Defining Spaces Through Light and Craft

Andrew Mann Architecture’s work spans the greater Bay Area and is championed for its commitment to contextual designs that celebrate light and craft

Andrew Mann of Andrew Mann Architecture is known for the myriad ways he thoughtfully manipulates light within his body of work, while also maintaining a commitment to thoughtful craft details. The San Francisco-based architect expands the tradition of the Bay Area Style to contemporary needs, specifically inspired by the works of, and the precedent set by, earlier generations of architects such as Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, William Wurster, William Turnbull, Jr., and Joseph Esherick. In his own practice, one sees a commitment to simple, rustic modern buildings that capture the play of natural light on the inside and the direct connection to the landscape on the outside.

Through the thoughtful placement of windows, doors, skylights, and clerestories, the firm’s work emphasizes three-dimensional forms by playing with light to define surfaces. At a detailed level, the team focuses on the innate characteristics of materials, specifically how they meet at surfaces and corners to create refined moments that celebrate crafted details.

An enduring desire for crisp lines and simple detail is paramount to the firm’s design philosophy, which is illustrated in these signature projects:

Meadow Estate

This residence done in collaboration with Niche Interiors captured the clients’ desires for a comfortable, casual home that integrates the indoors and outdoors with architecture that is light-filled, airy, and spatially rich. Sited along a creek and opening to a meadow, the oak-studded property provides rich and varied landscapes for outdoor activities. The key architectural and interior design moves to house, originally constructed in 1925, included adding porches that became an extension of interior rooms and creating a vocabulary of elements with modern detailing and clean simplified lines.

Meadow Estate: Andrew Mann Architecture devised an axial spine that runs through the living, dining and family rooms as well as the kitchen. For the interiors, Niche Design thoughtfully blended the homeowner’s love of traditional furniture with graphic accents and contemporary lighting. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Meadow Estate: By partially closing off the foyer from the main living area, this allowed for a blank canvas for the team and clients to create drama in the foyer without overly impacting the rest of the house. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Meadow Estate: A dividing wall between the living room and kitchen is the perfect showcase for artist Eric Cahan’s Sky series print. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Meadow Estate: Andrew Mann’s talent for spatial sequencing and creating light-filled volumes is evident throughout each of these spaces. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Meadow Estate: True to its name, the 6,400-square-foot, ranch-style home is surrounded by oaks on a private lot. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Modern Craftsman

Designed for an avid collector, this modern interpretation of Craftsman style architecture provides gallery space for the owner’s Native American artifacts, baskets, craftsman furniture, landscape paintings, and other decorative objects. The architecture is meant to be crisp and simple so as to highlight and bring those collections to the foreground. Its modern-ness is intended as a contrast to the traditional or intrinsic character of the furniture, artwork, and artifacts. The architecture is intended to create aesthetic hierarchy and provide focus to those elements in a gallery-like setting, allowing the owner to develop tableaus that can change over time, all the while creating a warm, comfortable, richly layered welcoming home.

Modern Craftsman: A consistent vocabulary of cherry casework is used throughout the house, including the kitchen. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Modern Craftsman: Clean lines, simple details and a consistent vocabulary of materials were used to create a backdrop for artwork and display spaces for objects. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Modern Craftsman: Creating ample gallery space for the owner’s Native American artifacts, baskets, craftsman furniture, landscape paintings and other decorative objects was one of the central design moves. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Modern Craftsman: On the lower level, the primary bedroom takes advantage of the existing tall ceiling heights with a large expanse of windows and doors to visually connect to the garden and create a bright, airy space. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Modern Craftsman: The vocabulary of cherry and infusion of light is evident in the upstairs bathroom. Photo credit: Paul Dyer Photography

Wine Country Estate

Situated in the heart of the Napa Valley floor, this private vacation compound is the perfect wine country retreat with spectacular views of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. The home is a contemporary take on the traditional country house with outdoor entertaining in mind. The estate’s residence and guesthouse are all open to simple, elegant, and lush private gardens complete with an outdoor pavilion large enough for the client to host wine tastings. Given the region’s natural beauty, the exterior spaces, such as the main porch with its ample trellis, were designed with care to capture the area’s spectacular modulation of light.

Wine Country Estate: Exterior materials and interior finishes are neutral in color, but luxurious in texture; light fixtures and architectural hardware act almost like elegant jewelry highlights throughout the house. Photo credit: Matthew Millman Photography

Wine Country Estate: The home’s interior is decorated with simple earthy tones to complement the view. Photo credit: Matthew Millman Photography

Wine Country Estate: The luxurious wine country escape offers a depth of texture and materials in every room, including the primary bathroom. Photo credit: Matthew Millman Photography

Wine Country Estate: The airy pavilion provides protection from the sun, while maintaining the contemporary style of the house by matching its minimal palette. Photo credit: Matthew Millman Photography

Wine Country Estate: The guest house features an outdoor fireplace where the homeowner and guests can enjoy the mountain views on crisp autumn nights. Photo credit: Matthew Millman Photography

Sonoma Retreat

This weekend getaway for busy professionals looking to unwind and connect with nature creates a relaxing environment. While iconic and modern in form, the home—originally built in 1974—was in need of an interior refresh. A series of new interventions including a thoughtfully-updated kitchen, new bathrooms and stairs, lighting, and casework throughout create a refined experience. The renovation also enhances the outdoor experience through the creation of a new vegetable garden and pavilion. The pavilion’s shed roof evokes the rural architecture of Northern California, while the symmetrical curves of the garden beds, which respond to the existing typography, blend into the landscape to create a lush architectural framework.

Sonoma Retreat: Statuary honed Calacatta marble cascades over the island in the kitchen, which can be seen as you walk through the front entrance. The design focus for this wine country getaway was to allow the family to feel, at all times, the deep connection to the land they so love. Photo credit: David Wakely Photography

Sonoma Retreat: The guest bathroom features the same leafy views as the guest bedroom. Photo credit: David Wakely Photography

Sonoma Retreat: The clean-lined trellis that wraps the shed-roof pavilion provides filtered shade and glimpses of the sky. Landscape designer Christa Mone put the vegetable and herb beds close by so ingredients can travel straight from stem to plate. Photo credit: David Wakely Photography

Sonoma Retreat: Mann designed the structure with an alfresco kitchen and a pair of sliding barn doors that conceal a large pantry. The goal was to create a more relaxed, bare foot, shorts, bathing-suits-all-weekend kind of retreat, where the clients can spend hours in the flower and vegetable garden and small vineyard on the property. Photo credit: David Wakely Photography

About Andrew Mann Architecture

Andrew Mann Architecture continues the tradition of the Bay Area Style by focusing on the particularities of each project’s site and context, by establishing a strong connection between building and landscape, and by using natural materials. Andrew has been designing residential architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989. His work encompasses a range of building types, from rural vacation retreats to sophisticated urban residences. He currently sits on the Design Committee of The Sea Ranch and board of the Northern California Chapter of the Institute for Classical Art and Architecture.