "Big Red Cars," still stands in what was once called "The Bridge Yard." A sister facility, the West Alameda Car Shop was eventually converted into a winery. The cars operated out of main facilities on either side of the bay. The Interurban Railway Shop in 1958 Over the years, the tracks were removed, the inspection pits were filled in and surfaced over, and the continuous original interior split up into 3 sections. Since the demise of Transbay electric train travel, the shops have been used for the equipment and supplies of the Bay Bridge painting crews. As part of the new EAST Span Project for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the remaining shop was evaluated, included in The National Register of Historic Places and made eligible for rehabilitation to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The great bi-fold doors at either end of the bridgeyard shop had been repaired and modified multiple times over the years. At Wooden Window, our piece of the overall rehabilitation project was to restore and reuse components from the 1938 door sets to create 8 new doors, complete with hardware and steel window inserts, fabricating perfect-to-match new parts where necessary. The first step was to bring the original doors into our shop, strip and restore the original wood, and survey them for all the engineering data necessary to create new parts where needed. Of the historic 12 doors in the shop facade, 4 had been replaced by a roll-up door years ago. The existing doors were salvaged for their original components to create 8 restored units. Metal mullion inserts for the new doors were reclaimed from the 1938 sets and fitted with modern safety glass. Restored doors ready for glazing The massive strap hinges being installed Metal window inserts Setting the doors upright and bolting in the iron hardware Forged steel knuckle. The hinges and metal strapwork are forged steel with a hot dip galvanized finish. Hardware was purchased from Crown Industrial in San Francisco, the same company that provided the original pieces in 1938. Crown also supplied track parts of the original design. But after the war, with the growing popularity and affordability of automobiles, along with the explosion in infrastructure growth, the days of electric Transbay travel were numbered. The cheery little cars hung on until 1958 when $49 million was allocated to re-configure the bridge for all-auto traffic. The last Key System train departed Oakland station in April of 1958. "The last train did not go quietly into the night. It was packed with more than 500 passengers, who managed to get into the control cabs and set off all the train bells and whistles. They also set off flares and trackside warning devices and made such a horrible racket the Oakland cops turned out in force to see what was the matter." (Nolte, 2017) By 1962, the railway system was gone and the bridge reconfigured to carry 5 lanes of auto traffic on each deck. Most of the train cars were scrapped, some were salvaged for rail collections, and a few "emigrated" to continue their life's work in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Depending on how long you've been in the East Bay, you've probably experienced your share of change to the Oakland Bay Bridge. You may have seen the Key System cars first cross the bay. You may have seen them go and be replaced by auto traffic in the 1960's. You may have seen the terrifying collapse of the span in the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, and you may have been here to usher in the spectacular, if controversial, new East Span.
Click to see Becky moving in It was a sad day, one recent Friday, as all of us at Wooden Window bid farewell to Betsy, one of our two CNC machines. Betsy had been with us for more than ten years, and is a veteran of thousands of window projects, but she’s being turned over to a nice family with a farm where she can run free in the pasture. For heaven's sakes, don't drop her Taking her place is our new technical juggernaut, Becky. Becky is the most current, most sophisticated machine of her kind on the West Coast. With separate, independent cutting and machining heads, Becky can do more complex shapes and mill profiles faster than any other CNC. Becky's milling head She can accommodate a larger variety of construction and joinery methods, including multiple dowels and blind tenons. With Becky, wood parts are robotically positioned and held in place—to be machined by two independent heads, four motors and an arsenal of nearly 70 separate custom tools. Independent saw But Becky is more than muscle. She’s a tremendous stride forward in software capability as well. Becky sees parts as more than a set of 2-dimensional tool paths. She handles them as 3-dimensional objects, allowing us to accurately predict assembly fit, part runtimes and to digitally simulate part runs before the wood ever hits the machine. She can do more complex wood engraving and carving, run millwork and more easily take a project from previsualized 3d model to prototype, or mockup. Parts load into the perfect position automatically Becky is now a key player on our Wooden Window team, processing door and window designs, envisioning outcomes, performing tasks and consistently delivering on our promise to provide perfect projects — on time and on budget. Are there supposed to be parts left over?
Sources: History of Stained Glass | Stained Glass Association of America. (2016). Stainedglass.org. Retrieved 1 July 2016, from http://stainedglass.org/?page_id=169 Quick History: Window Glass — Retrospect. (2016). Apartment Therapy. Retrieved 1 July 2016, from http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/quick-history-windowsretrospect-165008
This October Wooden Window was proud to lend its support to Clayton Timbrell & Company, Butler Armsden Architects, Strandberg Engineering, and Geoffrey de Sousa Interior Design as part of the Leap Arts in Education SANDCASTLE BUILDING CONTEST at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The Sandcastle Contest is a fundraiser to support Leap's arts programs. The Sandcastle Contest is now the largest sandcastle event in Northern California. Teams and sponsors involved in Leap's 2014 Sandcastle Contest raised over $262,000 (an all-time record)! These funds will make it possible for Leap to serve over 7,000 students in 25 schools across the Bay Area with hands-on learning experiences in the arts. Begun in 1983, and originally staged at Aquatic Park, the SANDCASTLE CONTEST brings teams from corporations and the building industry together to partner with local schools to build the biggest and best sand sculptures they can imagine. Sculptures are inspired by a set theme each year, and the theme for 2015 is "Sand Cinema." Leap's Sandcastle Contest is one of the largest, most successful, and fun annual charity events in the San Francisco Bay Area. All proceeds benefit Leap, helping to bring programs in the arts to Bay Area schools. Schoolkids help build the sandcastles during Leap's 32nd Annual Sandcastle Contest at Ocean Beach on October 10, 2015. "Leap hosts this spirited competition between teams of architects, designers, contractors, corporations, engineers and local elementary school students each October on Ocean Beach. Before the event, teams meet with students in the classroom to develop ideas based on a set theme. Plans are finalized, clay models are shaped, team structure and schedules are defined, and tasks are assigned, all in preparation for the big day. On the morning of the event, the teams and students arrive and await the whistle that signals the start of the contest. As soon as it sounds, four hours of intensive building begin. By the end of the day, the beach has transformed into a land of magical creatures and fantastical structures. The teamwork involved in creating these works provides an intense learning experience for both the students and the many sponsors who participate." Leaparts.org,. 'Sandcastle Contest: Overview - Leap, Arts In Education, San Francisco'. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Dec. 2015. The mayhem stretches down Ocean Beach to The Cliff House Wooden Window and team were privileged to build a winning sandcastle together with students from Commodore Elementary School. "The participation is always inspiring. Each team sponsors an elementary school in the SF Unified School district and each team targets a fundraising goal. Team firms are responsible for the design of their sand sculpture and all the lead up logistics, and the set up at Ocean beach the day of the event. A group of kids from the school shows up (probably from several different classes) with teachers and parents as well. Typically there are 40-50 young people and team members working on each sand sculpture." Bill Hamilton, Commercial Account Representative, Wooden Window Additional Information: YouTube,. '2015 Leap Sandcastle Contest (Trailer Version 1)'. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. Claytontimbrell.com,. 'Clayton Timbrell & Company'. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. Butlerarmsden.com,. 'Top Fundraisers Again For The LEAP Sandcastle Contest! | Butler Armsden Architects | San Francisco'. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.
Old Town hosts a variety of seasonal events. Here, one of a group of magicians gathered to show off and withold their secrets from one another Barrels of sweets in Old Town's Candy Heaven, on Front Street Kayakers taking advantage of the warm weather The Delta Queen, a riverboat hotel on the water Just a few weeks back, Wooden Window focussed its quarterly offsite meeting on deepening our commitment to, and implementation of, our company-wide quality management system. Our CEO, senior managers, and consultants gathered to, among other objectives, lay out a tactical map to integrate the pursuit of optimal quality throughout the organization. This time, our meeting was held at Old Town Sacramento and, if you haven't been there (I've lived in California my entire life, and I hadn't), you might consider a visit. Early Sacramento’s waterfront location made it the perfect port for river commerce but was prone to severe flooding by the Sacramento River. Major floods nearly erased the city in 1852 and 1853. In 1862, a massive project was undertaken to bring in thousands of cubic yards of earth to raise the street level of the city. Portions of the original street level surface still exist under boardwalks and in basements. "In the mid-1960s, a plan was set forth to redevelop the area and through it, the first historic district in the West was created. Today, with 53 historic buildings, Old Sacramento has more buildings of historic value condensed into its 28 acres than most areas of similar size in the West. Registered as a National and California Historic Landmark, the properties in the district are primarily owned privately, with individual businesses leasing shops and offices." -- http://oldsacramento.com/about/history Old Sacramento is a virtual theme park of historical architecture, river views, restaurants, shops, and museums. It's well worth the visit. http://oldsacramento.com/attractions/museums http://oldsacramento.com/special-events
Mark Christiiansen, CEO There Has Been an Important Change at Wooden Window. Wooden Window has successfully grown every year for over 35 years under the ownership of Bill Essert, and nearly tripled in size since Mark Christiansen joined the business 8 years ago. In October of 2014, Mark took over as CEO, and we're now excited to announce the transition of Bill Essert into a new position -- Director of Strategy -- as Mark becomes a new generation of ownership at Wooden Window. Business goals and plans remain the same under the new ownership, particularly the company's total commitment to producing error-free projects, begun more than a year ago with the institution of an organization-wide Quality Management System. Under this system, Wooden Window develops, documents and enforces specific procedures for every aspect of design, engineering, and production, and install. Any errors that may occur are fed back into the system to perform corrections and to make sure that they do not recur. Wooden Window has significantly reduced error rates and will continue to do so as we pursue our goal of producing consistently flawless products -- on time and on budget -- for our customers. We look forward to our sustaining our partnership with our customers, and to providing the superior products and services that have made Wooden Window the most respected custom door and window fabricator in Northern California. Our best wishes for the remainder of 2015. Best Regards, Mark Christiansen, CEO
It's nice to work with friends. We had that opportunity when Treve Johnson, our long-time photographer needed new windows for his home. Treve knew our reputation for craftsmanship and quality first hand. "I didn't have to think twice about who to choose as a vendor... I've been on a number of projects where their windows and doors have been installed, and I've heard testimony from a number of home owners, contractors and architects." For this project, Treve needed to replace a leaking window. But Treve was also facing a problem common to Bay Area homes, and one with which Wooden Window is intimately familiar: "Our house is close to 90 years old, a MacGreggor home built in 1927. As such, the house has settled a bit which means the windows and doors are no longer square and plumb..." Taking initial measurements Just because we're traditional, doesn't mean we're old fashioned. Lasers gauge how out-of-square or out-of-plumb a window opening is In older Bay Area homes, door and window openings are often no longer square Again, our reputation helped to put Treve's mind at ease: "I knew if I had Wooden Window replace the window I would get something that matched the straight-grained fir of the original bay window, maintain the architectural integrity of the house, and would fit properly." "We now have a window, that was custom fit to the opening... The window opens and closes without binding and it looks like it matches the rest of the window trim. When the rains come this winter, we'll be snug and cozy with our new window, new roof, new foundation and new paint job." That's what we do. Another day, another window...Wooden Window.
“The little guy“ isn’t what this beautiful 1950’s ranch-style home would be in most neighborhoods, but amidst the multi-level giants climbing into the hills of this historic Piedmont community, it may well have felt a little lonely—perhaps even a little underdressed. But there’s a company for that — Wooden Window. The home’s owners asked us to replace their original single-pane, metal frame windows with something a little more suited to the overall quality of the house. Wooden Window custom fabricated solid wood, insulated glass windows to enrich the home’s architecture and update it’s energy efficiency — all under the watchful and demanding eye of the City of Piedmont’s architectural review. Not so little anymore, eh?
When Santa Clara Development, ELS Architecture and South Bay Construction needed retail entries for their "Alvin's Corner" mixed-use project on Hamilton Avenue in Campbell, they selected Wooden Window to custom fabricate solid doors and windows for 25 arched storefronts. Alvin's Corner is made up of 3 floors of high-end housing above a retail ground floor. Storefronts for the retail outlets were crafted of stain-grade solid oak and installed by Wooden Window--including all necessary hardware. Although still under construction, the residents of Campbell are soon to enjoy a new selection of their favorite retailers, as well as the availability of dozens of new luxury housing units.
For those of us committed to preserving the historic architecture of Northern California, this homeowner's story was sadly familiar. Before After " House was built in 1908 as a small Queen Anne. In 1930, the roof was lifted to make 2 front bedrooms upstairs instead of one. The house was then stuccoed over. By 1936, almost all the interior 'gingerbread' was gone, as were two (!) fireplaces. The holes where the fireplaces sat were covered over with sheets of plywood--which are still there to this day." Undaunted by the gradual decomposition of her home in the years since it's construction, the owner, Mira Amiras, decided to bring back the intent, if not the exact form of the house in all it's original glory -- and more. "The house façade has not been restored, as that would have meant tearing out the upstairs. It's been, instead, 'reimagined.'" Mira's shepherd, Fiona, modeled for the "Maybeckian" dragons Mira's partner in this extraordinary transformation was the remarkable Skeeter Jones of San Francisco's Clearheart Fine Design. Skeeter's company was founded in 1982 on Skeeter's more than 35 years in the building trades -- from ski resort condominiums and contemporary homes to 'Salt Box', Colonial and Victorian restoration. Skeeter has recreated more than 90 Victorian facades in San Francisco, as well as a number of major structural additions. Wooden Window was delighted to provide historically accurate, solid-wood windows for the project. And even more pleased with Mira's reaction. Every project needs a vigilant foreman. "I am so grateful to you guys for the work that you do. I looked for years for folks who made 'real' windows for our house. And watched my neighbors destroy their homes with hideous windows. Thank you so much for your work!"