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Home & Garden Design
Publication Date: Monday, November 29, 2004

Fitting right in
From a mock-Georgian mansion to an Arts-and-Crafts beauty

by Sharon Driscoll

With stables, a guesthouse, redwood groves and fields stretching out over 2.5 level acres, Clay and Mari Baker knew they'd found a special property when they purchased their home in Woodside four years ago.

Reclaimed cherry wood sawn into wide floorboards extends throughout much of the house today.

A well-built house with a good footprint, the problem was its style, he says of the mock Georgian home built only 10 years ago.

"The house was not native to Woodside," says Clay Baker, a retired software executive turned home and furniture designer. "We wanted it to look like it belonged here."

Taking the project on himself, Baker's challenge was to turn the 5,054-square-foot house into a bungalow. He re-designed the interior and exterior of the home, taking care to be true to the Arts-and-Crafts movement by sourcing handcrafted materials, even making some himself.

He also wanted to recycle as much as possible. "The old doors, windows, appliances, mantels, fixtures and moldings were all salvaged," Baker says. "One of our carpenters even made a fence for his home from the redwood that was taken off the living-room ceiling. There was certainly debris that went to the landfill, but we did everything we could to minimize the volume."

Gone are the cream marble floors, white walls, plaster mantelpieces, and ornate molding. Four years on, the walls are rich hews of green, red and yellow. Most floors are now covered with 150-year-old reclaimed cherry wood, sawn into 8 x 12-inch-wide floorboards. Cherry wood is used liberally here for the doors, cabinetry, fireplace mantelpieces and molding.

Arts-and-Crafts touches begin at the hand-crafted front door, and include the bathrooms, with cherry cabinetry.

The front door is a handcrafted, cottage-style cherry and ebony wood, with inset stained glass. In the foyer, an inlaid-wood carved medallion of the sun designed by Baker welcomes guests. Originally one large space, the foyer and living room are now separated by a wall.

"We defined the entryway, creating a separate living room," Baker says.
The standard-size windows and doors in the house were replaced with custom-made taller ones to let in more light.


Quarter-sawn cedar siding replaced the mock-Georgian stucco on the exterior.

"Before the remodel, I walked through the house and realized there was no light. Changing the windows and doors made a huge difference," he says.
Arts-and-Crafts-style molding, dovetailed cabinetry and hand-hammered hardware are repeated throughout the house.

"Homes can feel incomplete if materials and style are changed. You need a consistency, a thread throughout and a theme to make it feel whole," he says.
To achieve a variation of the theme, Clay occasionally changed the wood or stain. In his wife's study, maple wood is used for the molding and cabinetry to create a lighter look. In the children's bedrooms, a clear finish gives the cherry woodwork a light chocolate color.

An inlaid-wood sun medallion is a focal point of the new foyer.

In the kitchen, the original bleached oak and blue tile is now cherry cabinetry and Atlantic black granite counter tops, with stainless-steel appliances. A second sink and ice machine allows the counter to double-up as a bar when the family entertains. Out of the work triangle, a small second refrigerator is easily accessible to the kids -- keeping them out of the way while Clay and Mari are busy cooking.

"We have big family gatherings, and this works well for us," he says.
While not needing to build new space, the house was expanded by turning an attached garage into a family room, guest room and bathroom -- conveniently located just off the kitchen. A stable to the rear of the home is now a garage, workroom and office.

Instead of bleached oak and blue tile in the kitchen, the Arts-and-Crafts version features cherry cabinetry and Atlantic black granite counter tops. Arts-and-Crafts touches extend throughout the house, including moldings in the master bedroom.

The master bathroom boasts a raised tub with views of a redwood grove, his-and-hers sinks and vanities, a fully enclosed toilet and sandblasted green glass-encased steam shower.

The colors are softer here where the floor, walls and counter tops are crËme marble, the cherry wood molding and cabinetry made light with bleaching. Green glass sink bowls pick up on the green accent tiles in the floor.

The master bath - more reminiscent of spa - features softer colors, a raised tub and a steam shower.

"My wife said make it feel like a spa, and I think I did," Baker says.
Connected to the bathroom is a cherry-paneled dressing room with built-in closets and a freestanding dresser.

"This is my temple to wood," he says.

The stucco exterior of the house has been replaced with quarter-sawn Western red-cedar siding. Hand-made copper gutters, green-stained custom Shaker shutters, and an18-inch base of Connecticut blue stone under the windows complete the craftsman look.


"There's something about the craftsman style that's comforting," he says. "So even on a large scale, it's welcoming."

Design challenge/goal:
To transform a mock-Georgian mansion into an Arts-and-Crafts bungalow recycling as much of the original home's materials as possible


Year house built:1994
Size of project: 5,054-sq.-ft. main house, 550-sq.-ft. guesthouse, 3,000-sq.-ft. barn, and 2.5-acre grounds
Time to complete: Two years to design and remodel the interior of the house
Budget: Undisclosed, but "the scope of the project was equivalent to what it would have cost to tear down and rebuild the home new," Baker says.

Designer: Clay Baker, Clay Baker Design, (415) 509-6114, [email protected], www.claybaker.com
General contractor: Todd Blocker, CSI Construction, 1755 E. Bayshore, #27A, Redwood City, (650) 369-2794
Cabinets: Innovative Casework, Dan Bridges, 2663 Fair Oaks Ave., Redwood City, (650) 364-8112, www.innovativecasework.com
Doors: Brother's Custom Windows & Doors, 360 Industrial Road, Unit C
San Carlos, (650) 592-9504, www.brotherswindows.com
Glass mural: Donna Hunt, Donna Hunt Design, Woodside, (650) 851-9367
Stained glass: American Artisans, Ariel Snyders and Michelle Rein, Redwood City, (650) 366-9932
Marble/granite/slate: Marble Masters, Anthony Busa, 442 Victory Ave., South San Francisco, (650) 871-6921
Wood grills: P.A. Bet, San Carlos, (650) 508-2585

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