Our Family, Our Crew

Our Story

J. Jake Pettengill, Founder  and CEO of Sonoma Woodcraft
J. Jake Pettengill
Founder and CEO
Sonoma Woodcraft
We started our woodworking journey 35 years ago as Adventures in Wood as a salute to beautiful planet Earth, its trees and the joy we have always felt for the out of doors. We still look back with fond memories of our years hiking, skiing and camping in California and the western United States. We like to think that today we still honor that connection, as respectful woodworkers. That love of trees –the renewable kind -- lives on in the furniture we build today. We renamed our company Sonoma Woodcraft in 2006 about the time friends ask us to build them a Murphy bed. Once it was completed we realized we were on to something big. William Murphy’s idea was not just clever but ingenious. In those first few weeks after posting a photo of it online, the phone never stopped ringing!
Our first Sonoma Wall Bed
Very first Sonoma Wallbed

Our Family, Our Crew

Today the journey continues with a new generation of woodworkers who are following our lead. Employing the brilliantly simple a maxims of the Craftsman movement first popularized in the U.S. by Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright and others – clean unadorned lines using solid, old-world joinery – this has lead us create some very nice furniture. Combine that with a cleverly concealed table that is now offered as an option in our beds and you begin to understand the appeal of The Sonoma Wallbed™
The heart of Sonoma Woodcraft -- its people: current team, alumni and contributors
Our Family, Our Crew at Sonoma Woodcraft
The family-owned company is located in the rolling hills of California’s premier wine-growing region, Sonoma and Napa counties, just a few miles from the stunning Pacific coastline. J. Jake Pettengill, its founder and CEO, is the son, nephew and grandson of Iowa entrepreneurs. Jake’s son and his mother Marcia joined the firm in 2011 and son Chess -- before he left to pursue a film career – was its first general manager. Their contribution to the business and the No Frills Contemporary Wall Bed, among other things, has been significant. 

Our Mission

To create – successfully, we think – a line of Craftsman Murphy beds so clever, so distinctive, so solid, that you could put one in any room of your house – even the living or dining room – and no one would realize what it really is, just a very large, attractive wardrobe or armoire, something that truly fools the casual eye. And, most importantly, something that homeowners would be proud to have in their home.

But Who Was William Murphy Anyway?

There are many stories about William L. Murphy, inventor of the vertically stored bed. The one his ancestors told us was when he was working in a livery stable with his uncle in Tuolumne, CA, in the early 1900s. He slept in a small room and got the idea to design a bed that would hang on the door until he needed it at night. Later, upon moving to San Francisco, he also lived in a small apartment. One story was that he liked to entertain, especially a young opera singer he fancied. He wanted to invite her up to his apartment but it was considered taboo to invite a single lady into a small room with a bed in it. So he got the idea to store the bed upright with a spring lift system housed in the closet and – violà – problem solved. With patent in hand he started a company to mass produce them there, then later moved the company to New York City. These days grandson Clark W. Murphy runs The Murphy Bed Co. in Farmingdale, New York.  Thank you, William Murphy!   What a brilliant idea.
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