Praise & Press
What the World is Saying about Wooden Window
Built in Oakland the year of the San Francisco Earthquake, this Oakland home came to a new owner with its shares of issues — termite problems, settled foundations and original wood windows replaced with aluminum. But this homeowner was determined to fix the problems and restore the architecture to its original charm. He took care of the insect damage, repaired the roof and made his mark as a true Californian by installing solar panels. The basic structure of the house was solid, if a bit off-square, so one of the owner’s first priorities was the restoration of the home’s windows to their original all-wood craftsmanship. He wanted to create a window seat nook that would bring back the decorative divided-lites and create a focus for the living room that would also elevate the houses street appearance and curb appeal. Wooden Window fashioned casement windows to meet those requirements and provided the expertise for seamless installation in spite of the off-kilter structure of the house. The owner couldn’t be happier with the “amazing” result.
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?
Miscellaneous publications where Wooden Window has been featured.
The Guild Quality Guildmaster Awards celebrate service excellence among home builders, remodelers, developers, property managers, home services contractors, and real estate professionals. The awards are open to all Guildmembers who apply. GuildQuality begins accepting applications in October 1, and announces the award winners on or about May 1 of the following year. In granting awards, GuildQuality considers two primary metrics for each candidate: the percentage of customers who would recommend and the percentage of customers who responded. Incorporating a high response rate into the calculation enables us to confidently recognize top performing companies, however, in many cases, some companies will receive very high customer satisfaction scores but may not qualify because too few customers responded to a survey. Please note that the Guildmaster award requirements and review process change from year to year. There are two major changes to the process and qualifications this year: First, we introduced a public review period for each application (in prior years, applicants provided written affirmations of the veracity and completeness of their customer lists). Second, we have reduced the minimum response rate required for applicants with larger customer volumes (who tend to have lower response rates, regardless of their customers’ level of satisfaction). Both of those changes are described in more detail below. Minimum Recommendation Rate The primary requirement for receiving a Guildmaster Award is exemplary customer service, as demonstrated by an extremely high customer recommendation rate. In the home building, remodeling, and real estate industry, the average customer recommendation rate for businesses is approximately 70%. In order to receive a Guildmaster Award, a member must achieve a recommendation rate of 90% or greater.
Since 2005, Guild Quality has surveyed nearly 1,000 customers on our behalf. We welcome you to review hundreds of surveys from our recent customers, including these recent testimonials: They did a good job for me like always. I'll always call them when I need them." --Tom Butt Architect; Richmond, CA City Council Member; President, Rosie the Riveter Trust "Professional. High quality product at a fair price." --Dan Hano, McCutcheon Construction, Inc. "Everyone I've interacted with at Wooden Windows has been personable and professional, from Jeff and your office staff, to your field crew. The workmanship is consistently excellent. The two french doors with transoms that we ordered recently, in particular,were unusual in their design demands and Wooden Windows' solutions improved upon the originals while staying closer to the original intent of the architect. Much appreciated." --Bob Jones,Creative Spaces Jeff was great to work with and I was impressed with the shop. I am very happy with windows and my fellow historical windows folks were impressed as well. I would not hesitate to recommend Wooden Windows. --Diane Ayers, Preservationist "High Quality product for an honest price is the most important.Polite and articulate installation crew, neat and professional; it's critical that clients feel comfortable with a sub whom they have never met." --Geoff Austin, Leeward Construction
This summer, when teachers move back into Wildwood Elementary School, which has been closed for a seismic overhaul this year, they’ll be able to breathe a breath of fresh air—literally. The school’s original windows, which have jammed up since the building was constructed in 1935, will open and close with ease, thanks to Wooden Window. Jeff Bent , Project Manager, Wooden Window, Inc. and Pete Palmer-- Surveying the original historic triple ganged school-house wood windows in Wildwood School. Even after many years of deferred maintenance, these original wood windows do not need to be replaced to be brought back to as-new operation. Wooden Window applies a little modern craftsmanship and a ton of historic know-how to bring the fresh air back into Wildwood school. Piedmont-owned Wooden Window has made the elementary school's 76-year-old windows work again. The following was published 6/14/2011 on the Piedmont Patch. Local Company Rescues Wildwood's Windows By Amy Jeffries The 31-year-old woodworking company run by Piedmont dads Bill Essert and Mark Christiansen disassembled the windows and ungummed the works. "Some of the windows were in pretty good shape and they just need like an oil change. Others needed severe adjustments," Essert said. Wooden Window has been involved in other school projects in Piedmont. The company crafted the wooden doors at the entrance of the new Havens Elementary School and custom-built windows to match old ones when the high school underwent seismic retrofits. Essert said the company hopes to help out at Beach Elementary School too once renovations get underway there this summer.
Wooden Window has recently been featured on numerous episodes of various home improvement programs on HGTV and in many publications across California.
Wooden Window crafted the doors that adorn the entrance to the New Havens Elementary School. See the Piedmont Post article by Michael Howerton.