When design enthusiasts Mark Henderson and Mercedes McNab purchased the Woerner House in 2011, they had no doubt the 1951 home was a diamond in the rough. Designed by acclaimed architect John Funk and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the Bay Area residence hummed with potential, which motivated the couple to treat the space to a complete restoration.
Mark and Mercedes—who currently live in the dwelling with their children, ages five and eight—found themselves knee-deep in research. "After we bought the home, we were determined to find all of the original plans and photographs," says Mark. After countless hours, they gathered a full archive of the property.
With the original plans in hand, they then tapped local architect David Yama to assist with the remodel. One of the first design decisions was to install white terrazzo tile flooring throughout the interior, which measures over 3,600 square feet.
"We had seen terrazzo in other midcentury houses across the Bay Area and in Los Angeles, and we liked the clean, glossy look—as well as the fact that it was a floor choice often used in the post-war period," Mark says.
Complementing the terrazzo floors, white concrete patio surfaces connect the interior and exterior, creating a sense of continuity and expansiveness. In addition to prioritizing indoor/outdoor living, the couple were adamant about keeping as many original details as possible.
"We tried to keep the plaster ceilings intact," says Mark. "It added a softness, as opposed to drywall. This was a challenge, as we needed to make openings and chase ways for new electrical. The easy way out would have been to scrap the plaster and just sheetrock the ceilings, but we knew with every step you take in the name of efficiency, you take one step away from the original vision. And after too many steps, you cannot find your way back." The team opted to meticulously patch the openings and blend the plaster.
According to Mark, the landscape was a larger project than they’d originally expected. After consulting Anna Halprin, the widow of the original landscape architect, they brought aboard his former apprentice, Gary Roth. Roth used the original plans as a guide for designing the surrounding grounds.
The restoration was a multiple-year endeavor, but every step proved worthwhile. "This home provides us with an infinite theater of nature and light," says Mark, noting the incredible scenes captured by the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows. "It reminds you to slow down, take a breath, and simply be."
After several years of savoring the midcentury residence, the family is now looking to hand over the key to a new buyer who will appreciate its rich history. Scroll ahead to see inside more of the property, currently listed for $4,750,000.
Architecture: David Yama of Yama Architecture
Landscape Design: Karla Dakin of K. Dakin Design Inc.
Construction: Mark Manning of Farallon Construction
Photography: Jacob Elliott for Sotheby's International Realty
101 Crown Road in Kentfield, California, is currently listed for $4,750,000 by Isobel Wiener and Danielle Chavanon of Sotheby's International Realty.
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