This Is One of the Most Impactful Decisions We’ve Made In Designing Our Malibu Beach Home

Nothing influences the feel of a home quite like the materials from which it’s made. So, when it came time for our family to refine the exterior of our Malibu home, we looked to the natural beauty and durability of California redwood, sourced from Humboldt Sawmill, for our coastal property, Sunset’s 2023 Idea House.

Featured inspiration image of Ashley Merrill’s Malibu beach house by Teal Thomsen.

Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

Natural Vibes

There are certain materials I’ve always been drawn to, and they usually come from the earth—stone, wood, linen, and clay. Since wood illuminates the natural raw beauty of coastal California, it was the perfect fit for the home’s exterior. The soul of the house is surf shack vibes, and we knew that a wood-clad exterior would capture the timeless, beachy essence we were after.

The Right Wood

While researching domestic wood species, I was intrigued by the natural beauty and durability of California redwood. We decided it was the right fit after talking to the team at Humboldt Sawmill. They shared details about redwood’s strength and natural resistance to termites and decay, which is a consideration for coastal living. Even more, the purity of the material was compelling. The team at Humboldt Sawmill says that all the redwood and Douglas fir the company offers are completely natural wood products. They’re not derived from plastics or petroleum-based sources, which makes them an ideal fit for the organic environment that Malibu embodies.

When installed, the beauty of the wood is evident, but over time, it will patina to a driftwood gray tone fitting with the aesthetic we’re hoping to obtain. I absolutely love the warm tones of redwood, even more with age. We’re working with our builders to treat the wood so that it develops that beautiful grayed-out color even faster.

Image by Teal Thomsen

Sustainability at Its Core

Choosing materials and methods that best honor the earth has been paramount for our family during the renovation. Given that Humboldt Sawmill is dedicated to such makes the company and its redwood and Douglas fir even more compelling. The timberlands, manufacturing, and distribution operations of
Humboldt Sawmill are certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® C013133).
Harvest rates for Humboldt Sawmill redwood and Douglas fir are only about 1 percent of the total inventory of trees the company owns, meaning that the company grows significantly more trees than it harvests annually.

Architects, consumers, contractors, and developers can be assured that Humboldt Sawmill redwood and Douglas fir lumber and timbers are produced to the highest possible environmental standards. And because all Humboldt Sawmill redwood and Douglas fir products are manufactured in California, their overall carbon footprint of transporting the wood to our Malibu home location is relatively low compared with materials from farther away.

The most impactful design decisions are usually the ones you agonize over since the final verdict can
completely change a home’s appearance. But the energy spent over choosing Humboldt Sawmill redwood will prove worthwhile for decades and beyond.

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