Beauty and Brains: Building Sustainably With Redwood

Beauty and Brains: Building Sustainably With Redwood

By Jenny Xie
The return of summer barbecues and back porch hangouts means that outdoor living spaces are again enjoying heavy foot traffic. For these areas, few materials are as strong and visually striking as redwood.

Redwood's virtues of color, texture, and grain pattern lend a sense of richness and depth to a space, creating a welcoming natural environment for guests. Its distinctive hue comes from natural tannins that also contribute to its architectural integrity, which explains why the material is so popular among architects, builders, and DIY-ers.

San Francisco firm Lundberg Design built this cabin out of reclaimed materials, including the exterior redwood, which has aged into an elegant, ashen gray. In a past life, the pool acted as a water tank for livestock.

As a structurally sound material, redwood is ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects. Less prone to shrinkage or swelling than other woods, redwood lumber lasts 25 to 35 years with minimal maintenance, and over 100 years when used inside. Redwood is resistant to insects, fire, and rot, adding durability to structures that need to brave the elements. In the summer months, it stays cool enough for bare feet.

Here at Dwell’s San Francisco office, we’re fortunate to be close to the Northern California coastline and its dense groves of redwood and Douglas fir trees. Humboldt Redwood Company, together with Mendocino Redwood Company, manages over 440,000 acres of this resource, supplying the Western U.S. and beyond with top grade lumber. Formed in 2008, Humboldt Redwood Company has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) for its sustainable practices, which focus on not only protecting old growth forests and the ecosystems they sustain, but also nurturing new growth. Each year, it plants more than it harvests and sells wood byproducts for gardening and landscaping applications.

Redwood decks require less substructure and building material. While other materials require 12- to 16-inch spans from joist to joist, redwood’s shear strength allows for 24-inch spans.

Using redwood helps reduce the environmental footprint of your project. Humboldt Redwood Company honors its responsibility as forest stewards by selectively harvesting and replanting trees—that is, over 10 million seedlings to date. A team of wildlife biologists focuses on preserving biodiversity and monitoring vulnerable species like northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and Point Arena mountain beavers. Lumber, a carbon reservoir, also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Humboldt Redwood Company will join us at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles on June 24th through 26th. Visit Booth D1-2 to learn more about the benefits of using redwood in your home building and remodeling projects.

A home in Sonoma County, California uses redwood for the interior beams, trim, and entryway storage to evoke a pastoral warmth.

A versatile material, redwood can be left to turn a rustic, silver-tone gray, or finished to take on a glowing tint. A pergola such as this one, which will accompany Humboldt Redwood Company at Dwell on Design, can imbue your backyard space with both stateliness and charm.

This post was sponsored by Humboldt Redwood Company.


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